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Best graphics card for playing flight sim x on 1080p

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August 6, 2008 5:28:09 AM

I need a computer for playing flight sim x on a 40" lcd 1920x1080. What graphics card is best for that resolution?
a c 107 U Graphics card
August 6, 2008 5:47:09 AM

FSX is a CPU limited game at the high end. so get the fastest cpu you can and overclock it for good measure.

at that rez on that game the difference from a 7900GTX to a 8800 Ultra is only ~2 fps. Multi card does noting to help either unless there have been some changes.

So get your self whatever card you want for other games. It does have a bit of a preference for Nvidia cards or Nvidia has done more driver work, but when you are talking 23.2 FPS you are not going to get lost in the game. With some settings tweaking i am sure you can smooth it out. The point is, Get the fastest most overclockable cpu you can.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-vga-charts/m...

August 6, 2008 6:12:00 AM

Thanks, thats going to save me a lot of money on the graphics card. Does duo or quad make any difference?
Related resources
August 6, 2008 6:22:19 AM

i never understood simulators...
August 6, 2008 6:36:25 AM

You'll probably want a quad for that one.
August 6, 2008 6:49:03 AM

Nuke is absolutely correct. I've been a Flight Simulator enthusiast since 4.0, so I've always designed my rigs especially to run Flight Simulator. No "games", just the "simulation". FSX SP1 & SP2 are coded for multiple cores, so FSX will use as much raw CPU horsepower as you can afford to throw at it.

Frame rates scale nearly 1:1 with CPU clock speed, so if you overclock from 2.4 Ghz to 3.6 Ghz, frame rate will increase nearly 50%. Additionally, I've tested FSX at 3.6 Ghz on an E6600, and at 3.6 Ghz on a Q6600. The increase in frame rate is nothing less than an astonishing 80%.

A quad with a high-end cooler and a high overclock is essential for the highest frame rates in FSX. Google the Flight Simulator websites for the best fsx.cfg file tweaks to achieve the best balance between frame rate and image quality.

For graphics, I recommend the 8800 GTS 512. It's under $200.00, has enough memory for high resolutions, and enough horsepower for running GPU bound "games" beyond running the CPU bound "simulation". Equally important, the 8800 GTS has dual slot rear exhaust which maintains low case temperatures to keep an overclocked quad running cool.

Comp :sol: 
August 6, 2008 7:24:50 AM

80% is a huge difference. I'm glad I asked. Thanks
August 6, 2008 8:11:03 AM

Is the 8800 GTS 512 better then 9800gtx+? its the same price.
August 6, 2008 8:38:24 AM

9800GTX+ is better. I would recommend a 4850, but since you play flight sim, it shouldnt matter too much.
August 6, 2008 8:39:36 AM

It does matter. FSX doesn't achieve the highest frame rates with ATI cards / drivers. Check out Tom's VGA Charts and see for yourself, as nukemaster has already pointed out this fact.

Although the 9800 GTX and the 8800 GTS are close in "game" performance, it depends upon your "game" needs beyond the "simulator". However, computer case size also matters. Since the 9800 GTX has the longest dimensions of graphics cards, like the 8800 GTX and the 8800 Ultra, it may not fit in your case.
August 6, 2008 8:53:04 AM

gtx280 tri sli ???

Again, FSX is not a "game", so forget what you know about how GPU performance typically affects frame rates. FSX is a heavily CPU bound "simulator", and respond very little to high-end graphics cards, SLI or otherwise. It's the most CPU bound title you can run. As nukemaster has already stated, the difference in frame rate between a 7900 GTX and an 8800 Ultra is ~ 2 FPS at ANY resolution. Check out Tom's VGA Charts and see for yourself.
August 6, 2008 9:27:38 AM

I run FSX on high settings just fine with a Core 2 Quad Q9300 and a ATI Radeon 4870, nothing overclocked. This also keeps my PC very quiet, because not much cooling is needed.
August 6, 2008 9:34:25 AM

+1 for quads. At what frame rates?
August 6, 2008 9:47:25 AM

Quote:
It does matter. FSX doesn't achieve the highest frame rates with ATI cards / drivers. Check out Tom's VGA Charts and see for yourself, as nukemaster has already pointed out this fact.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4870,1964...
4850/4870/gtx 280 Have the same performance so is not the driver or card :non: 
August 6, 2008 9:57:44 AM

pulasky,

Perhaps you should've read the following comments at the bottom of the page:
Not surprisingly, the Radeon HD 4870 performed at the same level as the 4850 with Flight_simulator (the cards share the same drivers). They both bested the HD 3870 and even the GeForce GTX 200, but lagged behind the majority of the GeForce 8 and 9 cards. [b said:
Flight Simulator X was in fact barely playable with the 4870 and the current drivers.]Not surprisingly, the Radeon HD 4870 performed at the same level as the 4850 with Flight_simulator (the cards share the same drivers). They both bested the HD 3870 and even the GeForce GTX 200, but lagged behind the majority of the GeForce 8 and 9 cards. Flight Simulator X was in fact barely playable with the 4870 and the current drivers.
[/b]

August 6, 2008 10:16:49 AM

.. Buy something like a 3850 512 mb (dirt cheap)
Buy a Q9300
Buy a Watercooling Rig
OC that thing as high as it will go
Problem Solved
August 6, 2008 1:43:35 PM

How do you choose between the quads?
FSB? clock speed? cache?
August 6, 2008 1:53:52 PM

shaundwm,

Liquid cooling is overkill and a waste of money for a 7.5x multiplier 6 Mb cache Q9300, and with the exception of the ATI cards made by HIS, the 3850's are not a good choice for FSX, because they lack dual slot rear exhaust, as well as the nVidia frame rate advantage shown in Tom's VGA Charts. Again, FSX performs better with nVidia cards.

Understand that I'm no fanboy of any corporate entity; As an engineer, I simply determine which hardware technology performs best for a given software requirement. I've run Flight Simulator with ATI cards as well as nVidia cards, and I've been a happy owner of both. In this instance, however, my experiences and findings regarding FSX happen to agree with Tom's VGA charts.

I build several rigs each year dedicated to running only Flight Simulator, and I can tell you that even a 7600 GT 256 Mb card paired with a Vantec Iceberq6 rear exhaust cooler will do a decent job, as long as you don't exceed 1280 resolution, and you overclock the bejeezus out of your CPU.

krus,

Yes, yes, and yes. The most effective CPU solution presently available for FSX is the Q6600 G0. Depending on your luck of the draw for which VID you receive, most will readily overclock to 3.6 Ghz (see my signature) with high-end cooling, which will give you an excellent FSX experience, with frame rates that average in the mid 40's to mid 50's.

If you select an X48 chipset motherboard, which is PCIE 2.0, and pair that with an 8800 GTS 512, which is also PCIE 2.0, then you can pick up a few more frames due to the bandwidth advantage. On my personal rig using a tweaked fsx.cfg file, FSX minimum frame rates rarely ever drop to 30 when flying through heavy scenery at treetop level. Average frame rates are mid 40's to mid 50's, and maximum frame rates will of course exceed 100's when at high altitudes in clear sky over water.

I don't recommend any of the new P45 chipset motherboards, since the new ICH10 southbridge chipset has taken a step backward in hard drive performance. The following parts will provide an excellent FSX configuration:


(1) Motherboard, Gigabyte, GA-X48-DS4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$224.99

(2) CPU, Intel, Q6600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$184.99

(3) CPU Cooler, Xigmatek, HDT-S1283
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$36.99 - $10.00 Mail-In Rebate

(4) Retention Bracket, Xigmatek, ACK-I7751
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$6.99

(5) Thermal Compound, Arctic Cooling, MX-2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$6.99

(6) Video Card, EVGA, 8800 GTS 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$199.99 - $30.00 Mail-In Rebate


Hope this helps,

Comp :sol: 
August 6, 2008 3:51:15 PM

Thank you very much Comp:) 
a c 107 U Graphics card
August 6, 2008 3:55:40 PM

pulasky said:
Quote:
It does matter. FSX doesn't achieve the highest frame rates with ATI cards / drivers. Check out Tom's VGA Charts and see for yourself, as nukemaster has already pointed out this fact.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4870,1964...
4850/4870/gtx 280 Have the same performance so is not the driver or card :non: 

Its the screen rez that makes the difference in this case.

The 4870 is great card, i have one, but for FSX as your main game, Nvidia is the best choice.

Its also important to know that the GTX260/280 cards are so new the drivers are not quite there. Nvidia even releases drivers just for that card for now(they can be modded to work with other cards). I know the 4800 drivers are new too, but i think its just in the design of FSX.

I would second the Q6600 build, with some luck you will get 3.6(takes an ungodly amount of power so i don't do it.)
August 9, 2008 1:49:37 AM

nukemaster said:

I would second the Q6600 build, with some luck you will get 3.6(takes an ungodly amount of power so i don't do it.)


How much more power does it take?
August 9, 2008 1:56:23 AM

I think nuke has perhaps slightly overstated his point. I'm running an Enermax 485 Watt PSU. I've measured my peak power with a Watt meter at 3.6 Ghz during Prime95 as well as FSX, and while my PSU doesn't have much reserve power, it's potential is well utilized.
a c 107 U Graphics card
August 9, 2008 2:08:39 AM

krus said:
How much more power does it take?

about 100 watts more(at full load). Just not a trade off i want to make with power costing what it does(more so with a computer that runs long hours at load). And that is a good bit more heat as well.
August 9, 2008 2:15:06 AM

Very green of you, nuke. I've addressed the same concerns by using the Overclocking Profiles in BIOS; Profile 1 is used only for running FSX at 3.6 Ghz, and Profile 2 is used for stock settings at minimum power for everything else, which also contributes to processor longevity.
August 10, 2008 4:17:05 AM

CompuTronix - hope you don't mind me asking; however, I want a PC purely for FSXbut I don't much fancy building one. I was thinking of buying the HP desktop d5000t with a Quad 9450 and adding in a 8000GTS card. Ideal I want to use he PMDG 747-400x plane and am hoping for a good frame rate.

Would I get such with this config?

Thanks in advance.

August 10, 2008 1:21:16 PM

speedy742j,

I downclocked my rig to Q9450 settings to test the frame rates for you. I think you can expect to see average frame rates in the high 30's, which is adequate, plus a little to spare. Your peak frame rates, will of course be higher. This assumes that you fine tune your FSX settings, and tweak your fsx.cfg file.

Comp :sol: 
August 11, 2008 3:01:48 AM

Thank you very much for doing that - that was kind of you.

I've been thinking about your post and wondering if I should build the system you recommend. I'm familiar with building PCs (I used to do it 3 years ago); however, I've always worried about system stability. Is it tricky to config these systems in terms of getting the right overclocking setting?

Also, when you set fine turn FSX and tweak the fsx.cfg file what settings do you use? Also fo you use the pmdg plane? I know they use quite a bit of processing power.

Thank you again.
August 11, 2008 12:31:21 PM

speedy742j,

There are well documented overclocking methods which can be used to achieve a stable overclock. Check out graysky's Overclocking Guide right here at Tom's Forums. It's one of the Stickies located under the "Hardware" - "Overclocking" - "CPU's" Forum: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240001-29-howto-overc...

I hope you don't expect me to list the 6 dozen or so FSX settings. Google the FSX enthusist websites and study the topic for yourself, so you can understand which settings kill frame rate:

http://www.fsinsider.com/

http://flightsimulatorxfan.blogspot.com/

http://flyawaysimulation.com/forums.html

http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor/default.aspx

I don't mind emailing my fsx.cfg file, and I primarily fly the Mooney included in FSX.

Comp :sol: 
August 19, 2008 1:55:02 AM

Hi -

I'm now looking at buying a dell 530, Q6600 with a 300W power supply. I would ideally like to put the evga 8800GT superclocked in it; however, on their site it says you need a 400W power supply for this card. Is this really accurate or are they putting a big margin of error in with that?

Thanks
a b U Graphics card
August 19, 2008 2:10:41 AM

They tend to have a margin of error, but 300w is cutting it a bit close.
August 19, 2008 4:19:13 PM

is there anyway to do the math to calculate the actual draw?

Thanks
December 7, 2009 5:07:08 PM

hello friends i just bought a Samsung 40 inches Full HD 1080p LCD, and have a CPU with Motherboard as follows:
Maximus Formula series
4 gb Kingston Hyper Ram
2.2 Quad Core CPU
i had a Asus 8800 gts graphics card 512 overclock edition, which i was using on another monitor, for a while i was working on my macbook pro, so i was not using the CPU for a while, but now when i tried to start it after a year it has stopped working as it has developed some snag, just bought a 40 inches LCD and tried connecting to my CPU, but there was no display, my Computer mechanic told me my graphics card has conked off, forcing me to lookout for another graphics card, kindly reply and help me buy a Graphics card for a 40 inches Full HD LCD screen, for playing games like MAINLY Flight Simulator X with lots of add ons like A380, B747, A340/330 Planes etc and other games like CRYSIS etc, if possible pls reply on Pawan737ng@yahoo.com, i am flying to USA in middle of December 2009, and plan to buy it from there, i will appreciate all replies and thanks to all of u in advance, Pawan
a b U Graphics card
December 7, 2009 6:19:39 PM

Flyingpilots said:
hello friends i just bought a Samsung 40 inches Full HD 1080p LCD, and have a CPU with Motherboard as follows:
Maximus Formula series
4 gb Kingston Hyper Ram
2.2 Quad Core CPU
i had a Asus 8800 gts graphics card 512 overclock edition, which i was using on another monitor, for a while i was working on my macbook pro, so i was not using the CPU for a while, but now when i tried to start it after a year it has stopped working as it has developed some snag, just bought a 40 inches LCD and tried connecting to my CPU, but there was no display, my Computer mechanic told me my graphics card has conked off, forcing me to lookout for another graphics card, kindly reply and help me buy a Graphics card for a 40 inches Full HD LCD screen, for playing games like MAINLY Flight Simulator X with lots of add ons like A380, B747, A340/330 Planes etc and other games like CRYSIS etc, if possible pls reply on Pawan737ng@yahoo.com, i am flying to USA in middle of December 2009, and plan to buy it from there, i will appreciate all replies and thanks to all of u in advance, Pawan


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