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8800 GTS? for MS Flight SimX. But which???

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December 22, 2008 4:30:22 PM

Appreciate any insights into sorting thru and buying my first graphics card. The sole purpose to run Microsoft Flight Simulator X at top performance. [I plan to buy MSFSX, yoke, rudder, game card, power supply. Already got the "Microsoft Flight Simulator X for Pilots: Real World Training" book. Very good reviews btw.] Tom's 3Q gaming charts says the 8800 GTS 512MB is the top performing card with MSFSX. (8800 GTS has the best driver fit for the game, I'm guessing?)

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-grap...

http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Flight-Simulator-Pilots... < FSX book FYI

What makes my head spin in violent convulsions is when trying to figure what particular 8800 GTS to order, is all the DIFFERENT 8800 GTS manufacturers, specs, variations, deals, wide price ranges, OEM, etc, etc, etc. Specs in different categories seem to fluctuate wildly! On supposedly the "same" card! How is a 512MB rated better on the hierarchy charts than a 640MB for example, as a minor question? Seems counter intuitive. I then compare brand manufacturer's specs to AMD's Nvidia Geforce's own website specs, and they DIFFER! Is the 512MB configuration the same regardless of brands, OEM? Bottom line, which particular brand 8800 GTS 512 MB is reflected in Tom's top MSFSX chart winner? Is OEM a crap shoot? Missing connection pin wires, etc???

[I can't be alone in the head spinning arena when cards are reviewed... and then people go out looking for that "particular" card and see what appears to be wild VAST differences in those "same" cards.]

I'll have to upgrade my power supply too. ? Would like a QUIET power supply. Will the PS supply the PCIe x16 6? pin power connection or will the new game card? My system: I have PCIe x16 1.0 or 1.1 (NOT 2.0), 2 GB DDR Dual Channel RAM (already upgraded RAM to prepare), P4 530 3.0 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2 Cache, 915G Chipset, 7200 RPM 200 GB SATA hard drive: (An older Gateway 507 GR system)

This is both a specific... and very general generic questions, that maybe other graphics card newbies can learn from when shopping for reviewed cards only to find a smorgasbord of options & variation when looking for that "paticular" card. THANKS! (sorry for the length of this question)

More about : 8800 gts flight simx

December 22, 2008 4:48:08 PM

I tried MS FSX........With Catalyst 8.12, ATi HD4850 card reached about 65fps at 1024x768(On CRT monitor at 32bit) at Ultra Level...... tested with fraps....
I'm not sure about what it would be at 1280x1024, Game AA, Game AF, Ultra Quality setting.....
a b Î Nvidia
December 22, 2008 5:06:28 PM

I'd get a HD 4850, because it is a better card than the 8800GTS, and even than the 8800GTX or 9800GTX. Sapphire and Visiontek are my favorites for ATI cards.

Still, if you insist on the 8800GTS, make sure it's the 512MB version. The 8800GTS 512MB has smaller transistors and more stream processors and higher clocks than the 8800GTS 640MB, that's why it's faster. Try an eVGA or XFX or BFG, those are the most reliable companies AFAIK.

The 8800GTS is pretty big. Make sure you have room for it in that box, or funds to buy a new box.

PSU: there's a PC Power & Cooling 750W for $70 after rebate at newegg. It's overkill for what you need, but you're not going to find a quiet and high-quality PSU for less money even if you settle for only 500W or so. There's also the Corsair 650TX, also excellent, and it's a bit smaller so you have a better chance to fit it in an old Gateway box.
Related resources
a b Î Nvidia
December 22, 2008 5:07:50 PM

Oops, I forgot the most important part. FSX simply loves quad CPUs. Get yourself a Q6600 or even a Q9550 if that's your most important program. You might need a new MB though...
December 22, 2008 5:10:38 PM

The processor will be a big bottleneck on that system no matter which 8800 GTS you get.
December 22, 2008 5:20:17 PM

I would get the 4850
December 22, 2008 5:22:03 PM

FSX is more dependant on CPU then GPU, you will see the best improvement if your system has a CPU thats at least 3Ghz and dual core at a minimum. Anything under 3GHz and you will want to make sure Auto Generated Scenery is set to Off.
December 22, 2008 5:28:55 PM

If you look at Tom's quarterly gaming charts on what cards work best with various games, (see chart link in first post) 8800 GTS 512 MB tops the chart in fps. I've also read MSFSX is apparently driver sensitive, so maybe the 8800 GTS has the best fitting driver, to top out the performance of the card? I HATE to get a whole new system just to run one program. The book authors/pilots say you want 20 frames per second or better for FSX. Obviously we all get greedy and want far better than that if at all possible. I'm sure I won't get the 35fps that the chart indicated, given the older system. But I should get at least 20fps, no??????? With the game's top rated card? That's why I'm thinking the best card may put me over the 20fps minimum threshold.
December 22, 2008 6:02:32 PM

You should be able to get 20fps at that resolution (1280X1024), you didn't say which operating system your going to be using but if its XP you shouldn't have a problem getting that.

I run it at 1920X1200 on my system and get 45fps at ground level. Ground level is where you need the 20fps once in the air you will see no problems with frame rates.
December 22, 2008 6:21:37 PM

I'm appreciating the feedback, thanks guys. About my core question: how do you sort thru the various brand/manufacturers with their wildly wide range of specs & prices on supposedly the "same" 8800 GTS card? Is a 8800 GTS 512 MB card have the same specs in all details regardless of brand/manufacturer? I'm thinking NO -- they are wildly different when comparing Nvidia Geforces specs at their web site and comparing them to the various offerings out there. When a particular graphics card is reviewed, it appears they are not all the same and it makes the head hurt trying to get a handle on which brand card. How do you do it? Blind faith?

Question 2: Power Supply. Will the card have the pin connection wire, even OEM, or will the new power supply have it, or both??? I'm new to this. Sorry.

Question 3, based upon a warning here. Where is the length, size spec on the card so I can find out if it will fit my case? Many vendor sites aren't listing the size dimensions of the card they are selling. Thanks.
December 22, 2008 6:44:23 PM

PhxKen,

The original 8800 GTS 320 / 640 cards have a G80 GPU, and the 8800 GTS 512 cards have a G92 GPU, which is considerably more powerful. I have the EVGA 8800 GTS 512 - http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de... - which features a dual slot rear exhaust cooling soltution that won't polute the inside of your case with heat, when you're trying to keep an overclocked CPU cool.

Since stock on the 8000 series cards has become somewhat scarce, an excellent alternative to the 8800 GTS 512 is the 9800 GT 512 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - which is also available with 1GB memory - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - and is ideal for driving large screens at high resolutions. The 9800 GT is essentially an updated 8800 GT, which both have the G92 GPU, and perform nearly on par with the 8800 GTS 512, as shown in Tom's Gaming Graphics Charts Q3/2008.

I built my rig especially to run FSX extremely well, and as has been suggested, your highest proiority should be a highly overclocked Quad Core processor. As I've written quite extensively concerning FSX, please spare me the the task of repeating myself. For more detailed information concerning which hardware configurations are required to run FSX well, please review my posts on the following threads, which will answer all your questions:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/253586-33-best-graphi...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/257068-33-frame-rates...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258190-33-what-settin...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/247975-28-quandry#t18...

Best Regards,

Comp :sol: 
a b Î Nvidia
December 22, 2008 7:08:47 PM

Look for the 512Mb 8800GTS, the 640/320Mb cards are fine, but slower.
Most of the price variation comes from:A the bundle of goodies that come with the card-which you neither need nor desire; B The speed of the card, more expensive cards tend to be a LITTLE faster.
OEM usually means Original Equipment Manufacturer, OEM hardware just lacks the frills of Retail boxes, usually coming with just the card, a driver disc, and sometimes an extra connector cable. These cards are exactly the same as in the retail boxes, but lack the extras.
I`d go for the cheapest retail I could find.
And read the posts from CompuTronix!
December 22, 2008 7:10:34 PM

Your CPU is very slow to 8800 GTS and, of course, in MSFS X the CPU is crucial. (Sorry for my english)

My system for MSFS X Deluxe Edition with 20/25 fps in ultra quality, AA and AF 1440x900:

CPU: E8400 OCed to 3.6 Ghz
Mobo: Asus P5Q pro
RAM: 2x2 Gb GSkill DDR2 800
Graphics: MSI 8800 GT 512 MB OC
Power supply: 530 Watts
etc...
December 22, 2008 7:48:50 PM

CompuTronix,

You're the PERFECT guy to get specific with, thanks. Great posts on the topic. I'd like to get my pilot's cert. You've been there, done that to the hilt already. My game plan was to get out front of lessons, which I haven't even started yet on, get up to speed with MSFSX, get well into the well receive, highly rated book, "MSFSX for Pilots: Real World Training... then pull the trigger on actual pilot training lessons.

http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Flight-Simulator-Pilots...

If I can hopefully? achieve 20 fps with my P4 530 3.0Ghz, 915G Chipset, PCIe x16 1.0 system, with a 8800 GTS 512 MB card... will I get what I need out of MSFSX to achieve my "pilot skills" goal? Or, are killer fps rates key to honing one's pilot skills? More fps, better pilot skill testing? Or just better scenery? I'm new to ALL this: graphics cards, gaming, MSFS, etc. I haven't even got MSFSX yet, nor found a flight school. The authors said their book/FSX lessons were good for practicing what HAS been taught, and what WILL be taught in actual in flight future lessons. I'd like to get in and out of pilot training at the minimum 40 flight hours. $$$ Plus, once certified, MSFS is good, I hear, at staying fairly sharp at what it takes to fly. Yes, no? Reduces the need for costly flight hours to stay sharp?

I hope NOT to have to buy a new system. It's good for everything else! But do I have that much of a dog system that it's going to put a big experiential constraint upon my goal and skill acquirement's? Thanks for the input guys!!!!


December 22, 2008 8:11:23 PM

PhxKen,

Sorry to pop your bubble, but don't waste your time or resources attempting to run FSX on a 4 year old P4 single core CPU, as it's severely lacking for even the minimum amount of CPU horsepower, so frame rates will be a deplorable slide show, regardless of whether you can find an 8800 GTS 512 to purchase.

If you don't have the means to build a cost effective Q6600 overclocked rig, then the best compromise I can suggest is to install FS 2002, which may perform with somewhat acceptable frame rates. FS 2004 may even be too much of a performance challenge for a P4 530.

The absolute bare minimum for FSX with compromised settings on XP 32 bit at 1024 x 768, is a Core 2 Duo E4400 overclocked to 3.4 Ghz, with 2 GB DDR2 667 4-4-4-12, and a 7600 GT 256. Unfortunately, your rig isn't even close to being in this league. I wish I had a more favorable outlook for you.

Sorry,

Comp :sol: 
December 22, 2008 9:52:50 PM

I went to the book's (MSFSX for Pilots: Real World Training) website, appendix C, FAQ's: (I have Win XP SP3, which someone asked about; apparently quite appropriately.):


Books appendix C:

"How much computer do I need?

The more powerful computer, the better, but some aspects of it are more important than others. The number-one item you want is a powerful video card that will support the upcoming (at the time of this writing) DirectX 10. FSX loads the computer with visual effects, and their quality and smoothness are keys to your enjoyment. The second item you might want is a RAID hard disk, which is two disks acting as one. The throughput of data is enormous for FSX, and the two drives let your computer churn information faster. We’re not experts on RAID, and different systems
will have different best choices here. Find someone who knows your computer to help you get the best system for your money.
Multiple processors are only partly supported under Windows XP, so they’re not a huge benefit until you have Windows Vista. Memory is also helpful, if for no other reason than it limits how often your computer must read and
write to your hard drive. If you have specific hardware questions, it’s best to post them on an online forum for Flight Simulator, such as on www.avsim.com and www.flightsim.com. If you’re using Voice over IP, then you’ll get much better sound with a second sound card as well. You can find
details for dedicating one card for sound in the Learning Center."

For the book, the authors had a WindowsPC IX2 SLI system with "Core Duo of 2.4 GHz each and dual 1 GB NVIDIA Geforce 7950 GX2, and a second system: Alienware Area-51 7500 with Core Duo of 2.93 GHz each and Dual 512 NVIDIA Geforce 7900 GTX. Both systems with 2 GB RAM. No mention if it was Vista or XP.

20fps was the threshold goal of quality for readers to shoot for.

They said Microsoft listed min sys requirements at Processor speed: 1.0 GHz, 256 MB Ram, Video card: 32 MB Direct X 9 compatible. Authors said double that! Yet I'm at 3.0 GHz, 2 GB Ram, and looking for a 8800 GTS 512 MB video card, the best available for the game, even better than the author's video cards ... and it will be too dog of a system???? Confusion reigns!
December 22, 2008 10:17:36 PM

The number-one item you want is a powerful video card said:
The number-one item you want is a powerful video card
The authors are somewhat confused and are definately misinformed, have little understanding of which hardware drives FSX frame rates, and obviously have no experience building FSX computers. That quote should instead read:

The number-one item you want is a powerful Core 2 Quad CPU overclocked to the max!

Even at slower clock settings, the Core 2 architecture blows away a single core or dual core P4 at higher clock settings. No competition. Check out Tom's CPU Charts 2008 Q1/2008 - http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/cpu-charts-2008-q1-2... - and see for yourself!

If you read my posts in the links I provided for you, I stated time and again that the CPU is the most critical FSX component, which I stand firmly behind, and numerous other users repeatedly confirmed.

If you wish to debate this point, then take it up with someone else, because I won't waste my time writing yet another convincing argument to validate that which has already been proven many times.
December 23, 2008 1:22:45 AM

Mighty testy at reading other so called (debatable) "expert" perspective there CompuTronix. But great links, posts. I simply fetched, 1.) a 5 star MSFSX book author's hardware advice, 2.) Microsoft's own "min sys requirements" and the author's take on that "min sys req". You call that debating you. Interesting attitude. You must be on your 6th or 7th wife by now. ;-)

The author said double Microsoft's min sys requirements. I've got triple the min 1.0 GHz processor speed Microsoft listed; eight times the min RAM MS listed; MS suggested a 64 MB video card and was looking at the most powerful graphics card (with 512 MB) for the game that wasn't even available back when Microsoft and the authors listed.

Yet I realized I could still be in for disappointment... so that's why I posted here for advice, not debate. I can't debate it; I know not! I did at least find my P4 530 3.0 GHz processor all the way near the bottom of that last processor chart link you posted. Thought mine might be obsolete, off the chart. Never saw that chart. Interesting. Q6600: 47, my P4 530 was at 276. Almost 6:1. Ouch.

And I agree with you that the authors came across a maybe a tad hardware naive; not their bag. Thus, that's why I'm here. But I thank you for your education on the topic, sincerely. I simply want to get to min 20 fps. One would think 3x processor, 8x Ram, 8x video card memory -- Microsoft's min req, I'd be able to do it. You said don't waste my time or money going there with that system. Pointless to see if there might be other different opinions or experience that enjoyed FSX with an older beefed up system... with maybe some of the not necessary features turned down on FSX??? Pointless?
a b Î Nvidia
December 23, 2008 2:23:20 AM

Why don't you just get the new video card and give it a try? If you're already happy after that, good for you, stop there. If not, upgrade the Mb and get a Q9550. If still not happy after that, get a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and overclock that CPU. You don't have to do ALL the possible upgrades right away, especially if you're not looking for best possible performance.


December 29, 2008 1:39:45 PM

One thing that hasnt been brought up yet is to go into games explorer and turn DX10 off and run it in DX9.
FSX isnt optimized for DX10 so the visual differences dont add up to much
but the performance hit is significant.
I thought that DX10 would be great when I upgraded from a 7900GS to a 8800GTX. I found out differently.
Going in stages I went from 2G to 4G memory. (helpful)
7900GS to 8800GTX (disappointing DX10)
2.8G Amd dual core to 3.2G (no real big deal)

As for a video card I would suggest getting something in the 9000 series
or the ATI equivilent that support the PcI 16X2 for future upgrading.
It is backwards compatible with the PCix1 you have now.
Also get one with as much memory as possible and most importantly the best cooling.
One other thought that I find helpful with FSX is the ability to have dual monitors. I find it very helpful for things such as GPS, kneeboards,overhead switch panels etc.
December 29, 2008 2:53:38 PM

I'm amazed that you guys let this guy believe all this for so long, first of all the reason why the 8800GTS leads the shoddy tom's hardware charts is because the game (Flight Simulator X) is so HEAVILY dependant on CPU performance that it makes very little difference if you have a midrange 8800GTS 512/9800GTX or a higher end HD 4870 X2/GTX 280, not because of any "special driver optimization" for that said card, but because of the HUGE bottleneck that is the CPU.

Second of all, those minimum system requirements are often understated, and in this case by A LOT. FSX is one of the three games I can think of that requires a fast dual core just to run at somewhat acceptable speeds and demands a quad core for an enjoyable gameplay. (The other two being Supreme Commander and GTA IV)

The kind of hardware you will need for this to run good on your machine would be:

-Quad core CPU (C2Q Q9550/Core i7 920 or Phenom II equivalent when released)
-HD 4850/HD 4870
-4GB strongly recommended (especially since memory is cheap)

And be willing to overclock the CPU if you need even better performance, because as stated above (albeit not as much as it should've been) FSX requires raw CPU power. And trust me, it'll take as much as you can give it and more.

EDIT: FSX will kill your P4 regardless of what graphics card you put in.
December 29, 2008 3:26:04 PM

Thank you; good information! I've realized, thanks much earlier to CompuTronix's posts, reaffirmed once again, that I need a new system. My P 4 530 3.0GHz cpu just won't allow for an enjoyable game, no matter the video card: got it loud and clear. Thanks!

So.... I've been POURING over chipsets, mobos, cpu's info: god what a headache reeducating oneself on all the developments since last my system hunt some 3 1/2 yrs ago: pros & cons, cost/benefits, sweetspots, system for the future, etc!

Contemplating biting the bullet with the x48 chipset mobo, Q9550, 4 GB RAM. But what threw me for a loop was at Intel's own chipset comparison page,

http://compare.intel.com/pcc/showchart.aspx?mmID=36776,...

it says x48 is DDR3 ONLY. DDR3 mem is costly, so I heard. Yet at Egghead's mobo section the DDR2 based x48 Asus Rampage Formula mobo vastly outsells the DDR3 based x48 Asus Rampage Extreme mobo as indicated by a 317 to 58 five star rating for each. I've been looking for mobo's that tout tons of 5 star ratings on Egghead for an indication of stability. The new x58/i7 core systems have only 4 star averages on egghead, with enough brutal 1 star review slams that it appears there are still kinks to be worked out of the new intel platform.

Back to vid cards: All things being equal, cpu bottleneck and all, why then did the 8800 GTS 512 MB card beat the more modern high powered cards? And what really throws my head for a loop is why the SLI & Crossfirex cards, 8800 GTS 512mb to boot, perform worse than single cards on Tom's gaming graphics card charts??????? Paying extra money for twice as many cards, for worse performance??? Doesn't doubling up via SLI, CrossfireX trump singles????

This is great feedback all, thanks.
December 29, 2008 3:59:42 PM

PhxKen said:
Thank you; good information! I've realized, thanks much earlier to CompuTronix's posts, reaffirmed once again, that I need a new system. My P 4 530 3.0GHz cpu just won't allow for an enjoyable game, no matter the video card: got it loud and clear. Thanks!
PhxKen,

I'm glad to see that you're finally convinced, and that you've found your way onto the same page with me, in which case, I'll still be glad to help you.

PhxKen said:
Back to vid cards: All things being equal, cpu bottleneck and all, why then did the 8800 GTS 512 MB card beat the more modern high powered cards? And what really throws my head for a loop is why the SLI & Crossfirex cards, 8800 GTS 512mb to boot, perform worse than single cards on Tom's gaming graphics card charts??????? Paying extra money for twice as many cards, for worse performance??? Doesn't doubling up via SLI, CrossfireX trump singles????
The following is my second post from the FSX thread shown above - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258190-33-what-settin...

There's nothing wrong with the charts. If you study the topic, you'll eventually understand that FSX doesn't behave at all like a first person shooter limited view game; it's a global view simulation, so you must rethink the program dynamics.

SLI runs slower than a single card on FSX because while the CPU cores are maxed out doing the physics crunching required to prepare global views for rendering, the GPU interrupts from 2 graphics cards require more CPU clock cycles, which has the effect of slowing the CPU cores down more than 1 graphics card. Just overclocking 1 graphics card can have a negative effect on frame rate. If you overclock or underclock the graphics card, it has little noticable effect on frame rates, but if you overclock or underclock the CPU, it has an extreme effect on frame rates.

There are no games which are 100% GPU bound or 100% CPU bound. Certain game titles typically have a certain balance between GPU and CPU bindings, however, FSX is definately on the extreme end of the CPU bound spectrum at perhaps 85% CPU / 15% GPU. said:
There's nothing wrong with the charts. If you study the topic, you'll eventually understand that FSX doesn't behave at all like a first person shooter limited view game; it's a global view simulation, so you must rethink the program dynamics.

SLI runs slower than a single card on FSX because while the CPU cores are maxed out doing the physics crunching required to prepare global views for rendering, the GPU interrupts from 2 graphics cards require more CPU clock cycles, which has the effect of slowing the CPU cores down more than 1 graphics card. Just overclocking 1 graphics card can have a negative effect on frame rate. If you overclock or underclock the graphics card, it has little noticable effect on frame rates, but if you overclock or underclock the CPU, it has an extreme effect on frame rates.

There are no games which are 100% GPU bound or 100% CPU bound. Certain game titles typically have a certain balance between GPU and CPU bindings, however, FSX is definately on the extreme end of the CPU bound spectrum at perhaps 85% CPU / 15% GPU.


I maintain several parts lists for FSX systems, so if you give me a budget, I can build you a paper FSX rig.

Comp :sol: 
December 29, 2008 4:37:13 PM

Thanks for the build offer help, Comp! Just what the doc is ordering. Thanks to all the other guys as well too!

I am PULLING my hair out reeducating myself on all the cost/benefit variables, etc. I have a great tendency to go overboard, keep upping the benefits, biting bullets on costs. I wish to restrain myself, but I find myself hopeless doing so. Shame on me. Thus I was leaning towards an x48 chipset mobo, Q9550 Core 2 Quad cpu based system. But am I going overboard once again? emp's recent post a few minutes ago appears to answer that question with a NO, I'm not going overboard. x48 appears more popular than x38 chipset mobo's on NewEgg, but articles seem to say DDR3 mem based systems are too costly for the minor bang benefit. Intel's website says x48 is DDR3 only. Yet NewEgg has a wildly popular 5 star x48 DDR2 based Asus Rampage Formula mobo. My head is spinning doing this research. Is Intel's own website out of date?

http://compare.intel.com/pcc/showchart.aspx?mmID=36776,...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi... < look at Memory Standard

Bottom line: value, performance, STABLE, (FSXI? ready too... can handle the future?) I'm worthless at setting budgets for myself. I'm trying to restrain myself. Thanks.

Primary mission is to run MSFSX. Windows Vista 64 bit OS version would be important too, no? To take advantage of chipset, cpu architecture? Is ECC memory valuable as a side question? Thanks all!
December 29, 2008 4:51:10 PM

FYI: I've started my FSX hardward education/build list in this order:

0. Video Card... thought that's all I needed; Wrong. 8800 GTS 512mb???

1. Chipsets: x48?
2. Motherboards: Asus Rampage Formula x48 DDR2?
3. CPUs: Q9550 Core 2 Quad
4. Hard drive. <Have yet to tackle that education curve yet, nor that below:
5. Case
6. Power Supply Unit
7. Optical drives
9. Yoke, Rudder, Headset, added soundcard?

Forgot about RAM memory. Haven't got up to speed yet on that issue.

I'm getting a headache! Thanks.
December 29, 2008 4:52:35 PM

Specs on my FSX rig:

Q9650 @ 4.2
Xigmatek HDT-SD964 w Dual Panaflo 68 CFM Fans
Asus Rampage Formula @ 467 FSB
4GB Crucial Ballistics 800 C4 @ 934 C5
EVGA 8800 GTS 512 @ 775 / 2170
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
Enermax 495
SuperPower Desktop Case w Airflow Mods
3 VelociRaptor 300GB RAID 0
1 Seagate 7200.11 1TB Backup
2 Plextor DVD 8MB Cache
3DMark06 17,355
a b Î Nvidia
December 29, 2008 5:01:35 PM

PHXKEN; What sort of budget are we talking about?
December 29, 2008 5:19:02 PM

What are the @ figures?
@467 FSB is low front side bus speed, no?
@934?
@ 775 / 2170?
Enermax? 495? That a PSU?
3DMarkO6 ? 17355???? What's that?

3 VelociRaptors, ouch $.

Raid 0: "High performace, very low reliability" per "Upgrading & Repairing PC's" 13th edition, 2002. Looked up RAID info, don't know much about it. Do you need a special controller, or does the hardware in the Southbridge ICH9R in the x48 chipset handle that? Simply buy multiple hard drives and BIOS tweakings will put you into RAID modes??? How is RAID achieved? I know little about RAID hard drives.

Thanks!
December 29, 2008 5:48:29 PM

RAID 0: Thus the 1 Seagate backup. D'oh!
December 29, 2008 6:08:02 PM

@ means "at".

  • Intel's Front Side Bus is "Quad Pumped" which means that 467 x 4 = 1868 Mhz "Effective" FSB.

  • DDR2 800 @ 4-4-4-12 timings overclocked means 467 x 2 (DDR) = 934 @ 5-5-5-15 timings.

  • This also means 467 x 9 (Q9650 CPU Multiplier) = 4.2 Ghz.

  • 775 / 2170 means GPU Core overclocked to 775 Mhz and GPU Memory overclocked to 2170 Mhz.

  • Enermax is the PSU Brand. You don't need a nuclear reactor to run FSX.

  • 3DMark06 is a standard benchmark utility used by gamers to test the performance of their rigs. 17,355 is the score on my rig.

    You don't need 3 VelociRaptors for FSX, but you should use at least a single 10,000 RPM drive for FSX. The VelociRaptor 150 is a lower cost alternative. RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 setups are included in the ICH9 Southbridge Chipset BIOS, which is paired with the P35, X38 and X48 Northbridge Chipsets.

    I don't recomment the P45 Chipset, because the ICH10 Southbridge took a step backwards in hard drive performance, which benchmark slower than the ICH9, and the nVidia Chipsets are even slower yet.

    So that narrows it down to either the X38 or X48 boards, because they're PCI Express 2.0. Of those boards, the X48 based Asus Rampage Formula has very tight Vdroop characteristics, which provides for better CPU overclocking, and uses inexpensive DDR2.

    Also, the preferred OS for FSX is XP 32 bit, which allows the highest frame rates because it has the lowest inherent processor overhead.
    December 29, 2008 6:28:18 PM

    Ah, enlightenment. (I knew what @ is, thanks) ICH9R is for RAID capability, no? R being the key indicator? Without "R", no RAID capacity? I was looking at the VelociRaptor 300, 10,000rpm; one. Quite the system you have there.

    Do you have Yoke & rudder for your FSX? Which brand? Have you gone online and flown with others? I was reading the first chapter of "MSFSX for Pilots: Real World Training; For serious pilots, it's not a game" by Van West & Lane Cummings, last night, and thumbing thru the rest of the book. Backcover: "It's the next best thing to being up there." Looked like there there was quite an online fsx community, with both pilots & ground controllers utilizing mic'ed headsets, in virtual airspace, flying & engaged, FSX style. Anyone done that?

    x48 chipset mobo question: Does it do either DDR2 or DDR3? Intel says DDR3 only. Yet I've seen DDR2 x48 mobos.
    a b Î Nvidia
    December 29, 2008 6:34:32 PM

    Also realize that that book you quote was written BEFORE they actually launched both the DirectX10 patch or even the Multi-thread/core CPU patch it seems.

    I wouldn't bother with RAID until you figure the other things out, out of all the areas of concern, a single fast drive would be more important than a RAID array. It's nice to have, but not as significant as dumping more money into your CPU and Memory. RAID is not high on cost/benefit, and neither is ECC memory unless you move to a multi chip (not just multi-core) solution.

    In addition to what has been added by emp and CT, be sure to check out Phil Taylor's blogs (his old one at M$ and his new one at intel);

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor/
    http://www.futuregpu.org/

    There's a ton of information at the M$ blog, especially posts earlier in the year and last year that go over performance optimization. Like some unofficial tweak tips;
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor/archive/2008/06/02/user-b...

    As already mentioned the focus should be on CPU not GPU, the main benefit for powerful GPU is adding AA and higher resolutions (where the truly weak GPUs fall off), but even that is limited by your core.

    If you are looking to the future, then that's when you want a little more focus onthe type of card chosen, because they will be built around maximizing what the current level of DX can do, and then tacking on the benefit of what DX11 brings to the table. For that reason I would stay away from the memory bleeding GTS 320/640 and focus more on cards like the GTX-512, GF9800 and HD4K series (and GTX260 if you can afford one).

    But really, if FSX is your game, then focus on the now, what works for people in your situation right now; because like this last build, no one knows (not even the devs themselves) how that's going to turn out next gen. So for stability I'd say stick with the GF8800 and 9800 cards for now (getting the best value ones) since they have had a chance to mature with the game and get more optimization attention than the new cards, and since it's not about pulling small percentage point performance out of a GTX280 or HD4KX2, go with the stability of the older cheaper options, once again dumping the savings into the core.

    EDIT: look like CT answered the RAID issue, one fast vs Raid for now.
    December 29, 2008 6:56:34 PM

    Excellent advice from TGGA.

    I use CH Products, and I enjoy Free Flight, since I never have much cared for unnecessarily jabbering on the radio, but let's focus on the computer build. I'll answer other questions later, time permitting.

    Yes, all recent P35, X38 and X48 boards are ICH9R. Boards which feature support for DDR2 and DDR3 are typically not great overclockers.

    Standby for awhile till I have some time to create a cost effective FSX parts list for you...

    Comp :sol: 
    a b Î Nvidia
    December 29, 2008 7:28:32 PM

    CompuTronix said:
    Also, the preferred OS for FSX is XP 32 bit, which allows the highest frame rates because it has the lowest inherent processor overhead.

    XP vs Vista (from SimHQ XP vs Vista review 2007)


    In this 2008 review by ExtremeTech of XP SP3 vs Vista SP1 it shows the XP/Vista performance gap has narrowed.

    If you have a copy of XP you can use - by all means save the cost of buying Vista. But if you have to buy an OS Vista makes more sense for the long run IMO.

    FSX online multiplayer capabilities are a nice bonus feature. But don't expect all players online to have objectives similar to yours (or similar attitudes either). But if you find the right persons to fly online with its a much more interesting and pleasant experience. I fly along with my brother (the pilot in the family) and a few of his friends and enjoy the added realism of other pilots vs AI aircraft.

    If you're focused on realistic as possible flight training you'll want to find one of the online FSX communities and get FSX operations tips from them.

    Other review of possible interest: SimHQ review of Core i7 and and Simulations


    December 29, 2008 7:37:41 PM

    GPU: adding AA? What's AA?

    >>"If you are looking to the future, then that's when you want a little more focus onthe type of card chosen, because they will be built around maximizing what the current level of DX can do, and then tacking on the benefit of what DX11 brings to the table." ??

    DX11 hasn't been developed yet, has it, by Microsoft? You'd have to get a new card capable of DX11, when the two come out, no? Lost me on this bit here.

    All things being equal during benchmark tests, except the tested graphics card, the 8800 GTS 512 MB card runs FSX the fastest, according to Tom's Gaming charts. Isn't that the card to beat for FSX??? I thought maybe its magic juice might be its driver pegging it best, but emp said hogwash, it was the cpu bottleneck. But every other card dealt with the same system bottleneck, no? That's what benchmarks are all about, no? All else being equal?

    If I get an X48 chipset based mobo, that will take a Q9550 Core 2 Quad, Intel has worked with ATI and they are CrossFireX ready they tout, but NOT nVidia SLI compatible. Otherwise Intel would tout SLI ready. Does that x48 mobo choice dictate getting a hot ATI card, if I ever want to double up to CrossFireX capablility? SLI & x48 chipsets aren't playing with each other from my chipset/mobo research. But Tom's charts say the ATI cards suck at FSX. Forget about SLI & CrossFireX, given their poor FSX performance anyway? Trying to get a rig that can handle the future for a while.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

    My head spins.

    CompuTronix, thanks, await your build post.

    I'm still confused by Intel's webite saying x48 chipsets are DDR3 only, but seing a wildly popular 5 star Asus Rampage Formula x48 DDR2 mobo. What is up with that???? Intel not updating their specs or websites? Or is an x48 mobo shooting itself in the foot. Not possible, is it? It's like the more I research, the more questions ring in the head.


    December 29, 2008 7:51:23 PM

    FSX Tips in the last few posts:
    Rollback to DX9 for better play, and rollback to 32 bit XP. 20 fps is the goal for sanity and enjoyment, so I hear. Given the investment in the new Core 2 Quad system and readying for the future, I would think also invest in 64 bit Vista OS, sacrifice a tad fps in FSX? Nice to hear the Vista SP1 narrowed the 17%+/- (48-41) fps gap somewhat. Interesting sacrifice choices. How do you roll back to DX9? Easily or...?
    December 29, 2008 7:54:09 PM

    No problem; XP doesn't run DX10 ... and 30 FPS is the minimum goal ... please standby ...
    December 29, 2008 8:22:47 PM

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2302500,00.a...

    FSX Correction to my previous:
    Windows Vista SP1 now just beats or equals XP SP3 fps wise... if I read the extreme tech charts correctly. They say the Vista drivers have been ironed out.

    Comp, the "possibly" hardware naive authors of "MSFSX for Pilots: Real World Training" stated, with their older hardware, (book is copyrighted 2007) 20 fps in FSX was their stated goal to shoot for, back then. Your 30 fps min goal is new info to me. Good to know. Given the state of hardware at FSX rollout date, game play would have been poor for the vast majority... I venture to guess.

    WR2, thanks for insight into different goals for online participants. Probably a tad frustrating for some real pilots in there flying around with gamer. Any Kamikaze in there? ;-)
    a b Î Nvidia
    December 29, 2008 8:27:42 PM

    PhxKen said:
    GPU: adding AA? What's AA?


    AA = Anti-Aliasing (think of it like edge-smoothing), you'll notice it in the THG charts you linked to. Notice the GF8600 hangs with the big boys until the resolution and AA are cranked and then it drops down nearer the bottom of the pile with 1/3 of the performance of those it once stayyed close to.

    Quote:
    >>"If you are looking to the future, then that's when you want a little more focus onthe type of card chosen, because they will be built around maximizing what the current level of DX can do, and then tacking on the benefit of what DX11 brings to the table." ??

    DX11 hasn't been developed yet, has it, by Microsoft? You'd have to get a new card capable of DX11, when the two come out, no? Lost me on this bit here.


    Yes, but at the same time, when the Next version of FS comes out, it will look to support both DX10 and DX10.1 as current paths, and then also look towards what they can do with the DX11 path as a tack-on. This is essentially what happened last time as well, but with alot of confusion over the implementation of DX10 which changed a few times en-route, and which M$ had to change FSX for as well (initially saying that the GF8800's weak geometry support made them re-tool their code to optimize for that). So what I'm saying is that as you reach a more truly built-for DX10/10.1 edition, you will want to avoid the GF8800GTS-320/640 and focus more on the GF8800GTS-512 out of the two, thus dropping the memory-plagued older GTSs and also moving towards a more efficient design. The GTX280 and HD4K also play a role in that as well, but as I mention earlier, focus mostly on the now, and so get the GTS-512 solution or GF9800, and then worry about the future when it is the future, because while M$ develops both DX and FSX, they don't know how well the IHVs (ATi, intel, nVidia) will handle it with their new hardware, until they are all released or at least they have their hands on finalized beta products. That's why I say glimpse at the future, but focus on the now. More likely than not by the time there is a new version, you'll want a new card anyways, so getting an uber card now for the future likely wastes money, because by the time that new version come out that uber card is likely going to be outperformed by some new $200 card which you could've bought with the savings you have now from getting the GTS-512 instead of spending it on a uber 'future-proof' card now. Because we all know there's no such thing as future-proofing.

    Quote:
    All things being equal during benchmark tests, except the tested graphics card, the 8800 GTS 512 MB card runs FSX the fastest, according to Tom's Gaming charts. Isn't that the card to beat for FSX??? I thought maybe its magic juice might be its driver pegging it best, but emp said hogwash, it was the cpu bottleneck. But every other card dealt with the same system bottleneck, no? That's what benchmarks are all about, no? All else being equal?


    There are not specific optimization for the GF8800GTS-512 that wouldn't be there for the GF9800, it's just like has been mentioned, this game is being taxed elsewhere, the differences don't show until you push the cards, and the difference you see in the charts is smaller than the margin of error for the top candidates. Look again at the benchmark when the settings are increased;
    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

    GTS-512 is no longer at the top, but that's not due to drivers, it's now getting into things like architecture and frequencies as you set the settings higher, but really once again the difference is minimal because the game is like an exponential burden, there's only so much difference you're going to see at the high end cards, because they still need to be fed by the CPU, and th efficiency of that impacts the game the most. Only when you crank every visual setting to the max do you start seeing some separation, and even then it's only minor at the upper levels.

    Quote:
    If I get an X48 chipset based mobo, that will take a Q9550 Core 2 Quad, Intel has worked with ATI and they are CrossFireX ready they tout, but NOT nVidia SLI compatible...


    I wouldn't bother with it until M$ improves their support for Xfire/SLi, right now there's little benefit to either, because as you clearly see, a single card can very often beat 2 cards in SLi.

    Only if you plan on running a 2560x1600 monitor would I suggest that you even consider multi-card/GPU setups. MY suggestion returns to the one above, focus on the best single card solution, and then upgrade (full card upgrade) when better features & cards come along (not 'til at least the next FSX comes out).

    The main thing is to know what you need for your favourite settings (resolution, AA, etc) and then understand why, to help you with future decisions / issues.

    PS: BTW, as to that book, it's likely written before SP1 which offered CPU tweaks, and before the GF880 and HD2900 showed that all the promise of DX10 speed was for not, and it's still primarily a CPU game. There are some nice DX10 goodies, but they are nowhere near the performance boost everyone had hoped for. Read Phil's blog from the early-mid 2007 period and you'll see alot about the SP1 CPU and DX10 stuff.
    December 29, 2008 8:28:10 PM

    Always be careful to compare "apples to apples". WR's XP / Vista comparison was specifically for FSX, while the link you posted was not.

    FSX parts list is almost ready ... please standby ...
    December 29, 2008 8:43:32 PM

    Recommended FSX Computer Parts List: Optimized for Highest Performance at Lowest Cost


    (1) $49.99 Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (2) $99.99 (-$20.00 MIR) PSU: Corsair CMPSU-650TX - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (3) $219.99 MB: Asus P5E Deluxe - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (4) $189.99 CPU: Q6600 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

    (6) $36.99 (-$10.00 MIR) Cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (7) $8.49 Retention Bracket: Xigmatek ACK-I7751 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (8) $43.99 Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (9) $122.99 (-$15.00 MIR) Video Card: EVGA 9800 GT 512MB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (10) $169.99 (-$20.00 MIR) System Drive: VelociRaptor 150 GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (11) $64.99 Backup & Storage Drive - Seagate 7200.11 500 GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    (12) $23.99 Optical Drive: Lite-On 20x DVD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    (13) $90.99 Sound Card: Sound Blaster XtremeGamer 7.1: - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


    Sub Total $1,129.37

    Less Rebates $65.00

    Total Before Shipping $1,064.37


    FSX parts list includes computer only, and assumes the following:

    (A) Q6600 overclocked @ 3.6 Ghz.

    (B) Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, yoke and rudder pedals not included.

    (C) XP Pro 32 bit OS and FSX Deluxe software not included.


    Hope this helps,

    Comp :sol: 
    December 29, 2008 8:47:27 PM

    All things said, it might be a good idea to see what Phenom II brings to the table, it should be launching within the next 10 days I believe. (And probably would come with a smaller price tag than the Q9550 at similar/better performance. Same goes for the AMD 790FX+SB750 motherboard)

    EDIT: To the list above, do not get the Audigy SE, it doesn't do any hardware audio processing so it would be just wasting even more CPU cycles. If you're going to get a sound card, the cheapest ones that you should get are X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI or X-Fi Titanium PCI-E (both of them retail for about $85).

    Also check these cards Comp, to me they seem to be a better deal than the 9800GT

    POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    ASUS EAH4870/HTDI/512M/A Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    December 29, 2008 9:31:22 PM

    emp said:
    All things said, it might be a good idea to see what Phenom II brings to the table, it should be launching within the next 10 days I believe. (And probably would come with a smaller price tag than the Q9550 at similar/better performance. Same goes for the AMD 790FX+SB750 motherboard)
    Perhaps so, but if you review my parts list closely, I've recommended the Q6600, which easily overclocks to 3.6, and at $189.99, is far above the Phenom's price / performance ceiling.

    emp said:
    EDIT: To the list above, do not get the Audigy SE, it doesn't do any hardware audio processing so it would be just wasting even more CPU cycles. If you're going to get a sound card, the cheapest ones that you should get are X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI or X-Fi Titanium PCI-E (both of them retail for about $85).
    Good catch, already updated.

    emp said:
    Also check these cards Comp, to me they seem to be a better deal than the 9800GT

    POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    ASUS EAH4870/HTDI/512M/A Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    If you check Tom's Gaming Graphics Charts Q3/2008 for Flight Simulator X, it's obvious that ATI cards are poor performers at any resolution or filter settings, which is specifically why nVidia based cards are recommended for FSX builds.

    Comp :sol: 
    a b Î Nvidia
    December 29, 2008 9:55:43 PM

    I won't go into ATi vs nV as it's pointless (notice the GF8600 is below the HD2K and the GF8800GTS is at the very bottom, so it's not IHV specific alone), for this build though the GF9800 is both cheap, and an old known quantity, and for all the talk of the low need for focus on GPU I just wouldn't invest much more time/money into it unless there were dramatic benefits to any option, instead take the difference and put it elsewhere either now or in the future.
    December 29, 2008 10:28:24 PM

    Well the alternative would be an older GTX 260, but if the resolution doesn't warrant the extra horsepower (I honestly think you can never have enough power though :D ), then by all means go for the cheaper option.

    Unless I have missed something about the Phenom II launch, then I think it's worth waiting a week, it should fall in the $250 mark or so (but with cheaper good motherboards in the $150 790FX+SB750 category vs $220-250 X38/X48 boards), so the end price/performance is the same or better, if we go by rumors it's supposed to at least match penryn and overclock close to 4Ghz on air.

    EDIT: by the way, I hardly ever guide myself with the shoddy Tom's charts, the results just don't seem reliable to me.
    December 29, 2008 10:46:36 PM

    emp,

    The Phenom II is currently a roll of the dice. The parts recommended for this FSX build are proven performers. Understand that I've built many excellent AMD rigs, the last of which was my Opty 170 OC'd @ 3.0. As an FSX enthusiast, I'm no fan boy, nor do I swear allegiance to any corporate entity. I simply appreciate technology, and understand which hardware, regardless of who's logo is on it, works best for this particular application.

    Respectfully, in this instance, the bottom line is that the Intel / nVidia parts will provide the best FSX frame rate performance.

    Comp :sol: 
    December 29, 2008 10:57:30 PM

    Wow, quite the list. A lot of work. THANKS. I'm a perfectionist anal type, pardon the questions:

    For $69 more, Asus has a mucho 319 rated 5 star x48 Rampage Formula board, vs recommended 4 star les popular P5E Deluxe x48 board :

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi... < What's the diff? I can't tell from spec diff. I'm still confused as to why Intel says the x48 is DDR3 only. Obviously something's amiss.

    Power Supply has to be quiet; you got a loud one there. Case looks good.

    $130 price diff in CPU's:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
    Comparison between Q6600 & Q9550.
    Should CPU's FSB, and the chipset/mobo be a perfect match? A 1333 FSB Q9550 CPU onto a x48 1333 FSB chipset mobo?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

    I'm a wee tad apprehensive on over-clocking due to maybe making it less stable, too hot? Not knowing what the hell I'm doing. What does $130 extra buy you with the Q9550?

    CPU cooler: Wow, monsterously tall. How is there room for that? I could NOT see how the fan meshed with the cooling fins in the pics. I assume, required for massive over-clocking? Otherwise, Intel's fan would do?

    DDR2 RAM: 4GB for $43, not bad. But why does Intel say x48 chipsets are DDR3 only??????????

    Graphics Card: thought the 8800 GTS 512MB was THE FSX now card, as charted by Tom's gaming charts ... build for FSX now?

    Other than those questions, comments, looks like a good FSX machine. THANKS!
    a b Î Nvidia
    December 30, 2008 12:23:29 AM

    Once again, GF8800GTS or GF9800GT makes little difference, they get similar performance in FSX. Look at the link I posted earlier and see again, the GF8800GT-512 (on which the GF9800GT is based) outperforms the GF8800GTS-512 (which makes little sense in the real world);
    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

    The GF9800 GT will be fine, a GF8800GTS-512 or GF9800GTX/GTX+ would be fine too, but it just depends on the prices you find really as they are all in the same performance area.

    The GF9800GT can be had for well under $100 at NewEgg; but for the Price of a GF8800GTS-512, which are now scarce, you could get a GF9800GTX+ which would be a faster and cooler (55nm) version of the GF8800GTS-512, so there's little reason to specifically stick with that card.
    December 30, 2008 12:26:44 AM

    PhxKen said:
    For $69 more, Asus has a mucho 319 rated 5 star x48 Rampage Formula board, vs recommended 4 star les popular P5E Deluxe x48 board :

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi... < What's the diff? I can't tell from spec diff. I'm still confused as to why Intel says the x48 is DDR3 only. Obviously something's amiss.
    You're a difficult man to convince. I can see that it's necessary to explain each item at least twice. While questions are fine, please keep in mind that I've built many FSX rigs, so these recommendations have been well tested.

    Based upon my experience, the Rampage Formula consistently reaches a higher stable overclock than the P5E Deluxe. Both X48 boards most assuredly run DDR2 memory. The Intel documentation that you're so stuck on is simply incomplete. The X48 boards do in fact support either DDR2 or DDR3.

    PhxKen said:
    Power Supply has to be quiet; you got a loud one there. Case looks good.
    In order to achieve the highest frame rates in FSX, the processor needs to be overclocked as high as possible while not exceeeding Intel's Vcore and Thermal Specifications. This means that cooling is paramount, which also means that the CPU fan and Case fans are cranking, while your aircraft's engine(s) is / are making a hell of a racket, totally drowning out your computer. And you're concerned about a quiet PSU?

    PhxKen said:
    $130 price diff in CPU's:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
    Comparison between Q6600 & Q9550.
    The Q6600 is 266 FSB @ 9x multiplier, which comes out of the box @ 2.4 Ghz. The Q9550 is 333 FSB @ 8.5x multiplier, which comes out of ther box @ 2.83 Ghz. In my opinion, neither processor is fast enough at stock speeds for FSX. Look it up for yourself: Intel Processor Spec Finder - http://processorfinder.intel.com/List.aspx?ParentRadio=...

    PhxKen said:
    Should CPU's FSB, and the chipset/mobo be a perfect match? A 1333 FSB Q9550 CPU onto a x48 1333 FSB chipset mobo? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
    No, it doesn't matter, since the FSB will be overclocked anyway.

    PhxKen said:
    I'm a wee tad apprehensive on over-clocking due to maybe making it less stable, too hot?
    Please read graysky's Overclocking Guide - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240001-29-howto-overc... - to get yourself up to speed, no pun intended :)  and gain some understanding of the task in fornt of you. As for temperatures, you're in luck, because I'm the author of the Core 2 Quad and Duo Temperature Guide - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-core-quad-t...

    PhxKen said:
    Not knowing what the hell I'm doing. What does $130 extra buy you with the Q9550?
    Faster stock speed, 45 nanometer architecture, 4 more MB of Cache, a faster FSB (which doesn't matter for overclocking), a 0.5x slower multipler, and about 400 Mhz worth of higher overclock potential.

    PhxKen said:
    CPU cooler: Wow, monsterously tall. How is there room for that? I could NOT see how the fan meshed with the cooling fins in the pics. I assume, required for massive over-clocking? Otherwise, Intel's fan would do?
    Intel's stock cooler is junk. Yes, the Xigmatek is tall, but not monsterously, and yes, it will fit. If it didn't, I would've recommended a different product. This research has already been performed, and the rigs have been built.

    PhxKen said:
    DDR2 RAM: 4GB for $43, not bad. But why does Intel say x48 chipsets are DDR3 only??????????
    Again, Intel's documentation is sometime left to wither on the vine, and is sometimes not updated after it's initial release. The X48 supports DDR2 or DDR3.

    PhxKen said:
    Graphics Card: thought the 8800 GTS 512MB was THE FSX now card, as charted by Tom's gaming charts ... build for FSX now?
    Good luck trying to find one. As I explained in a previous post, the G92 8800 GT 512 with 112 shaders (identical to the G92 9800 GT 512) performs extremely close to the G92 8800 GTS 512 with 128 shaders. As TheGreatGrapeApe pointed out, FSX won't notice the difference, and the EVGA 9800 GT 512 with dual slot rear exhaust is available at $107.99 after rebate.

    PhxKen said:
    Other than those questions, comments, looks like a good FSX machine. THANKS!
    Any "new" questions?
    a b Î Nvidia
    December 30, 2008 1:14:17 AM

    PhxKen said:
    I'm still confused as to why Intel says the x48 is DDR3 only. Obviously something's amiss.
    Nothing is amiss. Intel makes X48 with DDR3 only. Other MB Mfgrs make X48s with DDR2 or DDR3. There is no real advantage to DDR3 boards as far as performance goes which is why DDR2 X48s seem to be more popular.
    And don't worry about trying to match CPU and MB FSB. The MB will always run at the speed of the CPU anyway. And OC'ing raises the FSB. Overclocking isn't quite as technical as you probably imagine. It's optional and not something you need to do right away. You can get the same performance increase by turning down graphics options as you can by overclocking (actually more by backing off the very high graphics).
    It's an easy way of getting the performance of a $1000 CPU at a bargain price.

    Aftermarket CPU cooler is what allows you to OC without the CPU temps going through the roof. The Intel stock cooler is fine if you're not looking at OC'ing at some point down the line.
    ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 120mm CPU Cooler $44 (before $30 rebate) is an excellent cooler at a bargain price. It comes with it's own retention bracket so nothing extra to buy. Xigmatek S1283 is slightly better in max cooling ability and Zen 120 is a bit quieter at high power settings.

    Rampage Formula vs P5E Deluxe vs - -?? GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P P45 motherboard $137 (before $20 rebate).
    In much the same way you're not choosing a more expensive CPU or RAM you can spend less on a motherboard and move the savings over to another area. Maybe a more efficient PSU? Antec earthwatts EA430 430W 80 PLUS PSU $40. A more efficient can pay for it's higher cost over time. And the Antec EA430 has as much power on the all important +12v supply as the CM Extreme 500. Ideally, I'd like to see you get a PSU that had two PCI-e power connectors (1x6 pin and 1x8 /6+2) and a bit more power for possible future upgrading.

    Online play in open multiplayer games is more likely to have disruptive players (mostly language/taunting, etc) than a game involving friends over password protected voice comms.

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