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Seeking Advice on Flight Sim Platform

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December 27, 2008 9:30:41 PM

Folks,

I'd really appreciate some advice on what CPU, Mobo, Video, Memory and Case I should consider for building a PC for using Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX). Ideally, I'd like components that will allow me to turn up all of the scenery settings to the highest levels, to make the experience as life like as possible.

I was thinking along the lines of an i7 based system, but open to any ideas.

Thanks very much in advance!

December 27, 2008 9:42:50 PM

You should definitely get a quad for FSX.

If you have the cash, I suggest something like this:
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/AddToCart.aspx?Submit=ADD&ItemList=Combo.147174
That is, Asus P6T + 6 GB of Corsair DDR3, for $480. Combine that with a i7 920.

If the i7 system costs too much, something like Q9550 + GA-EP45-UD3P + this 4GB kit of DDR2-800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209

is almost as good and costs about $250 less.

There's a PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W at newegg for $70 after rebate. Get it, it's an incredible price for that PSU.

Add a HD 4870 1GB or GTX 280 or even HD 4870 X2, whatever you can afford. Maybe a HD 4870 1GB now and another later, if you're blowing the budget.

Case: NZXT Tempest if you like blue lights. RC-690 if you don't.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146047&Tpk=NZXT%20tempest

If you learn how to overclock, that will help in FSX. For the i7 build, get the Noctua NH-U12P for LGA1366 from www.frozencpu.com.
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8432/cpu-noc-12/Noctua_NH-U12P_SE1366_CPU_Heat_Sink_Socket_LGA_1366.html
For the Q9550 build, a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 would be good. If you don't intend to overclock, you don't need to buy an after market CPU cooler.

December 27, 2008 11:15:50 PM

+1 for a Quad for FSX. +1 for the PSU also (over kill, but for $70 come on!). +1 for the ATI 4870, BUT you might be able to get by with a 4850/4830 depending on the resolution you play at.
Related resources
December 27, 2008 11:53:46 PM

fsx is a cpu dependent game, get an 8800gt if your mostly going to play fsx on it. Resolution does NOT affect perfromance more than ~1-3fps so an 8800GT is almost overkill but less would be crazy for other games. i suggest:

i7 920

Asus P6T

6GB DDR3 1333MHz

8800GT - For other games i suggest a 9800GTX at the least or a 4850

a 750w psu

EDIT: the 8800 ULTRA is the best video card for fsx accroding to a few benchmarks, but only about 3-4fps over 8800gt
December 28, 2008 12:10:13 AM



i7 920-940-965 don't really overpower the Yorkfield quads (Q9550 OC'd to 3.2Ghz for example)
Benchmark above using HD 4870/1GB GPU from SimHQ i7 review
FSX is CPU dependent but it doesn't spread the work equally across 4 CPU cores. The majority of work is done in one thread and some of the background activities are offloaded to other threads/cores.

Since the i7 CPUs also overclock nicely you won't lose any FSX performance going with i7 and you'll have its advantages in other software and games.
December 28, 2008 12:18:18 AM

Thanks guys... With regards to the i7. Which clock speed makes the most sense? 2.66 or 2.9? Can I safely overclock the 2.66 to about the same speed as the 2.9?

Thanks!
December 28, 2008 12:20:55 AM

you can o/c the i7 920 easily to 2.9
December 28, 2008 12:31:00 AM

You should be able to get the i7 920 from 2.66Ghz to ~3.2Ghz without having to increase any voltages.
December 28, 2008 1:28:50 AM

Frankly, at current prices, the i7 920 is the only i7 I'd consider.

That is, $300 for a 2.66GHz i7 920 is acceptable IMO.
$570 for a 2.93 GHz i7 940 is not acceptable - almost the same speed for almost twice the price. The i7 965 at $1012/3.12 GHz is even worse bang for the buck.


December 28, 2008 1:50:26 AM

aevm said:
Frankly, at current prices, the i7 920 is the only i7 I'd consider.

That is, $300 for a 2.66GHz i7 920 is acceptable IMO.
$570 for a 2.93 GHz i7 940 is not acceptable - almost the same speed for almost twice the price. The i7 965 at $1012/3.12 GHz is even worse bang for the buck.

exactly
December 28, 2008 3:01:47 PM

ryanb213 said:
you can o/c the i7 920 easily to 2.9

Correction, you can OC it to 2.9Ghz VERY easily. ;) 
!