I am looking to build an excellent FSX desktop computer, which as you know is extremely demanding on the cpu, hdd, and graphics card. FYI, I plan to over-clock the i7 920 to approximately 4.0 GHz, I will be running Windows 7 64-bit, and I already own a great monitor, keyboard, and mouse. After quite a bit of research, I have identified the following components for my “dream” FSX system ($1700 total from NewEgg):
I would REALLY appreciate any feedback on my selections and thoughts about their suitability for my goal. I would also welcome any suggestions about additional items I might need to buy. (For example, the HDD is described as a “bare drive” so do I need to buy a mounting kit?) I am ready to place the order after a reality check to reassure myself that these components are good choices and should allow me to run FSX at high quality levels with demanding addon payware at reasonable frame rates.
Looks good, except your PSU is a little overkill. Also, a Western Digital 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor would do justice to a snappy rig. I'm running 3 x 300's in RAID 0, which helps to smooth out FSX. Otherwise, my FSX rig is nearly an identical configuration.
For a dream rig you would need to be running a 5850/5870 with Eyefinity on three LCD monitors. I would say we'll need to find out how to squeeze the 5850 in there, but lucky for you that GTX275 is so overpriced that its not a problem. The only problem now is finding one in stock. Newegg "has" them for $250-$275, so keep watching for when they return. Run one on a single monitor for now, upgrade to three as you get the chance.
I also agree that the PSU is overkill. There are plenty of 550-750W PSUs that are cheaper.
Thanks for replying. 3 VelociRaptors in a raid 0 would be FAST, but I think it would add quite a bit to the cost. The 1 TB HDD is only about $120 and I don't plan to fill more than about 1/3 of it. What would you suggest for the PS?
What frames are you getting with what you run that is particularly challenging? I'd really love to know how this type of system would perform. Do you run Manhattan X or Heathrow or other "killers"? What are your settings?
I'm real curious about the 5850. I always heard nvidia was better for FSX.
BTW, I was just noticing the i5 750. It has a higher clock so I'm guessing it would be easier to hit 4 GHz. And I think 4 GB would be plenty for FSX. Any thoughts about that as a possibility, or should I stick with the 920?
From what I remember FSX does tend to run better on Nvidia hardware. But that doesn't mean an upper end card from the previous generation will be able to beat an upper end card from the new generation. The GTX275 also lacks DX11, Eyefinity (which would be awesome in FSX), and is slower then the 5850. I'm honestly not sure how is performs in FSX, I'm not sure I've seen any benchmarks where it plays that game. Look for some or check the FSX forums.
I've always built my rigs specifically to run FSX. I've been a Flight Simulator enthusiast for 15 years. FSX occupies the extreme CPU end of the CPU/GPU performance spectrum. It's the most CPU bound title you can run. Frame rate is ~85% dependent upon CPU horsepower as in the number of cores and clock frequency, and not on GPU horsepower.
FSX performs best on a highly overclocked Core i7 9xx, and just a single mainstream nVidia card, such as the GTX 260. Adding multiple GPU's such as SLI/CF/x2 cards has the effect of actually reducing FPS, due to multiple processor interrupts.
I haven't yet found any FSX reviews for the new ATI 5xx0 cards. I have no fanboy loyalties to any corporate logo; I'm simply interested in the fastest technology, so if a 5xx0 card will increase FSX frame rate, you can bet I'll order one.
I just checked out the 5800 review on HardOCP. For the few games they tested, the 5850 is on par with the GTX280. (or was it the GTX285?) It was as fast, or a bit faster in some cases. I also checked out their review of the new Batman game which was on the front page. Seeing as this is a "the way your meant to be played" game, I figured it would show an advantage towords Nvidia cards. It did. In this game the 5850 was on par with the GTX275. My thinking unless disproved by an actual benchmark of FSX and the 5850 remains unchanged. As fast as the card you want, but with DX11 and Eyefinity. Add in the fact that you could save $30 if you can score one for $260 and I'm not sure why someone would want to get the GTX275.
I have a HD5850 together with i5 750 running at 3.8GHz and it runs FSX smoothly at very hight frame rates even with the graphics settings turned up very high. However, it won't allow FSX to Vsync if you are running it in Windows 7 but it does Vsync OK in Windows XP 64.