First post here but have been reading the forums here for a very long time and thank everyone input in advance!
I currently have a homebuilt system that I built a few years ago and have been continually upgrading it. I am not new to building computers or FSX. The primary reason for the computer was to run FSX and am continually looking for solutions for better frame rates/graphics performance.
I am currently running:
Intel Q6600 overclocked to 3.3 (air)
OCZ 700W PSU
Gigabyte EP45 UD3R mobo
8 GB OCZ PC6400 DDR2 Memory (slightly oc'd)
22" Samsung LCD (1680x1050) and 19" Ben Q (1440x900)
1.5 TB (7200) HD (Two hard drives)
Windows 7 (Home Prem)
FSX, SP1, SP2 (acceleration)
I am somewhat pleased with the performance, definitely notice a much slower Frame Rate when using super highly detailed aircraft (mostly the payware stuff) and intense weather. I can run it at 23-24 but can get as low as 5-6 in high density areas or intense weather graphics. The settings aren't "Maxed Out" but the sliders are definitely 70-80% to the right on most settings. Have tried tweaking the softwares settings as much as possible but wanted to reach out for any ideas on what the best solution would be for my system.
I'm reading so much about GPU vs CPU and how an OC'd Q6600 is as good as a stock i7, etc. etc. My first inclination is to look at a GTX 285 on the graphics side of the house but have been reading mixed things about that vs the 8800 GTS for flight sim. I hope I didn't leave anything out, I would appreciate any advice, insight and experiences. Thanks so much everyone!
My only regret is that I was never able to test my i7 with the 8800-GTS 512, which I believe would've been the fastest combination when matched with the i7's HyperThreading for 8 FSX threads at 4.0 Ghz.
If you don't already have a high-end air cooler, then your most cost effective solution is to upgrade your cooler, and push your OC up to 3.6. You won't gain anything by upgrading your GPU ... in fact you'll actually loose a few frames. FSX frame rate is 85% CPU and only 15% GPU.