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Need Some Serious Advice

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January 20, 2010 10:46:02 PM

Hi,
I could sure use some advice on what to do. I am a big MS Flight Sim user and have been for many years. Those of you out there probably know what I mean when I say we buy a system to fit the program. Every new version of FS to come out meant putting up with poor performance until the hardware caught up to the program and allowed it to perform well. When When the latest version FSX as it's called came out, I decided to wait a while until I could get a system that would allow FSX to show its real colors. I waited two years actually, and exactly a year ago I bought what the Geeks at Best Buy said was the best they had at the time, a Gateway FX 6800-01e with an Intel core i7 cpu 920@2.67 ghz., 3.00 GB DDR3 Ram, and an ATI Radeon HD 4850 video card. Recently I added 2 more 19" monitors for a total of 3 and a resolution of 1440x900 in widescreen mode to improve that "flying" realism. I expected to set all sliders to the max for the ultimate experience, but have settled for just OK performance and sliders tweaked down quite a bit. I may get 30+ frames in a sparse scenery area, at a small airport, but into San Francisco for example, I am down to 5 or fps. It was suggested that I get more memory, so I just added 6 gig and am now up to 9 gig total. It didn't do anything as far as I can see to boost performance.

The Flight Sim experts say the big factor in frames per second is cpu speed. I know nothing about overclocking which was suggested, but one remark I received was that my clock speed of 2.67 was quite low. I am not very hardware experienced, but I have replaced a video card, a 386 processor (when it popped in and out with a single, silver lever), and have added memory. Is overclocking something I could do myself? If so, I could probably do it with straightforward instructions or if I am talked through it. Also, is it safe on the system, or would I just be better off getting a faster processor, (provided my system can handle it of course). If so, could I do this myself? (The inside of the case looks a little different than my old 386.) According to the Intel website, I think I have a DX58S0 motherboard, but couldn't find the model number anywhere on the board.

I would sure appreciate any advice and info anyone might have, including those that may have the same machine and also use FSX, since I have read that there are some out there that have FSX running really well on the same system. Thanks.
P.S. I forgot to mention I have Vista HP Service Pack 2, 64 bit, with latest updates.
Regards,
Tom

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a c 133 à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:00:48 PM

if you want to overclock your gonna need a new motherboard gateway locks there bios so you cant overclock but you should be fine if you upgrade to the 5850 and give it some more juice to run it
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:05:31 PM

That core i7 actually is not slow. The i7 2.6GHz with hyperthreading and turboboost is faster than a 3.4GHz Phenom II. Overclocking could still help however now with your current video card.

Although the CPU is a major factor in FSX, that GPU is just not up to speed especially with all those monitors. Never buy a gaming computer at Bestbuy. I think the best they have now is probably still a 4850. And upgrade to a 5850 or 5870 would do a world of good for about $300 or $400 accordingly.

Here they use a core i7 920 and compare video cards. The 4850 will perform worse than the 5770.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/01/05/amds_ati_rade...

After reading you can see the advantages. Now let's look at this:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/05/19/real_world_ga...

Note the different resolution so you cannot directly compare performance of the 4870 to any 5xxx card mentioned. The 5770 will perform like the 4870.
We can see how dependant it is on the CPU.

Directly comparing a 5850 and i7 920 to a 4870 and i7 920 we can see a major increase in FPS. It will be even more because in this test setup the 5850 was running a higher resolution with higher settings and still beat the 4870 hands down.

So I recommend you do overclock but also that you purchase a new card 5850 or 5870.

But as seen in those benchmarks FSX is still really demanding. Even on a 5970, AA had to be disabled.

I also pose the question what monitor setup do you have?

Edit: sorry just saw your monitor setup. looks good. And yes a memory increase to 6GB would be beneficial but I don't think 9 would show any performance improvement.
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:07:47 PM

you said you upgraded ram what did you get i just noticed that gateway came with DDR3 1066 you might see a better performance if you go to DDR3 1333 or 1600 if you can afford it. If the new ram you got was 1333 or 1600 it will still only run at the 1066 which originally came with it if thats the case take out the 1066 and just use the 1333 or 1600. And one question what resolution you play at?
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:10:02 PM

I disagree that upgrading to faster ram would provide a noticeable performance increase.
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:11:15 PM

it will help in combination with the 5850
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:18:19 PM

The slight performance improvement- if any- would not be worth the money.
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a b à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:24:34 PM

Well some applications prefer many cores while other applications can use less cores but prefer higher clockrate and some prefer many cores with very high clocks. The core i7 920 has many cores but its stock clock isn't enough for some applications although its enough for most. I don't know which one FSX prefers however you can try overclocking for a short time and see how it works, if it improves alot then you can make a perm overclock.

-As for overclocking, its pretty easy if you know what you are doing. Try reading some stickies on the forum for help. I am not very knowlegable in overclocking besides knowning that you want low temperatures, and you can mess with voltages...etc
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a b à CPUs
January 20, 2010 11:49:23 PM

enzo matrix said:
I disagree that upgrading to faster ram would provide a noticeable performance increase.


+1

Without overclocking, the core i7 9xx's turn the ram speed down to 1066MHz. Even if you overclocked, the gains of 1333Mhz over 1066 would not be noticeable.

In fact most people saying with the cas latency so high on ddr3,

DDR2 800Mhz with cas 4 feels exactly the same as ddr3 1600MHz with cas 8.....

@OP:

Overall though i agree with every one else. Upgrade the GPU and if you get a new MB, over clock the core i7 920. (there great overclocker. Able to get to the 4 GHz without to much work.)

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January 22, 2010 12:17:01 AM

TomG628 said:
Hi,
I could sure use some advice on what to do. I am a big MS Flight Sim user and have been for many years. Those of you out there probably know what I mean when I say we buy a system to fit the program. Every new version of FS to come out meant putting up with poor performance until the hardware caught up to the program and allowed it to perform well. When When the latest version FSX as it's called came out, I decided to wait a while until I could get a system that would allow FSX to show its real colors. I waited two years actually, and exactly a year ago I bought what the Geeks at Best Buy said was the best they had at the time, a Gateway FX 6800-01e with an Intel core i7 cpu 920@2.67 ghz., 3.00 GB DDR3 Ram, and an ATI Radeon HD 4850 video card. Recently I added 2 more 19" monitors for a total of 3 and a resolution of 1440x900 in widescreen mode to improve that "flying" realism. I expected to set all sliders to the max for the ultimate experience, but have settled for just OK performance and sliders tweaked down quite a bit. I may get 30+ frames in a sparse scenery area, at a small airport, but into San Francisco for example, I am down to 5 or fps. It was suggested that I get more memory, so I just added 6 gig and am now up to 9 gig total. It didn't do anything as far as I can see to boost performance.

The Flight Sim experts say the big factor in frames per second is cpu speed. I know nothing about overclocking which was suggested, but one remark I received was that my clock speed of 2.67 was quite low. I am not very hardware experienced, but I have replaced a video card, a 386 processor (when it popped in and out with a single, silver lever), and have added memory. Is overclocking something I could do myself? If so, I could probably do it with straightforward instructions or if I am talked through it. Also, is it safe on the system, or would I just be better off getting a faster processor, (provided my system can handle it of course). If so, could I do this myself? (The inside of the case looks a little different than my old 386.) According to the Intel website, I think I have a DX58S0 motherboard, but couldn't find the model number anywhere on the board.

I would sure appreciate any advice and info anyone might have, including those that may have the same machine and also use FSX, since I have read that there are some out there that have FSX running really well on the same system. Thanks.
P.S. I forgot to mention I have Vista HP Service Pack 2, 64 bit, with latest updates.
Regards,
Tom


Thanks for all the input guys. I have to admit I thought this would be easier, unless it's just that I am not that experienced. First of all, I checked and I got a Crucial 6GB kit - (3-2gb 240-pin dimm 256mx64 ddr3pc3-8500 unbuff),@1066mgz. This was suggested by someone in this forum with the same system.

From what I gather here, will a new video card still help me somewhat since it appears the only way I will be able to overclock is to get a new MB? My system is only a year old and I think that might void my extended 3 year warranty. How much does a new MB cost, and is possible for me to do this myself? (with instructions of course). I really can't afford to go too high, so a new GPU would probably be easier and affordable wouldn't it? Also, I have read a lot that FSX doesn't fare as well with ATI as with NVIDIA. Any ideas on this? Are these cards better and if so, which ones? Thanks again for all the advice. Regards, Tom
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 12:35:30 AM

"From what I gather here, will a new video card still help me somewhat"

As per the articles I posted to you before, a new video card will help you MUCH more than overclocking or a new CPU. You would benefit more from the video card than you would overclocking, increasing your ram, getting a solid state drive etc etc.
The GPU would be equally as affordable

Here's a quicklist of the cards I might consider getting if I were you

4890 $200- because it's the best of the old stuff and will beat your 4850 enough to make it worth the switch
5850 $300- because anything lower wouldn't be worth the upgrade in the long run for me personally
5870 $400- because in the benchmarks it's worth the extra $100
5970 $600- better than two 5850s but too expensive for my taste. And even if you choose an nvidia GTX295 ($500) and FSX prefers nvidia, this thing will still beat it.


If you are worried about warranty, I'm pretty sure it would. Intel voids their warranty on your CPU if you overclock so I don't see why your OEM wouldn't void your warranty if you did the same.
Anyway the reason you would need a new motherboard is because an OEM motherboad is so limited it wouldn't have the features needed to overclock. Any off the shelf motherboard would. You could probably get one for under $150.
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 1:01:49 AM

go with the 5870 if you can afford it you wont be disappointed really IMO if your upgradeing dont go lower then this card
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January 23, 2010 4:05:19 AM

enzo matrix said:
"From what I gather here, will a new video card still help me somewhat"

As per the articles I posted to you before, a new video card will help you MUCH more than overclocking or a new CPU. You would benefit more from the video card than you would overclocking, increasing your ram, getting a solid state drive etc etc.
The GPU would be equally as affordable

Here's a quicklist of the cards I might consider getting if I were you

4890 $200- because it's the best of the old stuff and will beat your 4850 enough to make it worth the switch
5850 $300- because anything lower wouldn't be worth the upgrade in the long run for me personally
5870 $400- because in the benchmarks it's worth the extra $100
5970 $600- better than two 5850s but too expensive for my taste. And even if you choose an nvidia GTX295 ($500) and FSX prefers nvidia, this thing will still beat it.


If you are worried about warranty, I'm pretty sure it would. Intel voids their warranty on your CPU if you overclock so I don't see why your OEM wouldn't void your warranty if you did the same.
Anyway the reason you would need a new motherboard is because an OEM motherboad is so limited it wouldn't have the features needed to overclock. Any off the shelf motherboard would. You could probably get one for under $150.


Thanks again, Enzo. That makes it much clearer for me. Tom
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