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FSX Proposed System

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January 22, 2010 7:30:08 PM

I am considering buying the following hardware: i5 660 processor 3.33ghz; Asus P7P55D Motherboard; an EVGA GeForce 9800GTX+ Graphics Card (Although I'd like a less expensive card, at least for now). Trying to keep this system to around $600 incl. hard drives, etc.) and 2gb DDR3 Ram. Anyone have any thoughts on how well this will work with FSX. I see a lot of posts where people are complaining about frame rates below 20fps. My experience has been that any frame rates about 10 fps seems to work just fine with settings maxed out, including traffic. I find that any frame rates above 20-25 are wasted. Any thoughts?Thanks to all who reply...David Kuzava

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a c 131 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 10:47:10 PM

The human eye can see something like 24 frames per second. This is why movies are something like 24.75 FPS.
I honestly don't know how you could stand 10FPS as it is like watching a fast moving slideshow.

Anyway for $600 I guess that is a fine system and will get you 10 FPS. I'd recommend 4GB of ram, not 2 though. And if you can find a quad core for the same price as the i5 660, FSX would greatly benefit.
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January 23, 2010 12:04:01 AM

I agree that 10fps isn't ideal, but there does seem to be a noticeable difference at that level and I can at least tolerate it. I recognize the 24fps shown by movies which is why I believe anything for the most part of that is a waste. Would you be inclined to believe a q9550 would be a better option? The nice thing about going with a quad, other than i7, is the motherboards are cheaper. Thanks for your response.
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 23, 2010 4:08:45 AM

Unlike many people who complain without reason that socket 775 is dead and because of that you shouldn't get it, I think that would be a good buy if you can find it for under $180. If you are paying any more, you might as well go with a Phenom II 955 for $180. They exchange blows in performance with various gaming tests and average to be about the same (basically the phenom II is a bit faster but the Q9550 has more cache.(http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=50&p2=88). Just be aware you will never be able to upgrade your CPU past that Q9550 and you will be limited to DDR2 ram. This would not be the case with a Phenom II 955 and an AM3 motherboard.

The core i5 750 tends to be cheaper from what I have seen though. And it will perform significantly better.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=50&p2=109

I believe you could find a good 1156 socket motherboard for under $150.
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January 23, 2010 1:04:59 PM

After reading your response, I did some looking and was able to put together a q8400 and an Asus P5N-T-Deluxe motherboard for around $300. For another $20 I could get the q9400 and for about another $70 (or $90 total) I could get the q9550 using the same mother board. I suppose I could also get the q8400 and upgrade to the 9550 should it not perform as I would hope. I'm trying not to overthink this, but at the same time, I don't want to be dissappointed either. You had mentioned the i5 750. Was your statement regarding the i5 750 implying it would be the best of all that we have discussed thus far? I was orginally looking to the i5 750, but decided on the i5 660 as it was faster at 3.33ghz compared to 2.66ghz. The nice thing about going with an "i" series, is that I would most likely be able to advance in the "i" series without the need to buy a new motherboard. From what I've seen on youtube, a q8400 seems to work quite well for FSX, but who knows?
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January 23, 2010 5:31:20 PM

First of all, thanks for your time. Is it your thought that the above processor and mobo would be the "best" of what we've talking about? ie., i5 660 v. q8xxx or q9xxx v. i5 750?
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January 23, 2010 8:06:21 PM

dakmlb,

FSX is still the most CPU bound title you can run today. It's on the extreme CPU end of the CPU / GPU spectrum. Frames per second is derived from about 4/5ths CPU, but only 1/5th GPU. FSX performs best on a highly overclocked quad CPU with just a mainstream nVidia GPU. Budget your purchases to include a case with excellent air flow, a high end after market CPU cooler, and a dual slot graphics card with rear exhaust.

See Tom's Gaming Graphics Charts - http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

Comp :sol: 
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January 24, 2010 12:59:15 AM

Boy, just when I think I've got my mind made up! Thanks Comp for your input. I really do appreciate it. I have been looking further and about the only consensus on the issue is the faster the CPU the better. That much seems to be consistent, but I do see a lot of differences in opinion over core 2 duo, quad cores and of the i7's (whatever category they fit in). What I like from what I've been seeing the E8400 c2d and it's ability to overclock quite easily to nearly 4+ ghz. This doesn't fit within your thoughts, Comp, but of the processors I listed above, any thought?
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January 24, 2010 2:20:41 AM

Apples to apples, clock per clock, FSX performs with ~ 40% higher frame rates on a quad core.

The following is my FSX upgrade path:

Opteron 170 @ 3.0 / 7600 GT
E6600 @ 3.6 / 8800 GTS
Q6600 @ 3.6 / 8800 GTS
Q9650 @ 4.2 / 8800 GTS
Q9650 @ 4.2 / GTX 280
i7920 @ 4.2 / GTX 280 <-- (Best FPS)

An i5 750 @ 4.0 and a GTX 275 would make an excellent FSX rig. See the following Tom's article - Overclocked On Air: Intel's Core i5-750 http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-750-overclo...

Comp :sol: 
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January 24, 2010 2:37:55 AM

The human eye sees at 60, otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 20 Frames per second and 40. However, anything 40-45 and above will look perfectly smooth.

On a side note: I'm on a COre i7 @ 3.5 GHz (I was lied to that FSX needed an i7, it only utilizes 2 or 3 cores) and a GTX 275 overclocked to the limit. I have every settting on or near full except for the mesh complexity on 80, and the traffic settings to Minimal, and I start out with 50 FPS and it steadily drops as I continue to play, down to 20 or so then it'll crash.
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a b à CPUs
January 24, 2010 2:53:32 AM

Guys,

Unlike most "games", FSX is instead a "simulation" wihich renders global views. Although FSX was updated for Direct X 10, it was coded for the obsolete Shader 2, which is why frame rate is relatively unaffected by latter day GPU's with powerful shader processors. This means that the ideal FSX hardware configuration and overclocking objectives required to reach the highest possible FPS definately do not conform to the accepted thinking behind building a typical GPU intensive "gaming" rig, and also means that FSX still takes 1st Place as the ultimate :(  CPU hog.

Frame Rate
: TV uses blurring for frame smoothing. Minimum FPS for gaming is considered 30. Flicker threshold is in the mid 40's, while 60 is considered smooth. A few individuals can still detect flicker in the low 70's. > 75 FPS is typically overkill.

Quad vs Dual: It's a non-issue. If FSX has the Service Pack updates, it will use 4 cores. See my previous post and the links below.

Overclocking: Apples to apples, FSX frame rate scales closely with CPU overclocking, while GPU overclocking has a neglible affect.

Tweaking: Since there are far too many variables to discuss here, please check out the following:

(1) Phil Taylor's FSX Blogs for editing the fsx.cfg file to achieve the most optimal balance between frame rate and image quality - http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor/default.aspx

(2) NickN's SETTING UP FSX and HOW TO TUNE IT - http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=290...

(3) AnandTech's P55 vs FSX article - http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=647


My i7 4.2 Ghz FSX rig will fly full-tank-duration-hours while maintaining an average of ~ 50 FPS. Stability is a non-issue. All crashes are due to pilot error, :pfff:  and NOT computer error. :D  It's a win-win deal ... everybody walks away without spilling their beers, the aircraft is replaced immediately without having to pay the deductible, your company covers the fuel and expenses, the FAA lets you keep your license, and the NTSB and your friends are convinced that you pulled off a spectacular feat of airmanship! :lol: 

Comp :sol: 
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 24, 2010 6:22:48 AM

raybob95 said:
The human eye sees at 60, otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 20 Frames per second and 40. However, anything 40-45 and above will look perfectly smooth.

The human eye does not see in terms of frames per second or equivalent.
Let's assume a screen changing between black and white. 60Hz (cycles per second) is where the human eye perceives grey instead of black and white individually. This is why CRT monitors were standard 60Hz. However, for a lot of people it causes eye strain or headaches. Personally, I stop noticing the flicker at around 75Hz. 60 FPS is the general smoothness standard for gamers but not because the "eye sees at 60 fps".
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January 24, 2010 2:21:08 PM

Here is a good link for the "How many FPS the Human Eye can See"....

http://www.100fps.com/how_many_frames_can_humans_see.ht...

This made a lot sense in why frame rates can be so poor in FSX. Think of driving down a road at 60mph. When a car passes you going the other direction all you really see is blur. How many "FPS" are you seeing that blur? It must be low, otherwise you'd see sharp detailed images, right? FSX is trying to provide you with a sharp, detailed image of what's going by. This of AI traffic flying close by. Isn't the plane presenting with sharp detail, but extremely low frame rates?
But what about an image that is in the far distance? If you view an object in the distance from the same car, say a tree or house, your likely to see more detail as that object is passing by a slower rate. Therefore the eye can capture more of the image. This would make sense as to why FSX can give extreme frame rates while traveling over an ocean on a clear day. It's like staring at a wall! But when your taxing on the ground in a highly detailed airport at say 5mph, you'd like to see fairly sharp detailed images. Increase that speed to 15-20mph and the images should start to blur, but FSX continues to fight to keep the images sharp and clear and present them as if your not moving. Perhaps if FSX could present these with the "blur effect" our frame rates would be better or at least what we are seeing would appear more smooth and stabilize the system. This might also free up valuable CPU power for AI traffic or weather and other areas that tend to bog down FSX.

I have to believe that the "perfect" FSX system comes in many configurations which the end user is left to make that call. What might seem unacceptable "frame rates" to one user, may be perfectly acceptable to another. Unfortunately, there is no "showroom" with several set ups from which you can you try before you buy.

So, aside from the majority agreement that higher CPU is better, the rest seems to be a matter of personal preference (i.e., graphics cards, duo core, quad core, etc.).

At this point, I am actually leaning towards an E8400 system which seems to overclock quite easily to 3.8 and higher. Plus, I can put this together with the other components for under $600.00! But I am not fully sold yet so any further input would be great.
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a b à CPUs
January 24, 2010 3:51:50 PM

Best answer selected by arthurh.
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a b à CPUs
January 24, 2010 10:23:33 PM

dakmlb said:
Unfortunately, there is no "showroom" with several set ups from which you can you try before you buy.
dakmlb said:
At this point, I am actually leaning towards an E8400 system which seems to overclock quite easily to 3.8 and higher.
dakmlb,

I have tested dual core versus quad core FSX frame rates by running an E6600 and a Q6600 on the same FSX rig. Both processors were overclocked @ 3.6 Ghz. I ran the same three flights each three times and recorded the averages for an "apples to apples" comparison. The difference in frame rate was impressive, where for example, one of the flight tests went from 24 to 44 FPS. Further, when I run my i7 920 as a dual core with 2 of the 4 cores and hyperthreading disabled, then as a quad core with hyperthreading disabled, I can produce similar results.

Although the dual core / quad core debate still has some validity for certain "games", it is now a foregone conclusion for FSX. Any dual core would be a great choice for the single-threaded FS 2004, but it's generally not the best choice for the multi-threaded FSX. I've done the research and testing, and have built, overclocked and tuned several flight sim-specific rigs over the years. A quad core vastly improves minimum frame rates. In FSX, an i5 750 @ 4.0 Ghz will significantly out-perform an E8400 @ 4.0 Ghz.

I strongly recommend that you find a way to work a quad core into your firm $600 budget. You won't regret it.

Comp :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 12:48:22 AM

Thanks again Comp for your input. It is greatly appreciated. How would you view a q8400? That is about the same price as the E840. I could even look at a q9500 but that is only $10 bucks less than an i5 750. The only issue in bumping up to an i5 is getting a compatible motherboard and ddr3 ram. Would an i5 750 and ASUS P7H55-M Pro Motherboard make a good combo? Or might you have a suggestion? Thanks again. I'd like to get this resolved soon...my brain is about to fry!!!
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January 25, 2010 12:57:40 AM

The Q8400 and Q9500 have only 4 and 6 MB cache respectively, which somewhat degrades gaming performance, while the Q9550 with 12 MB cache is overpriced at $269. Also, the Q8400 and Q9500 don't overclock as well due to low multipliers. The Q9550 and the i5 750 can both typically reach 4.0 Ghz, however, the i5 750 at $199 is attractive.

Although I prefer Asus boards for their tight Vcore / Vdroop characteristics, the new P7H55-M Pro i3 compatible motherboard you specified doesn't have much of a track record just yet. Regardless, I configured my i7 920 in BIOS as a dual core with hyperthreading enabled @ 4.0 Ghz, in order to simulate an i3 530 dual core with hyperthreading enabled @ 4.0 Ghz.

I was very impressed with the frame rates throughout the test flights. There was less than a 10% difference in FPS between 2 cores HT on, and 4 cores HT off. Obviously the i3 will impersonate a quad core by performing as a "virtual" quad. Cudos to Intel for a clever concept. So, based upon these test flights, I've taken the liberty of building you a low cost FSX "paper airplane" with the i3 compatible 1156 motherboard you chose:

* $109.99 - Motherboard - Asus P7H55-M PRO - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $124.99 - Processor - Intel Core i3-530 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $29.99 - CPU Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper 212 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $104.99 - Memory - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $154.99 ($15 Rebate) - Graphics - EVGA GeForce GTS 250 1GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $59.95 - Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $69.99 ($15 Rebate) - Power Supply - Corsair 450W - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

* $54.99 - Hard Drive - Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Subtotal Before Shipping $709.88

Rebates -$30.00


Each item has specific considerations toward a fair compromise between cost, quality and FSX performance, however, this i3 rig configuration clearly busts your $600 budget. I don't see any fat to trim, so do you have any compatible parts on hand?

Comp :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 2:49:31 PM

Again Comp, thank you for the time you have put into this on my behalf. Unfortunately, about the only parts I have for reuse would be optical drives and the more or less ten cent items. Initially, I looked at putting together a system that was around that price range but I just can't justify that kind of outflow right now. Let me give you a brief background of my present system and this may shed some light as to why I'm not seeking the holy grail. My current comp consists of a P4 2.8ghz with 1gb ram and an nVidia GeForce 5200 (it will be 7 years old this year!)! Some folks on this forum weren't even born yet when I got this system! I have recently installed FSX on a newer laptop (just to see what it would be like) that features an AMD Turion X2 RM-72 and an ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics card. Junk for this, I know. But actually better than the other sys. Now, the sad part is, I run FSX on this comp with max settings and will average, I would guess, 5-9fps, and I'm thrilled! I am even more excited when I hit 12-15fps. And at 12-15, the sim is smooth and actually enjoyable! I could honestly live with 15fps! So you might now know why I am quite content with getting 15fps or so!

With that said, that is one reason why I'm looking at the E8400 as I believe I can accomplish that task and for a bargain.

Through Tigerdirect (I prefer them for a couple reasons including free shipping on everything and if I order before 6pm EST, I will receive the order the next day.), I can get the E8400 sys and the other necessities for about $550. Jumping up to $760 is a 40% plus increase. I'm not sure if I will see 40% more performance? And when I say "see" I mean actually experience it as oppose to looking at a fps meter and it saying 40 as opposed to 25. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing if two systems were running the same show side by side, one at 20fps and one at 40, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Yet another option I would consider is the following (these are Tigerdirect listings, prices rounded up):

i5 750 -$200.
Asus P7P55D Pro Motherboard - $180
OCZ 4GB Ram - $80 after $20 mail in rebate
Power Up Black 336 ATX Mid Tower Case w/450w PSU - $40
Seagate Barracuda 500gb 7200.12rpm - $55
EVGA 9500GT Vid Card - $70

Total: ~$645

This doesn't include cooling fans for case or processor other than whats including with the i5 750 but I think it would be a good start?

At this point, I think my preference would be the above set up or the E8400. What I like about the E8400 (other than it's cost effective) is it seems to overclock very easily and temps remain within acceptable limits.

Thanks again and as always, I look forward to your reply.

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January 25, 2010 3:19:25 PM

dakmlb,

(1) Is the memory the same DDR3 kit @ 1600 / 9-9-9-24 / 1.5 Volts?

(2) Even with fans, the Power Up case will never cool nearly as well as the Antec, which includes fans.

(3) The power supply is junk. I wouldn't trust it to charge my phone.

(4) The graphics card is inadequate for FSX by several tiers, and dumps it's heat inside the case.

(5) You haven't listed a CPU cooler. The boxed Intel cooler is junk, and is barely adequate at stock clock speed.

I've edited the i3 configuation to remove the optical drive, so your down to $709.88 before shipping and rebates. I've given you my best advice, and I've cut all the corners that good conscience allows. The i3 rig would be ideal if you could just anty-up another $65, which is only 10% over your $645. If you add the CPU cooler, then the difference is only $35,

Suite yourself.

Comp :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 3:39:57 PM

Comp, Again thanks. I hate to be sounding difficult and I not trying to be. I just keep looking at alternatives. One of those things where maybe if you look at it long enough, it will change. I do appreciate your configuration and I will give it strong consideration. For now, I think, at least for me, I've beat this thing to death!

Whichever direction I go, I will post my system and specs.

Thanks again for your time and help.
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a b à CPUs
January 25, 2010 3:43:27 PM

Don't let a few beer bucks stand in the way of your rig! :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 3:45:34 PM

That's is the other thought...just do it and quit crying!
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a b à CPUs
January 25, 2010 3:49:11 PM

That's the spirit! :D  Just bite the bullet and pull the trigger! :pt1cable:  You won't regret it! :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 4:08:09 PM

As I mentioned above, when I configured my BIOS to simulate a dual core i3 with hyperthreading, it performed like a "virtual" quad. It did a surprisingly good job in my FSX test flights, very nearly on par with a physical quad. Considering that it's Intel's new 32 nanometer processor technology with the latest instruction sets, is an easy 4.0 Ghz overclock, and is only $125, I think it's really hard to turn down.

See the following reviews:

Intel Core i3 530 Review - Great for Overclockers & Gamers - http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=372...

Intel Core i5-661 & Core i3-530 CPU Review - http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/01/04/intel-...

Intel Core i3 and Core i5 tested - Clarkdale review - http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,702446/Intel-Core-i3...

Comp :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 5:03:01 PM

CompuTronix said:
As I mentioned above, when I configured my BIOS to simulate a dual core i3 with hyperthreading, it performed like a "virtual" quad. It did a great job in my FSX test flights, very nearly on par with a physical quad. Considering that it's Intel's new 32 nanometer processor technology with the latest instruction sets, is an easy 4.0 Ghz overclock, and is only $125, I think it's really hard to turn down.

See the following reviews:

The Intel Core i3 530 Review - Great for Overclockers & Gamers - http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=372...

Intel Core i5-661 & Core i3-530 CPU Review - http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/01/04/intel-...

Comp :sol: 



I am going to look into the i3 option. I like the idea of getting into an "i" series processor for whatever reason. And I agree the price is right. But doesn't the dual core go against your former analysis in that quad is better than dual? Or do you believe the technology of the i3 makes up for this difference?
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January 25, 2010 5:18:30 PM

wisecracker,

If you're not familiar with FSX, it performs best with Intel processors and nVidia cards.

dakmlb,

Regarding the TigerDirect bundle:

* Unlike Asus boards, Gigabyte boards tend to have sloppy Vcore and Vdroop characteristics, so it's more difficult to achieve a stable overclock.

* The Ultra-brand case won't breathe like the Antec.

* The Ultra-brand power supply is also junk.

* The memory is only DDR3 1333.

Regarding Hyperthreading:

* Each core processes 2 threads instead of 1, so Windows Task Manager will display 4 threads for the i3 instead of just 2 threads for the E8400. As I explained previously, the i3 runs like a "virtual" quad core processor, so FSX runs on 4 threads like a quad, just not quite as effectively. My i7 920 is also designed with hyperthreading, so FSX runs on 8 threads, which renders the highest frame rates. :sol: 
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January 25, 2010 5:26:08 PM

Some how I was pretty certain it wouldn't work out! I'm trying though.....thanks again for the input and quick replies.
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a b à CPUs
January 25, 2010 7:48:29 PM

The link goes to an empty shopping cart.
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January 26, 2010 2:04:20 AM

That figures....best deal ever!!! I'll try again. This is another alternative set up:

The hard drive, motherboard and processor is as previously presented (ie., i3 530, ASUS, and Seagate).

The changes would be:

Corsair PC12800 RAM - 4GB, (2x2GB) DDR3, 1600MHz, Dual Channel, Class 8
Item #: C13-8248 $145

DiabloTek PHD650 650-Watt Power Supply - ATX, SATA Ready, PCIe Ready, 20+4 Pin
Item #: D15-1203 $44.99 after instant $15 discount

Gigabyte GZX8 ATX Mid Tower Case - No PSU, MicroATX, 2 x USB 2.0, 7x 3.5 Drive Bays, 4x 5.25 Drive Bays, Black
Item #: G452-8028 $39.99 after instant $20 discount

BFG GeForce 8800 GT OverClocked Video Card - 512MB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card
Item #: B52-8808 $99.99 after instant $50 discount


This is what the spec says for DDR3 on the motherboard:
Dual-channel DDR3 2133*/1333/1066 Support.

It doesn't specifically list 1666 support but does say "2133" with an asterisk. I cannot find the footnote for the asterisk. Will 1666 even work and why the asterisk, if you know?

I can get the above for about $625 incl. shipping (shipping is free). This also includes about $85 in instant savings.

I recognize the graphic card is down from what was discussed and perhaps a bit outdated, but I'm still seeing good reviews for FSX. If not, I can always return it within 30 days and get the GTS 250 1GB

Just another alternative set up and am curious as to your opinion.

Thanks again for your time.
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a b à CPUs
January 26, 2010 3:48:32 AM

Allow me to emphasize a few important points concerning FSX hardware considerations and priorities. Maximum CPU overclocking renders the highest frame rates. Overclocking requires stable voltages. Overclocking produces heat.

Heat = crash.
Cool = stable.

Cool and stable requires the following:

(1) High-end CPU cooler.

(2) Case with excellent airflow.

(3) Dual-slot graphics card with rear-exhaust.

(4) Quality power supply.

* Once again, the case you've chosen won't cool nearly as well as the Antec.

* Once again, the power supply is junk. Quality before capacity. For the i3 530 / GTS 250 configuration, 650W is overkill. 450W is adequate.

* DDR3 1600 will work. Corsair has QA problems with their RAM products.

* The 8800 GT is a single slot card which dumps it's heat in the case. The GTS 250 is dual-slot rear-exhaust.

If you want to build a quality FSX rig that runs cool and stable, there are certain corners you don't cut. This configuration is already compromised to reduce costs such as processor and motherboard. Also, at least 2 of the fastest hard drives should be used to minimize stuttering. OS on one and FSX on the other.

Resign yourself to doing a proper build and just ante up for the appropriate parts. You'll thank yourself later.

Comp :sol: 
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January 26, 2010 1:02:30 PM

Thanks Comp....I'm starting to get the picture! Unfortunately, my profession is all about alternatives, propositions, and negotiations, hence, the continued battles I present. I am also a why and how come person too. I like a lot of explanation to go with a theory, support for the conclusion if you will.

Additionally, I have learned quite a bit through this discussion and I have really appreciated your input.

I agree that a few extra bucks today will prevent headache and more $$$ down the road. And I definitely agree with "do it right the first time" ideology. So we'll make it work one way or the other. I'm not interested in reinvented the wheel, but do want to know how it works!

Thanks again.....David Kuzava
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a c 116 à CPUs
January 26, 2010 2:30:54 PM

CompuTronix said:
wisecracker,

If you're not familiar with FSX, it performs best with Intel processors and nVidia cards.

dakmlb,

Regarding the TigerDirect bundle:

* Unlike Asus boards, Gigabyte boards tend to have sloppy Vcore and Vdroop characteristics, so it's more difficult to achieve a stable overclock.

* The Ultra-brand case won't breathe like the Antec.

* The Ultra-brand power supply is also junk.

* The memory is only DDR3 1333.

Regarding Hyperthreading:

* Each core processes 2 threads instead of 1, so Windows Task Manager will display 4 threads for the i3 instead of just 2 threads for the E8400. As I explained previously, the i3 runs like a "virtual" quad core processor, so FSX runs on 4 threads like a quad, just not quite as effectively. My i7 920 is also designed with hyperthreading, so FSX runs on 8 threads, which renders the highest frame rates. :sol: 



I know enough about FSX to understand you have completely mislead the OP --- 'hyper-threads' generated by a dual-core processor are not a replacement for the real cores offered by the Phenom 955 in FSX.

And no one really knows (or is talking) about what the future holds for FS. There is one thing for certain, however: An HD 5750 would be superior to an 8800gt for any number of reasons ...

The least of which would be displayport ----> eyefinity .... which has ""FS"" written all over it.
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a b à CPUs
January 26, 2010 5:02:08 PM

wisecracker,

I will not be drawn into an Intel vs AMD / nVidia vs ATI debate. Since you apparently know more about processor and graphics hardware configurations that provide the best FSX performance, I'll referain from further misleading the OP, and leave this thread in your well informed hands.

dakmlb,

I have no desire to become anyone's oracle, write further explanations, or attempt to offer any guidance which might deprive you of the opportunity to perform your own research. As wisecracker was kind enough to point out that I have no idea what I'm talking about, perhaps he will provide all the answer for you.

Master switch off.

Comp :sol: 
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January 26, 2010 6:17:39 PM

Based on the last couple of comments, the expression of "All good things that end, end badly, otherwise they wouldn't end" proves itself once again.

Comp,

I really enjoyed your input and the support you provided along with it. It was as informative as it was educational.

Wisecraker,

The point of this thread was to receive individual opinions based on knowledge and experience and to the extent possible, provide support for the opinion. It was my intent to leave the who's right, wrong or misleading to myself which is why I was the one seeking the input.

Bashing another's opinion to the point where participation is ceased does nothing to further my cause and in fact, negates it. Thank you for that. Your opinion is as much appreciated as any other's, but if it comes at the expense of another, then it's destructive and not constructive and thus, not wanted.

Feel free to state your opinion and provide support if you can. That way we can all benefit and decide for ourselves.

You may choose to keep this in mind when adding input on future threads if you wish. You'll not only be more effective, but you'll gain credibility.

In General,

From the input here and from what I've read elsewhere, I do realize that opinions vary greatly and what one person believes, isn't what another believes. My conclusion from all this is that several options are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it's up to me to ultimately decide the final direction.


Sorry Comp....
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a c 116 à CPUs
January 26, 2010 9:15:33 PM

LOL ... you guys are a 'hoot'

The inference is that an i3 530 with an 8800gt will outperform a C3 Phenom 955 with an HD 5750. That ain't happenin', guys ...

Dude sez ""If you're not familiar with FSX, it performs best with Intel processors and nVidia cards,"" with a secondary suggestion of an i3 530 dual-core with HT, and then runs away with "" I will not be drawn into an Intel vs AMD / nVidia vs ATI debate. "" I will acknowledge that the initial recommendation was an i5 750 of which I completely agree. Go Quad or Go Home ... :D 

Notice something about the i7 920 with HT enabled and the i5 750 in the following benches?



It does not appear that the 4 'hyper-threads' of the i7 920 are providing a boost to frame rates in FSX. I am assuming that the same principle would apply to the dual-core i3 530 and its 2 hyper-threads though I will acknowledge that a performance gain in the range of 15-20% over a typical dual core may well be possible. My hypothesis stands to be corrected.

As many in this thread have attempted to explain, with the MS FSX patch a quad core processor is preferable for enjoyable simulation and performance. Additionally, I offer for your perusal the benchmarking of the Phenom with the i7 920 in FSX.

To summarize their benchmarks on the Phenom and the i7 920: Based upon average frame rates they remain much the same. I am not questioning the exceptional nature of the i7 920, however, a C3 Phenom 955 at stock voltage with a 'friendly' OC will perform like a champ within the stated budget goals of the OP. I will leave it up to those with 'greater experience' (and deeper pockets) to argue otherwise.


In conclusion:

OCZ DDR3 1600 / Phenom 955 C3 : $241 AR

Asus M4A79XTD EVO AM3 790X: $113 AR

WD 'Blue' 640Gb hard drive: $60 with code EMCYZNN25

Corsair 650TX 650w EPS PSU: $67 AR with code EMCYZNT49

Sapphire Radeon HD 5750 1Gb: $140

Antec Three Hundred Case: $52 with code EMCYZNT57


That would be $673.

The OP could easily knock $55 off the total by choosing a lesser video card such as the GT 240 512Mb but at that price range the HD 5670 is in play (and they both would be severely spanked by the HD 4850 at $100). The GT 250 is certainly an option, but not a money-saving one ...
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a b à CPUs
January 27, 2010 2:55:24 AM

Guys,

I said I wouldn't play this game ... but OK ... here we go.

Master switch on.

When AMD owned the performance crown I built AMD rigs, the best of which was my Opreron 170 OC'd @ 3.0. Great rig. Loved it. When Intel took the crown with the Core 2 architecture, I built Intel rigs, the best of which was my Q9650 OC'd @ 4.2. Great rig. Loved it. Now I build Core i rigs. I've owned some great ATI cards and some great nVidia cards ... there's a long list of hardware ...

I am no one's fan boy. I pledge no loyalty to any corporate entity, no do I care who's logo is on the widget ... my primary focus is on the fastest technology for FSX, regardless of cost ... for the most part.

Wisecracker said:
Additionally, I offer for your perusal the benchmarking of the Phenom with the i7 920 in FSX.
To summarize their benchmarks on the Phenom and the i7 920: Based upon average frame rates they remain much the same.
Reviewers. Go figure. :pfff:  Not exactly an "apples to apples" or "clock per clock" comparison:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition @ 3.40GHz
Intel Core i7 920 Processor @ 2.66GHz

What would the FSX frame rate be at the same clock frequency? :heink:  No comparison.
Wisecracker said:
The OP could easily knock $55 off the total by choosing a lesser video card such as the GT 240 512M but at that price range the HD 5670 is in play (and they both would be severely spanked by the HD 4850 at $100). The GT 250 is certainly an option, but not a money-saving one ...
Here is the HD 4850 being "severely spanked" in FSX by a lowly 8800 GT. FSX likes nVidia cards. See for yourself: Microsoft Flight Simulator X SP2 - http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

While I agree with "Go Quad or Go Home ... :D  ", the crux of the issue here, as I see it, is to find a cost effective CPU / GPU / FPS solution without compromising the power, overclocking and cooling infrastructure needed to achieve the highest stable frame rates.

As I mentioned several posts above, I configured my i7 920 BIOS to run FSX @ 4.0 Ghz first with 4 cores HT off (i5 750 OC'd), then with 2 cores HT on (i3 530 OC'd). All settings remained constant, including graphics. The same check ride was flown twice per configuration. I was very impressed. The minimum frame rates were within 10% ... just enough to notice the difference, but not enough to justify the $75 difference between the i5 750 and the i3 530. These results convinced me that the i3 was a cost effective solution for FSX.

There's no question that a dual core with HT (virtual quad) is slower than a physical quad ... but by how much in FSX? More information was needed to compare to AnandTech's chart, so I ran another series of FSX check rides. My i7 920 was configured in BIOS as follows:

(A) 4.0 Ghz - 2 cores - 2 threads
(B) 4.0 Ghz - 2 cores - 4 threads - (HT) <-- "Virtual" Quad
(C) 4.0 Ghz - 4 cores - 4 threads
(D) 4.0 Ghz - 4 cores - 8 threads - (HT)

Here are the minimum FPS results:

(A) ~ 24
(B) ~ 29 <-- "Virtual" Quad
(C) ~ 32
(D) ~ 38

Note that the difference between the "virtual" quad (B) and the physical quad (C) is 3 frames, or about 10%. It's also interesting to see that the difference between (C) and (D) is 6 frames, which agrees with the i7 920 and i5 750 shown on AnadTech's chart.

Comp :sol: 

EDIT: The Antec Three Hundred is presently $59.99. It does not include the two front intake fans. For an additional $10.00, the Antec Three Hundred Illusion includes the front intake fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 27, 2010 1:53:38 PM

Comp, when you post your different processor set ups, can I assume that (A) would be the equivalent to an E8400 at 4ghz and (B) being the i3. Also, could you do a check at KORD with AI traffic and max settings? Maybe start at a gate and taxi to a runway? I am curious to see what that might produce. Thanks.
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January 27, 2010 6:05:27 PM

Also noticed that the Antec Illusion is listed at $69.99 but is being offered with a $10 discount, making it $59.99.
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a c 116 à CPUs
January 27, 2010 9:14:32 PM

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January 28, 2010 12:25:54 AM

Based on this chart, there is little difference between any of them as far as I can see or what difference there is, is fairly minimal. May I inquire as to where you got this chart?
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January 28, 2010 12:27:25 AM

At this point, I've gone ahead and placed an order for the i3 530 and gts 250 graphics card. I should receive the order sometime tomorrow (Thurs). I will mess around with it all weekend long and share my experience here.
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a b à CPUs
January 28, 2010 12:41:55 AM

I see that Newegg already reduced the price for the Antec 300 Illusion. Don't pass it up ... the cooling performance is excellent! :D 

dakmlb said:
Comp, when you post your different processor set ups, can I assume that (A) would be the equivalent to an E8400 at 4ghz and (B) being the i3.
No. The E8400 is Core 2 architecture, which is somewhat slower. Since I'm testing with a Core i, (A) simulates the Core i dual core with HT off. I needed to acquire this FPS data in order to better illustrate the difference between HT on / off.
dakmlb said:
Also, could you do a check at KORD with AI traffic and max settings? Maybe start at a gate and taxi to a runway? I am curious to see what that might produce. Thanks.
Don't you think this is asking a little much? First, with which configuration(s) would you like me to test? (B) or (C), or should I just repeat all 4 test? Second, my fsx.cfg file is highly tweaked, as are my settings. Third, I'm not screwing with my settings, because it would introduce another set of variables inconsistent with the testing I've already performed. Fourth, running these FPS tests takes about 2 hours, and I have a whopping amount of time already invested in this thread. Fifth, you can expect that the differences in FPS between the configurations would remain fairly constant.

Regardless, I'm glad :D  to see that you've made a decision. Did you also go with the other recommended parts?
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January 28, 2010 1:10:52 AM

Well, let me start with my request first....I didn't realize the amount of time you'd have to invest to do such a test, otherwise, I wouldn't have asked. I was more or less looking for a "boot up" with whatever config you have and go to KORD and tell me what your looking at. No big deal though as in the end, I'm going to do what I did anyway. More out of curiosity than anything...so in hindsight, yes, I was aksing a little too much! A

As for your time invested so far, I certainly agree you have invested a considerable amount and it was much appreciated and obviously taken into consideration.

I did not do a "part for part" purchase. Somehow, I wouldn't feel right if I couldn't say I contributed somewhat to the overall configuration. But it's all there. It may go back and I may eventually get to a part for part set up, but for right now and in the words of the late great Frank Sinatra...."I did it my way"!!!! Well not all of it.

I will certainly let you know how it turns out as soon as I get it together.

With regard to your FS.config file, and not to get into a new topic, but did you follow this set up?
http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=290...
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January 28, 2010 1:20:11 AM

dakmlb said:
With regard to your FS.config file, and not to get into a new topic, but did you follow this set up?
http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=290...
If you've been thoroughly reading what I've been posting, then you know that I already provided that link, as well as others, near the top of this thread in my 3rd post (Best Answer). :sol: 
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January 28, 2010 1:28:59 AM

I have been thorough...but more focused on the "specs" than the config part. But actually, and now that I think about it, that is where I found it in the first place! Plus that was like the first reply too! C'mon, give me a break...that post was like years ago, or so it feels!
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!