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Flight Simulator X - 3 monitor setup new build

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May 14, 2010 2:44:07 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Immediately

BUDGET RANGE: $1500-1800 Max CAD

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Microsoft Flight Simulator X ONLY

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PARTS PREFERENCE: Intel

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Bestdirect.ca, Newegg.ca, or any site, more interested in parts as I can do my own price shopping

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES:

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Building for a friend, he has 3 19” LCD if that helps.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Update: The budget has had a significant increase to as high as 1800, but would like to come under for more profit for building :) 



Hey guys,

I am having a hard time working out a system that will handle FSX on 3 monitors as I have never dabbled in a flight sim ever, nor mutli monitors setup.

I do know that FSX is extrememly demanding on both GPU and to a lesser extent GPU, so right off the bat I am thinking 5850 and Phenom X4 at the very least for this???

I'd love to get some feed back

Thanks in advance!
a b C Monitor
May 14, 2010 3:10:03 AM

Well your best bet would be an i7 with a mid-range GPU. With the $900 cap, the 1156 i7 would be your only option. See what you think of this build.
CPU:
  • Intel Core i7 860 -$304-
    MOBO:
  • Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 -$139-
    RAM:
  • G.Skill Ripjaws -$118-
    GPU:
  • XFX HD 5770 -$160-
    HDD:
  • Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB -$57-
    PSU:
  • SeaSonic S12II 520B -$72-
    Case:
  • Antec 300 Illusion -$90-

    To fit within the budget I had to cross off crossfire, but if FSX is the principal use, you won't need it anyways. Unfortunately, it's still a tad over budget. There's not too much room to cut back - maybe a cheaper case. See if it's a possibility and let us know.

    Edit: fixed one incorrect price.
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    May 14, 2010 3:26:40 AM

    My bad, I meant to specify AMD... not entirely necessary, but preferred.

    The budget can go up to 1K I suppose... just starts to cut into my profit lol, even though this is for a friend.

    Do you think this setup will handle 3 19" LCD?

    I just installed the demo and even though the detail is not as high as the full version (I believe) my system was not putting out great frame rates. I didnt do a proper count, but I would guestimate around 35 fps.

    Im running:

    550 BE@3.5GHz (on all 4 cores)
    HD 5750 x2 (i've heard this game does not benefit from xfire)
    GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P mobo
    4GB ddr3

    Is there an AMD setup that will be in the price range?


    **edit: Crossfire HD 5750
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    Related resources
    May 14, 2010 3:41:08 PM

    Is this setup going to be able to handle if the 5770 is crossfired, will it be more effective than a 5850?
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    May 14, 2010 3:59:44 PM

    Actually I just found this for benchmarks on FSX for the 5750 to 5890...Very helpful. I think i am going to go with the 5850 since there wasn't much change between the 5870 with the stress test scenario they ran.

    On the CPU note, I think I will go to the AMD for a cheaper build. The intels definately performed better with the traffic settings on high, but I think we can live without that visual. Traffic seems to be the main part of FSX being CPU intensive.
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    a b C Monitor
    May 14, 2010 7:10:18 PM

    No, that 785G board I linked does not support crossfire, but you shouldn't do dual-GPUs for FSX. And, yes the AMD build wil perform very well.
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    May 15, 2010 2:26:30 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    No, that 785G board I linked does not support crossfire, but you shouldn't do dual-GPUs for FSX. And, yes the AMD build wil perform very well.


    Why no dual GPU for FSX? I;ve been watching some videos on youtube with single/dual/triple combos and the difference in performance seems to amount to something

    Oh and by the way,

    I have edited the OP. Budget has been increased quite substantially.

    The person I am building for is insisting on the best of the best. He's literally told be cost is not issue, but, the wife apparently is lol.

    I am thinking i7-920 at least x2 5870 to start with, and 6gb ram.

    Unfortunately I am an AMD person myself, so I really need some valuable input. Will you still recommend the i7 860? or something a little more without going over more than about 350ish for processor.

    Edit: Recommendations for wattage on the PSU?
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    a b C Monitor
    May 15, 2010 3:12:20 AM

    Here's a nice FSX hardware resource.
    http://www.jetlinesystems.com/performance.html

    For FSX the 930 will be better. I would pair it with the Asus P6X58D-E, 6GB of CL7 RAM, and a 5850/70. For the rest of the components, the ones I linked above will work, provided you still won't need crossfire (which you shouldn't imo).
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    May 15, 2010 3:18:05 AM

    with fly simulator, traffic on high might be nice to watch, but I guess that once you fly, it don't really matter, unless you are flying low.

    The X6 AMD would do great, a 5850 and get as much ram as you can. a cheap mATX board would play nice since crossfire is not really needed.
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    May 15, 2010 3:22:05 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    Here's a nice FSX hardware resource.
    http://www.jetlinesystems.com/performance.html

    For FSX the 930 will be better. I would pair it with the Asus P6X58D-E, 6GB of CL7 RAM, and a 5850/70. For the rest of the components, the ones I linked above will work, provided you still won't need crossfire (which you shouldn't imo).



    I really tried to tell the client he won't either, but he's got to have it. Does FSX not benefit from crossfire? or is a 5870 plenty capable running solo?

    Edit: Really great link, thanks a lot. I am going to seriously recommend he does not crossfire, but still keep a crossfire ready board. Definitely tri-channel DDR3 too. I am gonna shoot for the 12 gig setup.
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    May 15, 2010 4:32:50 AM

    Ok, so I put this together quickly.

    Basically i just went by the performance guidelines on the Jetline systems site.

    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT Dvd Oem
    $99.99

    Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 140MM Fan
    $107.78
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11180AC8887

    Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower Gamer Case 900 ATX 9 Drive Bay No PS Top USB2.0 1394 Audio
    $106.53
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=1037111049F

    LG GH24NS50 24X Super Multi SATA DVD Writer OEM Black
    $31.32

    Western Digital WD WD10EALS Caviar Blue 1TB SATA 3GB/S 7200RPM 32MB Cache 3.5IN Hard Drive OEM
    $91.63
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=25350DR7519

    Kingston SSDNow V Series Gen II 64GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive
    $144.44
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12410DR0717

    XFX Radeon HD 5870 HD587XZNFC 850MHZ 1GB GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI Display Port DIRECTX11 PCI-E Video Card
    $405.00
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180BD1429

    Mushkin Enhanced Redline Frostbyte 6GB 3X2GB PC3-12800 DDR3-1600 CL6-8-6-24 Triple Channel Memory
    $228.60
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=13000BD5869

    Gigabyte P55-USB3 ATX LGA1156 P55 DDR3 2PCI-E16 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN USB3.0 CrossFireX Motherboard
    $131.65
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11830BD4740

    Intel Core i7 860 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.8GHZ Hyperthreading 8MB Cache Retail Box
    $301
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD5981



    As I said, worked off the guidlines from jetline. I would love some feedback though, especially on the HDD/SSD choices.

    I would like FSX to be on the SSD


    Total $1,756 all in
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    a b C Monitor
    May 15, 2010 5:21:03 AM

    Looks nice. Switch out the WD Blue for a 7200.12 or F3, or even the 6Gb/s WD. That mobo doesn't support full crossfire if you want that, if not you could drop down on the PSU. Also, if you're sticking to P55 you'll want dual channel RAM.
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    May 15, 2010 12:50:53 PM

    jbakerlent said:
    Looks nice. Switch out the WD Blue for a 7200.12 or F3, or even the 6Gb/s WD. That mobo doesn't support full crossfire if you want that, if not you could drop down on the PSU. Also, if you're sticking to P55 you'll want dual channel RAM.


    This is the least expensive Mobo I can find with triple channel. http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

    Asrock :( (

    What would be comparable to the Crosshair III/IV in an intel based mobo?
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    a b C Monitor
    May 15, 2010 11:37:56 PM

    You don't want that motherboard if you are sticking to the 860 (which you posted above), you want a P55 socket 1156 board with dual channel RAM.
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    May 16, 2010 12:22:34 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    You don't want that motherboard if you are sticking to the 860 (which you posted above), you want a P55 socket 1156 board with dual channel RAM.



    Yea.. i as actually starting to confuse myself... I now have two CPU in mind.

    This combo:

    Intel Core i7 960 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 3.2GHZ Bloomfield 8MB LGA1366 4.8GT/S OEM
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

    Gigabyte X58A-UD3R ATX LGA1366 X58 DDR3 4PCI-E SATA3 USB3.0 Sound GLAN CrossFireX SLI Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

    And:

    Intel Core i7 860 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.8GHZ Hyperthreading 8MB Cache Retail Box
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...


    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD6 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

    Not many options on LGA 1156 for triple channel RAM

    How do both of these combos strike you?
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    a b C Monitor
    May 16, 2010 12:28:45 AM

    Don't get the 960, just get the 930 and overclock it if you are going the 1366 route. You shouldn't use triple channel RAM on a 1156 board, it can only handle dual, so triple would actually slow it down.
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    May 16, 2010 12:34:05 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    Don't get the 960, just get the 930 and overclock it if you are going the 1366 route. You shouldn't use triple channel RAM on a 1156 board, it can only handle dual, so triple would actually slow it down.



    Good point about OCing. But I am leaning away from it because it's a build for a customer. He want's whatever he gets OC'd but I told him I don't do that. I will just give him instructions how and make him sign a waiver lol.

    Besides, the more money I save him, the higher the bonus for me lol.

    You give fantastic advice, cant thank you enough.

    Sincerely

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    May 16, 2010 12:38:31 AM

    If i am correct, fsx is mostly CPU bound.

    (Saw a bech where they added a second card, zero frames increase)
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    May 16, 2010 1:47:57 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    Don't get the 960, just get the 930 and overclock it if you are going the 1366 route. You shouldn't use triple channel RAM on a 1156 board, it can only handle dual, so triple would actually slow it down.



    Ok, so I have revamped the build with your advice.

    Before you look, wanted to ask about the SSD. Should the OS be on as well as FSX? or just FSX? And is that SSD, the kingston ok? Theres some 65GB that are more than twice the price? Again, SSDs are still brand new to me.

    How's it looking at this point?

    Intel Core i7 930 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 2.8GHZ 8MB L3 Cache 130W 45NM OEM
    $308.67
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD9451
    Gigabyte X58A-UD3R ATX LGA1366 X58 DDR3 4PCI-E SATA3 USB3.0 Sound GLAN CrossFireX SLI Motherboard
    $219.22
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11830BD4161
    Mushkin Enhanced Redline Frostbyte 6GB 3X2GB PC3-12800 DDR3-1600 CL6-8-6-24 Triple Channel Memory
    $228.60
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=13000BD5869
    XFX Radeon HD 5870 HD587XZNFC 850MHZ 1GB GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI Display Port DIRECTX11 PCI-E Video Card
    $405.00
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180BD1429
    Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB SATA2 7200RPM 32MB Cache 3.5IN Hard Drive OEM
    $78.36
    Kingston SSDNow V Series Gen II 64GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive
    $144.44
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12410DR0717
    LG GH24NS50 24X Super Multi SATA DVD Writer OEM Black
    $31.32
    Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 140MM Fan
    $107.78
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11180AC8887
    Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower Gamer Case 900 ATX 9 Drive Bay No PS Top USB2.0 1394 Audio
    $105.71
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=1037111049F
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT Dvd Oem
    $99.99
    Zalman CNPS9900A LED CPU Cooler 120MM PWM Blue LED Fan LGA1366 1156 775 AM3 M2+ 754 939 940 W/STG2
    $58.32 $58.32
    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15210AC9733

    $1,904.93

    How does the CPU cooler strike you?
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    a b C Monitor
    May 16, 2010 2:29:42 AM

    ^ Yes, get the Hyper. Regarding the SSD, I would get a better controller than is on the Kingston. How much space does FSX take up? You could try a 50GB Agility 2, or if you need more then a X25-M or any of the 100GB Sandforces - Agility 2, Vertex 2, Callisto, Inferno, Phoenix, etc.
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    May 16, 2010 2:55:54 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    ^ Yes, get the Hyper. Regarding the SSD, I would get a better controller than is on the Kingston. How much space does FSX take up? You could try a 50GB Agility 2, or if you need more then a X25-M or any of the 100GB Sandforces - Agility 2, Vertex 2, Callisto, Inferno, Phoenix, etc.



    FSX only takes up 14 gig, plus some add ons I presume.

    To builderbobftw, I appreciate your input, butif you could elaborate more thats most helpful.
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    May 16, 2010 3:05:01 AM

    jbakerlent said:
    ^ Yes, get the Hyper. Regarding the SSD, I would get a better controller than is on the Kingston. How much space does FSX take up? You could try a 50GB Agility 2, or if you need more then a X25-M or any of the 100GB Sandforces - Agility 2, Vertex 2, Callisto, Inferno, Phoenix, etc.


    There's a significant increase in price. Do you think this is something someone is going to notice if they know nothing about hardware??

    The client literally said to me in an email - "just tell me how much and how good it will run, because you are not speaking english to me."

    lolz
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    a b C Monitor
    May 16, 2010 3:28:05 AM

    Although I've never used a Sandforce drive, according to Anandtech there is a noticeable improvement in speed over even the X25-M. An SSD alone is way, way faster than a mechanical drive anyways though.
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    May 16, 2010 1:33:54 PM

    jbakerlent said:
    Although I've never used a Sandforce drive, according to Anandtech there is a noticeable improvement in speed over even the X25-M. An SSD alone is way, way faster than a mechanical drive anyways though.


    Thanks man,

    I think for the budget purpose I will stick with the Kingston unless you can suggest a better at the same price point? Maybe even 30G will suffice as FSX only requires 14 or 16 at the max.
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    a b C Monitor
    May 16, 2010 9:18:28 PM

    A member on here, tecmo34, pointed out a way to reduce the size of the 7 installation. I can't find the thread, but I'll PM him and see if he can re-post it here.
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    a b C Monitor
    May 16, 2010 10:27:51 PM

    @ jbakerlent... I don't remember posting about how to reduce the size of Windows 7 installation (or I did it while sleeping :)  )

    I believe what you are talking about is how to "Ghost" a drive on a SSD to allow programs to maintain the SSD's load times but don't take up the physical space of the SSD, which can allow one to get a smaller SSD for example. Here is the video I remember positng about.





    If this wasn't what you speaking about, I'll see if I can review some more of my old post to jog my memory some more!!

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    a b C Monitor
    May 16, 2010 10:33:11 PM

    ^Doh, that was what I was talking about, but I only had a faint memory of it. Should still help though. Thanks tecmo!
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    May 16, 2010 10:35:08 PM

    puntacana1 said:
    FSX only takes up 14 gig, plus some add ons I presume.

    To builderbobftw, I appreciate your input, butif you could elaborate more thats most helpful.



    Elaberation- The Hyper 212+ is 20-30$ shipped.

    It outpreforms anyhting in its preice range, and 90% of the tings signifgantly out of its price range.
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    May 17, 2010 12:10:22 PM

    Thanks all!

    I think we are g2g. Just one last thing. Should the SSD be jsut for FSX, or the OS as well?
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    a b C Monitor
    May 17, 2010 12:36:08 PM

    If space permits, you want both the OS & FSX on the SSD or "Ghost" drive FSX and leave the OS on the SSD.
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    a b C Monitor
    May 17, 2010 11:52:45 PM

    It is a good SSD!!

    Another option is the the OCZ Agility 2 50GB for a little more money and slightly better performance.
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    May 18, 2010 2:16:05 AM

    builderbobftw said:
    Elaberation- The Hyper 212+ is 20-30$ shipped.

    It outpreforms anyhting in its preice range, and 90% of the tings signifgantly out of its price range.


    Thanks. I was worried about the clearance of the unit with RAM heatsinks. Some people had issues, some did not. I wish there was a sure way to know. Depends on the mobo I guess.
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    !