New PC for MS Flight Simulator

Hi. I want to build a new PC for FS9 and FSX (that's all it will run - I use another PC for general stuff), but it's 10 years since I last put a PC together, so think I need some advice (if you would be so kind).

I am thinking of...

Intel Core i7 950 / 3.06 GHz
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 SuperClocked 1024 MB EE (just one - FS doesn't like SLI on the whole)
2 x WD VelociRaptor SATA (10000RPM) 300GBs
Asus 1156 Maximus III Formula M/B
4x2 GBs DDR3 RAM
ST2320L 23in Widescreen Monitor
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I think that that strikes a good balance between price & performance.

My questions then..

1. Do you agree with the choice of system components (the i950 is a good price now of course)? The M/B is a bit of an unknown to me: is this a good choice at the price?
2. I assume that the CPU doesn't come with a cooler, as boxed??? What cooler/fan would you recommend? Something not too hard to fit - my biggest nightmare was always getting the CPU fan to sit on the CPU without cracking something!!
3. Which RAM should I get? I usually go with, but can't locate what would be good, fast memory for this M/B
4. Which PC case would you go for for this system? Something large and roomy - with plenty of space around the hot-running hard drives and lots of fans (but not too noisy!). Classic look (black?) - no flashing lights or tiger/lightening streak designs on the side: I'm not a teenager any longer!! :-)
5. Never overclocked anything in my life. Would you recommend I overclocked the CPU (I would err on the side of timidity there!!). Easy to do? The GPU comes with overclocking software, and ready-overclocked.
6. Recommendations please for a cheap (but reliable!) CD/DVD drive these days. Don't need BlueRay or the like for this PC...

I've probably forgotten something. I can add it later. Thanks for taking the time to reply (if you do..)!

17 answers Last reply
More about flight simulator
  1. Yep, forgot to ask about the PSU. What power output would I need for this kit, with a safe margin of error?
  2. first up: the I7-950 is a 1366 CPU. You have the 1156 motherboard. they won't work together. You can save a lot of money by getting the 1156-compatable i5-750, which performs similarly in games.

    both CPUs come with heatsinks and fans adequate for stock use. Only get an aftermarket cooler if you have unusually warm ambient temperatures, or plan to overclock.

    The velociraptor drives are really very expensive for what you'll be doing.

    if it will NEVER, EVER run anything but flight simulator (really?) then a 64 GB SSD would be all you need, and have loading times that are almost instant

    A Spinpoint f4 320 drive, while only SATA 2, still has very fast speed (330 MB/sec) for a mechanical drive, and can be for for US$45.

    Assuming you want to do other things, a 1 TB drive that is still very fast can be had from Samsung or Western Digital for ~$75

    For this type of build, a 500W power supply should do the trick. Pick a reliable brand (Antec, Sea Sonic, Silverstone, Corsair, XFX, Thermaltake). Pick one that is 80+ Bronze certified for power efficency
  3. Hi. My FS installation is not at all 'out-of'the-bos' - the FS9 folder itself is over 100GBs, so I would need a larger drive.

    The main question is the M/B. I have done a lot of research into what works best with FSX and I am set on the i7-950. Somewhere I had the information that the M/B I quoted had the correct socket for the i7-900 series. If not, can anyone recommend a good M/B to go with this CPU? I'll have a oook back on Google meanwhile!

    Thanks for the post..

  4. for the i7-950, you would need an X58 chipset motherboard (socket 1366), not a P55 (socket 1156).

    what's your total budget, what resolution are you playing on?
  5. this is the rampage 3 you were looking at (this is the cheaper, Micro-atx version. Just has fewer PCI slots
  6. Budget - well, around £1500 (sterling) would be OK. My current resolution is 1920x1200, same as my screen.

    Will check out 1366 socket M/Bs - good job I checked here! No idea how I decided 1156 were right - mislead somewhere online. The ASUS Rampage III is very expensive (over £300 sterling), probably overkill: I didn't want to pay that much for the M/B, but I'll look around a bit over the next few days.


  7. this looks like the board you might want: L142.37 after VAT

    if you don't need the usb 3 and sata 3, this is slightly cheaper, L132.97

    for only 10 pounds, you might as well get the one that's more upgradable.
  8. Yes, the USB 3.0 would be a big advantage as I often transfer large file (1GB or over).

    I also discovered this:,2614.html

    Many thanks for the reply - I'll follow up on your links.

  9. The Gigabyte looks a great M/B. The only issue I'd have is that I was planning to install 4 x 2GB memory sticks - this seems to have room for three (of course 1 x 4GB stick is way, way more expensive than 2 x 2GBs).

    Am I missing something, I thought DIMM sockets came in pairs? Why 3?

    Elsewhere, I read this. Any comments?:

    "The Intel ICH10R Southbridge, Gigabyte SATA2 and JMicron JMB362 controllers power eight RAID-capable SATA 3Gbps ports and two RAID-capable eSATA ports between them, while a Marvell 9128 controller provides two RAID-capable SATA 6Gbps ports. his is quite frankly a silly number of SATA ports for anything other than a file server to have, and it caused a major problem during our tests – the Windows 7 installer froze with the hard disk and optical drive hooked up to the Southbridge-powered SATA ports.
    The only way we could solve this curious problem was to install Windows 7 with the drives connected to the Gigabyte SATA2 controller, after which we returned them to the Southbridge-powered ports.... Our one area of concern comes with the storage ports: the Gigabyte SATA2 ports are much slower (183MB/sec) than the Southbridge or Marvell 9128 powered ports, which can read at a much faster 245/246MB/sec respectively. As such, it’s imperative that you switch your drives to the appropriate controller as soon as Windows is installed."

    Thanks again,

  10. .. er, (oops!!) I assume it means 3 pairs of DIMM sockets? I'm a bit out of practise here!!!
  11. the X58s use triple-channel memory. So you buy banks of 3 (3x1 GB, 3x2 GB, 3x 4gb) and the motherboard has 6 DIMM slots.
  12. That's new to me I'm afraid (as I say, it's some years (5 or 6?) since I last built a PC!). So you mean whereas with my current Asus M/Bs I'd buy memory in pairs, I need to get 3 or 6 individual DIMM sticks, not 2 or 4? Sorry if I am being dense here!!!
  13. for the best performance, yes. The triple channel slots will perform best with 3 matched slots. Its basically ONLY in the 1366 chipsets. It will work with only 2, and should still dual channel, but the triple channel works best.

    This should be adequate:
  14. It's confusing to me because the DIMM slots on the M/B are after all arranged in pairs, blue/white, blue/white, blue/white...
  15. the 3 blue slots are one triple channel bank, the 3 white slots are the other
  16. Ah! I see. Thank you. Never know I once did an A+ cert course, eh? Need a refresher I think!!

    Martin :-)
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