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Budget flight sim machine

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January 18, 2011 4:28:43 PM

a friends asked me for help building his new flight simulator rig, im not too sure what the specs should be like considering the minimum spec listed are components from circa 2005 if not earlier!

he wants a three screen set up so ive decided two gtx460's should do nicely, not sure for the rest, his budget is undecided but he wants to go as chaply as possible? time of purchase is in the next couple of weeks. site: ebuyer, overclockers. anywhere that ships to the uk really. currency in pounds please, makes it easier than converting when tring to show him how much its going to stack up to! :p 
January 18, 2011 4:44:59 PM

for 'as cheaply as possible' consider:
Athlon II X3 450
4 GB DDR3
AS Rock 870 Extreme 3
HD 6850 x 2
500 GB HDD
Seasonic S12II 520W PSU
case of your choice.

Total in the US would be about $700-750, so I'd guess around 600 pounds
January 18, 2011 4:46:53 PM

i may bump the processor up a little to a phenom quad core and push it a little?
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January 18, 2011 4:50:53 PM

also would there be any big benefits in using the 6850's? he says he'd like physx if possible so i said id just use some nvidia cards then?
January 18, 2011 5:08:29 PM

What Flight Sim program will he be using? If Microsoft's FSX, that program is CPU bound and you can't get too much CPU. Upgrading the graphics(once you pass a certain point) has less effect than upgrading CPU.

I don't know if FSX supports Physx, but if it does, then, Yes you are limited to NVidia cards.
January 18, 2011 5:13:35 PM

AMD doesn't do multiple NVidia cards very well at all. However, a single 6850 WILL do 3 monitors.

you might consider a sandy bridge build, which will allow SLI.
January 18, 2011 5:13:49 PM

since im getting two, ill go for the cheaper 750mb or whatever they are, some value close to that as thatll still give me 1.5gb frame buffer, then spend some more and go for a phenom 955 be? and yeah it is flight sim x, i wouldent know too much about it, he just said he wanted physx so yeah. would it be worth going for the six core over the 4?
January 18, 2011 5:17:29 PM

probly not. flight sim X is an older game, and uses a single thread
January 18, 2011 5:18:19 PM

not since the servic pack one update. its multi threaded now but im not sure how far.
January 18, 2011 6:27:11 PM

AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 955 Black Edition £119.99
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 OC 768MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card x 2 £239.98
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) £104.99
BenQ G2222HDL 21.5" Widescreen LED Monitor £309.60
Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H AMD 880G (Socket AM3) £86.99
XFX Pro 850W Core Edition Power Supply £79.64
Coolermaster CM-690 II Advanced Dominator Case £76.99
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache x2 £81.98
Thermaltake Frio CPU Cooler £39.82
Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE 22x DVD±RW SATA ReWriter (Black) x2 £27.96
Prolimatech Red Vortex Red Wings Red LED 140mm Fan x 2 £22.44

subtotal: £1,229.82

mabye i shoulda done my idea first and got opinions but this seems like a futureproof yet not breaking the bank pc especially considering its a triple screen?
January 18, 2011 6:34:47 PM

If you are considering FSX, generally speaking FSX and budget do not go together. If you are considering Flight Simulator 2004 (otherwise known as version 9) a lower end machine will do. FSX is recommended unless you have a lot of addons already for version 9, however FSX is highly dependent on CPU power even though it is an old game.

For FSX, Nvidia cards are considered better than ATI, something to do with shader implementation. ATI cards can be severely impacted by the clouds.

As a prior post stated, with the updates it is multi-threaded to some degree. Get the FSX Gold version which includes the Acceleration Pack and all patches. Intel quad-core CPUs are also considered the better choice, Sandy Bridge might be great but haven't heard anybody's experience yet.

FSX is also highly responsive to tweaks to get the best performance. There are some good resources online, a good start is at simhq and avsim forums. A highly recommended addon is REX, and also FS Water Configurator.

January 18, 2011 6:49:44 PM

do you not think the 955 would be enough? theres a good chance ill go to around 4ghz on it aswell?
January 18, 2011 7:17:34 PM

Overclocking is always a 'probably' .. you're guaranteed 3.2 GHz on a 955. ANYTHING more is never guaranteed. 3.8-4.0 is probable, however
January 18, 2011 7:22:40 PM

hence i said theres a good "chance" :)  im no begginer to it, i just needed to ask the reccomended for flight sim x really hehe.
January 18, 2011 7:32:15 PM

esaglik said:
since im getting two, ill go for the cheaper 750mb or whatever they are, some value close to that as thatll still give me 1.5gb frame buffer, then spend some more and go for a phenom 955 be? and yeah it is flight sim x, i wouldent know too much about it, he just said he wanted physx so yeah. would it be worth going for the six core over the 4?


Just wanted to point out that it will not give you 1.5GB frame buffer, only 768MB, both cards have to have the exact same textures loaded in the frame buffer.
January 18, 2011 7:35:07 PM

so will i see a cpu bottleneck? would it then be worth going up to the 1gb cards?
January 18, 2011 7:38:00 PM

I honestly don't think that the frame buffers (going from 768 to 1BG) on the video cards will make a noticeable difference with FSX.
January 18, 2011 7:39:12 PM

so its not worth the extra 70 quid itll change?
January 18, 2011 7:41:34 PM

I think you'll get more noticeable performance putting that 70 quid in your CPU...At least as far as FSX is concerned.
January 18, 2011 7:51:09 PM

but how? 70 quid wont make up the difference into the intel i5 sandybridge range, its more like a bridge of 150 quid plus?
January 18, 2011 8:00:28 PM

In that case, I would consider getting more system RAM if you are going to use a 64-bit OS. More system RAM translates to less swapping to the hard drive swap file, and that means more performance.
January 19, 2011 7:40:28 PM

im already getting two 4 gb sticks though in that budget?
January 19, 2011 7:54:47 PM

that shoudl be plenty.

actually, I think you have a good overall build. aT 1920X1080, you're better off getting a 1GB 460 than the 768. The 768MB just kinda runs out of frame buffer over 1680x1050. the 460SE (which has 6 ROP vs the 768's 7) outperforms the 768 at 1080p by about 7% because of its 1GB memory, and runs about the same price), the full 1gb 460 is faster still.
January 19, 2011 8:10:23 PM

ok ill go for the one gigs then, thanks a lot for all your help, now to break the news about the cost, he was hoping sub 1k :L he'll buy it regardless, i know him too well :p 
January 19, 2011 8:15:10 PM

if youy need to trim the cost, you can get away with 4GB instead of 8. Consider an Acer monitor, less expensive than BenQ, but still good.
January 19, 2011 8:28:42 PM

he needs to know u cant sli on a amd chipset. u need a nvidia chipset am i right?
January 19, 2011 9:14:19 PM

the NVidia chipsets are old, really dating to AM2+, ever since nvidia pulled out of the chipset market
January 19, 2011 9:20:04 PM

Yep...No 6gb SATA or USB3.0 but if you want to use SLI w/AMD CPU, your options are limited.
January 22, 2011 3:26:04 PM

wait, so what do I do? D:
January 22, 2011 4:02:32 PM

Figure out what you MUST do(AMD or INTEL), then whatever is left, is what you CAN do.
January 22, 2011 4:17:06 PM

intel wise, for similar price to a 955be and a Gigabyte GA-880GA so around 210 quid what can i get on the intel side, will it be of comprable performance and will there be enough pcie lanes to run everything?
January 22, 2011 5:59:14 PM

the US price for that is about $250, while a Sandy Bridge 2500 and an H67 runs about $300
January 22, 2011 6:14:23 PM

grrr............ what a painful choice! plus if i went sandybridge i would be having to get an unlocked one for him cuz he upgrades every five years so he can gain a lot by just overclocking when it comes to it, mabye it'll be worth it.
January 22, 2011 7:13:33 PM

if you want a P67 and unlocked sandy bridge, its $350-400
January 22, 2011 7:16:38 PM

hmm, im looking at a giga p67 a-ud and a i5 2500k
January 22, 2011 7:49:36 PM

all in all thats gone up around about 120 quid, which when you consider youre getting, higher clockspeed, hyperthreading, and a better mainboard is too good to pass up i think
January 24, 2011 10:05:06 AM

should be good
January 24, 2011 3:03:56 PM

screwy, i cant help but notice your sig, do you really run vista still? :o 
January 25, 2011 12:26:55 PM

yes, I do. I'll upgrade to 7 when I build a new PC
January 25, 2011 5:17:09 PM

ahhhhh more confusion, the gtx 560's have just come out in the uk! is it worth the money?
January 25, 2011 7:37:37 PM

GTX 560 is an improvement over the 460, but I think pricewise both match up rather well (the 460 is not as powerful, but it's priced well compared to the 560)
January 25, 2011 7:44:57 PM

all in all the upgrade would cost me a total of 100 gbp extra, so like what, 180$?
January 25, 2011 7:54:17 PM

basically: if you can afford it, the 560 is faster. if you can't the 460 is good enough
September 12, 2011 6:10:11 PM

Very simple. I'm a FSX fanatic, enthusiast and may potently need intervention at some point, but for now I'm content.

I recommend starting with a higher end Intel MB there significantly more stable, easier to work with and the new MB have a rollback feature that protect it from wrong bios and settings if you muk up. Gigabyte Intel H67 LGA 1155 DDR3 1333 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (GA-H67A-UD3H-B3) Its phenominal for cost to performance ratino, its got a stock video capability which some higher ends don't and it handled alot of basic games witih no card installed with out freezing ( on low res). Very crisp quality stock index rating was 5.3 or 5.1 not sure.


Depending on your budget and how obsseed you are. My specs for an ideal are the following

i5-2500k . Nothing less than i5( 2500k)You can do i7 but in FSX and 100% of other games you wont see a difference, I found no real difference in performance from the i7 2600k, the i5k is just the same in performance and you will not notice a difference.. I don't know about the others and I don't care, I build what I know will work time and time again. Don't waste your time with the stock heatsink, get you a nice larger one for 4 or so bucks. I don't use water cooling, I don't understand it and don't want to. I have mines over clocked at 3.9 with the i5

When I run dirt 3, and other games the graphics and permance looks so real its actually scarry, my xbox and play station look like nintendo from the 90's withi respect to graphics and performance.

I use the 800watt power supply. ( don't be cheap on that, spend the extra money cause I've had problems with faulty ones in the past, shutting down even some blue screens) I use not one but 2 HD 6990 830M 4 GB GDDR5, I just purchased another one ( I know :D ).hence why you will need a huge full tower, You don't need to cross fire cause I have 4 screens and was just obsseded with having crossfire, you can get away with 1 but make sure its a 6950 2gb and above!

I use the AZZA tower. Its great! its got 8 fans stock! no need to upgrade and its huge enough to fit a anything you every wanted, easy slots for installation simply open up and plug in the extra Hard rive or cd.

Use 2tb 7900 hard drive. You can go with a slower, no real major difference except on boot there's about a 2-3 second delay after you type in the password to you window. But once you type in, I'm ready in literally 2 seconds. but if your a freak like me I want my pc to 7.9 on everything..I don't know It makes me feel good I suppose.

NO LESS THAN 8GB OF MEMORY. I've tried every variation and I've foundn that 6 is border line 8-12 is the best.

In the end FSX needs alot of working on to tweek and Microsoft had better start shaping up and improving its simulation package and no matter how much money you spend FSX is and will always perform less than sub par with respect to what you want. Its not the same as say Dirt 3 with respect to graphic, still has some glitches and patches.


ALSO ALOT OF PEOPLE WERE COMPLAINING OF BLUE SCREEN WITH ATI, IVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS FOR YEARS THE MAIN REASON ARE

1 -BAD MEM CARDS!! THEY CAUSE ALOT OF BLUE SCREEN ERROS AND DIFFERENT CODES BUY NEW ONES, DON'T TOUCH WHEN INSTALLING, GROUND YOUR SELF AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE THE CORRECT ONE FOR YOUR PC!! 1333 ETC ETC. IT MAY NOT EVEN SHOW BUT 8/10 TIMES I JUST SWITCHED UP THE STICK AND BOOM! BUT MAKE SURE THEY AGAIN MATCH THE MOTHERBOARD AND EVERYTHING ELSE, DON'T JUST BUY ANYONE.

2-UPDATE YOUR FILES FOR COMPUTER, DOWNLOAD WHAT EVER PATHCES ARE NEEDED FOR FSX DON'T MESS AROUND WITH BIOS ( I'M NOT AN EXPERT ON PC BUT I KNOW ENOUGH TO KNOW TO NOT SLASH OR CHANGE THEM IF I DON'T) ITS CAUSED ME COUNTLESS HOURS AND MONEY TO REMEDY A MESSED UP PC FROM MINES OR MY FRIENDS.

3-UPDATE THE PATCHES AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED FOR THE GRAPHICSCARD. ALLOT OF TIME PEOPLE WERE COMPALING BAOUT THE CARDS AND THE DRIVER. THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME ITS THE PC NOT THE CARDS.I'VE SEEN ALL SORTS OF ERRORS AND IT WAS JUST GOING BACK TO BASICS, CHECK YOUR MB AND SURE ITS WORKING WELL, CHECK OUR MEM CARD, CHECK YOUR ELECTRICAL OUTPUT, CHECK YOUR BIO. EVEN THOUGH SOME SAY THAT THEY DOWNLOADED DIFFERENT CATAYLST AND SAW NO MORE PROBLEMS BECAUSE THEY DOWNLOADED NEW ONES, I NEVER HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE NEWEST ONES. IT THINK THIS GOES BACK TO MEM STICKS AND BIO AND UPDATES.
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