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PC custom build just for Flight Simulator X (FSX)

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February 25, 2011 9:38:02 PM

Hello guys


I have a project to either upgrade or comission the build of a new system for someone who plays microsoft flight simulator X.
I've read the other thread about it , very good information , but i have queries of my own, and since time moves on better cards on the market I wonder your professional view.

Current situ:
pc is about 3-4 years old, expensive in its time. not entrily sure what it is but from the limited quick look at it, it has

Microsoft XP (32 bit i think)
Intel Pentium (dual core?) of some kind from the vintage of circa 2007
Big beefy looking graphics card taking up fair bit of room, with 2 x DVI out. (good for 4yrs ago i imagine)
4GB of OCZ PC2-6400 (in 2 sticks, max 2 slots on motherboard (PC only sees 3.25GB)

Displays : 2 of 1920x1200 24" monitors.
The computer is used as dedicated machine just for FSX so no other rubbish on it.

As of Feb2011 we updated FSX with all ServicePacks.

Issues with FSX:
We are running dual screen, not really cranking up the FPS or detail levels too much. the sim crashes with out of memory errors often, and ropey to play not great at all.

The requirement now is to either upgrade the current pc, or build a new one much better and cost effective from latest bits at reasonable price today.

I considered todday upgrading the ram from 4GB to 8GB (we only have 2 slots on this motherboard) this essentually means discarding two good 2GB strips of the OCZ and forking out another £215.00 on 2x4Gb strips
ram upgrade:
then upgrading to 64bit OS ( XP or win7)

However Im still not certain this is worth it this DDR2 is about twice the cost of DDR3. and 8Gig is the max we can get (that is pesuming the board will allow it)

Have to assume for now the graphics card is good (will look and find out exactly what it is )

So there is this Ram upgrade. or Build a totally new pc, which after reading the other thread I am looking towards the following reasionable spec but keeping to a budget. may also like to have two more screens 19 or 20" auxlillary screens at 1200 px high to match the current 2 x 24" 1200's

Quick spec cobbled together just now for illustration of budget and my thinking

Motherboard: GA-X58A Gigabyte

CPU: Entry level intel i7 :

RAM: 12 GIG 3x4Gb :

HDD (opt1 ) hybrid HDD/SSD :

HDD (opt2 ) bog standard 500GB:

GPU: 2 of HD5770 1GB:


I chose the motherboard as it has 2x PCI 16 running at 16x and 2x PCI16 running at 8x
im not sure how 3 or 4 graphics cards would work across this . maybe only limited to the first two slots?
This board has support for "2-Way/3-Way ATI CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology" so it can have the GPU's load share

these graphics cards I just picked quickly 1GB cards with dual DVI. Could I get away with spending any less than £100 each or do I need to spend more. I can use the other Dual DVI Card out of the old machine for (5th and 6th monitors if required)
Quad screen cards are a rip off circa £450!

the ram, reasonable price for fairly big card sizes 4Gig strips which leaves three more slots on the motherboard, for future upgrade to the max of 24Gig the motherboard will allow.

didnt really want to have to spend all that on the i7 CPU but the socket 1366 motherboard was the only one I could find with multiple 3 or more PCI 16 Slots.


Can anyone offer suggestions and limitations of what I can expect performance wise out of FSX with such computer.
do I need much better graphics cards than these. or can you suggest better cards at simular price point.
anyone willing to hazard a guess as to what frame rate on just the 2 x 1920 by 1200 screens we might acheive.
and then on 4 Screens ?

oh I might post simular thread in some kind of FSX specific forum, but thought I would try here first.

Many thanks
Jonathan








April 1, 2011 5:47:05 PM

Hi Jonathan,

I have been studying computers/flight simulators for about six years, and building/rebuilding my rig a lot to get FSX to run well on it. I have spent about $8,000 on components, bought in the US (Newegg, and Amazon). I got a good scoop on the FSX. Here goes it.

The reason you have out of memory errors is because a 32 bit operating system will allow any one application (including FSX) up to 2GB of ram. Once you reach 2GB, you get the error. I can reach 2GB flying the stock Goose around NYC. No matter how much ram you have 8GB or 12 won't do you any good. Here is what you need to do. Install a 4GB PATCH. You can download it for free. Once the FSX is "patched", the FSX will be able to use more than the standard maximum of 2GB, up to 4GB! The most I have seen was while flying a 737 add-on in a holding pattern right around NYC was 2.7GB. This will solve your ram problem. Don't waste your money on buying more /different ram. Your current rig will not cut it.
If money is no object, here is the configuration you want to run FSX VERY WELL: Evga 141-GT-E770-A1 Classiefied mobo, Core i7-990X cpu + Megahalems heatsink + Scythe Gentle Typhoon 12cm. fan (1850rpm version). Run the cpu at 3.6 GHz or faster (4.0 being very nice). One Nvidia GTX 580 gpu. One. ONLY ONE. You will get worse performance in SLI config. Don't waste your money. 4GB of Corsair 2000MHz ram (for XP 32 bit) or 12GB if you plan to have dual boot rig with the second being a 64 bit op. system. I would also go for the PCI slot mounted OCZ RevoDrive X2 (has a toolbox to keep it clean). For case go with the Lian li PC-X900 with 5 Scythe GT fans (1850 rpm) as flight sims generate tremendous amout of heat on all your components and the heat has to be removed well. Scythe Kaze Master Pro 6 channel controller will allow you to turn down the fans a bit and keep them synchronized. This will work. Goose.
April 1, 2011 6:17:31 PM

Some more.
FSX is a 32 bit application, so I am running it on XP Pro 32 bit ofcourse, hence the 4GB of previously mentioned ram. 12GB would be for say a Windows 7 64 bit. The new MS FLIGHT will propabaly be a 64 bit app. and will be happy to run on Win 7 64 bit, and so the 12GB would be nice to have. Also, TIMINGS, get ram with lowest timings, like 8-8-8-20 at 2000 MHz.
Again, forget SLI. Forget ATI gpu's. One Nvidia Fermi GTX 580 will be awesome (for FSX, for games the more gpu's the better).
FSX is a 3:4 aspect ratio program, so it looks best on 1600X1200 pixel monitor, NOT WIDE. Eizo or NEC 21.3 inch will display the FSX stunningly. Multi monitor..??!! gee wiz you guys are demanding. I guess with 4 monitors you will get okay (not stunning) performance. With one, on the components mentioned previously, you will be running high definition most of the time(at least 60fps, which is butter smooth). I have seen as much as 795 fps looking from the ultralight straight at the ocean-light load. Minimum with a 767 add on (Level D Sim) around NYC or Tokyo, about 40fps, which is still smooth. Don't listen to most of the advice, gradual upgrades, etc., you will not be happy. Go ALL OUT on CPU, COOLING, RAM, SSD (no other drives, forget hybrids, hdd, they will drag your machine down), GPU. In that order.
Related resources
April 1, 2011 6:27:38 PM

All that performance with all the sliders to the right, maxed out, road, sea, and air traffic about 35-40 %, bloom off.
April 8, 2011 11:36:42 PM

:hello: 
procrew45, I'm a flight simulator enthusiast that's been away from it for about two years now, and I'm looking to get back to it after I've built my own pc. I'm not a fan of FSX at all as in my experience, the colouring is not as subtle as in FS9(2004) and it looks more gimmicky than FS9, but that's just my opinion. However, I have re-considered FSX a number of times and am wondering if a new pc build may make the difference.

Appreciate the comments on the limitations and improvements with FSX regarding hardware.
I'm a complete newbie both to computer building and hardware/tech speak so any future posts bear with me. :) 

Hilz
April 20, 2011 2:21:11 PM

procrew45 said:
Hi Jonathan,

I have been studying computers/flight simulators for about six years, and building/rebuilding my rig a lot to get FSX to run well on it. I have spent about $8,000 on components, bought in the US (Newegg, and Amazon). I got a good scoop on the FSX. Here goes it.

The reason you have out of memory errors is because a 32 bit operating system will allow any one application (including FSX) up to 2GB of ram. Once you reach 2GB, you get the error. I can reach 2GB flying the stock Goose around NYC. No matter how much ram you have 8GB or 12 won't do you any good. Here is what you need to do. Install a 4GB PATCH. You can download it for free. Once the FSX is "patched", the FSX will be able to use more than the standard maximum of 2GB, up to 4GB! The most I have seen was while flying a 737 add-on in a holding pattern right around NYC was 2.7GB. This will solve your ram problem. Don't waste your money on buying more /different ram. Your current rig will not cut it.
If money is no object, here is the configuration you want to run FSX VERY WELL: Evga 141-GT-E770-A1 Classiefied mobo, Core i7-990X cpu + Megahalems heatsink + Scythe Gentle Typhoon 12cm. fan (1850rpm version). Run the cpu at 3.6 GHz or faster (4.0 being very nice). One Nvidia GTX 580 gpu. One. ONLY ONE. You will get worse performance in SLI config. Don't waste your money. 4GB of Corsair 2000MHz ram (for XP 32 bit) or 12GB if you plan to have dual boot rig with the second being a 64 bit op. system. I would also go for the PCI slot mounted OCZ RevoDrive X2 (has a toolbox to keep it clean). For case go with the Lian li PC-X900 with 5 Scythe GT fans (1850 rpm) as flight sims generate tremendous amout of heat on all your components and the heat has to be removed well. Scythe Kaze Master Pro 6 channel controller will allow you to turn down the fans a bit and keep them synchronized. This will work. Goose.


Hi :)  Procrew 45, I am planning to buy XPS 15/17 with i5/i7. My main intention is to use it for Mic Flight Sim FSX. I absolutely dont know what configuration I should buy. I am not sure whether i7 would be good or i5. Dell is offering 1GB/3GB Nvidia card. I also need help in selecting the grahics card. Can you help me in deciding the right laptop for my Flight Sim.
Thanks
Anonymous
July 12, 2011 8:39:28 AM

I'm on the same page as everybody, don't know if the configuration I have got will hold what I'm looking for on FSX. Here it goes:

i5-2500 - 3.3ghz, want to go up to 3.6, a EVGA GTS450 1024MB, with 4gb of ram.
I want to include some add-ons on FSX to boost graphical like Real Environment Xtreme 2.0, Aerosoft MyTraffic 2010, weather, etc. I have a Samsung LCD TV 40'' and want it as the main screen, maybe in the future will run gauges in another screen. Will it run more than 1600 resolution? Planning to buy a TrackIR5 for more realism on the virtual cockpit.
Looking for a high graphical settings, maybe ultra high? I'm considering a "EVGA GTX460 1GB Superclocked" in case it doesn't run well, but will only consider this if 450 cannot handle. Of course I would go with GTX580, but it is far out of my budget.

I've been a few years out of FS, but played since 98. Now I'm doing my PPL and want to build a nice PC to run FSX well so I can practice some stuff and enjoy others. Also will put some saitek systems for a simple and good home Simulator.

Appreciate any help.

Cheers,
August 5, 2011 5:21:54 PM

Ok chaps just something i noticed, when you all talk about RAM for your 64bit upgrades on your suggested 1155 motherboards you talk about 12 gb, this will not work with your suggested motherboards as they are all 4 slot RAM boards and not 6slot, so memory will either 2x or 4x, and i am not aware of any 3gb memory sticks, only 1gb,2gb,4gb,8gb so your new motherboards will support a total of 2gb,4gb,8gb,16gb or 32gb of RAM. Of course for 1156 is an entirely different kettle of fish.
August 5, 2011 6:20:28 PM

janvaane said:
How to get the max out of FSX? Look here





I'll read it but will it stop me landing greasy side up at Edwards Air Base? :D  I have slightly better luck with Flight Gear v2.0 - perhaps it's the GNU part of it I prefer.



September 20, 2012 2:45:27 PM

I was recently looking for a multi-monitor pc and set up and did some
research. I found three or four businesses on google that specialize in
multi-screen computing:

DigitalEGA (www.digitalega.com) - They provide four base model PC's with a
wide variety of upgrades available that can power anywhere from 2-24 monitor
set-ups. They also sell monitor configurations separately and offer a number
of value combo's (PC and Monitors).

Multiple Monitors (www.multiplemonitors.co.uk) - These guys sell a decent
selection of monitors and PC's but their PC's seem a bit dated, Intel i3
processors etc.

Digital Tigers (www.digitaltigers.com) - Well established company with an
extensive range of monitors and PC configurations, I found them to be a
little pricey, especially as I would have to have paid a lot in shipping and
import duty.

Quad Vision (www.quadvision.co.uk) - They seems more for large corporations
but do offer workstations and monitor configurations, although there site
does not seem to have e-commerce or pricing available.

In the end I opted for a Discovery Package from DigitalEGA, very happy with
it and shipping was free for me living in the UK. If I was living in the US
I probably would have gone with Digital Tigers

(I know it's not much to do with your simulators, but i hope the info on the monitors help)
!