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Build gaming computer $1000-$1200

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October 17, 2012 8:41:16 AM

I have a bunch of older pc's and laptops around the house used for traditional home and small business use. I have recently purchased and have become hooked on flight simulators... FSX and PREPAR3D.

So I figured I would jump in and build a suitable new pc for the above simulators and maybe add a few additional games that I might find interesting... at least to an old 65 y/o retired nerd... lol...

I have been reading a lot of the reviews here and and other locations on the net... So I have some leanings, but looking for wisdom if my leanings are out to lunch and advice for those parts I know little about... :D 

Approximate Purchase Date: This month

Budget Range: $1,000-$1,200 or so... not counting psu, monitor, OS, keyboard, mouse. Budget is also very flexible.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Above flight simulators, gaming, typical photo processing, MS Office, and internet browsing.

I would also like to play around with some mild overclocking for experience and possible needs of the flight simulator software.

Are you buying a monitor: At a later date, will be 1900x1080 lcd, use existing 20" lcd for now. Do not need to include it in budget for now.

Parts to Upgrade: This is going to be a brand new build

Do you need to buy OS: I have an extra copy Win 7 home 64bit

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg works best, but I am comfortable from buying most anywhere

Location: Winthrop, WA. USA

Parts Preferences:

Processor: Thinking i5 3570k processor, but flexible

Motherboard: Thinking ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155, but flexible

(Note: Newegg has a combo for above cpu/mb at $390 plus I would get a $15 cash card )

Memory: 8GB minimum... 16GB would be fine also. Need advice for size/speed/brand/$

GPU: Need advice... Also plan to optionally route output to Sony 50" HDTV via HDMI.

Data Storage:
1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive SATA III
128GB SSD (for booting Win 7, loading games)

Optical Drive: Need advice

Case: Leaning towards Coolermaster HAF 922/932 or maybe even HAF XM, but flexible. Jeesh, the numerous models are confusing... Will be located on hard floor alongside desk. Not moving system a lot.

PSU: Strangely, I already had ordered one to get me going down the build path... lol... I have a Corsair HX Series HX750 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 that I got for $103 after all the discounts.

CPU Cooling: Do I need one? Like the COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO?

Overclocking: Yes, kick up the CPU a little for the flight simulators... and to play with the technology a little... :-)

SLI or Crossfire: Not for this build. Maybe in a few years...

Your Monitor Resolution: Will buy later, most likely 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: With success on this build, I plan on getting the grandkids involved with some future builds.

Why Are You Building: New faster cpu and enhanced system to handle Flight Simulator FSX and PREPAR3D... and maybe a few more games. Also for a fun build project and to keep up on the newer technology.

Thank You very much in advance...

pasayten
October 17, 2012 9:06:20 AM

This would be my advice:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($83.24 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($148.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($313.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($106.89 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Total: $1080.04
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
EDIT: Clicked on wrong video card.
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October 17, 2012 9:16:23 AM

Here you go,

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.05 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($387.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF X ATX Full Tower Case ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1165.83
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

If you have a Microcenter nearby, I suggest you just walk in there and buy the CPU and motherboard. They have a promo bundle for them that saves you $50.
If not, the $15 gift card from Newegg is on the CPU, so you can get any mobo you want.

This Samsung is arguably the fastest HDD in the market right now. It is only SATAII, but that's all the HDD can actually utilize. No HDD can actually do 6gb/s, it's just a market scam.

The Sapphire 7970 can max out any game you throw at it, and the exta VRAM will help with the big screen and resolution.

I suggested the HAF-X. You can't go wrong with it. I find it better than the 932.
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October 17, 2012 9:16:51 AM

What screen? He said he intends to get a monitor later and not to include it.
EDIT: At Rosaura
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October 17, 2012 8:26:02 PM

Thanks Someone Somewhere and excella 1221...

See Gigabyte and ASRock mb's over Asus... I am fine with that... Both look good. I only saw a few folks complaining about the ASRock smaller ATX size and questioning of durability and on Gigabyte, some complaints about the usb ports and booting/installing windows o/s... Neither of which seemed significant by the larger community of reviewers.

Newegg is throwing in 2 x 4GB Patriot Gamer 2 ram with the ASRock mb... Is that OK to use instead of the G-Skill you both like? or ignore? :-) I am kind of initially drawn to the Gigabyte, but I will look more in-depth on those 2 boards...

Both agree on Sapphire Radeon... narrows that down... just slightly diff models... will look into diffs...

Same SSD... that answers that one...

CPU cooler... I seem drawn to the CM EVO... price and name familiarity mainly... will look into the Noctua line... maybe a good reason why more $...

I like the looks/size of the CM HAF XM case a little more than the HAF X... Would it still be a good choice?

Thanks again for your time and efforts... I will be studying your options more today/tonight... :-)

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October 17, 2012 11:48:37 PM

The other mobo I would suggest is the GA-Z77X-D3H. It's a bit cheaper and I probably accidentally clicked the wrong one. Seems to have gone down in price though; I thought it was at about $135.

As far as RAM goes make sure it is DDR3-1600, 2x4GB, 1.5V (or less), and CL9 or lower. Fairly low profile is good.

All of Sapphire, MSI, Gigabyte, and ASUS make good GPUs coolers, so pick the cheapest out of them.

The Noctua is more expensive, but quieter and cools better. Get the Hyper212 Evo if you like.

Cases are mainly up to you, and both would be fine. The XM is cheaper and what I included. The X is just overkill.

Here's my updated build. You can replace the RAM and mobo with the Z77 Extreme4 and Patriot from Newegg.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($83.24 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($106.89 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Total: $1170.85
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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October 18, 2012 1:38:06 AM

pasayten said:
Thanks Someone Somewhere and excella 1221...

See Gigabyte and ASRock mb's over Asus... I am fine with that... Both look good. I only saw a few folks complaining about the ASRock smaller ATX size and questioning of durability and on Gigabyte, some complaints about the usb ports and booting/installing windows o/s... Neither of which seemed significant by the larger community of reviewers.

Newegg is throwing in 2 x 4GB Patriot Gamer 2 ram with the ASRock mb... Is that OK to use instead of the G-Skill you both like? or ignore? :-) I am kind of initially drawn to the Gigabyte, but I will look more in-depth on those 2 boards...

Both agree on Sapphire Radeon... narrows that down... just slightly diff models... will look into diffs...

Same SSD... that answers that one...

CPU cooler... I seem drawn to the CM EVO... price and name familiarity mainly... will look into the Noctua line... maybe a good reason why more $...

I like the looks/size of the CM HAF XM case a little more than the HAF X... Would it still be a good choice?

Thanks again for your time and efforts... I will be studying your options more today/tonight... :-)

Most of those reviews you see are just angry consumers that either didn't look up the specs thoroughly before buying the item in question, or received a DOA unit. I would suggest looking at the reviews from reputable tech sites.

The Patriot RAM is fine, grab it and save yourself ~$40.

I find Sapphire to be one of the best AMD card brands and very reliable, so yeah.
That Gigabyte 7970 GHz in the above build... I never see it in stock, at all. Really. If you do manage to find a way to get it though, grab it. It's very cheap for a GHz Edition card.

Another Sapphire to watch out for if you're going GHz Ed anyway is the Vapor-X.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-DL-DVI-I-SL-DVI-D-PCI-Ex...
Though like the Gigabyte, it's always out of stock.

Just get the EVO. The extra cash would be better off spent on more important components.
Unless, you're going through ridiculous amounts of OC though.

Get the HAF-XM if your preference suggests so. Really, casing is more on that and aesthetics. You can't really go wrong with either.
The HAF-X, I would prefer to call 'futureproof' instead of overkill since it has everything you'll ever want. :p  Probably won't need to change casings for a decade.
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October 18, 2012 4:35:13 AM

Ordered the CM HAF-XM at NCIX for $106... great price, no tax, and free shipping.

I need to stay away from Amazon as they are located in WA and we get nailed 8% sales tax... :-( Newegg is free...

I will also order the CM EVO cooler and the SSD from Newegg tonight... Along with taking the final looks at the big ticket items... the MB and GPU... P.S. Just saw some news that Asus may be planning to but ASRock...

On the hard drive... Are WD black or blue drives any "better" than the Seagate or Samsung drives? I had used WD drives in the past and never had any problems... Just saw that WD drives were a few more $... Wondering if that meant any differences in performance or durability... Did see that WD black was 5 yr warranty and WD blue was 2 year... Of course, in 5 years the drive would be obsolete... lol...

On another point, since both of you have helped me with good advice, how I do I get both of you the "answer" credit? Do I need to make a clone thread? lol... :-)

Getting excited about the build now...

Thanks in advance!

pasayten
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October 18, 2012 4:48:52 AM

As far as HDDs go, there isn't a huge amount of difference. Especially when booting of an SSD.

I believe you can only give one best answer per thread. Toss a coin.

The Gigabyte 7970GHz is currently in stock at both newegg & amazon.
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October 18, 2012 8:42:08 AM

Flight simulator (FSX) says i7 cpu and Nvidia card all day long.


http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-HAF-XM-RC-922XM-KKN... $119.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master HAF XM - Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 Ports and X-Dock (RC-922XM-KKN1)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $424.98 save: $25.00
Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K
ASRock Z77 Extreme3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-120mm-RR-212E... $29.98 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C10D-16GAO

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SH-222BB-BEBE-Internal-So... $20.50 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22X SATA DVDRW Internal Drive (Black), Bulk without Software

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Cache-Desktop-Dri... $81.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme-2-5-Inch-Solid-SD... $173.62 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SDSSDX-240G-G25

Total: $921.05 *not including shipping & rebates


http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-WINDFORCE-PCI-Express-Gr... $399.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping | Price after rebate: $379.99
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 670 WINDFORCE 2X OC Edition 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 3.0 2x DVI/HDMI/DP SLI Ready Graphics Card GV-N670WF2-2GD

http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-WINDFORCE-PCI-Express-Gr... $299.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 660 Ti WINDFORCE 2X OC Edition 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 3.0 2x DVI / HDMI / DP SLI Ready Graphics Card Graphics Cards GV-N66TOC-2GD
Core Clock: 1032MHz Boost Clock: 1111MHz
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October 18, 2012 8:54:29 AM

If you think so. Would like to see some benchmarks as most games are no different between i5 and i7. The nVidia thing might be the case.
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October 18, 2012 12:18:42 PM

pasayten said:

On the hard drive... Are WD black or blue drives any "better" than the Seagate or Samsung drives? I had used WD drives in the past and never had any problems... Just saw that WD drives were a few more $... Wondering if that meant any differences in performance or durability... Did see that WD black was 5 yr warranty and WD blue was 2 year... Of course, in 5 years the drive would be obsolete... lol...

Not much really. Though the Samsung is known to be faster than both.
HDDs are one of the things you can take with you for a long time. I seriously doubt SATA HDDs would be obsolete in just 5 years.
IDE was around for a loooonng time before SATA took over.
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October 18, 2012 4:41:32 PM

Someone Somewhere said:
If you think so. Would like to see some benchmarks as most games are no different between i5 and i7. The nVidia thing might be the case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_Prepar3D

Blurries (land textures that are of low quality because the sim has not yet loaded a better version yet) are greatly reduced because Prepar3d actually uses multiple cores for rendering ground texture instead of just 1 (this can be seen in processor usage)


http://www.prepar3d.com/

Prepar3D® simulation software
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October 19, 2012 2:06:52 AM

OK then. Get the i7. New build with GTX670 and i7-3770k. Also has the Z77 Extreme4. Be sure to buy the mobo from Newegg to get the free RAM.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($299.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($83.74 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($360.00 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Total: $1196.68
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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October 19, 2012 2:21:32 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
OK then. Get the i7. New build with GTX670 and i7-3770k. Also has the Z77 Extreme4. Be sure to buy the mobo from Newegg to get the free RAM.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($299.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($83.74 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($360.00 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Total: $1196.68
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Not bad but drop the Noctua cooler. If the OP plans on needing a cooler like that for series over clocking then he should size up to a board like the extreme6 which has larger and better heatsinks or even the Asus Z77 V. CM EVO will get him to a nice 4.2Ghz without having to add any voltage. Size up on the SSD seeing how the levels on FSX games eat up major hard drive space.
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Best solution

October 19, 2012 2:32:07 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($299.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.05 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($360.00 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1207.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

256GB SSD; CM Hyper 212 Evo.

Share
October 19, 2012 2:38:55 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($299.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.05 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($360.00 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1207.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

256GB SSD; CM Hyper 212 Evo.

$170 for that Samsung? You know that's going to sell out quick like. That's a h*ll of a deal for that SSD. I'm tempted to get it now myself.
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October 19, 2012 8:25:26 AM

Here is what I have on order so far as I get this pinned down... Some good deals were floating around on 256GB SSD (SoSw pointed out), WD Black HDD, & CM cooler... and I thought them worthwhile... Prices include rebates/shipping:

Case - CM HAF XM @ NCIX for $107
CPU Cooler CM Hyper 212 Evo @ NCIX for $27
SSD SAMSUNG 830 MZ-7PC256B/WW 256GB @ Newegg for $170
HDD WD Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache @ NCIX for $90
Optical DVD ASUS 24X DVD SATA Model DRW-24B1ST @ Newegg for $17

Which still leaves the mb/cpu/mem/gpu....

I am looking hard @ Prepar3d simulator forums for folks experiences with i5 3570 vs i7 3770 to see if I really should go that way... My gut still likes the i5 3570 for $/performance for what I think my needs are... and I am also looking at the gpu requirements... Nvidia use to be better for the MS Flight (FSX) code... When Lockheed took the FSX code and came out with Prepar3d, they are also changing the code to take advantage of the newer processors and gpu's... It is an evolving process and actually changes the best match components... I think the i5 3570 cpu and radeon cards will end being a good match for whatever they come up with... After I poke around all their forums, I will summarize what I find... then make the rest of my hardware purchases... :-)

BTW, I saw that NewEgg had the GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 for $230 + $7.50 ship... That seemed like a pretty good deal also... Jeesh, prices change soooo faaast on this stuff...

Anyway, half my build is on the way... lol...

Thanks again all!
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October 19, 2012 7:39:23 PM

Here is a little summary of stuff from the FSX and PREPAR3D forums... Note that FSX software is static and will not be improved. P3D is being updated and I have
decided to use it for my basic requirements... The FSX info is pertinent though as it is what P3D started with...

FSX Summary:

FSX is an old 32bit simulator software with many issues and problems. That said, once you do master the ins & outs of FSX, there is plenty that can be enjoyed & learned from it, depending on what you are after of course.

CPU: FSX does not recognize hyperthreading. Get the best stable OC CPU you can buy, could stick with value for money in the i5/i7 range but I recommend at least quad core as you might need the extra cores/horsepower for any other programs you may decide to run along side FSX which can be shoved on other cores, so perhaps even look at a fast running six core, if your budget allows it.

GFX: Depending on the resolution you going to be running FSX at, if anything of 1920x1200 or below, stick with a single decent Nvidia 500 range card, with at least 1Gb of Vram (useful when you start having lots of HD textures in FSX). If you planning to run higher res on either single monitor or multi-monitor, then perhaps a SLI option is worth thinking about (not that FSX takes any advantage of SLI but higher resolutions/multi monitor eats up Vram quickly so having 2x 1GB Vram cards is handy). Again, you could go for value for money and get 2 cheap Nvidia 500 range cards, or perhaps get a single 580 or 680 with 3Gb/4Gb of Vram.

HD: Get a fast small SSD drive for OS, get a decent sized SSD for FSX (I recently purchased a Crucial M4 512GB but using it on SATA2 atm till I can afford a major upgrade in both CPU & M/B and hit SATA3 but in the meantime, I have FSX already build on it). You could also choose a cheaper option and still fast by getting 2 or more fast HDs raided for FSX, there are some 10000rpm drives about which go pretty fast when raided. Still SSD is getting cheaper now and is simply faster then mechanical drives.

OS: Definitely a 64 Bit OS, again FSX is 32bit program but other addons/programs you might decide to run along side FSX may utilize a 64bit environment better, besides it better using your memory above 3Gb, FSX won't but other program most likely will.

RAM: at least 6Gb+ but no need for massive RAM as that will reduce your OC potential on your CPU, sweet spot is usually 6-8Gb.


PREPAR3D Summary (It is currently at version 1.4)

The planned Prepar3d 2.0 newer version is targeted at improving performance. We are working to take better advantage of multi-core processors by threading off more of the computation to background threads. That being said, prepar3d 1.4 is actually able to use hyperthreading today. By default, Prepar3d will usually only use every other core on a hyperthreaded processor ( i.e. one thread per physical core ). This is the desired behavior because most of the tasks offloaded to background threads are related to I/O, and hyperthreading does not perform well when both threads are waiting on I/O tasks. In fact, hyperthreading often even hurts performance by interrupting disk loads and other expensive I/O processes.

Quote:
From a user... SLI apparenly does work - ish at moment. jury is out whether it makes much difference. I've just overclocked my 560ti some more to 960 stable and neither FSX or P3D can max it out - or near with T182t,orbx, plan-g, REX, airview and sliders up still aound 40fps. GPU only using 52% Its worth searching the forums on the P3D site for what guys think and LM respnses.

of interest - version 1.4 is out today with bug fixes, some performance enhancements - and its Eyefinity certified I'll wait till v2 though before I upgrade cpu/mobo (meanwhile I'll put my old graphics card in to run the second screen and see if that helps. CPU OC is now at 3.99 stable which is about the limit on i5 750 unless you want to lose efficiency



Now I just need to digest this info and see how it might affect my mb/cpu/gfx final decisions...
i7 vs i5 and $200+ vs $300+ gfx... it's only $$$... :cry: 

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October 19, 2012 8:03:09 PM

pasayten said:
Here is a little summary of stuff from the FSX and PREPAR3D forums... Note that FSX software is static and will not be improved. P3D is being updated and I have
decided to use it for my basic requirements... The FSX info is pertinent though as it is what P3D started with...

FSX Summary:

FSX is an old 32bit simulator software with many issues and problems. That said, once you do master the ins & outs of FSX, there is plenty that can be enjoyed & learned from it, depending on what you are after of course.

CPU: FSX does not recognize hyperthreading. Get the best stable OC CPU you can buy, could stick with value for money in the i5/i7 range but I recommend at least quad core as you might need the extra cores/horsepower for any other programs you may decide to run along side FSX which can be shoved on other cores, so perhaps even look at a fast running six core, if your budget allows it.

GFX: Depending on the resolution you going to be running FSX at, if anything of 1920x1200 or below, stick with a single decent Nvidia 500 range card, with at least 1Gb of Vram (useful when you start having lots of HD textures in FSX). If you planning to run higher res on either single monitor or multi-monitor, then perhaps a SLI option is worth thinking about (not that FSX takes any advantage of SLI but higher resolutions/multi monitor eats up Vram quickly so having 2x 1GB Vram cards is handy). Again, you could go for value for money and get 2 cheap Nvidia 500 range cards, or perhaps get a single 580 or 680 with 3Gb/4Gb of Vram.

HD: Get a fast small SSD drive for OS, get a decent sized SSD for FSX (I recently purchased a Crucial M4 512GB but using it on SATA2 atm till I can afford a major upgrade in both CPU & M/B and hit SATA3 but in the meantime, I have FSX already build on it). You could also choose a cheaper option and still fast by getting 2 or more fast HDs raided for FSX, there are some 10000rpm drives about which go pretty fast when raided. Still SSD is getting cheaper now and is simply faster then mechanical drives.

OS: Definitely a 64 Bit OS, again FSX is 32bit program but other addons/programs you might decide to run along side FSX may utilize a 64bit environment better, besides it better using your memory above 3Gb, FSX won't but other program most likely will.

RAM: at least 6Gb+ but no need for massive RAM as that will reduce your OC potential on your CPU, sweet spot is usually 6-8Gb.


PREPAR3D Summary (It is currently at version 1.4)

The planned Prepar3d 2.0 newer version is targeted at improving performance. We are working to take better advantage of multi-core processors by threading off more of the computation to background threads. That being said, prepar3d 1.4 is actually able to use hyperthreading today. By default, Prepar3d will usually only use every other core on a hyperthreaded processor ( i.e. one thread per physical core ). This is the desired behavior because most of the tasks offloaded to background threads are related to I/O, and hyperthreading does not perform well when both threads are waiting on I/O tasks. In fact, hyperthreading often even hurts performance by interrupting disk loads and other expensive I/O processes.

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From a user... SLI apparenly does work - ish at moment. jury is out whether it makes much difference. I've just overclocked my 560ti some more to 960 stable and neither FSX or P3D can max it out - or near with T182t,orbx, plan-g, REX, airview and sliders up still aound 40fps. GPU only using 52% Its worth searching the forums on the P3D site for what guys think and LM respnses.

of interest - version 1.4 is out today with bug fixes, some performance enhancements - and its Eyefinity certified I'll wait till v2 though before I upgrade cpu/mobo (meanwhile I'll put my old graphics card in to run the second screen and see if that helps. CPU OC is now at 3.99 stable which is about the limit on i5 750 unless you want to lose efficiency



Now I just need to digest this info and see how it might affect my mb/cpu/gfx final decisions...
i7 vs i5 and $200+ vs $300+ gfx... it's only $$$... :cry: 



Turning hyperthreading on and off takes less than a minute tops. The newer 2.0 version will take advantage of hyper threading by the looks of it. Also I would take a good look at that 16GB set of G.Skill RAM I posted seeing how the 2.0 version is supposed to be 64bit and not the current 32bit.
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October 19, 2012 8:08:06 PM

Saw where a couple of the P3D enthusiasts were having very good performance with their GTX 660 Ti...

Also saw MSI N660 Ti PE 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card at Newegg for $290 + $7.50 shipping...

That saves significant $ over the 670 listed above ... Would I be losing anything major?

Thanks...
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October 19, 2012 9:43:21 PM

pasayten said:
Saw where a couple of the P3D enthusiasts were having very good performance with their GTX 660 Ti...

Also saw MSI N660 Ti PE 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card at Newegg for $290 + $7.50 shipping...

That saves significant $ over the 670 listed above ... Would I be losing anything major?

Thanks...

Nothing at all seeing how FSX is more cpu intensive than anything else. Also give this card down below a look. It's lighter than the MSI so not so much weight on your mobo and it's over clocked to the max.


http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-WINDFORCE-PCI-Express-Gr... $299.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 660 Ti WINDFORCE 2X OC Edition 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 3.0 2x DVI / HDMI / DP SLI Ready Graphics Card Graphics Cards GV-N66TOC-2GD
Core Clock: 1032MHz Boost Clock: 1111MHz


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October 20, 2012 1:11:15 AM

I generally don't recommend the 660Ti as it has a fairly small memory bus and so doesn't scale well in SLI. It's also priced near the 7950 but often performs only a bit better than a 7870. I would vote to get the 670 and try to cut back in other areas, as the graphics card is usually the part that most affects gaming performance.
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October 21, 2012 5:54:32 AM

Best answer selected by pasayten.
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October 21, 2012 5:56:46 AM

Thanks all... P.S. I remembered that I get an additional 2% back on Newegg thru Ebates... Helped pay for the 670... lol...
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