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Bad Build Need Advice(Flight Simulator System)

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January 14, 2013 1:24:03 PM

Hey all,

So I made the mistake of letting a friend sell me on the idea of running an AMD system due to my budget constraints and I am now paying the ultimate price. My goal is to run Microsoft Flight Simulator X at good frame rates with scenery. Here's the unfortunate build I went with.


CPU: AMD FX-4170 Zambezi 4.2GHz (4.3GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4170FRGUBOX
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Ram: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B
Vid Card: SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100358VXL Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16

Sadly to say my frame rates with default scenery in the cities are below 20fps!

Is there any chance I can keep the video card/ram and just upgrade the mobo and cpu? If so what would you guys recommend? I suppose I should also point out that I just ordered 3 monitors and an Active display port adapter because I plan to run FSX across 3 displays.

Thanks so much for all of your advice.

James Germana
January 14, 2013 1:29:42 PM

First we need to actually find out what's limiting your performance.
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January 14, 2013 1:31:53 PM

Well I can tell you that I am running a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit and all of my drivers have been updated to the latest versions. If you guys need anything just let me know and I will post the info immiedately. I am in a rather short time crunch if I need to get out from underneath this CPU/MoBo
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January 14, 2013 1:33:51 PM

Can you post benchmarks of the game or alternatively you need to test it yourself by monitoring CPU/GPU usage while playing.
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January 14, 2013 1:38:55 PM

Is there a software I can run that will do this for me? If not how would I go about doing it manually?
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January 14, 2013 1:40:15 PM

I am not sure how graphic demanding flight simulator X is, but I know the 7770 1gb is not going to run very many if any games well at 5760x1080... If you are as i guess getting 3 1080p monitors.
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January 14, 2013 1:41:43 PM

For the record I am having frame rate issues right now running a single display.
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January 14, 2013 1:52:23 PM

Yes that is due to the CPU, but if you are expecting to get good performance at 5760x1080 out of your system you maybe looking at a GPU and CPU upgrade. But like i said i am not sure how graphic demanding FSX is.

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/01/05/amds_ati_rade...

The 7770 performs somewhere bettween the 5770 and the 5850... So you can expect around 35-40 FPS if you use the settings they have for the 5770. But you will have times where your FPS will drop into the low 20's
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January 14, 2013 1:58:40 PM

On Ultra High with Default Aircraft:
Frames, Time (ms), Min, Max, Avg
2241, 156968, 0, 28, 14.277

On Ultra High with my normal Addon Aircraft:
Frames, Time (ms), Min, Max, Avg
433, 56238, 0, 25, 7.699

These were on Takeoff out of Boston which has a LOT of scenery.
CPU Usage in the task manager is about 67% while sitting on the ground and jacks up to a solid 100% by the time I am lifting off of the ground.
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January 14, 2013 2:05:08 PM

Yea it it a CPU bottleneck for sure... Never questioned that heh... But even with a good CPU you won't get more than 30-40 fps avg on lower settings with the 7770.., BUt first step is to get the CPU worked out. What is your budget?
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January 14, 2013 2:05:57 PM

Was thinking of changing the following and keeping my Memory:
Cpu: Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K

Video Card: PNY VCGGTX670XPB GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

It's a little more than I'd like to spend but I would like good performance. Would this be a wise path? Also, what would be the best motherboard to go with?
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January 14, 2013 2:06:38 PM

Now if there's a cheaper solution please let me know :) 
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January 14, 2013 2:08:34 PM

I'm not sure the i7 is worth it.
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January 14, 2013 2:09:37 PM

Also yeah since you have a newer AMD mobo I'd seriously consider a new FX 8320 +overclock.
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January 14, 2013 2:10:20 PM

if you don't want to spend $400 ish to switch to intel I suggest you just getting the FX-8350, It won't perform as well as the i5 3570k or the i7 3770k but it will save you a lot of money.
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January 14, 2013 2:11:45 PM

If I stick with AMD I suppose I could keep my motherboard?
I can easily afford the AMD FX-8350 Vishera 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor FD8350FRHKBOX .

It sounds like the GPU would need to be upgraded as well. Any suggestions? I just want to make sure I'm going to get adequate performance from the money spent.
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January 14, 2013 2:12:34 PM

I say go with the FX-8350 + a CPU cooler and overclock it, the GTX 670 is a very nice card and will most likely give you 60 FPS with max settings in FSX.
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January 14, 2013 2:13:29 PM

Derza10 said:
I say go with the FX-8350 + a CPU cooler and overclock it, the GTX 670 is a very nice card and will most likely give you 60 FPS with max settings in FSX.

Do you mean water cooler or could I go down the road of good air cooling?
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January 14, 2013 2:13:32 PM

Yes you would not need to change your motherboard if you got the 8350.
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January 14, 2013 2:23:24 PM

Oh one last thing... What is your PSU?
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January 14, 2013 2:25:55 PM

Derza10 said:
Oh one last thing... What is your PSU?

I had to store purchase A Dynex 550w PSU. :( 
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January 14, 2013 2:37:11 PM

Well i can't find anything positive about any of the Dynex PSU's though i can't find any 550w ones. Most reviews I see of them are like 2.5/5... I was trying to find your model to see the AMPS and if it had 2 6 pin connectors that you will need for the 670.

If i was you i would just get the corsair one i linked. Using a no name brand PSU is a bad idea, can take out your whole computer if it fails.
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January 14, 2013 2:37:59 PM

Purchased the PSU as well. All should be here tomorrow. I will let you know how it works out! :) 
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January 14, 2013 2:40:50 PM

You can get this PSU if you think you will do some heavy OCing on both the CPU and GPU and want to be safe, although even with that your system shouldn't pull more than 400w.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6...
See even with an overclocked 670 you should only see ~360w on full system load... add another 30-50w for your CPU and you are still only around 400w, so that 500w PSU should be plenty. And thats 400w (80% efficient PSU)from the wall so only using about 320w of the 500w psu.
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January 14, 2013 2:41:22 PM

Alright happy I could help you!
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January 14, 2013 3:10:34 PM

I've run FSX since it was first released, as well as all previous versions of MS Flight Simulator, and have built all my rigs specifically to run it.

FSX is very heavily CPU bound (~80%), so frame rate depends upon building your rig around a fast Intel Quad Core CPU, a high-end air cooler, and as much overclock as you can achieve while still remaining within voltage and temperature specs. An i5 such as the 2500K or 3570K will do nicely. You don't need to spend the extra $100.00 for an i7 because of it's Hyperthreading feature; the return on frame rate per dollar just doesn't make sense unless money is no object.

As for the GPU, FSX is so lightly bound that a mid-range card works fine. FSX historically ran with higher frame rates on nVidia cards. Many FSX experts were convinced that nVidia graphics drivers were better optimized for this simulation than ATI drivers, however, this frame rate gap was closed with the 7xxx cards and newer drivers.

Also, since FSX is so dependent on CPU performance, a high-end graphics card or SLI / CF, on a single monitor, typically has no benefit. Most "gamers" find this unbelievable until they research FSX.

Nevertheless, as you will be using 3 monitors which requires appropriate GPU memory and performance, adding a second 7770 in CF may be the most practical solution for you.

Hope this helps,

Comp :sol: 
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January 14, 2013 3:18:28 PM

CompuTronix said:
I've run FSX since it was first released, as well as all previous versions of MS Flight Simulator, and have built all my rigs specifically to run it.

FSX is very heavily CPU bound (~80%), so frame rate depends upon building your rig around a fast Intel Quad Core CPU, a high-end air cooler, and as much overclock as you can achieve while still remaining within voltage and temperature specs. An i5 such as the 2500K or 3570K will do nicely. You don't need to spend the extra $100.00 for an i7 because of it's Hyperthreading feature; the return on frame rate per dollar doesn't make sense unless money is no object.

As for the GPU, FSX is so lightly bound that a mid-range card works fine. FSX historically ran with higher frame rates on nVidia cards. Many FSX experts were convinced that nVidia graphics drivers were better optimized for this simulation than ATI drivers, however, this frame rate gap was closed with the 7xxx cards and newer drivers.

Also, since FSX is so dependent on CPU performance, a high-end graphics card on a single monitor or SLI typically has no benefit. Most "gamers" find this unbelievable until they research FSX.

Nevertheless, as you will be using 3 monitors which requires appropriate GPU memory and performance, adding a second 7770 in CF may be the most practical solution for you.

Hope this helps,

Comp :sol: 


Yes i agree the i5 would be slightly better than the 8350... But the difference is pretty small and not worth the $100-$200 dollar difference that he would have to spend to get a new intel motherboard. As for the 7770 CF, CF'ing low end cards is never ideal and can cause microstuttering even more so with the AMD cards due to there much higher frame latency. That being said, he probably could get away with getting a slightly lower end card, but the one he picked is the one i would suggest for his needs.
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January 14, 2013 3:25:20 PM

Exactly. There's no doubt the i5 is a stronger CPU in most games due to their poor use of multithreading, the value viewpoint diminishes when you account for the fact that you need a new mobo, whereas with the FX you don't.
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January 16, 2013 12:52:55 AM

So I received all of my new stuff and did the rebuild tonight. With the aftermarket cooler on the FX-8350 before overclocking it's settling at 41C under an 8 core torture test in Prime95. Does it sound like I have some room to OC as far as temps go?
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January 16, 2013 1:28:56 PM

I believe you can go in the Mid 50's with prime95 and be safe this that CPU... So you have a good amount of headroom could get close to if not 5.0 Ghz.
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March 19, 2013 3:43:07 AM

itsjames said:
So I received all of my new stuff and did the rebuild tonight. With the aftermarket cooler on the FX-8350 before overclocking it's settling at 41C under an 8 core torture test in Prime95. Does it sound like I have some room to OC as far as temps go?


How was your build on the new AMD system? Is FSX running a lot better now?
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