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Core i5, Core i7, CrossFire, And SLI: Gaming Paradise, Redux?

Benchmark Results: Flight Simulator X

Although I’ve lamented the gradual downfall of the flight simulator with a number of readers via email, culminating earlier this year with the news that Microsoft laid off the entire Flight Simulator team, I continue to receive requests for the three-year old Flight Simulator X.

With Service Packs 1 and 2 installed (and DirectX 10 enabled), we set out to give the notoriously CPU-hungry test one more showing. Alas, with the frame rate cap disabled, the FRAPS results from a straight flight at the same time/date kept coming back with inconsistent scores. Therefore, we set the game to run at its Ultra High Quality pre-configured settings, which include a frame rate target bump from 15 to 20 fps. This is the way the game would be played, and it’s going to illustrate a very important point that we’ll circle back to in the conclusion.

For the most part, all of these configurations deliver excellent baseline performance in FS X. When a platform falls short, the addition CrossFire or SLI easily brings it back up to 20 frames. The GeForce GTX 285 is the only exception on the Phenom II platform, as it doesn’t support SLI. This is a flight simulator, though. For most of its pre-defined configurations, Microsoft specifies a cap of 15 fps. The fact that we’re able to achieve the Ultra High cap across this wide range of configurations should help assure the sim fans out there that any of these modern setups are ample for the aging title.

  • lashton
    so we can assume for gaming the 965BE (or 955 oc) and ATi cards are just as fast as Core i7 and i5 but at a fraction of the price
    Reply
  • cangelini
    The 955 does cost less. The 965 is more expensive than Core i5.
    Reply
  • Dekasav
    Only thing I don't like is how you knock Crossfire with 2 HD 4870X2's, since when is it even feasible that 4-way CF would scale as well as 2-way SLI?

    But excellent review, overall, I'm actually surprised at how the 965BE did, I thought it'd be behind, where it was actually right in the pack.
    Reply
  • dirtmountain
    I would have liked to see a 780a or a 980a SLI motherboard used to check the SLI numbers on the P2 965BE. I'm also surprised there's no overclocking numbers in the comparison, is that article still to come out?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    It's upcoming dirt; Patrick is the one working on it (and our Italian team sent word of its i5 and i7s in excess of 4.2 GHz)
    Reply
  • sudeshc
    Nice game collection you got there.......:)

    Great review.
    Reply
  • anonymous x
    Let us know what you think about this in the comments section, but it was pretty clear that Vista was never a favorite, so we're hoping Windows 7 is a more popular environment in which to test
    I like vista, rock solid and stable since I got it years ago. Don't listen to the bashers who never have tried the product.
    Reply
  • lashton
    You giotta remember vista is design for spoecific hardware and powerfull hardware that can run it, so people with P4 3GHz and vista complain about its speed, vista is OK, i dont like it cause my computer doesm't like it thats fine i get over it and chnage my OS
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Thanks for weighing in, guys!
    Reply
  • crash27
    So there's no benafit from adding a second 285 to a q9550s or an x4 965 be ??

    I get a good performance boost from my second gtx280 with my q9650 @ 4 gz
    Reply