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PC Upgrade For FSX  
User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 9321 times:

Hi,

I've been using FSX for the last year now on our PC without much problems, but also without much frills (otherwise my FPS would be something like 1 or 2).

Now, due to some recent purchases (scenery, ultimate traffic 2007,LevelD 767,...), I would like to invest some cash in upgrading the PC. Now, I'm not too sure about what's best: upgrading RAM or upgrading the graphics card. Before I go to our PC shop I'd like to have somebody else's opinion on what may be best to get a decent FPS improvement in FSX and if possible some improvements in the quality of the graphics. Please find below my PC's specs:

Processor: Intel Pentium D 830 (3.0 GHz, 2 x 1MB L2 Cache, 800 MHz FSB, Dual Core Technologie)
MB: MS-7204
OS: Windows XP Home Edition (OEM)
Memory: 1.024 MB DDR2-SRAM (533 MHz, 64 Bit, Dual-Channel, 1 Bank vrij)
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 6700 XL, 128 MB, 533 MHz (Scart, S-Video-Out, ...)

Thanks in advance for your appreciated opinions.

Greets,
Ivan

[Edited 2007-11-18 11:30:35]


Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJamesbaldwyn From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 9317 times:

Well the first thing to upgrade is your graphics card. I would suggest anything at or above 7 Series Nvidia and 256MB Graphical memory.

The next thing (when time + money are available) would be your RAM or Memory. I recently threw another gig into my machine and the effect it had on FSX was amazing.


User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1260 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 9313 times:

The big question: what is your budget?


CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineB727-200 From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1051 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9305 times:

Apuneger,

Looking at your base machine I would go to 2GB of 800MHz RAM if staying with XP and 4GB of 800MHz RAM if going to Vista (if your mainboard can take it). Graphics cards are the big ticket item here. I reckon the best value for money at the moment is the nVidia 8800 GT 512MB.

These upgrades will get you good but not brilliant FPS rates on the game, and should not break the bank. I would not look at building a brand new rig from scratch just yet, as there simply is not one in existance that can run FSX to its full potential. Best to see where graphics cards go in the next 12-18 months and what increase that will give us before committing to complete new builds.

B727-200.


User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1260 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9301 times:



Quoting B727-200 (Reply 3):
I would not look at building a brand new rig from scratch just yet, as there simply is not one in existance that can run FSX to its full potential.

You can get VERY close. In another 18 months you'll be getting ready for the next FS release. The question, as I said before, is what are you willing to spend. Ram is probably the cheapest fix, and a new GPU will certainly improve things, but the Pentium D processor is itself a major bottleneck.



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9291 times:

Hi guys,

first of all, thanks to all of you for your much appreciated feedback.

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 2):
The big question: what is your budget?

I wouldn't like to spend more than 250-300 EUR (approx 400 USD) in total.

Quoting B727-200 (Reply 3):
I reckon the best value for money at the moment is the nVidia 8800 GT 512MB.

I read on http://www.tomshardware.com that indeed the GeForce 8800GT is the best value for money in the range 200-300 USD. This should certainly be in my budget (of course, if my MB supports it, but this is something to be checked by my local PC shop).

Quoting Jamesbaldwyn (Reply 1):
I recently threw another gig into my machine and the effect it had on FSX was amazing.

I can very well imagine. In general, improving FPS & general quality of FSX can be achived by adding either RAM or upgrading the graphics card. The big advantage of adding RAM would probably be that it is much cheaper.

Does anybody know if upgrading my graphics card will also improve my PC's speed when it comes to processing photos? Or should I best stick to upgrading my RAM then?

It seems MS always is one step ahead when it comes down to releasing a new flight simulator. FS2004 will probably run very smooth on todays machines that are affordable.

Best regards,
Ivan



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineJamesbaldwyn From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9281 times:



Quoting Apuneger (Reply 5):
Does anybody know if upgrading my graphics card will also improve my PC's speed when it comes to processing photos?

Not really, graphics cards are more for gaming or in this case, Simming.

Ram would however improve things such as processing photos and also your processor.


User currently offlineB727-200 From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1051 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 9274 times:



Quoting Apuneger (Reply 5):
It seems MS always is one step ahead when it comes down to releasing a new flight simulator. FS2004 will probably run very smooth on todays machines that are affordable.

Your not wrong Big grin

I built a machine to hopefully cater for FSX, and still am not happy with the performance. However, I can now run FS9 with graphics maxxed-out, heaps of additional and enhanced scenery, 100's of 1000's of flight plans from hundreds of airlines, and still get 60-70 fps most of the time.

B727-200.


User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 9260 times:



Quoting Jamesbaldwyn (Reply 6):
Not really, graphics cards are more for gaming or in this case, Simming.

Ram would however improve things such as processing photos and also your processor.

Thanks for that. Maybe I'd go for some extra RAM then, and wait a bit more for some new graphic cards.

Best regards,

Ivan



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9225 times:



Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 4):
You can get VERY close. In another 18 months you'll be getting ready for the next FS release.

Quite. I don't understand the "all or nothing" approach. I've just upgraded my PC and now have FSX running as smoothly as I had FS9 running before - PMDG 744X included. True, not every setting is maxed out but that was the same with FS9.

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 5):
I read on http://www.tomshardware.com that indeed the GeForce 8800GT is the best value for money in the range 200-300 USD.

That's what I got and I can't say I have any complaints.  Smile

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 5):
It seems MS always is one step ahead when it comes down to releasing a new flight simulator. FS2004 will probably run very smooth on todays machines that are affordable.

And yet with every release, there are torrents of complaints that they didn't improve it enough. Let's face it, there will be unhappy simmers as long as MS fails to provide a quantum leap forward in FS that can run smoothly at the highest settings on older machines. Don't hold your breath.  Smile


User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9224 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 9):
I've just upgraded my PC and now have FSX running as smoothly as I had FS9 running before - PMDG 744X included

you lucky b.....

Quoting David L (Reply 9):
That's what I got and I can't say I have any complaints

Interesting to know. I'll check with my local computer store tomorrow if they have any left.

Best regards,



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9218 times:



Quoting Apuneger (Reply 10):
you lucky b.....

To be fair, I never had the PMDG 744 running at any more than 10-15 fps with FS9 and I get about the same with FSX and new hardware. With the default 172, I can get over 50 fps.


User currently offlineBilgeRat From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 220 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 9192 times:

First of all you will have to realise that no matter how much money you throw at a new PC you will not be able to run FSX with all the bells and whistles.

Generally speaking FS has always relied more on CPU than GPU, so you will definitely want the best processor you can afford. The general consensus right now is the Intel dual and quad core processors are the best around.

Your choice of CPU will also dictate what motherboard and RAM you will want. I would recommend an absolute minumum of 2GB RAM. Bear in mind 32bit operating systems like Win XP and Vista 32bit only recognise up to 2.7GB RAM. If you go for Vista 64bit you can have up to 4GB RAM.

Now, having said that the CPU is more important than the graphics card for FS I will tell you this: If you want to run at higher resolutions with anti-aliasing and anistropic filtering you will need a strong graphics card. The best graphics card currently available is the Nvidia Geforce 8800 series. A lot of people report good results using this card with FSX. What you will want to bear in mind is the "DX10 Preview" feature in FSX Acceleration (and soon to be released SP2) is something of a let down. It actually *DECREASES* performance on many people's systems. Therefore if you are only wanting to run FSX then a DX10 graphics card isn't strictly necessary. If you want to run other contemporary or future games you might want a DX10 card. Right now all of the DX10 cards available are first generation, and will not be fully compatible with DX10.1 when it is released early next year. If you want a DX10 card it may be worth waiting a few months for the next wave of DX10 cards as they should see a big improvement over the current ones, and the current cards will see a significant price drop...

Also don't overlook your choice of display. If you can afford a large LCD display (ie 24" and larger) you will be amazed at how much better FS becomes. Panels and instruments become far more legible, and the outside scenery really comes to life.


User currently offlineRyan h From Australia, joined Aug 2001, 1551 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 9178 times:

I have found on my set up which is a 3GHz Dual core with 2GB ram and Nvidia 8600GTS video that I can put the scenery settings to about three quarters and get frome rates of 15-20. If I put the settings to maximum, it will start to struggle.


South Australian Spotter
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9166 times:



Quoting BilgeRat (Reply 12):
First of all you will have to realise that no matter how much money you throw at a new PC you will not be able to run FSX with all the bells and whistles.

OK, but my new setup allows me to run FSX with higher settings than I had with FS9 on my old setup. I don't think that's unreasonable.  Smile

For the record:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6850, 3.0 GHz
RAM: Corsair 2 GB 1066 MHz
MOBO: Asus Maximus
GFX: Asus EN8800GTS 640 MB
Power: 700W

I'm getting 15-25 FPS with the PMDG 744X compared to 10-20 FPS with my old setup and the FS9 version.


User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 9160 times:

Hi guys,

thanks for all the additional comments. Indeed, it's quite hard to get a setup to have all the bells and whistles of FSX at an affordable price (if there already is such a setup available in the first place).

For the record I went to our PC shop yesterday and went for a RAM upgrade (2x 1gB instead of 2x 512mB + faster RAM), and a Geforce 8800GT (best card in my price range on Tom's Hardware for November).

Anyway, it's indeed a remarkable improvement, with AI and all the rest. Default planes (hrrrrrrrrrr) are now a true joy to fly (ie they are very fps friendly, but of course not very realistic), and I even get to like the missions more and more, especially that hard Red Bull race... Add-on aircraft (LevelD 767) are still FPS killers, but I may have to tweak my system and settings a bit more.

Anyway, thanks for all the comments and advices.

Greets,
Ivan



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9099 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 14):
I'm getting 15-25 FPS with the PMDG 744X compared to 10-20 FPS with my old setup and the FS9 version.

Slight update: that was with a target of 25 FPS (d'oh!). Set to "unlimited", I'm getting 20-30 FPS in the VC and 50-100 in the 2-D cockpit... on the PMDG 744X. Sorry, but claims that there's no hardware available to run FSX at a decent rate are just wrong.  Smile


User currently offlineJamesbaldwyn From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9097 times:



Quoting Apuneger (Reply 15):
Anyway, thanks for all the comments and advices.

No problem.

Quoting David L (Reply 16):
but claims that there's no hardware available to run FSX at a decent rate are just wrong. Smile

 checkmark   checkmark 


User currently offlineLegoguy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 3313 posts, RR: 39
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9073 times:

Hey guys, afew questions similar in nature to Apuneger's questions.

I have a pretty rubbish laptop on Windows Vista home premium (32bit)m Intel core duo T2250 @ 1.73 GHz with Intel 945G chipset and 1GB RAM. Now before you ask, yes, I am a laptop noob and figured if I bought anything modern then it would run FS9 fine... WRONG!

FS9 runs alright on fullscreen however there are problems with graphics (e.g. the aircraft and surroundings appear dull, etc etc). Is there anything that can be done to this game hating laptop such as increasing RAM to 2GB that would help FS9 performance wise in anyway? I guess it is impossible to get a new video card for the laptop?

Others have suggested turning off anti-aliasing in the video card options, but I have searched and searched for the option yet have been unable to find it, thus coming to the conclusion that the Intel 945 chipset has no such feature.

Any help or tips would be appreciated.

Oh, and also, why do many flight simmers strive to get frame rates in the 70-80s? Surely the human eye can not notice anything better than 25 FPS?



Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 9067 times:



Quoting Legoguy (Reply 18):
Now before you ask, yes, I am a laptop noob and figured if I bought anything modern then it would run FS9 fine... WRONG!

I never tried FS on my laptop but, though it was more advanced in many ways than my desktop, it really struggled with some games such as Civilization IV. I suspect part of the problem is that laptop components are designed to use less power and thus may be OK for short bursts but have less "oomf" for heavy duty stuff.

Quoting Legoguy (Reply 18):
Oh, and also, why do many flight simmers strive to get frame rates in the 70-80s? Surely the human eye can not notice anything better than 25 FPS?

That's a good point but I'm not sure many actually try to get 80 FPS. I think its more the case that a good system will allow 80 FPS unless you explicitly lower the frame rate. As I understand it, limiting the frame rate can cause the graphics quality to rise and fall to maintain that rate. If you set it to "Unlimited", the graphics quality will remain fixed and the frame rates will rise and fall to maintain the selected graphics quality. So, if your system is struggling, you can choose sacrifice frame rate or quality. If your system is really bad, you might have to limit the frame rate to less than 25, in which case you could be sacrificing both.


User currently offlineB727-200 From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 1051 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (6 years 10 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9031 times:



Quoting BilgeRat (Reply 12):
Bear in mind 32bit operating systems like Win XP and Vista 32bit only recognise up to 2.7GB RAM. If you go for Vista 64bit you can have up to 4GB RAM.

That is not correct.

Putting it simply, on all operating systems your system components require some of the address space. depending on what you have and how your system is set up depends on how much address space is required.

For example, on a 32bit system (2^32 = 4,294,967,296 bytes or 4GB) your system components may require 0.5GB to 1.3GB of the address, leaving 2.7GB to 3.5GB to utilise your RAM. If you have 4GB RAM installed it is only going to be able to use what it has space for. I have a 32bit Vista OS and my system recognises 3.4GB of the 4GB RAM installed.

If you have a 64bit OS you have double the address space, but your components are only going to require the same amount as exampled above. So if you install 8GB of RAM in a 64bit compatible system with a 64bit OS installed, you are going to see around 6.7GB to 7.5GB useable RAM in windows. Whether you are using XP or Vista is irrelevant.

This is a very non-technical explanation (I am not a techo myself but have researched this out of curiosity), but hope it clears up some of the misconceptions.

Quoting Legoguy (Reply 18):
Oh, and also, why do many flight simmers strive to get frame rates in the 70-80s? Surely the human eye can not notice anything better than 25 FPS?

Completely agree. I keep meaning to experiment by setting the graphics to basic and cranking up the target FPS (say from 10 to 40 in 2FPS incriments) to see where I cannot notice the difference any more. I am sure there is some lag through the controls with lower framerates too that may make 35FPS more playable than 25FPS????

B727-200.


User currently offlineJutes85 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 8956 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 14):
OK, but my new setup allows me to run FSX with higher settings than I had with FS9 on my old setup. I don't think that's unreasonable.

For the record:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6850, 3.0 GHz
RAM: Corsair 2 GB 1066 MHz
MOBO: Asus Maximus
GFX: Asus EN8800GTS 640 MB
Power: 700W

I'm getting 15-25 FPS with the PMDG 744X compared to 10-20 FPS with my old setup and the FS9 version.

Wow, I just ordered the exact same set-up, just different manufacturers. How does this rig run FS9? I'm not ready to "upgrade" to FSX yet, just want to run FS9 on max settings without stutter.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 22, posted (6 years 10 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 8943 times:



Quoting Jutes85 (Reply 21):
How does this rig run FS9?

Sorry, no idea. I now have no need to go back to FS9.  Smile


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