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CPU For FS9/FSX  
User currently offlinePHXMKEflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 291 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 14864 times:

What should I look for when buying a cpu that I plan on using for FS9. For example, type of processor, hard drive, graphics card, etc. etc. Keep in mind, I don't want to go overkill or anything (stay under $800) but would like a smooth running flight sim.

Thanks in advance for your comments/thoughts!

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 14872 times:

Get dual video cards, preferably Nvidia (this coming from an ATI fan)
Any SATA hard drive should do, as long as it will fit all your addons.

Some guys will tell you that for FS9, a fast single core CPU is best, but I don't agree. While FS9 can only handle one core at a time, your other cores (in a dual/quad core CPU) will be able to run other background processes on their own thus significantly reducing stutters.

For FSX, get as many cores as possible, the Core i7 is great and relatively cheap for this.

Anyways, this is my setup (definitely overkill Big grin )

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz, overclocked to 3.67 (i took it up to 4.2Ghz once, stable)
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
2X SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 in X-fire mode
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1600
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W Power Supply
2X Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb in RAID 0, total 1.3TB
Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monito
Windows 7 Pro 64bit

You can get all this nowadays for $800. I get over 400FPS with the limiter turned of in FS9.

FSX though is much slower, averaged about 15FPS (admittedly I had all the sliders maxed out, running 1680x1050 resolution) but this is due to FSXs crappy graphics engine which ATI video cards don't like. So for FSX definitely got Nvidia cards.

Otherwise this setup runs all my other games (HAWX, Mirrors Edge, Crysis, etc) I throw at it fully maxed out no stutters whatsoever.


User currently offlinePHXMKEflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 14836 times:

Thanks for the response FLY2HMO. Couple of questions, would u stray from the "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100" graphics card?

Also, I found a Dell cpu; Studio XPS w/ Intel Core i7, 8GB DDR 3 memory, 1TB ATA hard drive, and NVIDIA GTS240 for $1019 at best buy....i'm thinking this would be more than sufficient but can't really find much for anything less than $1000? Any suggestions??

Thanks!

PHXMKEflyer


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 14823 times:



Quoting PHXMKEflyer (Reply 2):
would u stray from the "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100" graphics card?

Yes, definitely. That is not a real graphics card, it is integrated with the motherboard. You want a dedicated video card. Any of the upscale cards from Nvidia or ATI should suffice. Also, the more video cards, the better.

Quoting PHXMKEflyer (Reply 2):
Also, I found a Dell cpu; Studio XPS w/ Intel Core i7, 8GB DDR 3 memory, 1TB ATA hard drive, and NVIDIA GTS240 for $1019 at best buy....i'm thinking this would be more than sufficient but can't really find much for anything less than $1000?

Doesn't sound like a bad deal. The Core i7 is the best CPU to ever grace this planet.  yes 

Quoting PHXMKEflyer (Reply 2):
Any suggestions??

Do what I did, build your own  Wink

When I built my rig earlier this year it cost me $1600. Had I configured a system with similar (and sometimes inferior) specifications with Dell, Alienware, et al, they would give me a price of $3000 or more. Ridiculous if you ask me, and they don't always use brand name parts!


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 14714 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 3):
Yes, definitely. That is not a real graphics card, it is integrated with the motherboard. You want a dedicated video card. Any of the upscale cards from Nvidia or ATI should suffice. Also, the more video cards, the better.

Take a 9600/260 for FS9, and a 9800/280 for FSX. A second card neither helps with FS9 nor with FSX.

For FS9, the best choice is a fast dual core. Since it runs on one care only, this should have 3 or more GHz, Intel E8400 is a good CPU. For FSX, Quad cores help, but again a 3 GHz dual core is better than a 2 GHz Quad - of yourse a 3 GHz Quad is fine.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 14711 times:



Quoting Burkhard (Reply 4):
A second card neither helps with FS9 nor with FSX

That's what I keep reading, that FSX doesn't take advantage of dual-cards so I don't see how it could help. On the other hand, though FSX isn't optimised for multi-core processors, it has to help that many of the other background tasks will be divided between the cores.


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 14705 times:



Quoting Burkhard (Reply 4):
but again a 3 GHz dual core is better than a 2 GHz Quad

Not necessarily. A quad core can still outperform a dual and single core even if it has a slower clock. Remember, you're basically packing 4 CPUs in one die and splitting the work between all of them. Even if FS9 won't use all the cores, a quad has much more bandwidth/cache, specially if you're talking 64bit.

Quoting David L (Reply 5):
That's what I keep reading, that FSX doesn't take advantage of dual-cards so I don't see how it could help.

May I ask where you read that? I saw a MASSIVE jump in frame rates when I went to two video cards. I'm not peaking at 400FPS just because of witchcraft...


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 14679 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 5):
That's what I keep reading, that FSX doesn't take advantage of dual-cards so I don't see how it could help. On the other hand, though FSX isn't optimised for multi-core processors, it has to help that many of the other background tasks will be divided between the cores.

FSX since SP1 is highly optimized for multi core, and with SP2 you even gain going from 4 to 6 cores. Not 50%, but around 20%, which is a typical gain. All the other process in your computer should not use more than 10% of one core together. So yes, FS9 runs better on a dual core than on a single core, but a quad doesn't help any further.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 6):
Not necessarily. A quad core can still outperform a dual and single core even if it has a slower clock. Remember, you're basically packing 4 CPUs in one die and splitting the work between all of them. Even if FS9 won't use all the cores, a quad has much more bandwidth/cache, specially if you're talking 64bit.

Cache as well as memory speed has marginal effects compared to raw CPU speed. Yes, a Quad Core i7 with 2.13 GHz may well be as fast as a core 2 Duo with 2.66 GHz, but that is the basic architecture.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 14664 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 6):
May I ask where you read that?

Nowhere official or from the horse's mouth. Just various websites and forums indirectly "quoting MS insiders" about how they hoped to deal with it in the next version (ha!). I've never seen any official confirmation one way or the other apart from anecdotal evidence.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 7):
FSX since SP1 is highly optimized for multi core

Are you it wasn't just some of the code that was optimised in the SPs? I did a search to try to find some of the articles I'd read but, apart from the fact that I can't find any I recognise, they all seem pretty old so you might be right. I should probably have read the release notes for SP2.  Smile


User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 37
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 14614 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 8):
Are you it wasn't just some of the code that was optimised in the SPs? I did a search to try to find some of the articles I'd read but, apart from the fact that I can't find any I recognise, they all seem pretty old so you might be right. I should probably have read the release notes for SP2. Smile

They did do a lot of work to optimise it for multi-core architecture, well, as far as they could. I can't speak about the details since that was all under NDA. But the performance benefit with powerful multi-core processors is evident. We tested it through the various betas.

Raw clock-speed helps, but multi-core processors are good too.

Now, my system - when it gets back is:

Intel Core i7 920 2.66ghz
Intel Desktop Board DX58SO
6gb DDR3 RAM
Corsair HX1000W PSU
2x ASUS EN-GTX295 1792mb video cards (quad-SLI)
Creative XFI sound-card
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
1TB 7200rpm Seagate HDD
Apple A1081 Cinema Display 20" 1680x1050px

One of the GTX-295 video cards is with the computer, the other one is here with me. The desktop board was faulty.


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 14581 times:

Not every first idea how to seperate different parts of the program indeed works out. A simple proposal that come to mind is that one core could calculate the scenery, and another one track AI aircraft. Reality is far more complex. Since AI aircraft can crash with terrain, there needs to be a communication between these two processes - and it turned out that opening a communication, ask the scenery for the terrain altitude, get the answer causes more load on the scenery CPU than just putting the AI tracking onto it. There are more such examples that parallel execution is by far not trivial.

User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 37
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 14 hours ago) and read 14365 times:

I've tried out FSX Deluxe with Acceleration Pack on my new computer. Using the settings of FSX ultra high, with all the graphics sliders maxed out - I noticed the frame rate was over 55fps at OMDB.

That was in DX10 preview mode. If I added all the traffic, it was only then that the frame rates dropped to around 20fps. And this is before I added the second video card in the computer (have to do some case mods to make it fit more easily).


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 14268 times:

I now have an I860 I7 quad with a ATI 5770.

In a test I made at LIMA with all maxed, I get

FS9 35 fps
FSX DX9 20 fps
FSX DX10 90 fps

Sinc eit is fair to comare FS9 all maxed with FSX all at normal ( same object density)
FSX DX10 all mormal I get around 170 fps. So on a modern hardware FSX is 5 times faster than FS9. This goes down rapidly as soon as you force FSX to emulate FS8 code, though.


User currently offlineSean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 13, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 14256 times:

Those of you with high end PC's, what kind of noise do they make, cooling fans, etc?


Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 37
Reply 14, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 14240 times:



Quoting Sean377 (Reply 13):
Those of you with high end PC's, what kind of noise do they make, cooling fans, etc?

Quite loud, unless you use big (120mm) slow running fans. Those run slowly and are quiet, but because of their large size, move a lot of air.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 12):
I now have an I860 I7 quad with a ATI 5770.

In a test I made at LIMA with all maxed, I get

I retested mine. I'm getting at some points over 120fps in FSX on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit in DX10 preview mode. I don't know why my system went so slow before, but it is quick now.


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 14231 times:

did you have any addons using FS8 code there?

User currently offlineDelboy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 725 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 14186 times:

... from a previous poster Also, the more video cards, the better.

What a load of crap this statement is. If you don't know what you are talking about, don't bother answering!

The most important thing for a flight sim is a smooth and stutter free performance. Why are all simmers here so anal about how many fps they get? So you get 120/170 fps, big deal; you can't tell the difference once you reach about 30 anyway.


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14173 times:



Quoting Sean377 (Reply 13):
Those of you with high end PC's, what kind of noise do they make, cooling fans, etc?

I have 6 fans in my case but it's dead quiet. They are all big but very slow spinning. One of the largest fans is about 7" dia.

This is my case:



Quoting Delboy (Reply 16):
If you don't know what you are talking about, don't bother answering!

OK Einstein. Do you realize that by having excess GPU power and then capping the FPS you get even LESS stutters? Sure, I get peaks of 400 FPS at times with the limiter off when I'm checking for performance, but I have it locked to 60FPS otherwise.


User currently offlineSean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 18, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14168 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 17):
I have 6 fans in my case but it's dead quiet.

That's good to know, thanks.



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 14162 times:



Quoting Sean377 (Reply 18):
That's good to know, thanks.

Disregard. I actually have 8 fans. (4 case, 1 cpu, 2 VGA, 1 PSU)


User currently offlineSean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 20, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 14146 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 19):
Disregard. I actually have 8 fans

LOL! As long as they're quiet.

It's reassuring that it's possible to quiten down todays powerful machines. I haven't delved into dual core processors and super video cards yet, but will be soon. Although I'm wanting a powerful machine, noise (or lack of it) is more important to me than performance. If I can get both, then that's great.

My ageing Dell P4 is barely audible. I put a passively cooled Gigabyte 8600GT in a few year back, but passively cooled cards are rare.

I have a couple of Acer Veritons running in the background and they are absolutley quiet.

I'm always amazed by the noise put out of friends PC's and they are happy to live with it. Maybe I'm just being picky!



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 37
Reply 21, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 14138 times:

Mine is a bit noisier than before, but I'm using the stock intel cooler for the Core i7 920.

Those cases like the Antec shown above are great for cool running computers. If you can set up some big fans to vent air through the entire front of the computer and out the back, that will keep it very cool and you can keep the fan speed low.

The other trick is neat cable installation. Some cases allow the large MB power connector to be routed from the power supply (bottom mounted) around the back of the case, so it won't impede air-flow.


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 14123 times:



Quoting Cpd (Reply 21):

The other trick is neat cable installation

Like this? Big grin

http://images.ncix.com/forumimages/C868DFE1-11F6-FF9E-955E14339225E723.JPG

(Here's the same case with proper cable management)



My case is somewhere in between those two.


User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 37
Reply 23, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 14100 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 22):

Like this? Big grin

Note to others - see that image, don't do that!  Wink

That second one is very well done. Mine isn't quite as good as that - the Antec P180 doesn't afford so much flexibility as that.


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17660 posts, RR: 46
Reply 24, posted (4 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 13371 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 1):
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz, overclocked to 3.67 (i took it up to 4.2Ghz once, stable)

If I get this type of system, plus the upgraded graphics card, is it worth going for the upgraded i7 at 3.33GHz? Either for FS9 or FSX with all the bells/whistles....



E pur si muove -Galileo
25 David L : I wish you'd elaborate, instead of just letting off steam. With reference to my earlier posts, I have found some more detailed articles about SLI and
26 FLY2HMO : I'd say no. The faster i7s cost upwards of $500 and you really wont see that much of a difference, besides, the slower i7s can be overclocked to spee
27 USAirways787 : Tip of advice I build computers for fun, I am an enthusiast. I recommend for a processor, the Intel i7 920, there is absolutely no need in getting any
28 Cpd : You can notice the difference between 30fps and 100fps or higher. Movement appears extremely fluid, and seems very responsive. The sense of immersion
29 N1641 : you can have both cores run fs9. right click on taskbar, click task mgr, processes, right click fs9.exe, set affinity. uncheck CPU 0 click ok, go back
30 FLY2HMO : This is true BUT in some screens, LCDs specifically, the refresh rate is very low. Which is why I limit my FPS to 60, since the max refresh rate in m
31 Burkhard : While FS9 itself only can utilize 1 core, it sends demands to the I/O system and into DX9 routines and device drivers - all these can run on a second
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