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My First Gaming PC, FS Intended, Help Needed!  
User currently offlineDC18 From UK - England, joined Nov 2010, 11 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 9034 times:

So I have finally decided on building my first gaming pc myself, obviously for the sole purpose of playing flight simulator, FS9 or FSX, and I'd really like your opinions & comments on the components I plan on buying. Furthermore I'd really like you to be honest with me, if its going to be crap and you think I'm going to fall flat on my face tell me, I'd really appreciate doing this build really well, so help me out guys :P!

I'm not going to set my self a budget or time frame for this build, obviously I don't want to spend a fortune but at the same time it's got too be right for me and if it takes months to do, that's fine by me!


Just for your info, here is my current set-up I am using! (its rather naff)

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 545 - 3450.2 MHz ( yes I did over clock this  )

Motherboard : FOXCONN A7VMK

RAM: 4g DDR2

Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 4650 (cringe)


Ok, so here is what i am thinking of purchasing
( as a side note i'm adding links to the price, i'd be grateful if you could tell me if im being ripped off)


Case : Antec 900 Nine Hundred
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/118268


Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E X58 Socket 1366 Gigabit Lan Tripple PCI-E 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/219007


Power supply: Corsair 750W HX Modular PSU
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164950


CPU: Intel Core i7 950 3.06GHz
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166528

RAM: Tbh i haven't a clue what to get memory wise, but i'd like at least 4g. Any suggestions?

HDD: Western Digital WD10EARS 1TB Hard Drive
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/182435

Optical drive: Samsung SH-D163C 16x DVD-ROM
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/129233


And that's about it, what do you think guys? Any good for flight simulator? Have i made any errors in my choices or forgotten anything? The only thing i can think of is extra cooling, but i haven't a clue where to start with that, advise please?

Hope you don't think this post is too long, I'm a bit of a newbie at this, but thanks for taking the time to read!
Hopefully with your help I can build something that will be the Bog's Dollox  

DC

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 9001 times:

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
Case : Antec 900 Nine Hundred

  

I have it. Great case. However, it can get pretty crowded with two larger video cards.

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E X58 Socket 1366 Gigabit Lan Tripple PCI-E 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard

   Good brand.

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
Power supply: Corsair 750W HX Modular PSU

   Again, wise choice.

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
CPU: Intel Core i7 950 3.06GHz

  

However, I must say. I have an i7 920 and that's much more than enough for FS. I have it overclocked to 3.67 and it's more than fast enough. People have taken the 920 well north of 4ghz with liquid cooling. I think you should save a few bucks and get a 920 and spend what you saved towards a better video card, in which case I'd highly recommend an ATI 5870

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
RAM: Tbh i haven't a clue what to get memory wise, but i'd like at least 4g. Any suggestions?

Get 6gb. The brand shouldn't really matter as long as its not generic. With the i7 you get triple channel memory so it's much much faster. So get 3x 2gb sticks. Besides, 4gb wasn't enough for FS9 in my case (heavly modded though) and some newer games. 6GB is the perfect amount for today's games. Anything north of that and you're wasting money.

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
HDD: Western Digital WD10EARS 1TB Hard Drive

  

However, I'd get two somewhat smaller drives and configure them in RAID 0 to make them much faster. Or if you got the cash just get two 1TB drives and put them in RAID 0

Quoting DC18 (Thread starter):
i'd be grateful if you could tell me if im being ripped off)

As far as I can tell no. Go here for some (stateside) good comparisons: newegg.com


User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4881 posts, RR: 37
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8928 times:

No quibbles with most of the components, but I second the opinion on the ATI 5870. It's a good choice.

I'd also recommend more than 4GB ram. Given how cheap RAM is now, 8GB or more shouldn't be too costly. 32GB for my computer (ECC ram) is $900.

Fast HDD are a must for FSX - get two of them and put them in RAID as suggested above.


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8926 times:

Quoting cpd (Reply 2):
8GB or more shouldn't be too costly

Any more than that though is just a waste. Even when running Crysis 2 and a bunch of processes in the background I rarely ever go north of 5gb of RAM usage.

Now if you're planning on running infinitely complex programs to try and discover why women are so complicated, then sure, get all the RAM you can get. Big grin
Quoting cpd (Reply 2):
Fast HDD are a must for FSX - get two of them and put them in RAID as suggested above.

I guess I must also add, SSDs are another waste of money (for now at least) a decent RAID 0 with higher end HDDs is, in the real word, just as fast as an SSD. It won't be until the next new generation or two of SSDs that they will get significantly faster.

[Edited 2011-04-19 19:53:25]

User currently offlineStabilator From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 721 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 8921 times:

Id recommend the i7 2600K Sandy Bride proc. (lots of bang for the buck, insanely easy to OC and very stable) That and the gulftown preform very well on benchmark tests. However, once you get to the gulftown (i7 970) you're paying enthusiast pricing.

I'd go for at least 6-8GB of RAM, but keep in mind, only Windows Pro/Ultimate (?) can run more than 8GB. FS loves RAM. The G-Skill DDR3 1600 Jawbone has gotten good reviews.

I'd also up your PSU...perhaps 850 or 900...then you'll be able to add another video card later if you desire. (Also remember all of your case fans take power too). Newegg has a PSU calculator found here (Very handy and gives you a rough estimate): http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html

Hold off on SSD's.

Id also recommend a new heat sink for your processor, instead of the stock one (also buy additional Thermal Compound, its cheap and better than what comes with the Proc). This will help keep your proc cool when OCing

I get all giddy thinking of building a new rig....off to newegg for some wishful thinking!



So we beat on against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8891 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 3):
a decent RAID 0 with higher end HDDs is, in the real word, just as fast as an SSD

Agreed - I've recently made the transition to Raid 0 and the improvement is noticeable. However, the increased possibility of a disk error messing up a volume (one volume spread over two physical drives) makes regular backups even more important!

Quoting Stabilator (Reply 4):
but keep in mind, only Windows Pro/Ultimate (?) can run more than 8GB

I think the comparison between 32-bit and 64-bit is more important. All 32-bit versions of Windows are restricted to accessing a maximum of 4GB. Windows 7 Starter seems to be the only version that's restricted to less than 8GB in the 64-bit version.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/libr...x#physical_memory_limits_windows_7

Edit: Words sentence better order put.

[Edited 2011-04-20 09:31:33]

User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 8869 times:

Quoting Stabilator (Reply 4):
Id recommend the i7 2600K Sandy Bride proc.

           

I wouldn't. They perform only slightly better than the original i7s but the price premium doesn't justify the very minor performance gains. Not to mention you are sacrificing triple channel memory capability and less PCIe ports (that may change with newer chipsets though). And every serious review I've read echos this sentiment.

Here's the (very thorough) conclusion of one:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/t...0k-i5-2500k-core-i3-2100-tested/22

So I'd still wait for the 3rd generation i7, or whatever Intel has lined up after.

Quoting Stabilator (Reply 4):
only Windows Pro/Ultimate (?)

That is dependent on OS architecture (32bit/64bit) not the version.

Quoting David L (Reply 5):
All 32-bit versions of Windows are restricted to accessing a maximum of 4GB.

All 32bit versions of ANY OS. There's no getting around that IIRC. It's a limitation of 32bit technology.

Quoting David L (Reply 5):
However, the increased possibility of a disk error messing up a volume (one volume spread over two physical drives) makes regular backups even more important!


True, it is seemingly quite the caveat, but truth be told HDDs are extremely reliable, the failure rate is still well above what anybody would need in a lifetime.


User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4881 posts, RR: 37
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 8851 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 5):
All 32-bit versions of Windows are restricted to accessing a maximum of 4GB.

Think it is 3gb, if I'm not mistaken. 64 bit removes that issue. My Windows 7 64-bit ultimate I think can take the maximum amount of RAM I can put in my Mac Pro - not that I'm going to bother to find out. 8gb is fine for most things, and I never use Windows much, only for FSX.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
True, it is seemingly quite the caveat, but truth be told HDDs are extremely reliable, the failure rate is still well above what anybody would need in a lifetime.

I seem to be the one having bad luck with HDDs, I've got one in my network storage that is causing the device to send me email warning messages of impending doom with that, and I should monitor it and be prepared to replace it.

Fortunately, they can be hot-swapped and they all mirror each other - so it's all nice and easy, plus there are the old fashioned backups too. Technology is wonderful when it works well.  


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 8836 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
True, it is seemingly quite the caveat, but truth be told HDDs are extremely reliable

Yes, they are very reliable but it would seem daft to me to take the risk, especially with freeware backup programmes available. Even one failure can still be a pain in the jacksie without a backup.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):
True, it is seemingly quite the caveat, but truth be told HDDs are extremely reliable, the failure rate is still well above what anybody would need in a lifetime.

I don't think I can agree with that, except for those who don't use their PC for much more than browsing the internet. I've seen a few threads here where the the overwhelming response was "You should be backing up your data!". The chances might be slim but if it does happen, you can be severely stuffed without a backup. If you use your PC for considerably more than surfing then backups are a very good idea.

Being caught out once with a hardware fault and once or twice with corrupted files was enough to convince me to start making regular backups - and that was long before I started using Raid 0. I managed to recover most of the important stuff that time but I was lucky. I now use Macrium Reflect to make a disk image backup once a week (overnight) and a differential image backup every other night so I'd never lose more than the current day's work. I can now restore an entire disk or just selected files and folders. I used the free version for a while and liked it so much I bought the full version.

Quoting cpd (Reply 7):
Think it is 3gb, if I'm not mistaken

In practice it might be closer to 3GB available to the user but "officially" 4GB is accessible by Windows. I think it's because of stuff the system does with some of it.


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4409 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8824 times:

My recommendation:

Any I7-930 to 970
ATI 5870
8 GB of RAM - having all files read once in cache is the secret to smoothness
Disks with 7200/min minimum, better 10000.

The WD10EARS is 5400 only, that is the weekest part. I would take the HLHX series, the 600 MB disk is also not too expensive, but that will make system startup and FSX startup about twice as fast, then you can add another large slow disk for large data if you have some.

Go for Window 7 64bit. Development of drivers for 32bit is lower priority now, they just do not perform as well as the 64bit ones, W7 64 is the standard 90% of all gamers have now.


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week ago) and read 8673 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 8):
Even one failure can still be a pain in the jacksie without a backup.

I have triple redundant backups. I save a full system image every several months or so to an internal standalone drive. Additionally I save a windows easy transfer file with just the essentials as well. And lastly should things REALLY get f'ed up I have Ubuntu on that one drive as well. Fortunately I've never had to resort to drastic measures ever. I'm pretty anal with my computer maintenance.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 9):


The WD10EARS is 5400 only, that is the weekest part

Aha! Good catch. I missed that. Definitely get rid of this then. Get at least 7200RPM drive. My two WD 7200rpm 640gb in RAID 0 are pretty damned fast.


User currently offlinesean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 8657 times:

The processor of choice at the moment is the i5-2500k. Cheaper and faster and newer than the i7-950. I wouldn't build anything other than a sandy bridge, and I've yet to read a review that would do otherwise.

Some FSX testing here...


http://www.cockpitbuilders.com/community/index.php?topic=1663.msg12841

and here...

http://www.mycockpit.org/forums/show...PC-built-and-FSX-running-WOW!!!!!!



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 8644 times:

Quoting sean377 (Reply 11):
I wouldn't build anything other than a sandy bridge, and I've yet to read a review that would do otherwise.

Go read any serious extensive review and you'll find plenty that will say otherwise.  


User currently offlinesean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8637 times:

Well the OP says the PC is for the sole purpose of playing flight sim, and I reckon the i5-2500k is the best bet for him.

Everyone's harping on about triple redundant backups, Ubuntu and triple channel memory, and that's not really what the thread is about. Sure the i5 might not be best for encoding video while batch processing a hundred photo's in photoshop, but for a gaming CPU, it's fast and it's cheap.

DC, have a look at overclockers.co.uk too, they have some good prices and sell only quality products.

Sean



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 8631 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 10):
I have triple redundant backups

My apologies. I thought you were saying backups are unnecessary due to the reliability of current hard-drives.

Quoting sean377 (Reply 13):
Everyone's harping on about triple redundant backups

Steady on!   

RAID 0 was mentioned and I only pointed out that the risk would increase "a bit" with such an arrangement.


User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8619 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 14):
. I thought you were saying backups are unnecessary due to the reliability of current hard-drives.

Oh I see. Yeah I wasn't trying to give that impression but no worries lol


User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7565 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8498 times:

With FSX being a 32 bit system, nothing over 4gb memory right now will do a whole lot of good for FS anyway, hopefully flight is a 64 bit system.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 8496 times:

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 16):
With FSX being a 32 bit system, nothing over 4gb memory right now will do a whole lot of good for FS anyway, hopefully flight is a 64 bit system.

Incorrect. That limitation applies to the OS. A 64 bit OS will make all the memory available to a 32 bit program. On a burn in test I did with both FSX, FS9 and other games they were taking up well over 4gb each.

And AFAIK, nobody has released a truly 64 bit game.


User currently offlinegingersnap From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2010, 898 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 2 days ago) and read 8491 times:

You don't need a supercomputer and 4+ GHz CPUs to run FSX smoothly anymore.

I know of a guy who was running FSX with maxed out graphics, and got consistent smooth frames.

He's running,

Intel Q6600 2.4GHz
6GB RAM
nVidia 512MB 8800GT
1TB HDD (not sure of the RPM)
Windows7 64-bit

The CPU albeit a quad-core...isn't all that great. Plus the GPU is verging on ancient these days.

I've noticed, it's more how you tweak rather than what hardware is crammed into your tower. What i'm basically saying is, if you're running a single screen and want decent performance...you don't need Sandy Bridge CPUs and SLI'd GTX590s. Mid-range is all you need if you're dedicating a PC to FSX only.
But I do recommend a 64-bit system, and at least 6GB RAM.

I'm buying a cheap system, with an AMD Phenom X4 @ 3.0GHz, and will use my old 9800GT for the time being. Add a bit of RAM and i'll be good to go for FSX.



Flown on: A306 A319/20/21 A332 B732/3/4/5/7/8 B742/4 B752 B762/3 B772/W C152 E195 F70/100 MD-82 Q400
User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4409 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8482 times:

Quoting sean377 (Reply 11):
The processor of choice at the moment is the i5-2500k.
Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 12):
Go read any serious extensive review and you'll find plenty that will say otherwise.
Quoting sean377 (Reply 13):
Well the OP says the PC is for the sole purpose of playing flight sim, and I reckon the i5-2500k is the best bet for him.

I read that the chip set for the Sandy Bridges still has a known bug which will seriously infect its I/O capacities, some line known to die fast. So unless you are sure this problem is fixed, keep away from any Ix-2x00

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 16):
With FSX being a 32 bit system, nothing over 4gb memory right now will do a whole lot of good for FS anyway, hopefully flight is a 64 bit system.

Since 32 bit systems restrict the usage of the 3 GB available to the system and other process, i often means not more than 1.5 are left for FSX, which can be too low - and no memory for the I/O cache, so every curve you fly means textures have to be read again from disk.

On a 64bit system, FSX can grow up to 2.5 GB, the other applications ( maybe a Simconnect one?) Can satay in memory, and all the textures you used the last 2 hours are still in cache. And this makes a difference.


User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4881 posts, RR: 37
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7662 times:

I got a 120gb SSD yesterday and moved FSX over to it (remapped the Flight Simulator X folder to the new drive, copied the contents of that folder onto the new drive).

It was very easy and painless and I didn't need to re-install anything.

Biggest difference seems to be texture loading - it's very fast compared to what it was before on my slow 7200rpm 300GB HDD. And overall, FSX seems to load up faster too - which is also quite nice. The whole thing is really much smoother now.

[Edited 2011-06-29 18:39:12]

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