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computer upgrade/MD-11

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I would like to buy a new computer with flight sim in mind. I currently have a upgraded HP with 2 gigs, and a Gforce 6200 card. I can't upgrade to windows vista because of the chip-set. So right now the MD-11 looks far into the future. Could I get some recommendations on computers that can give me the best performance.Thanks for your help...ChrisBeech 1900c737 series747 Queen

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Hello Chris-the question comes up time and again and usually Ryan is quick to respond with his favorite set of hardware options. This time, I think I beat him to the punch, so let me post what I consider "best bang for the buck *today*" (and I say "today" because this post viewed in 3 months will be completely meaningless ;-)).I am assuming money is "no object" (relatively speaking) as we tend to go "all out" for our PCs. However, not all of my choices are "top of the line" at the moment; CPU-wise especially, I tend to choose 2nd or even 3rd best mostly.a) Case / power supplyGet a water-cooled solution - Swiftech or AquaCool are the two best choices today in the market. If you're handy with PCs, you can fit them in after buying the case. If you're not, you can select a pre-built case with them in already.Power supply: Get something "big" - i.e. 750W and up, if you wish to feed top-of-the-line VGA cards. If not, a 500W will do just fine.:( CPU.No question here for me: the Q6600 that's out now (Core2Quad 6600) is the best bang for the buck.c) MotherboardAnything with the P35 chipset that just came out - so you can upgrade to a Penryn CPU later. ASUS P3K or ABit are good options.d) RAMGo for 2GB or 1066MHz RAM for that P35 chipset - or again, if budget's a question, go for at least 800MHz. Make sure you compare SPD settings as you might find yourself requiring to underclock in order for your RAM to work properly.e) GraphicsLook for an 8800GTX - the ATI equivalent is not out yet. If budget is important, go with the 7950GT (w/ 512MB RAM) and put aside another $500 or so for after Xmas. The ATI 2900 (DX10) card isn't up to snuff with the NVidia line right now.f) Hard drivesSome swear by the Raptor line of Western Digital. I'd tend to agree but I don't see THAT big of a difference to make me want to go that way - it's way too expensive, comparatively speaking. Instead, put some cash towards a striping-RAID solution with one disk for Windows and two (yes - two) disks in a striping RAID configuration for FSX - the speed increase is quite large.g) ScreensEither aim for the Matrox TripleHead2Go (or TripleDooDah as some affectionately call it) with three 19" LG or Samsung monitors, if you can afford it (but keep in mind there's a performance sacrifice there), or go with two 19" screens plugged into your 8800GTX - performance is really good with it. My personal favorites are LG 19" screens - whatever is out today. (They tend to be updated very frequently).h) Sound cardGet a Soundblaster. Doesn't matter which one - I am not big on sounds anyway. Don't rely on the on-board sound solution - it drops your FSX fps performance by 10-20% and it's not worth it.Hope this helps!Cheers,

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Only thing I disagree with there is the video card - the GF9 series is coming out around Christmas and the initial reports are that it's at least 3 times as powerful as the 8800GTX. This is gonna be really important if you intend on playing any DX10 games other than FSX. The first few are out now like the new Company of Heroes update, and the performance is pretty bad even on the high end 768MB 8800GTXs. The GF9 is gonna be the true DX10 card that you'll want if you're intending to get Crysis and the other new games coming out...If you have to upgrade now but want to get the GF9 later, I'd say the 640MB 8800GTS is actually the best bang for the buck - it's nearly half off the price of the GTX and it really isn't that much worse performance wise.Check out www.hardocp.com - my fav site for benchmarks and reviews.

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Lefteris/Ryan-You mentioned the P35 motherboard which would be compatible with an upcoming Penryn CPU. Do you know if intel's D975XBX2 is compatible with the Penryn. I'm actually looking to upgrade my intel pentium D CPU to Intel Core 2 extreme (QX6600) and a compatible motherboard with this CPU is D975XBX2. So, if I go for this upgrade do you think in future I would be able to upgrade to the Penryn CPU without having to change my motherboard. Let me just highlight a few specs of my PC:OS: Windows VistaCPU: Intel Pentium D 2.80 GHzRAM: 2GBGPU: nVidia 8800GTXCan you also please tell me if this upgrade is a good choice knowing that my bugdet can't go over $1500 whether it'd be today or 3-4 months from now. FSX is the only game I play on this system.Kind regards,Khurrum

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If the socket is the same on that board and the bus speeds and whatnot remain the same when the Penryn comes out then yeah I don't see any reason it shouldn't be compatible...I'm personally waiting until Christmas or slightly after to do my upgrades. The new hardware coming out should be a fairly substantial leap over the current Core 2/8800 stuff and that's what I want since I play other games besides FS...

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Hello,May I suggest scouting Tom's hardware (--> google this) ?It gives indepth but relatively easy information about Mobo, graphics cards, GPU, sound card etc... Just follow the links on their site.Hopefully it helps you to orientate and understand what all the fuzz is about dual/quad cores, FSB, ...Good luck with the reading.Hopes this helps a bit.Dieter

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I agree, this one's worth waiting for:http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39829Also, looke here:http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2007/06/06/p3...pports_pcie_2/1(Other PCI-e 2.0 support, what was the X38 'posed to have? Hummm.) So, wait for the post-July 22, $250 Q6600, then snag a cheapo 7XXX PCI-e Vcard. That'll end up being your 2nd Vcard to drive a couple of 19"-ers. FSX isn't gonna be DX10'd/MD11'd 'till Oct/Nov anyway. Also, Anandtech rumbles that the X38 will release along with July 22nd price cuts. http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i=3002We'll see. But make sure you ask Santa for that red hot 9800 . . . and a (dual??!) 42" 1080p setup.

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Thank you all for the great response to my question. It's amazing to have people from around the world answer such a novice question for a humble simmer like myself. Again.. Thanks for all your help!!!Chris

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so wait, you're saying the Q6600 will be ~250 post july 22nd? if so, I think I can hold out another month myself...

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>so wait, you're saying the Q6600 will be ~250 post july 22nd?>if so, I think I can hold out another month myself... $266 is what I've heard/read. So yes, I would wait another month until the price cuts.

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$266, to be precise. Frys will have it for $250 on release day. (There aren't many, but livin' in the US does have some advantages!)It's a preclocked at 2.4, but it'll go to 3.0, easy. On good air (Tuniq), 3.2-3.4 is getting done. Why wait? Here's what's next. The C2D shrink to 45 nm, (Penryn) will be initially clocked at about 3.0. It will have better HD video decoding capability (aren't Vcards handling most of that these days) and a new SSE4 instruction set. SSE4 doesn't even exist yet and will be a solution searching for a problem to solve for quite a while. For instance, the current SSE3 instruction set was introduced years ago and is just now falling into main stream use. With a Q6600 at 3.0 ghz, you're getting (virtually) a quad Penryn for 250 bucks. Megabucks cheaper and sooner to boot. Sweet.

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well.... why would I want a quad core CPU when FSX (or anything else for that matter)doesn't support quad core? just curious

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FSX SP1 supports up to 256 cores Emir...

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>why would I want a quad core CPU when FSX (or anything else>for that matter)doesn't support quad core? just curiousAs Ryan said, FSX does support quad core. Just head over to the FSX forum, I'm sure you'll find someone there running FSX with a Quad Core C2D.Logic Pro for the Mac supports Quad Core as well, I've got quite a few friends running it with Quad Core Mac Pro's.

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cool guys... thxint he hardware forum I must have misunderstood that FSX does not support quad core...guess i'll link them over here

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I just bought this:Product number GC674AAIntroduction date 29-May-2007Country/region sold in: USCanadaHardwareBase processor Core 2 Quad E6600 (K) 2.4 GHz1066 MHz front side busSocket 775Chipset Intel P965Motherboard Manufacturer: AsusMotherboard Name: P5BW-LAHP/Compaq motherboard name: Basswood3G-UL8EMemory Component Attributes Memory Installed 3 GB Maximum allowed 8 GB (4 x 2 GB) (64-bit OS) 4 GB* (4 x 1 GB) (32-bit OS) *Actual available memory may be less Speed supported PC2-5300 MB/sec Type 240 pin, DDR2 SDRAM Hard drive 640 GB (2 x 320) SATA 3G (3.0 Gb/sec)7200 rpm16X DVD(+/-)R/RW 12X RAM (+/-)R DL LightScribe SATA drive Must use Double-Layer media discs in order to take advantage of the DL technology Must use LightScribe-enabled media discs and supporting software in order to take advantage of the LightScribe technology I know that OEM systems are not great for overclocking- but I'm hoping not to (or at the most some light ClockGen stuff) and I got a good deal and didn't want to wait any longer. I am using my nVIDIA 7900GS from my old computer (A 64 4000+ at 2.4GHz) and will try to run FS9 on Vista until the DX10 cards are out (thoughts??).Ryan and Lefteris (and others with knowledge in this area), could you PLEASE review and advise if it will suffice for FSX (747400X/MD11/737NX). I plan on upgrading the VC soon (waiting on DX10). Also, the power supply, and MAYBE the memory (currently 3 GIGs of PC2-5300 but the Asus board supports PC800 memory).Also, the drives (2 x 320) are SATA3 and RAID 0 compatible. Any TANGIBLE bentfit to RAID 0 or just put FS on the second drive?I will look over all the Vista and FSX knowledge bases in OPS but again, planning on FS9 until the 400X is released (at least :)Thanks- and sorry for the rambling.Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

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I've been looking at some "name brand" gaming computers and came up with a few that might do the job for FSX. I just want to make sure that these systems will support flight sim X.The first one is the alien area 51 alx.second is from voodoo computers, "the insane" version, which is quite a bit more expensive than the first. It is not my intention to "plug" these systems, only to make sure that if I spend my hard earned money, it will give me the BEST performance available. I'm sick and tired of using a system that can not perform the way the game is intended. I've also looked into building a computer, but I run into the lack of support in case I have problems.Once again, any help would be greatly appreciated.Chris aka "ready to spend some money"

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OK- after considering wiping the drives and going back to XP I am trying to convince myself to stay with Vista- the thought is we will all (for the most part)be there eventually anywhere- so I might as well get used to it now......Ryan and Lefteris and other "gurus" PLEASE chime in with your thoughts on this and the rest.My questions now boil down to:a)Should I upgrade the RAM anytime soon (currently PC2-5300- not 800MHZ) or will this be ok? Do you think there would be a TANGIBLE difference- I really am not concerned about performance tests- just the overall FS experience.b)Should I convert to RAID 0? Currently Vista and everything else is on one drive :C (which is also partioned to :D for the restore directory) and the second drive :E has FS9 only. These are SATA 3G drives- so am I really looking at a TANGIBLE difference? There is a utility for this pre-installed so it should not be too difficult if needed.c)Currently using my old nVidia 7900GS- confirm that it would be best to wait for the 2nd generation DX10 cards instead of upgrading now......d)With this setup, and with SP1 for FSX- would the 747-400 and the upcoming MD11 run WELL- 24+FPS at EGLL/KJFK or KATL/KORD?Thanks- and keep your fingers crossed!Best-Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

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Never upgrade ram just for speed. Ram speed numbers (DDR2 this-or-that) are just speed ratings, like a tire. A tire rated at 80.0 mph will not make the tire run at 80.0 mph. You must drive the tire to that speed with something. For a computer, that 'something' is the Front Side Buss. So, . . . 1) First, you must be (somewhat) familiar with bios setups to get any speed benefit (at all) from ram that has a faster speed rating. Just pluggin' it in won't do it, 2) and Second, you will need scientific instrumentation to tell any difference between ram speed increases, even if you manage setup the bios correctly.3) It's entirely not worth the trouble (that is, unless you're a an entirely mad scientist, like me. There is a 'fun factor' to consider)Raid: Well, if you have the hardware, do it for sure. You will double your tranfer rates . . . but this is NoT the whole story for FS. Our game loads 15-25K files for a flight. That's why it takes so long. The drive has to transfer these files into ram. That's where an increased transfer rate will help. But first, the drive has to find the files. That's called "Access Time." This Access Time is an extremely large part of the total time it takes to load a flight. A Raid will not help decrease access times. Those 10K RPM Raptors have much better access times, but a raided set of 7200s will provide faster transfer rates every time. It's a trade-off. Performance wise, I'm guessing that a 2-3 drive 7200 raid will load flights in about the same time as one 10K RPM Raptor. With a Raptor, transfer rates will be slower (vs a raid), will loose 200-300% in capacity ($ for $), but you will get a 25% decrease in access time. Is it worth it? IMhO, this is a huge increase in cost for a marginal (at best) benefit. But this might be a final straw: It appears that Raptors are broken with Vista: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/2007/06/25/w...ice-with-vista/Danger, Will Robinson.So, back to the 7200 RPM raids? Well, maybe. Consider this comparison for FS: I have found that the most noticeable decrease in load times came from using Ultimate defrag with a single drive. The theory is that data on the outside edge of a HD's platter can be accessed faster because it is rotating faster. Ultimate Defrag has a feature where you can select any folder to be placed at the outer edge of your HD. I told it to put the entire FSX/9 folders out there and I noticed a difference. The listed access times in the HD's technical data sheets are averaged access times. The fastest data loads are coming from the outside edges and the slower from inboard of that. The Raptor's access time numbers are averages too. Since the 7200 RPM-ers are accessing files from the fastest area, might the 7200-er's actual access times be approaching the Raptor's averaged access times? Hummm. Gotta take it where you can. Then, I tried to Ultimate DF my (2 drive, 7200 RPM) Raid 0 with this same method and found it made NO difference. Raid pre-Ultimate DF and post-Ultimate DF flight load times did not change. Bumnmer. However after Ultimate DF-ing my single HD and my Raid 0 are now loading the FSX splash screen, then the Amazon and Quito approach missions in exactly the same amount of time. Hummm? I don't think Ultimate is handling my raid in an 'optimal' fashion. If I could get the data out the the edges of my raid drives, that'd be the ticket, but so far it seem that isn't happening. Access time is a Big Deal in FS. To sum up. If you have the hardware, go with a raid 0. FS is not the only thing you do and you'll notice the machine feels much more responsive. You must have a backup (a 3rd drive). Vista has a whole-drive image maker that I can (thankfully) testify works fine. If you only have 2 drives, use one for you system and the other for backup. Do NoT Raid 1. Make an image onto the second drive, then unplug it.

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Hello all,If you are in the UK, the latest edition of Custom PC magazine has an article on what type of setup is required to run FSX. Get a copy and have a look, not only will you see what system they tested it on, you also have the best mag for getting info on future upgrades.Justin

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Thanks Sam-Thats EXACTLY the sort of response I was hoping for- clear and analytical. As I do not have an extra HD at this time, I will wait to RAID 0 the drives. Glad to hear the memory timings are also something measured by tests- not real FS experiences.Now- do the pundits think this will run FSX ok? Also, what is the best way to run successfully in a window- I hate Full Screen mode- and never have found it any faster (IMHO). Also- is there an app like Ken's FSAutoStart (or will it run ok in Vista as well)? I suppose I could manually shut these down- I lost my CH joysticks and button controls (no joysticks active in FS9- just through FSUIPC due to the TG) and then later a HUGE slow down in Denver last night- then I figured out that AVG was running a full scan :(Also, I am running the "texturemaxhold" and some other tweaks from this site- what frame rate do you suggest locking at- currently at the previous 24- but I would like to let this processor run wide open :)Thanks again- and please weigh in on the FSX opinions (i.e. if it will run successfully on this machine.Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

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OK- up and running FS9 with a LOT more detail. Locked the FPS at 25 and using most of the VOZ/Koorby tweaks. What program killers (used to use FSAutoStart- what do I use now?) are available for VISTA what particular FS9.cfg tweaks work best for the 744/F? Also, if you run nVidia (and this is NOT a video chip preference survey ;)- what nVidia Control Panel settings work well for you, again, primarily for the 747-400/400F........thanks!If this turns into a good resource, I will upload to PMDG OPS for others- thanks and sorry for the psuedo-hijack mickymouse :)Uber Moderator :) Ryan and Lefteris and ALL other Computer Guru/PMDG Afficianados- PLEASE chime in- I value your opinions greatly- thanksBest-Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

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Ryan- from your prior postings it seems like you check this forum quite often- would you please review this post and comment re. the MD11 and 747-400F (X) running on this system under Vista and FSX? I would really appreciate it as you and Lefteris and very few others (perhaps Robert would comment as well?) are the only ones I know of actually running that software now. Thanks, I know its a pain to have to respond to one user, but please oblige when possible. Thank you very much- and if you could flag Lefteris for a second opinion I would be eternally grateful (ok, maybe just very grateful :).Best-Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

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Perhaps the most significant tip I have found for running FS9 in Vista was from Ryan in the nVidia graphics forums. Apparently the nVidia drivers (for Vista) are not optimized yet and there is a flag issue with the AA function. Ryan points to the nTuner software. A download and setup later I was flying the -400 in resplendant glory. Thanks Tabs- see my confidence in you was well placed! BTW this "fix" apparently works for FSX as well- same nVidia issue. Hopefully the next driver release will have this resolved.I'm guessing Ryan, Lefteris et al are too busy (hopefully because of a pending release-we can only hope) to be bothered with this thread right now. Perhaps someone, anyone, who is CURRENTLY running the -400X could look this thread over and offer insight into how it will run on my specs?My concern is after all the upgrading, I am still locked at 25FPS, lens flare off, texture blending off, AI at 0 and sun glare off. Also low water texture and No dynamic scenery. It is smooth but I am only running default scenery. Admittedly I fly mostly in the EGLL area and almost always online, but Squakbox and ACARs run on a separate machine. Shouldn't I be able to turn on everything and STILL have good frame rates or is this just a by-product of Vista? Will the specific quad core support in FSX lead to better performance under FSX (yes, I have read all the initial reports PRIOR to SP1- so I am aware this might be a pie in the sky- no pun intended)?Thanks for your time! Best-Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

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I had recently posted about upgrading to a new system. A few options which included some of the top five computers, i.e. dell, gateway, alienware, voodoo, hp, etc. Could anyone with a vast knowledge of what to buy, and what will be compatible with FSX stear me in the right direction. Trying to stay under $5,000.00 usd.Thanks again,ChrisPMDG aircraft are heavy hitters on the FPS. Need something that is not going to stutter when I look out the window at fl 310.

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