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Rafal

New hardware for FS9

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Hi, captains!The time has finally come for me to get a new PC. My present set is already almost four-year old. After reading hundreds of hardware/software-related posts, seeing other simmers' screenshots with high FPS counter, getting blurry ground textures on every flight, suffering system freezes once it gets hot outside plus seeing all these previewed great addons to come and buy, I can no more stand my PC. I'm even quite close to having my wife convinced that it is a necessary expense. ;)Recenty there has been an interesting discussion on Aerosoft forum about buying new equipment. The advise was not to buy expensive high-end equipment if someone is still planning to use FS9. OK, so here comes my question. For various reasons (like hundreds of addons collected including many that I paid for and enjoy) I am still in the 'FS9 camp'. Thus I'm planning to continue using FS9 and its numerous addons after exchanging my PC. I've read that buying an extra PC with double or quad core and high-end graphic card makes no sense for FS9 since it will not use it at all. As I am NOT a computer specialist, I must admit it sounds reasonable to me. So what processor / mainboard / graphic card / RAM would you recommend to have a very fluent and troubless fun with FS9 equipped with megahubs (EDDF, EGLL, EHAM), complex payware airliners, AS real-world weather, UTE and AI?As for the graphic card I've read much good about GeForce 8800 (I hope I'm right). Now I'm in the ATI radeon camp but I have nothing against switching over if necessary.Another question: would you recommend buying a separate sound card? Could it significantly improve the FS9 experience?I also fly on VATSIM and know it may give me ATC separated from aircraft sounds. But what about the general impressions? I have a 5.1 speakers set but I guess FS9 doesn't work in that system.And the last question, which may seem a bit silly. If I buy such equipment, but with a single-core processor, and decide to try FSX again one day, and possibly (?) take to it for good, wil I have to invest in another PC? Or maybe the price difference between a very good single CPU and a good double / quad (plus whatever else is necessary to operate it) is worth some extra money more to invest with future in mind? Or you think it's better to buy cheaper specifically for FS9 and in case of a possible FSX switch sell and buy again?Thanks in advance for your time, patience and assistance.I appreciate any suggestions since this is a hard decision for me and my technical knowledge won't let me make it on my own.Best regards,Rafal

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Are you going to Custom-build or buy off-the shelf?RegardsJim

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>Are you going to Custom-build or buy off-the shelf?Custom-built definitely, at a small computer shop where I always get good prices (I'm a long-time customer).Best regards,Rafal

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For FS9, I suggest looking for a decent Intel Core 2 dual core CPU: something like the E8400 (2 x 3GHz) or E8500 (2 X 3.16GHz). You should be fine with 2Gb of DDR2 RAM at 667MHz. The 8800GT would be a good choice for the video card: the 512Mb version is fine. Hard drive: pretty unimportant as long as it's got the capacity for FS9 with all your add-ons. Motherboard, power supply and case: doesn't much matter for your purposes: just get the shop to guarantee that everything you buy is compatible with everything else. Operating system: doesn't matter for FS9, though XP might be a tiny bit faster. Sound card: I'm not sure whether FS9 can use a second sound card for separate voice on VATSIM, but FSX certainly can.That specification will also be enough to give you a pretty good flavour of FSX, especially if you are willing to overclock a little. But for more flexibility, the sky's the limit. If you think you might want to dabble more seriously with FSX in the near future without pulling your hair out, I would suggest getting the fastest current generation quad core Intel CPU you can afford, but capable of NOT LESS than 3.0GHz (ie, pretty expensive, unless you fancy some overclocking) with at least 4Gb RAM at 667MHz or above, with Vista 64. No need for a fancier graphics card. You might want to think about a RAID 0 array for slightly faster load-up times, but RAID makes a nugatory difference in actual "flight". If you go down the Vista 64 route (which I recommend because of memory issues under 32 bit operating systems), make sure to study the forums first about the best way to install FSX: basically, (i) ensure you always run with Administrator rights and (ii) do not install to any of the "default" program file locations, because Vista keeps trying to lock them down.My overall advice would be to stick with the cheaper option for now. Intel's next generation of CPUs (Nehalem) just might make a big enough performance difference to persuade you to jump completely to FSX with a brand new PC in about 8-10 months time. If you're not expecting to use FSX much before then, why buy a top end system with such a short shelf life?My final tip would be to RESIST installing FSX as long as possible. This is not becuase FSX is bad. Rather the opposite. FSX has plenty of infuriating faults, including add-on compatibility issues, but in the end it is streets ahead of FS9 in every respect save framerates. So have fun for cheap with FS9 before you sample what you're missing!Tim

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My suggestions are:CPU = E8400 (best single core performance for the dollar today, and a spare core to boot!)RAM = 2GB DDR2 800 brand name value seriesVideo = 7900 any flavour, 256M or radeon 3850 256MBMotherboard = basic P35 eg. Gigabyte DS3LExternal sound card = no, onboard sound is more than adequateIf you think you will jump to FSX one day, then maybe an 8800GT 512M to handle the extra graphics load.Gary

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>My suggestions are:>>CPU = E8400 (best single core performance for the dollarIsn't that overkill for FS9?

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Seeing that I can bring FS9 down to the low teens FPS at times even on my rig, IMO not really. An E4500 instead would save just over $100, and could be overclocked to around 3GHz with not too much trouble, even with the stock cooler.Gary

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My components:CPU: E6850 (it is clear that the good choice is E8400/E8500 due 45nm technology)MB: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R (rev. 2.1)RAM: 2x1024MB Corsair 800VGA: XFX 8800GT 512MB Alpha dog edition (over clocked by XFX ,core: 670Mhz) PSU: Real 680WIt makes very good FPS even in large/complex airport form Aerosoft/Cloud9/...(EHAM/EGLL/

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Guys!Thank you all so much for your precious advice.That's exactly want I needed. They all sound reasonable and will be scanned by my brain now. :)I'm going to do some calculations, comparison and make a decision.I'll let you know later or come asking again if some more specific questions come out of my analysys.Thanks again! Nice to have sim-friends everywhere.Best regards,Rafal

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>Seeing that I can bring FS9 down to the low teens FPS atHow do you do that? I can do it by flying addonplanes in the New York area with aerosoft Manhattan and Active Sky and UT USA and all sliders maxed out except clous and view distances. But for most part I stay above 15-25 fps and see on what system. On the other hand I have heard that FPS is no measurement of performence but low FPS can indicate that something is wtong.If you can do that with FS9 what can you do with FSX?My SystemAMD 64 3200+1 Gb RAM 400 MHzNVIDIA 6600GT AGP 256M DDR3Win XP Home

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Active Sky drawn clouds alone will do the trick of pulling low FPS, and is something I have seen on every computer I have tried FS9 on at max sliders. The impact is less with higher core speed, with about 3GHz C2D core speed being enough to make it acceptable to me. I can similarly get FSX down to single digit FPS with high, but not max, sliders and that's what makes this title unacceptable for my use in dense scenery areas.Gary

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>Active Sky drawn clouds alone will do the trick of pulling>low FPSTrue about the clouds. I guess it's a must have to replace them with low resolution DXT3 ones. There are some packs around, including the AVSIM library.Due to my aging PC and weakening performance, I've recently performend numerous tests with Shift+Z on to check what the largest FPS-eaters are.Surely clouds are in the leading team. Also UTE (which worried me since I just love this addon) both during the day and at night (3D lights). Next was AI traffic, which I finally turned down to 0% (also a pity since airports are such deseted islands now).But you wouldn't guess what made the largest difference in FPS...So, it's... panels (with their gauges)!The difference could be illustrated by numbers:Sitting in the 2D cockpit on the runway of an average size addon airport gives me:around 25-30 FPS in the default 737around 10-15 FPS in addon aircraft (LVLD 763, PMDG 744, FT A320)What a difference, I wouldn't believe before checking!Add AI, bad clouds and UTE and frames drop to just a few on final approach (just when you need fluency and precision most).Thus the idea of finally replacing my PC. :)Best regards,Rafal

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>Active Sky drawn clouds alone will do the trick of pullingI use clouds from FE and not Active Sky.

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