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Help me get up to speed

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Hello all, I've been out of the loop for some time and want to get back into MSFS. My question for everyone is what do you consider the essential addons to FS9 to make it shine? Alternately, at this point in the life cycle would I be better off picking up FSX? My machine is an Athlon X2 4200 with 2 gigs of ram and a 7900GT video card. I'm mostly interested in what sort of environmental and scenery addons I should get, however if anyone has some good smaller commuter aircraft advice I'd love to hear those as well. I think I have the PMDG 737 kicking around on a backup DVD somewhere and perhaps a couple other smaller planes from Flight1. I have had Ground Environment Pro and Active Sky recommended, are those the standard ones or should I be looking at something else?Thanks!Chris

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I have both of those and recommend them.ASv6 and Ground Environment control weather & sky and seasonal ground textures respectively.Also, to complete the set, you might like to think about Ultimate Terrain. This changes landclass details and makes cities, towns and roads much, much more realistic without adding any frame-rate-robbing scenery.Whilst Ground Environment is a good product, if anything I'd say Ultimate Terrain has a more dramatic effect on the look of FS9.As to commuter airliners, the Flight1 ATR is excellent http://atr.flight1.net/ although it's very complex and a turbo-prop, so a quite a learning curve even from the PMDG 737.No less good is the Aeroworx Beech Kingair B200 http://www.aeroworx.com/. This is a sophisticated model but owing to its smaller real-life size, a bit easy to manage as a hobbiest.Going further down the scale again, my current favourite the Digital Aviation Piper Cheyenne http://www.digital-aviation.de/crjsite/l_html/main.html . One drawback with that one is that there aren't many repaints out there for it.Shop around for the CD versions of all of those on the internet and you'll save yourself some money and some installation hassle.Can't recommend any small payware jets as I don't own any.You could try the freeware Fokker F70/F100 http://fokker.avsim.net/ I had the old version 1 and thought it was good and the new version 2 has had good reports. No virtual cockpit on that as yet and I don't think there is an FMC.Lastly, if you have the PMDG 737, look at http://www.fs2crew.com/ This gives you a fully functional, talking co-pilot who allows you to follow authentic checklists with "him" pushing most of the buttons. It will take the 737 to an entirely differnt level of realism.FSCrew is also available for the ATR.

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Thanks for the reply. What is your opinion on the FSX vs. modded FS9 deal? Would I just be better off getting FSX at this point? Not to start a debate on which is better but is there a huge difference between the two right now?

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Can't help you there at all.I have a machine which runs FS9 fairly well with all the add-ons we discussed:-Dell XPS P4 3.6ghz, 3gb DDR2 RAM, GeForce 6950GT 512mb, XP HomeThis was pretty much top of the range when I bought it a couple of years ago and I shan't be buying FSX until I can afford to do the same - i.e. twin or quad core, lots of fast RAM and a top-speed mother board, Vista etc etc.I am definitely waiting until DirectX 10 is out and video cards using it come as standard. There is no point in a big hardware investment until that happens.In other words, it will be FS9 and not FSX for me for the foreseeable future!

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Chris,As with the previous poster, I'm going to wait on FS-X and DX-10.I like what I have with all of my addons for FS2004 and get decent performance.IMHO for FS2004:Active SkyActive CameraUSA RoadsFlight1 Cessna172Dreamfleet ArcherLDS 767Daviator.Com 2004 StearmanCaptain Sim Legendary C-130Kirk Olssen's ViperCoral F-15Iris Simulations T-45JimIntel 3Ghz / 2GB RAM / NVidia GEF 7800GT

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