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betelgeuse

E8600 Or Q9650

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I am trying to finalise a system for FSX and FS9 but am not sure which CPU to use: E8600 LGA775 'Wolfdale' " with E0 Stepping or Q9650 with E0 Stepping. The first is half the price of the second in UK. I will probably not o/c initially but I would like to have the option. Apart from FS I run a LAN in my home, part wi-fi. I also have a large home photo collection so I like a top performing graphics card for stills and home videos. Depending on all this which mobo do you suggest? I guess X48 type, and which chipset? DDR3? GTX260 Core 216 planned. Do I need to plan for Crossfire/SLI? If cash allows I will probably buy a new 24 inch LCD. OS to be Vista 64. Lots of questions, sorry! John

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I am trying to finalise a system for FSX and FS9 but am not sure which CPU to use: E8600 LGA775 'Wolfdale' " with E0 Stepping or Q9650 with E0 Stepping. The first is half the price of the second in UK. I will probably not o/c initially but I would like to have the option. Apart from FS I run a LAN in my home, part wi-fi. I also have a large home photo collection so I like a top performing graphics card for stills and home videos. Depending on all this which mobo do you suggest? I guess X48 type, and which chipset? DDR3? GTX260 Core 216 planned. Do I need to plan for Crossfire/SLI? If cash allows I will probably buy a new 24 inch LCD. OS to be Vista 64. Lots of questions, sorry! John
FSX and SP 1 will use quad cores...BUTI use the E8600 and an X48 Gigabyte mobo with an 4870X2 card and life is great.............. Plus DDR2 mem now,but the GA-X48-DQ6 775 X48 will use DDR3 Mem if you want....Here is my build and I lock at 35 and have no drops at all anywhere.....Case: Thermaltake VH8000BWS BK Power: ThermalTake W0178RU 850W RT SLI EditionMoBo: GIGABYTE GA-X48-DQ6 775 X48CPU: INTEL|C2D E8600 3.33G 775 6MCPU Cooler: Artic Pro 7GPU: VISIONTEK Radion 900250 HD4870X2 2GMem: OCZ 2X2 @ 1066 HD1: 150 Gig Raptor @ 10,000HD2: 300G VelociRaptor @ 10,000 OS: XP Pro SP 3

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It becomes quiet tough to determine which CPU is ultimately better for FSX when comparing the high end dual and quad CPU's, especially so if you are not planning to overclock. With the ever present risk of staring a minor battle on the forum I will say that in this case the Q9650 is the better bet, especially so when looking more long term. Both can be overclocked and the E8600 will go higher more easily (as most dual cores do when compared to quads) but the differences become pretty slim. Out of all the non-extreme quad cores the Q9650 overclocks significantly better than any other quad core - hence its premium at the till. And it's a premium well worth paying too.If you rather stick with 4GB of some ultra low latency DDR2 this will save you a decent bunch of cash which can go towards the Q9650. DDR3 does not bring much to the table yet (other than a high price of course). This choice will obviously affect which motherboard you can use. Do not get a motherboard which supports both DDR2 and DDR3, pick one or the other.I take it that you have both considered and rejected going with the new Core i7/X58? May be more expensive to buy now but will last you a lot longer into the future...For FSX you do not need to plan for SLI or Crossfire as neither has any real benefits unless you are running a 30' screen. Be aware that all pre X58 Intel chipsets only support two ATI cards in crossfire - there is no SLI support. The GTX260 Core 216 is a great choice for your 24" screen.Hope this helps.Konrad

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Thanks, Konrad. I'd more or less decided against i7/X58 because from what I've read, the i7 doesn't add much in FSX, bang for buck-wise. Every 1% gain costs a lot more near the top. If you can persuade me that i7 really delivers worthwhile extra performance then I could be tempted. I am not sure why you think it offers better future-proofing - FS11?I fly all sorts with complex addon sceneries and aircraft. I run dual monitors with WideFS, ActiveSky and Radio Contact. I also run FSInn for VATSIM, and have a complex AI route network using Aardvark, PAI, EvolveAI and other AI planes/routes from WorldAI,and more. I tweak FDEs in my spare time :( At the moment my AMD64 2.4 GHz SanDiego with 1 GB DDR and 7800GTX system copes remarkably well provided I watch the sliders - midpoint mostly. So whatever choice I make I will see a big improvement in picture quality and frame rates. So is it to be i7, Q9650 or E8600?

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I am personally in no position to try and convince you to go with i7 as I have no experience using it. There is a thread started here a week or so back by Nick N specifically about the i7 and FSX which is definitely the place to start.Better future proofing from Core i7? 6GB of triple channel low voltage DDR3 RAM, new on chip memory controller, hyperthreading with 8 cores... these are just the more obvious ones. I am sure that once FS11 arrives the Core i7 will be even more capable relative to the current Quads.Given all you mention you do with FSX (way more than me!) I am even more inclined to recommend the Q9650 quad core. You can assign affinity to core 4 (for example) for some of the software you run alongside FSX, keeping them well away from all the action on cores 1 & 2...Lastly, it's human nature I guess but it kinda sucks spending so much cash (not on i7) and then still not having what can be called latest generation hardware. You will be left wandering for a long time to come how much better that Core i7 rig may (or may not) have been... just my personal opinion and life experience.

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I read that thread started by Nick_N. It focuses on o/clocking the i7. Sadly, at the moment, o/clocking is beyond me. Memory speeds, latencies and FSB settings make my eyes glaze over. Do I need to know all that to build a system which will allow me to run FSX and FS9 well? I can adjust the BIOS if someone tells me the best settings for a particular combination of mobo, CPU and DDR3. But I cannot work all that out for myself - I haven't the background or the knowledge. I want advice on choosing components which will work well together to deliver significantly improved performance over what I have at the moment. The British pound has disappeared down the toilet so more than ever I want bang for buck! Will the i7 give it me? Thanks again, and apologies if I have missed something obvious. John

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I want advice on choosing components which will work well together to deliver significantly improved performance over what I have at the moment. The British pound has disappeared down the toilet so more than ever I want bang for buck! Will the i7 give it me?
I

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So what about this for an i7 system for both FS9 in XP and FSX in Vista 64?Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - Retail versionAsus P6T Deluxe Intel X58 (Socket 1366) PCI-Express DDR3 or should I go for the "OC Palm Edition" of this mobo?Corsair 6GB DDR3 Dominator PC3-12800C8 1600MHz (3x2GB) Triple Channel DDR3 CAS: 8-8-8-24 values at 1600MHz Intel X58 or the cheaper version with higher latencies?:Corsair 6GB DDR3 XMS3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz (3x2GB) Triple Channel DDR3 CAS: 9-9-9-24 at 1600MHz Intel X58.GTX260 Core 216LG GGW-H20L Blu-Ray Rewriter & HD-DVD ROM Serial ATA Drive - RetailAsus Xonar D2X 7.1 PCI-Express Sound Card (Vista Gaming with DirectSound & EAX support)Akasa 'Eclipse' 62 caseWestern Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache 7200 - OEM (2 of these - one for FS9/XP, the other for FSX/Vista 64 Ultimate)Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU Cooler with bolt on for LGA1366 socketI read that the i7920 can be o/c as easily as the i7940 and it is about half the price in UK. Similarly is there much point in going for the lower latency DDR3? Thanks for all the advice. I'm almost there!John

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Asus P6T Deluxe Intel X58 (Socket 1366) PCI-Express DDR3 or should I go for the "OC Palm Edition" of this mobo?John
I

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So what about this for an i7 system for both FS9 in XP and FSX in Vista 64?Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - Retail versionAsus P6T Deluxe Intel X58 (Socket 1366) PCI-Express DDR3 or should I go for the "OC Palm Edition" of this mobo?Corsair 6GB DDR3 Dominator PC3-12800C8 1600MHz (3x2GB) Triple Channel DDR3 CAS: 8-8-8-24 values at 1600MHz Intel X58 or the cheaper version with higher latencies?:Corsair 6GB DDR3 XMS3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz (3x2GB) Triple Channel DDR3 CAS: 9-9-9-24 at 1600MHz Intel X58.GTX260 Core 216LG GGW-H20L Blu-Ray Rewriter & HD-DVD ROM Serial ATA Drive - RetailAsus Xonar D2X 7.1 PCI-Express Sound Card (Vista Gaming with DirectSound & EAX support)Akasa 'Eclipse' 62 caseWestern Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache 7200 - OEM (2 of these - one for FS9/XP, the other for FSX/Vista 64 Ultimate)Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU Cooler with bolt on for LGA1366 socketI read that the i7920 can be o/c as easily as the i7940 and it is about half the price in UK. Similarly is there much point in going for the lower latency DDR3? Thanks for all the advice. I'm almost there!John
Just a couple of hints "if I were you":1. I'd hesitate before gambling on getting a good specimen of the 920. The 965 might be overkill: but it might be worth seeing if you can stretch for the 940 because you will have better odds of getting a decent over-clocker.2. I'd go for the fastest and lowest latency RAM I could afford. There is always a debate about how influential latency is on FSX and I don't pretend it makes a blinding difference: but IMHO (with the E8600@4.33GHz, X48 and DDR3-1600 7-7-7-22 at PL7 with latency at about ~46ns) it makes a subtle contribution in a world in which there are no silver bullets.3. You might want to re-think the GPU. Some opinions previously expressed here, from respectable sources, are that for FSX you'd be better off with an 8800Ultra (or a GTX 280).4. If you go for the P6K Deluxe then do please get the one with the gadget and tell us all whether/how it works. Otherwise, I agree that you should go for the Rampage II Extreme: the X48 version (the Rampage Extreme) has proved to be pretty solid and reliable in my experience and - critically - it has TWO BIOSes, making it very easy to recover from occasional over-enthusiasm.5. If you haven't already, then have a look at the PCSpecialist website (I have absolutely no connection with them, except that I've ordered 2 PCs from them in the last 6 months: both of them fine). I've been eyeing up their prices and if you out-source or re-use your video card and re-use your OS and HDs (and possibly also your PSU), you can pick up quite a good deal - though you might want to check exactly what specification of RAM they offer and any warranty implications of (re-)using your own kit.Tim

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Thanks again to all. I've done my sums and they aren't adding up too well, especially if I have to go for an i7 940. I might have to re-think the i7 set up, and go back to Q9650 or even the E8600 with DDR2. Nothing is ever perfect and compromises always have to be made - fact of life. If I go for the Q9650 with DDR2 can someone recommend a mobo - Sharrow says not to chose one which accepts DDR2 and DDR3. Tim, thanks for the PCSpecialist tip - I've been on their site and I might use them. I've always built my own machines in the past but I'll see what they offer. I'll post again in a few days when I've finally placed an order.John

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If I go for the Q9650 with DDR2 can someone recommend a mobo
That

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Go for the Q9650, motherboard as below, 2 x 2GB DDR2 RAM and the GTX260 Core 216 (do not buy the original non core 216).Make sure you have a decent power supply unit - 550W minimum is what I would look at for this setup. 750W would be better if and when you get to overclocking. Please shout if you need PSU suggestions. Choice of DDR2 RAM is important - what you want is low latency (4 or 5) pretty much above all else. OCZ, Mushkin, Corsair. Others here can give you much more specific suggestions no doubt.If I was personally buying a DDR2 motherboard today I would most probably go with the Gigabyte X48-DQ6:http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/gigabyte_x48dq6/The Asus Rampage Formula, as suggested, is certainly well worth a look. Here are some reviews on it: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3208 http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/as...ampage_formula/I recommend you build yourself - it's not rocket science. Before your OS re-install check out http://www.tweakguides.com/TGTC.html and the Vista Guide.

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Go for the Q9650, motherboard as below, 2 x 2GB DDR2 RAM and the GTX260 Core 216 (do not buy the original non core 216).Make sure you have a decent power supply unit - 550W minimum is what I would look at for this setup. 750W would be better if and when you get to overclocking. Please shout if you need PSU suggestions. Choice of DDR2 RAM is important - what you want is low latency (4 or 5) pretty much above all else. OCZ, Mushkin, Corsair. Others here can give you much more specific suggestions no doubt.If I was personally buying a DDR2 motherboard today I would most probably go with the Gigabyte X48-DQ6:http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/gigabyte_x48dq6/The Asus Rampage Formula, as suggested, is certainly well worth a look. Here are some reviews on it: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3208 http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/as...ampage_formula/I recommend you build yourself - it's not rocket science. Before your OS re-install check out http://www.tweakguides.com/TGTC.html and the Vista Guide.
Ditto on this. All those parts are winners. I have these Mushkins:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820146789They're running DDR2 1128 @2.1v right now.I wouldn't get anything less than a 750 watt psu with a continuous rating. The PCP&C Silencer 750 is a great unit. A 1000 Watt unit might be better if you want to spend the extra $$I have an 8800 Ultra but I'd be very interested in the GTX260 (216) or GTX280, especially with the new 180.48 drivers.The Q9650 @ 4+GHz rules everything but an overclocked i7. That Q9 is a cool running screamer.I have the Asus rampage formula but Gigabyte are great boards too. The X48-DQ6 should be a fine board. I had a P35-DS4 and it, like my current rampage, was rock solid and forgiving.I can vouch for almost that whole list of parts as being solid choices.-jk

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I read that thread started by Nick_N. It focuses on o/clocking the i7. Sadly, at the moment, o/clocking is beyond me. Memory speeds, latencies and FSB settings make my eyes glaze over. Do I need to know all that to build a system which will allow me to run FSX and FS9 well? I can adjust the BIOS if someone tells me the best settings for a particular combination of mobo, CPU and DDR3. But I cannot work all that out for myself - I haven't the background or the knowledge. I want advice on choosing components which will work well together to deliver significantly improved performance over what I have at the moment. The British pound has disappeared down the toilet so more than ever I want bang for buck! Will the i7 give it me? Thanks again, and apologies if I have missed something obvious. John
It hurt my brain when I started learning it too. You just gotta stick with it, ask questions and get advice from guys like Nick and others, and buy good, strong parts so that when you set something wrong (and you will...we all do), you don't corrupt your HDDs. But it didn't take me long to get a handle on it and I'm not that smrt. :) At this time, even with an i7 system, overclocking is what's needed to really bring out the capabilities of FSX (+addons like UTX, GEX, FEX, AI, 5-10m mesh). For instance, try flying in New York under full autogen, scenery, and 8.0 LOD radius. The view is impressive but it will drag any system to it's knees. Still, having the right parts even if you're not overclocking will prepare you for when you do. -jk

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Thanks yet again, Konrad. I read it and apart from my new build (below) I'm very tempted to upgrade a couple of very old PCs with dual core/DDR2. The only possible problem is the number of IDE slots in newer mobos and my aging AGP graphics cards. My old PCs have two HDDs and a CD. New BuildIntel Core 2 Quad Q9650 LGA775 'Yorkfield' 3.0GHz 12MB-cache (1333FSB) Asus Rampage Formula Intel X48 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 (I chose this over the Gigabyte because of its CMOS reset switch - very handy if/when I start to o/c).OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) PC2-8500C5 1066MHz Reaper HPC Edition Dual Channel DDR2 (lat=5)EVGA GeForce GTX 260 "Core 216 Superclocked" 896MB GDDR3Coolermaster Real Power 850w Continuous Modular Power Supply - highly rated recently by Tom's HardwareAkasa Eclipse 62 Case with suitable fans etcZalman CNPS 9700 NT Ultra QuietWestern Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA-II 32MB CacheBenQ V2400W 24" Widescreen HDMI/HDCP LCD HD Monitor

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Hi JohnNice components! Just one or two final thoughts:1. There is some talk about town that modular power supply units, due to all the extra metal to metal connectors, may experience increased resistance and that they may degrade faster over time when compared to non-modular PSU's. Furthermore the Coolermaster you mention has 6 12V rails rated at a max of (only) 18 amps each. Again there are potential disadvantages to this type of configuration when compared to a single 12V rail at say 60 amps. If I were you I would take a hard look at the PCPower & Cooling Silencer 750W - this non-modular single 12V rail PSU has a very good reputation in all the right places and it is priced very well. The PCPower & Cooling website also has more specific info about the above two "issues".2. I use the Zalman CNPS9700NT with my Q9450 and I must say that the performance, whilst certainly acceptable, can be a bit underwhelming when pushing the CPU. The Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme is a better cooler at a similar price. Or look to Noctua if you want something really special.3. I am not familiar with the case - the only potential concern is whether the GTX260 will fit in there? It's a pretty lengthy card! Some older cases have hard drive bays in the front lower section and the fit may be tight. Good to make sure beforehand...Enjoy it!

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Thanks again, Konrad.The PC Power & Cooling PSUs have a reputation for being noisy. My present system has left me with a constant ringing in my ears...even hours after. So, Quiet is King! Well almost. Of course the PSU must deliver sufficient current and I was a bit alarmed to read that only 18 amps would be available from each of the Coolermaster 850's six 12V rails. How did you work this out? Resistance varies. Maybe I am missing something obvious. I considered the Thermalright Ultra 120 and also the Noctua. I was put off both by the need to buy separate 120 mm fans. It wasn't clear from any of the sites I visited just how these fans were to be connected - to the heatsink or to the mobo around the heatsink? There was a mention somewhere of clips - again to be bought separately. Confused? I was! Similarly, it is not clear from where these fans would draw current? Motherboard? Or PSU directly? And finally, whether they would fit into the case. In all of this I've assumed these fans are additional to the 120 mm case fans. The Zalman HSF seemed a more straightforward solution. I've used Zalmans with AMDs in the past and never had a problem with overheating. The Akasa case is large and very wide. I am aware that the GTX260 is around 10.5 inches long. Fingers crossed!John

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"The PC Power & Cooling PSUs have a reputation for being noisy."Only when above 90% load - how often you gonna be there - if ever? I have this PSU and I cannot hear it above the Zalman CNPS9700 and my 9800GTX."Of course the PSU must deliver sufficient current and I was a bit alarmed to read that only 18 amps would be available from each of the Coolermaster 850's six 12V rails. How did you work this out?" I have tried to verify this but am not 100% sure myself. The sticker from the 850W non-modular version for this PSU clearly shows 6 x 12v @ 18 amps each. CPU3D.com say 6 x 12v with 4 @ 18 amps and 2 @ 28 amps... ?"I considered the Thermalright Ultra 120 and also the Noctua. I was put off both by the need to buy separate 120 mm fans." There is a new Thermalright eXtreme version which includes a 120mm fan already in the box. The Noctua comes with a top of the range 120mm fan already installed. Nothing out there will beat the Noctua for silent operation."It wasn't clear from any of the sites I visited just how these fans were to be connected - to the heatsink or to the mobo around the heatsink?"To the heatsink itself of course."There was a mention somewhere of clips - again to be bought separately. Confused? I was!"The Thermalright version without any fans has a clip system already included (2 sets in fact for a push-pull config). VERY easy to use. "Similarly, it is not clear from where these fans would draw current? Motherboard? Or PSU directly?"From your motherboard CPU fan header, like just about all other CPU coolers. "And finally, whether they would fit into the case." The Noctua no problem. Thermalright is a pretty tall cooler so best confirmed before you buy.

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It seems from this review on Overclockers Club that the Coolermaster Real Power 850 does not have a modular design - see Cons under Conclusions. http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/co...werpro850/3.htmI have little clue about electronics (30 years since I did Uni physics) but the bottom part of the table shows ampere ratings of up to 28A at +12V on two rails. The unit is apparently SLI certified by Nvidia which the review takes as meaning that it can drive two 8800GTX 768MB cards in SLI. If this is true is it not a good indication that it could drive a single GTX260 "Core 216"? I just do not know. For cooling I will go for the Noctua because of the built in fan and smaller height. I have to say that for Thermalrite to advertise a Heatsink/Fan without a fan is a mite confusing. Thanks again, Konrad, for your patience and sound advice.

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There are two models of the Coolermaster 850W as far as I can tell - the modular and non-modular one. They seem to both have 6x12V rails but the modular one has 2 of these 6 rails at 28 amps as opposed to all 6 at 18 amps. There is no doubt that the Coolermaster 850W will be just fine for the GTX260 (it will be fine with two of them as well I am sure). I am personally not a fan of these multi rail PSU's - a single powerful 12V rail with enough amps to go where they are needed just sounds most logical to me. Another not so obvious benefit of the PCPower & Cooling Silencer range is the use of only a single 80mm fan which allows for much more direct airflow inside the PSU and leaves more internal vertical space for bigger/better components and bigger heatsinks etc. The only draw back, as you already know, is that at 90%+ load you will hear the 80mm fan pretty clearly. But as mentioned, when will you be at 90%+ load? Most probably never. The idea with the Thermalright with no fans included in the box is so that you can choose your own fan (or two) to use depending on what you want to achieve (very high cfm at high dba for benchmarking, or less cfm at lower dba etc). All fan mounts are pretty much standardised so any off the shelf 120mm fan can be used. Make sure you also buy yourself some decent thermal grease and that you use it correctly. A great article on this topic: http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=38

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Okay, you win! I ordered the 750W PC Cooling and Power and also the Noctua. Just out of interest, I mailed Coolermaster. They admitted that the Real Power 850W in modular version was unsuitable for the GTX260 "216". They recommended the Real Power 900W or 1000W but that did not seem to take into account the additional demands of overclocking the CPU. Thanks again, Konrad.

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