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MikeNK

considering some upgrades -- feedback requested

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Hi all - In the never-ending quest for FPS in FSX, I've been considering some upgrades to my current system, which consists of a Core 2 Extreme QX6800 with 4 gigs of DDR2 memory (800MHz), a GTX 8800 vid card, running under Windows Vista 32.Here are some of the upgrades I've been considering. I'd appreciate any thoughts on the relative effectiveness of some or all of these:OS - Move to Win 7 64RAM - Add 2-4 gigs, and maybe faster memory (for a total of 6-8)Vid Card - upgrade to nvidia GTX (280 or 285)HDD - Velociraptor or SSD devoted to FSXWhat say you all? Based on some threads I've read in these forums, I get the impression that the additional RAM will help with a 64 bit operating system because even though FSX is only a 32 bit program, the 64 bit system will free it to use all 4 gigs up to its limit. the faster HDD will cut down on access time (loading scenery). I'm not so sure about the vid card and faster memory though. Are there other options that I'm overlooking?Thanks!

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In my opinion, the improvements experienced from the proposed upgrades depends on what speed you are running the current processor. If you are not overclocking and are using a stock heatsink/fan, money spent on a new heatsink/fan and effort spent on overclocking could produce significantly more improvement since your current components are not that bad. You might also list what motherboard and hard drive you are currently using.

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I concur with Art. More RAM will do nothing for your frame rate. The same goes for a faster hard drive. A video card can help, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a GTX 285 outside of Ebay now, since production of the GPUs which go into these cards is at very low levels in preparation for the replacement GTX 400 series cards to be released in March or April. A faster CPU may be your best bet, but overclocking is the only way you'll get significantly more performance unless you change to a whole new platform and get an i7. You can overclock your current CPU if you're not already doing so, that chip should be good for 3.4-3.8GHz provided sufficient cooling.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been fiddling around with overclocking a little bit in the BIOS by just adjusting the processor speed, but it's still largely a foreign language (I'm not much of a tech guy - done some basic hardware swaps before but nothing complicated). There appear to be a lot of different overclocking options beyond just GHz (bus speed, memory speed, etc, etc), and frankly I have little to no idea what they all do and how they interact. One question on cooling - can the higher CPU overclocking values be reached with air cooling alone? When I moved the CPU speed from 2.9 to 3.2, it started running rather warm-ish (around 60 celcius) during CPU-intensive processing (e.g. FSX). Do you think its possible to mitigate this by increasing fan speed (its a Dell XPS btw)? Or do you think I need bigger/better fans/heat sink or even water cooling?And on the HD - it makes sense that a faster HD wouldn't help with overall FPS, but wouldn't it help smooth out the FPS by cutting down on the texture loading "stutters"?

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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been fiddling around with overclocking a little bit in the BIOS by just adjusting the processor speed, but it's still largely a foreign language (I'm not much of a tech guy - done some basic hardware swaps before but nothing complicated). There appear to be a lot of different overclocking options beyond just GHz (bus speed, memory speed, etc, etc), and frankly I have little to no idea what they all do and how they interact. One question on cooling - can the higher CPU overclocking values be reached with air cooling alone? When I moved the CPU speed from 2.9 to 3.2, it started running rather warm-ish (around 60 celcius) during CPU-intensive processing (e.g. FSX). Do you think its possible to mitigate this by increasing fan speed (its a Dell XPS btw)? Or do you think I need bigger/better fans/heat sink or even water cooling?And on the HD - it makes sense that a faster HD wouldn't help with overall FPS, but wouldn't it help smooth out the FPS by cutting down on the texture loading "stutters"?
Hi MikeNK,Welcome to the forums!You have hit the nail on the head, heat! Also a good overclock sometimes, well most of the time requires some slite voltage increases, further raising thermal issues. So yes a better Heatsink fan and good thermal paste like artic silver #5 will be a good investment.Rather than trying to write a whole new book on the topic I suggest you do some reading on the subject.Try just googling "over clocking Core 2 Extreme QX6800 " You may also want to include "BIOS settings" and along with that, type your make a model is of the motherboard or your PC model# into the search.You will find a tons of info and likely whole forums devoted to the subject on specifics that will get you going.Here is a god jump off point to take you directly there: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/index.php

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And as far as the hard drive (we don't know what you have), it should be large enough to have plenty of unused space (more than 50%?), at least 7200 rpm, 16 or 32 mb cache, and SATA II if supported by the motherboard. For your information on cpu cooling, I don't have the best air cooling but better than stock, and FSX gets my core temps up to 72C. If your bios has an option to up the cpu fan speed, then that would help. Usually it is set to increase speed as needed.

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MikeNK, I would strongly suggest you go with Windows 7 64-bit (or even Vista 64 bit). More memory - always (and 7, I hear from many, handles it better than ANY o/s to date for FSX). As far as cards...Tom's recently reported in their "under $300 category" that 2 x GTX250 1GB's in SLI is a great and cheap way to boost performance. If your mobo is not SLI, then go with the 280.Just IMHO and all that.Cheers and happy flying!

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MikeNK, I would strongly suggest you go with Windows 7 64-bit (or even Vista 64 bit). More memory - always (and 7, I hear from many, handles it better than ANY o/s to date for FSX). As far as cards...Tom's recently reported in their "under $300 category" that 2 x GTX250 1GB's in SLI is a great and cheap way to boost performance. If your mobo is not SLI, then go with the 280.Just IMHO and all that.Cheers and happy flying!
More ram is probably not the best advice for him especially considering where he is at with his system; it would be like throwing money out the window.Also, FSX and WIN7-64 are not the best fit, the best 64 bit OS for AFX at the moment is XPx64 SP2 from the full SP2 CD not web updated version.Mom

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More ram is probably not the best advice for him especially considering where he is at with his system; it would be like throwing money out the window.Also, FSX and WIN7-64 are not the best fit, the best 64 bit OS for AFX at the moment is XPx64 SP2 from the full SP2 CD not web updated version.Mom
Wrong, and wrong (again). With XP-64 Mike, you'll have no chance of ever seeing if DX10 works for you - the demonstrably better frame rates, the realistic and beautiful shadows across the intrument panel as your aircraft turns, etc, etc. You'd be missing out on a lot due to an ill-advised O/S choice (and, please, other 'helpful' posters, don't start with 'blinking runways' and DX10 is "broken" and such nonsense. All high-end add-on vendors doing native FSX programming are programming to the DX10 Acceleration SDK - because you gain so much, and it works).It's a major deal, on a number of levels, to move forward and not backward with regard to your O/S choice! XP is dead.If it turns out that DX10 is not to your liking, you just un-check one box on an FSX menu and voila! - you're back to DX9. BUT, you cannot do this the other way around, as DX10 is NOT supported on XP 32 or 64 bit. It would be a potentially expensive and limiting mistake to go backwards to XP.Sorry for all the confusion above from other well-intentioned posters - they simply do not have their facts straight and/or are handing out old advice that no longer applies. It is 2010 - go forward (Win7-64) not backward (XP64) - you will not regret the decision.Cheers - and enjoy flying!PS More RAM is always good. Always. Especially with Win 7 64-bit or Vista 64-bit. You will never be "throwing money away" buying more RAM. That fact is as true today as it was in, oh, 1995.

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the demonstrably better frame rates
Can you demonstrate for us the better frame rates?
the realistic and beautiful shadows across the intrument panel as your aircraft turns
Yeah really sophisticated stuff there

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A big "thanks" to everyone for their suggestions. I'm definitely learning a lot here.I confess, though, after seeing and drooling over the system specs in the signatures of a lot of the posters here, I'm having visions of just scrapping the upgrade idea and buying the components and building my own super-machine from scratch. I know, it's crazy; my dell is barely two years old and perfectly functional. But I'm daydreaming of sitting in the PMDG 747 at KATL with full UT2 and consistent 30+ FPS. This addiction isn't rational! Must..stop..looking..at..newegg!Mike

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A big "thanks" to everyone for their suggestions. I'm definitely learning a lot here.I confess, though, after seeing and drooling over the system specs in the signatures of a lot of the posters here, I'm having visions of just scrapping the upgrade idea and buying the components and building my own super-machine from scratch. I know, it's crazy; my dell is barely two years old and perfectly functional. But I'm daydreaming of sitting in the PMDG 747 at KATL with full UT2 and consistent 30+ FPS. This addiction isn't rational! Must..stop..looking..at..newegg!Mike
Go with the feeling, Mike...please stare at the moving watch...You're feeling sleepy now...New Egg is your Friend...New Egg is your Friend.... :( ...Core i7...12 GB RAM...Intel SSD Drive just for FSX...triple GTX280's...Win 7 64-bit...water-cooling...40" HD monitor...New Egg is your Friend... :(

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Hi Mike,Things to be aware of with all the OS talk:There are known issues with FSX on WIN7-64 as compared to XP64,Under certain situations as add-ons are added and run together, like the PMDG/Level-D/CaptSim type of well rendered aircraft and scenery combinations like FSDreamTeam JFK/KORD and add-on traffic, after flying for a bit or even right from the startup can result with missing textures and black screens without being able to return to the sim, other times the gauges just drop out.While we have been busy testing various Vista-mode and XP-modes to deal with it on win7, success has been far from being as reliable as it is on XP64-SP2, which is pretty solid, about 99.8% is the best way I can put it.Just enter a forum search for "black screen" or "missing textures & PMDG" to read up on it or feel free to post a question in the FSX or PMDG forums and you will find plenty of help.Certainly we all Like win7, but just be aware that if it is mainly FSX you want to run, then at least consider the problem if you like all these great add-ons, duel boot is certaily a good option.The concept of DX10 was great, however as others have already commented on; its execution is poor at best.The AC cockpit shadows are not antialiased and so look very poor with jagged edges.As for developers, I can speak pretty clearly of this, you will find that projects that are being developed specificly for DX10 mode are next to nil. DX10 Preview mode suffers with various z-buffer conflicts that leave textures flashing on airport taxiways and runways as well as various 3D objects and the total lack of control over AA filtering and the like have left it a Broken mess, most projects are done with some compatability in mind but thats about it.I know its hard to wait but as you maybe aware with NVs new Fermi, Intels six core I7-980 and 6GB/s drives all soon to be out, you might want to just hold off a bit before you pull the trigger.

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I confess, though, after seeing and drooling over the system specs in the signatures of a lot of the posters here, I'm having visions of just scrapping the upgrade idea and buying the components and building my own super-machine from scratch. I know, it's crazy; my dell is barely two years old and perfectly functional. But I'm daydreaming of sitting in the PMDG 747 at KATL with full UT2 and consistent 30+ FPS. This addiction isn't rational! Must..stop..looking..at..newegg!
You are on the right track. While you have a good computer for FSX, you will be disappointed with any upgrade attempts.

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Hi Mike,Lets be a little more real here.Things to be aware of with all the OS talk:There are known issues with FSX on WIN7-64 as compared to XP64,Under certain situations as add-ons are added and run together, like the PMDG/Level-D/CaptSim type of well rendered aircraft and scenery combinations like FSDreamTeam JFK/KORD and add-on traffic, after flying for a bit or even right from the startup can result with missing textures and black screens without being able to return to the sim, other times the gauges just drop out.While we have been busy testing various Vista-mode and XP-modes to deal with it on win7, success has been far from being as reliable as it is on XP64-SP2, which is pretty solid, about 99.8% is the best way I can put it.Just enter a forum search for "black screen" or "missing textures & PMDG" to read up on it or feel free to post a question in the FSX or PMDG forums and you will find plenty of help.Certainly we all Like win7, but just be aware that if it is mainly FSX you want to run, then at least consider the problem if you like all these great add-ons, duel boot is certaily a good option.The concept of DX10 was great, however as others have already commented on; its execution is poor at best.The AC cockpit shadows are not antialiased and so look very poor with jagged edges.As for developers, I can speak pretty clearly of this, you will find that projects that are being developed specificly for DX10 mode are next to nil. DX10 Preview mode suffers with various z-buffer conflicts that leave textures flashing on airport taxiways and runways as well as various 3D objects and the total lack of control over AA filtering and the like have left it a Broken mess, most projects are done with some compatability in mind but thats about it.
Hello PaulThank you for replying to address some of the rubbish being spouted in this thread Saves me the bother , I could mention the stupid rain and snow , lack of VC raindrops , broken weather system ect.Windows 7 64 will fix none of the things that are broken in FSX and manages to introduce a few problems on its own.The facts are that FSX was written for and under XP DX9, is never going to take advantage of all that DX10 can offer.Its shortcomings are never going to be addressed by microsoft, it is in fact a legacy app just like FS9.Just like FS9 it will never take advantage of more than 4GB of memory no matter how W764 allegedly "uses memory better"My vote for XP64, if you value having zero issues with your Sim

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