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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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Geez...so this is what Phil had to put up with back in 2007? - you'd think knowledge would have improved by now. No wonder he stopped responding to posts.For the terminally DX10, Vista Win7, "modern world", um, "challenged", let's hear from the guy who actually wrote the program (FSX SP1, SP2 and Acceleration), the esteemed Mr. Phil Taylor of the former ACES (he's now with the Intel on the Larabbee team - yes, Larabbee still exists):On SP2 and DX10, for those who doubt features, improvements, and the real reason it's called "Preview" (hint: not because it's broken), "etc., etc.":"I want to make clear two important details about the DX10 part of Acceleration and SP2:1) From a feature perspective, we do not match the magic screenies item-for-item because those screenies ignored an important visual element

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HelloYes patrick we know all of that Phil taylor post off by heart.Still does not explain the broken parts of FSX though.Run me through why windows 7 memory model is better for a 32bit app, as you seem a pretty knowledgeable chapit is clear from your posts that you are a lot brighter than most of us here, comes through loud and clear from your condescending tone.89 posts, give me a break

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FSX-SP2 DX10 The features we do have are: 1) VC shadows 2) HDR Bloom 3) Water enhancements 4) Efficiency improvements via more Autogen batching, more efficient shaders, and a more efficient method of generating bloom.
Out of those

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HelloYes patrick we know all of that Phil taylor post off by heart.Still does not explain the broken parts of FSX though.Run me through why windows 7 memory model is better for a 32bit app, as you seem a pretty knowledgeable chapit is clear from your posts that you are a lot brighter than most of us here, comes through loud and clear from your condescending tone.89 posts, give me a break
Ouch! That stung. You brute! :(Hit a nerve have we? You're taking this much too personally mad dog, much too personally. Straying from facts and attacking strangers...stooping to that level makes you sound a bit desperate. Give it a rest, go fly, loosen-up - it's a video simulation we're talking here.And 89 posts - yeah, I spend my time flying(!) and programming. Quality over quantity, don't you know, mad dog!Oh, and by all means, stay out of the noonday sun! :( Cheers!

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Ouch! That stung. You brute! :(Hit a nerve have we? You're taking this much too personally mad dog, much too personally. Straying from facts and attacking strangers...stooping to that level makes you sound a bit desperate. Give it a rest, go fly, loosen-up - it's a video simulation we're talking here.And 89 posts - yeah, I spend my time flying(!) and programming. Quality over quantity, don't you know, mad dog!Oh, and by all means, stay out of the noonday sun! :( Cheers!
HelloNo nerve hit , patrickIts just the tone of your posts tends to come across as talking down to folks, there really is no need.

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89 posts, give me a break
Condescending? And the above isn't? Yes, there really is no need.Regards,

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Smart aleck know at all pretender comments of "Mr. Programmer I Am" are only putting this guy deeper in the hole that he fell into as soon he opened his mouth, some of these post read like they were written by a two year old.Putting down other highly experienced FS forum members is pathetic though and then to come back and try to twist things and act like a hypocrite was just another dumb move."Quality over quantity" LOL! This person is a judge of Quality? DX-preview mode offers the least image quality compared to DX9 mode where AA can be chosen as well as other filtering that DX10-preview can

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Entertaining? Absolutely! Let's run it down:Shockwave = XenophobeDtj01 = SycophantI've also noticed that the lot of you exhibit "keyboard courage" - none of you has the stones to use you're full real name. Plus, your collective lack of tolerance for someone who holds a different opinion than you hold on a friggin' game is...pathetic. It does a disservice to folks who are honestly looking for different opinions and ideas here.I must have seriously gotten through to all of you else y'all wouldn't be spending so much time flaming. If my "Programmer Am I" posts were so screwy and 'wrong' to you, one would think I'd just be ignored...instead you feel the need to flame and rant. Again, must have touched a nerve somewhere (maybe knowledge of how these programs and O/s's work together? Who knows - but y'all are riled about something). :( So - Success! FSX Rules! DX10 "Preview" Forever! Down with Outdated Tweaks! Up with Flying the planes! :( SK8TRBOI747, signing off...

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To the OPMy adviceIf you can build yourself, its better , cause you dont pay labour , so can buy better parts.Just built my first PC after getting crazy quotes from PC builders, and being told what i should want instead of what i wanted built.Win764-i7975@4.4Ghz-Noctua ND14 Cooler- GTx285 -(2x Fan controllers) and 10 fans - Mostly noctua 140mm.Gigabyte UD7 MoboLian Li Suond Proof case.D6 gig ddr3 dominator gt 2000Mhz Ram1500 Watt PSUWhen simming FSX you are looking for a speacial kind of PC , not off the shelf stuff, and many custom builders cant do this for you either.For example My Noctua CPU cooler originally came with with 1x120mm and 1 x 140mm noctua cooling fans attached to the heat sink.I replaced the heat sink fans with 3 x140 mm Noctua Fans for cpu heat sink cooling alone. compared to 1x120 and 1 x 140mm. Much better cpu cooling.After some google research on the science of Air flow inside a PC case, i arranged all the 10 cooling fans in PC to take advantage of PC being just under the window where cool air comes into the room. effectivly The PC sucks all virgin cool air coming in the room via window with 6 x 140mm nocuta fans and shoots out hot air via exhaust, which is CPU heatsink and fan asembly of 3 x 140mm noctua fans.Six 140 mmfans bringing air in 3 x140mm taking air out, means dust also gets pushed out of the case along with the heat.purchased two fan controllers to control ten fans, and along with that came 9 temperature probes which i placed exactly where i wanted (something no pc builder or off the shelf pc wil do for you.) After using up 5 temp probes from 1 fan controller for cpu/gpu/ram/north bridge/ Hard drive........ the other four temp pobes from other fan controller i used to monitor temps in areas where air was coming into and out the case. Having temp probes and full control on fans via fan controller makes a very big difference. Added air ducts using tape and cardboard to direct the air to just where its needed. No custom builder or off the shelf pc will do that for you.You dont need more than 6 gig of ram for fsx, but you need the fastest ram you ccan afford at 6 gig ddr3. As you push your cpu speed up , you need to push your ram speed up too to keep up.Important to get a system that can be OC'd to the nth level, then get components you can afford, by that i mean, Get case with good air flow technology, and lots of fans if air cooling. Not just any fans, but bigger the better, size not quantity.Get fastest Ram .Get Best cpu cooler you can affford.This means when you OC you already have the infasructure for OC, no slow ram to slow you down, or poor air flow case to hold you back. Or even a poor cpu heatsink that makes you sweat when you OC.If you are an FSX simmer, life is much much much easier when you make the step to building yourself. Or you have deep pockets and get custom AlienWare Stuff builf for you. Either way off the shelf is hit and miss for FSX.10 Fans, running in my case, i opted for lian li case that comes with sound proofing to keep noise down, but i went to pc shop and purchased extra sound proof pads to things even more silent. The PC is more quiet than my old Antec 300 case with 2 fans and no sound proofing. But am also using quiet Noctua fans. No Pc builder or off the shelf will fit you sound proofing pads exactly where you want.Reaching 4.4Ghz on Air, i can tell you i dont want to hear the words "Liquid cooling ever again" , Costs too much,too messy, and takes up space.Get a PC platform that will help you OC, then buy the rest of the stuff, i mean good cooling, lots of power supply, Fast ram. Then just buy the CPU you can afford and OC the heck out of it. Wait a year then buy the cpu that just dropped 50% in price as upgrade.Beofre the build , On here at Avsim someone said i should look into building pc myself, i replied too much hassle and too scared to break things. But i took the plunge, yes i did break things, but i got better each time, and all the cash i spent on the build was on components not labour. Trick is , once you can get your head around the mother board manual, that is 99% of it done. Gigabyte MObo's are sweet in that respect. But then so are most new MObo's , they are designed for novices interms of building and OCing.EDIT: BIG BIG THANKS TO ALL THOSE YOUTUBE VIDS TO HELP ME WITH MY FIRST PC BUILD..COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOUTUBE.. NOT AT ALL

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