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JSACKS

Best custom rig for FSX?

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After years of happily using a very trusty, very powerful DELL XPS Gen 4 for FS2004 with 20 hardware peripherals from GF, CH, and so on, I am finally considering a move to FSX and a brand new rig. It has to run FSX flawlessly and must run PMDG without a shudder in particular. I want real life smoothness if possible and it must be able to handle either triple LCD screens or one or two 32" or 37" LCD TV screens. I've been configuring some Digital Storm systems with assistance from an expert FS friend who actually has an incredible DS system, but I am wondering how hi to go with all of the hardware. Should it have the latest i7 990X extreme at 3.46Ghz, overclocked to 4.8Ghz? Should it have 6 GB of RAM or 12? Or 16? And what about the video card? Is 1.5GB big enough or must it be 3GB. Should it be dual SLI or what? Will FSX actually take advantage of all this enormous power if the box is crammed with a ton of hi-tech? Or will a lot of the configuring have been overkill and overprice? Where does one stop and stay "enough"? I appreciate any advice and views, thanks! JS

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See my sig and the sigs of the regulars here like CMeeks, Dazz, Spritflyer, etc...and you will get the idea. No need to go to the 2600K as FSX does not use Hyperthreading...nor is it capable of using SLI. Mark.

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After years of happily using a very trusty, very powerful DELL XPS Gen 4 for FS2004 with 20 hardware peripherals from GF, CH, and so on, I am finally considering a move to FSX and a brand new rig. It has to run FSX flawlessly and must run PMDG without a shudder in particular. I want real life smoothness if possible and it must be able to handle either triple LCD screens or one or two 32" or 37" LCD TV screens. I've been configuring some Digital Storm systems with assistance from an expert FS friend who actually has an incredible DS system, but I am wondering how hi to go with all of the hardware. Should it have the latest i7 990X extreme at 3.46Ghz, overclocked to 4.8Ghz? Should it have 6 GB of RAM or 12? Or 16? And what about the video card? Is 1.5GB big enough or must it be 3GB. Should it be dual SLI or what?
Haha, 990x - that's old school! If this is a dedicated FSX rig you want the i5 2500K (overclocked to 4.5+ GHz), a quality cooler such as the Noctua DH14, a quality Z68 motherboard, 4GB of ram minimum (I have 8, and get something CAS 7 like 7-8-7-24), GTX 580, not SLI. Wrap it all up with a solid 850w PSU, something like this by Seasonic (gold plus): http://www.newegg.co...=seasonic%20850 If you want to play other games go with the i7 2600K, it uses hyperthreading which will give you an additional four virtual cores. (FSX won't utilize those that's why stick with the 2500K).

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Thanks for the posts and advice. So, the 990 is old stuff and the 2600 will be wasted, eh? OK, I prolly needed to hear that. So who should I ask to build me a PC like either of you gentlemen? I can't do it mesself.

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Jonathan, I am sure you can build your own PC. There are numerous guides and it is actually quite easy. Sort of like painting by numbers. Case, motherboard, cpu and fan, memory, power supply and video card. You can put it together in about 2-4 hours. An I2500K processor, a good Z68 motherboard and your choice of video cards along with the memory in a computer case. 850 watt power supplies are a waste of time and heat for a good machine. 600 watts is just about overkill. John

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Ah, John, you flatter me! No, I prolly can't do it. I don't have the time or the inclination, or the knowledge. I will happily pay a firm or expert the fee to build me a nice rig exclusively for FSX. This thread is already an interesting discovery for me. I am pricing rigs with some of the hardware suggested above and it's about $1,500 less than what I've been looking at so far.

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I agree about the 850w thing - just thought I'd get flamed for not recommending one lol. I have a 750w, and used kill-a-watt to check the wattage in use. Not including my 23in LED monitor or speakers, the PC only sucked 360w under heavy 3d load with 3dmark 11 advanced ver. I'd actually like to see how low one could go... a 400-500w high quality might be enough... not sure about running 3 monitors though. Realistically, just check out a 650-750w if you don't want to worry about it. Anyway JSACKS, you can do it! Heck if I can do it -so can you! Everyone here will help you select the proper parts and would help you build if any questions arise.

Ah, John, you flatter me! No, I prolly can't do it. I don't have the time or the inclination, or the knowledge. I will happily pay a firm or expert the fee to build me a nice rig exclusively for FSX. This thread is already an interesting discovery for me. I am pricing rigs with some of the hardware suggested above and it's about $1,500 less than what I've been looking at so far.
Yeah that's because most shops recommend those high end 980/990 extreme cpu's. Waste of money and they make people think they're getting the best of the best... bah!

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Well, that is why I posted here tonight! I wanted to get some opinions on all the very latest and greatest hardware. There is no point spending thousands of extra dollars for 990s and 2600s and so on if they don't get put to the best possible use. I've known for years that FS is a tricky beast and that although a good processor and great GPU are mandatory, there are limits and caveats and so on because FS may not take advantage of the hardware fully.

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You could probably find someone on Craig's List there in the McLean area who would do it for you for an hundred bucks or so.

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OK, I did more homework with my FS friend. At this stage, we are at this (see below) with Digital Storm. What is the consensus? Will it run FSX gangbusters? Let me know, OK? Thanks. Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair 650DExterior Finish: - Standard Factory FinishTrim Accents: - Standard Factory FinishProcessor: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.30GHz (Unlocked CPU for Extreme Overclocking) (Quad Core)Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z (Intel Z68 Chipset) (Features Intel Quick Sync Technology)System Memory: 8GB DDR3 2000MHz GTX-8 Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended)Power Supply: 750W Corsair HX (Dual SLI Compatible)Expansion Bay: - No ThanksHard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (120GB Solid State (By: Intel) (Model: 320 Series)Set 1 Raid Options: - No ThanksHard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1x (256GB Solid State (By: Corsair) (Model: Performance 3 Series CSSD-P3256GB2) (SATA 6Gbps)Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No ThanksOptical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)Optical Drive 2: - No ThanksInternet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)Video Card: 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB (Includes PhysX Technology)Add-on Card: - No ThanksSound Card: Integrated Motherboard AudioExtreme Cooling: H20: Stage 4: Sub-Zero LCS Cooling System: CPU OnlyH20 Tube Color:Blue Tubing with High-Performance Fluid (UV Lighting Reactive)Chassis Airflow: Upgrade Chassis With Zalman Performance Fans (Up to 6 Fans)Internal Lighting: - No ThanksEnhancements: - No ThanksChassis Mods: - No ThanksNoise Reduction: - No ThanksBoost Processor: Stage 3: Overclock CPU 4.9GHz to 5.2GHz (Requires Extreme Series Motherboard)Boost Video Card: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my video card(s)Boost Memory: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memoryBoost OS: - No Thanks, Please do not tweak the services on the operating systemWindows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-Bit Edition)Recovery Tools: Advanced Recovery Kit (40GB Hard Drive Partition of Image With OS & Drivers)virus Protection: - No ThanksOffice: - No ThanksBenchmarking: - No ThanksInstall/Test Game: - No ThanksDisplay: - No ThanksSurge Shield: - No ThanksSpeakers: - No ThanksKeyboard: Logitech Media Combo MK200 Keyboard and MouseMouse: - No ThanksExternal Storage: - No ThanksExclusive T-Shirt: - No ThanksPriority Build: - No Thanks, Ship Within 5-15 Business Days After Order Is Successfully ProcessedWarranty: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty

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The motherboard and CPU cooling are way overkill, you'll get the same overclock with a P8Z68-V PRO and a Corsair A70 (and you won't need to worry about manteinance of the watercooling system), but yeah, it's a great rig

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Thanks, Mark, but those are for another reincarnation of me--if that ever happens. I really appreciate the support and confidence of others on the AVSIM forums, but I will not be building anything. I might upgrade a piece or two later in life, but that's about it. Thanks again. Much appreciated, really! Cheers!

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JSACKS: Get a 2600K, because: "Regardless of the nonsense you may read in forums unlike typical games the larger cache is in fact beneficial to FSX Intel smart cache technology is used by the processor for read-ahead operations which optimizes memory address calls as the system is used, and since FSX is a memory subsystem nightmare in programming design (as Phil Taylor has confirmed) the larger/more advanced the proc cache and its ability to recall data from memory the better the result. I would spend the money on the 2600K" http://www.simforums...topic38910.html I wonder where he read the nonsense?! Whistle.gif

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OK, I did more homework with my FS friend. At this stage, we are at this (see below) with Digital Storm. What is the consensus? Will it run FSX gangbusters? Let me know, OK? Thanks. Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair 650DExterior Finish: - Standard Factory FinishTrim Accents: - Standard Factory FinishProcessor: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.30GHz (Unlocked CPU for Extreme Overclocking) (Quad Core)Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z (Intel Z68 Chipset) (Features Intel Quick Sync Technology)System Memory: 8GB DDR3 2000MHz GTX-8 Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended)Power Supply: 750W Corsair HX (Dual SLI Compatible)Expansion Bay: - No ThanksHard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (120GB Solid State (By: Intel) (Model: 320 Series)Set 1 Raid Options: - No ThanksHard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1x (256GB Solid State (By: Corsair) (Model: Performance 3 Series CSSD-P3256GB2) (SATA 6Gbps)Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No ThanksOptical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)Optical Drive 2: - No ThanksInternet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)Video Card: 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB (Includes PhysX Technology)Add-on Card: - No ThanksSound Card: Integrated Motherboard AudioExtreme Cooling: H20: Stage 4: Sub-Zero LCS Cooling System: CPU OnlyH20 Tube Color:Blue Tubing with High-Performance Fluid (UV Lighting Reactive)Chassis Airflow: Upgrade Chassis With Zalman Performance Fans (Up to 6 Fans)Internal Lighting: - No ThanksEnhancements: - No ThanksChassis Mods: - No ThanksNoise Reduction: - No ThanksBoost Processor: Stage 3: Overclock CPU 4.9GHz to 5.2GHz (Requires Extreme Series Motherboard)Boost Video Card: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my video card(s)Boost Memory: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memoryBoost OS: - No Thanks, Please do not tweak the services on the operating systemWindows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-Bit Edition)Recovery Tools: Advanced Recovery Kit (40GB Hard Drive Partition of Image With OS & Drivers)virus Protection: - No ThanksOffice: - No ThanksBenchmarking: - No ThanksInstall/Test Game: - No ThanksDisplay: - No ThanksSurge Shield: - No ThanksSpeakers: - No ThanksKeyboard: Logitech Media Combo MK200 Keyboard and MouseMouse: - No ThanksExternal Storage: - No ThanksExclusive T-Shirt: - No ThanksPriority Build: - No Thanks, Ship Within 5-15 Business Days After Order Is Successfully ProcessedWarranty: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty
OK, but the 2500K will not run on DDR3 2000. You will have to underclock to 1866 or overclock to 2133. You want DDR3 2133 for best performance. Lots of people are at 5.0-5.2 GHz without water. I doubt heat is the big issue, volts may be. Even with water, you will need at least 1.4 volts to get to 4.9 sooooo, why go high end water? The Maximus is awesome, but what does it do for FSX? Kdub

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Thanks again for more replies and info. The comment on the 2500K not running on DDR3 2000 is interesting to me; I wonder if DS would tell me that if I submitted an order?! Anyway, noted, thanks. I am not sure what I think of H20 cooling. In the older FS9 world there certainly were a lot of cooling issues, it seems. I figured if I was going to overclock by 50%, maybe best to be as cool as possible. But maybe air/fans works just as well...? I had seen today the comment about the i2600K, etc. and thought that was interesting too. I would upgrade to the i2600K based on what I've read. Thanks, all! JS

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I think mine is the best value for money. Maybe if I could do it again i would get a UD4 motherbaord and some 1600mhz RAM.

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Mark: I actually watched the first NewEgg video just now. It was good. Maybe I shall reconsider...! Have you found your huge Nochua fan works well? I was thinking of liquid cooling but I am not impressed with the idea of having to service liquid cooling. Just curious about this item in particular given that we all want 5 Ghz machines. JS

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Make sure you check out the new Corsair H100, which would look beeautiful in that 650D! Here's an excellent review of it at OC3D. The Corsair units are sealed, which means lower risk of leaking, no refilling, or any other servicing is necessary. If they leak and damage anything, Corsair will replace your system. Users who set their corsair units to exhaust air typically see lower GPU temperatures as well because the heat from the CPU is dumped directly out of the case. ...and contrary to the advice above, don't do the 2600k. The extra cache provides no benefit. Certainly not worth $100 more than the 2500k!

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If you are gonna use three screens, it might be worth considering getting a 3Gb GPU. And speaking for myself: I wouldn't invest money in a secondary SSD, a fast hard drive is just as effective and much cheaper. For the first drive I also have a SSD, I love the general speed when starting windows and applications, not sure if it really helps FSX though.Good luck with your new rig.

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If you are gonna use three screens, it might be worth considering getting a 3Gb GPU. And speaking for myself: I wouldn't invest money in a secondary SSD, a fast hard drive is just as effective and much cheaper. For the first drive I also have a SSD, I love the general speed when starting windows and applications, not sure if it really helps FSX though. Good luck with your new rig.
+1 on the 3GB. I tried using both in FSX today and with my favorite scenario, in case you haven't already guessed, ORBX YMML with PMDG 737 NGX it went from about 25FPS to 17FPS. Now I know this isn't really using multiple monitors but its still an impact that would not happen with 3GB of VRam,

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One thing you have to consider with 3GB VRam is that this comes off your VAS. So OOM's are more likely

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Hmm possible. Sometimes you can iron these out, which one, good FPS or no crashes, soo hard!

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