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nickb84

Ageing PC for FS?

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Hi all, 

 

So after about a 5 year gap from FS, I am back slowly but surely trying to get into it and update my FS world! Have spent the last few weeks updating things in the sim such as AI traffic and also some popular airport sceneries. I like to fly commercial jets so most of the time from big hubs like LHR, JFK etc so have the detailed sceneries. MY PC used to cope pretty well but now as scenery and things have developed my PC is starting to strain and i put it mostly down to the RAM as I only have 2GB (2x 1 GB Corsair 800MHz). 

 

I am planning to upgrade my ram but as I have been out of the picture for a while and I am not the most "tech savvy" person then i thought i would get some general advise on state of my machine and also on what type of ram my rig could cope with to gain the maximum benefit. 

 

MY PC: 

 

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (4 x 2.40GHz) 1066MHz FSB/8MB L2 cache 

RAM: 2GB (yes only 2x 1GB sticks!!) Corsair XMS2 800MHz

Motherboard: ASUS P5K SE: DDR2, SATAII, PCI-e x16, 2 PCI, 3x PCI-e x1

Hard Disk: 3 in total -  2x 500GB Serial ATA II Hard disks (16MB Cache) and 1x 150GB WD Raptor SATA 16MB cache 

Graphics Card: 512MB Geforce 8800GT PCI Express

Power: 800W Quiet Quad Rail PSU + 120mm case fan 

Processor Cooling: Super Quiet 19dBA Intel CPU Cooler 

 

Basically i don't want to buy another PC for the moment so am interested in just upgrading the main components maybe the RAM and the graphics card as well but need some advise to see if the rest of my system will cope with this.

 

I used to use the PC for some video editing too but that is less so the case these do so more of a gaming and web browsing PC now.

 

Any recommendations or thoughts are welcome 

 

Thanks

Nick

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I still use an older computer, but I can tell you that the CPU running at 2.4 GHz is not going to give great results.  FSX really needs to run at 4 GHz or better, but my Q9650 overclocked to 3.8 GHz does pretty well.

 

Considering the CPU and motherboard, even with an aftermarket CPU cooler, 3.2 GHz is probably all the overclocking you can achieve and maintain stability.  That will run FSX, but you will need to keep the scenery sliders at their mid-points.  With scenery at mid-level, the Nvidia 8800GT should be adequate.  As for RAM, I found that FSX did perform slightly better and was far less prone to running out of memory when I upgraded to 4 gigabytes. 

 

I hope this helps.

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I'll give you another perspective that can help you.  I use an iMac from mid 2011.  For my daily and personal computer use I always prefer a Mac, it works better for my life, but I wish I had a gaming PC dedicated just for flight sim.  I put my money into my flying career rather than sim flying so for now I do not have a gaming PC.  I do however use FSX on my Mac in Windows 7 64bit.  Everyone knows that a Mac's hardware is not geared for gaming, but here's my specs to give you a perspective on that you can do.  2.7 GHz i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and only 512 MB of video memory from an AMD 6770M.  I run the PMDG 737 and 777 on it as well as many great airports and sceneries from UK2000, Orbx, Flightbeam, FSDT, Taxi2Gate, FlyTampa, and so on.  I run ActiveSkyNext, and I have run AI traffic, but I found that tends to push it a little far and it crashes after a while, so if I want some traffic I stick with VATSIM flying.  My settings are obviously not super high, but scenery, and aircraft look good, and my frames are often in the mid to upper 20's which is totally fine.  

 

There are some airports that just do not work well with this system.  LatinVFR's Miami V2 works, but the frames are in the mid teens to low 20's, but all other LatinVFR works.  Other big complex airports work, like Flightbeam SFO, UK2000 Heathrow, Taxi2Gate Istanbul, and so on work very well.  I don't know the rhyme or reason why one complex airport works very well, and another is just terrible.  Lighting at a 3rd party airport can be a big problem.  For example Geneva, I can fly in there during day VFR, but IFR or night when lights are on, then the frames are terrible.  Belgrade V2 works great when there are no approach lights.  All other lights at this airport are fine, just approach lights cause problems for me.  At UK2000 Heathrow, I can do night flights no problem, and it looks very nice.

 

Ultimately what I'm getting at is yes with older and under performing hardware you can still have a good experience, but if you are able to upgrade or over clock some stuff, I'd do it.

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I run a q6600, albeit overclocked to 3.1mhz.  FSX performance is ok except for complex payware airports and/or lots of AI.  

 

I'd recommend adding more memory, bring it up to at least 4gb, I upgraded mine to 8gb and installed win7/64 - going 64bit made a big improvement in stablility and has added a couple of years to the life of the machine.  Overclocking is worthwhile as it is essentially a free performance boost, just watch the temperatures and keep the PC clean and dust free.  

 

Used memory can be found quite cheaply on ebay.  I did change my original ATI 4650 graphics to a Nvidia GTX460 and think this is about as far as it is worth going with such a system.   So in summary, overclock your cpu, add more memory, use win7/64 and keep your fsx settings modest :)

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I would look into overclocking ; it's fun and you might add a few FPS.  I would also grab a cheap DDR2 memory kit.  Considering the CPU will be the weak chain, I'd not upgrade anything else.  There comes a point when putting money into an older system won't help at all, and this system has reached that point. With the age of that system, I wouldn't push it too hard.  Overclocking, despite what some say, can shorten the life of components if done aggressively.

 

It's been forever ago that I did a front side bus overclock, but I do remember it was fun and simple.  Unfortunately this new know how won't serve you when you get a new system with UEFI and unlocked multipliers (etc etc). Here's a tutorial:

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/259899-29-core-overclocking-guide

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Hi All, 

 

Thanks for your replies and all the info - this is great. So there are 2 things that I will look at, 1st the overclocking and secondly updating the RAM.

 

Will look at the RAM first and on that point, based on my system specs above can anyone give me a guide on to how much RAM my system could take and if there was a certain type/brand that i should look for? I was thinking to take it up to 8GB (RAM does not look that cheap though!?? I am not with the PC at the moment so i cant check so i thought i would check as well with you guys if any RAM should fit (obviously DDR2 RAM)?

 

Thanks again guys 

 

Nick

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Check the motherboard manufacturers website, they should have online and/or downloadable manuals and lists of what memory was tested and worked with that motherboard.

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hello nick, do not spend money for that aged system.

 

start saving $ 600-700 and you take a rig that can give you some satisfaction, in my experience (with that system you will never have enough detail or a smooth flight to enjoy the experience, no matter the settings or tweaks, even with vanilla sceneries, figured with addon... also traffic should be better disabled with that CPU. At least i had a AMD X4 955be running @ 3.8GHZ and i could not add traffic otherwise FPS where too low. And hope it doesn't rain... i didn't even considered buying a payware airport or complex aircrafts in that conditions. What sim experience is that?

 

I5 4690K (250$)+ASUS Z97-P (100$) +ATI R9 270X (150$) +CORSAIR RAM 8GB (100$) +SSD 120GB (100$) = 700$ and you will enjoy.

 

I7 4790K (350$) + ASUS Z97 (100-200$) + GTX 970 (350$) + RAM 8GB+SSD= 1000-1100$ for almost the best possible experience.

 

I know not everyone can afford a new rig, but please do not spend money for addons you will not be able to use (spec. traffic ones). FS could be a really expensive hobby, most for ADDONs cost, so first of all priority should be given to system, otherwise the risk is you spend 1000$ (easly spent for FS) for addons that do not work properly.

 

First hardware than addon

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