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martinlest2

Advice on new PC specs (HDD/RAM etc.) please...

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Hi,

 

My 'main' FS PC is back in the UK. Meanwhile, on long-term contract working abroad (Sri Lanka), my Dell XPS Gaming laptop (ten years old now and overdue for renewal) on which I was flying FS9 has just died (needs new M/B I think). So I am Flightsimless. Not a happy state to be in of course.

 

I don't want to ship my large PC over so am looking to buy a 23.6" All-in-One when I am back in the UK (assuming I can take it as hand-luggage). The specs I am considering are as below. Any comments? I am trying to keep the total, inc. VAT to under £1000 sterling.

 

Specific questions: I've already had one SSD die on me, so have gone for a hybrid drive this time. Can't say I noticed any increase in performance in FS9 (just somewhat faster loading times) with an SSD drive rather than HDD. Fair enough?

 

In the interests of cost I am opting for 8GB RAM. Is 16GB really going to be an advantage in any way? I usually fly FS9, but may also put FSX on the PC too, even though I hardly ever fly it.

 

Many thanks for any comments on these points and the spec in general. No options for different graphics are available... that's my main concern as I use nVidia Inspector. :-(

 

Thanks!

 

Processor (CPU)   Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Processor i7-4790S (3.2GHz) 8MB Cache Memory (RAM)   8GB KINGSTON SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (1 x 8GB) Graphics Card   Intel® HD Graphics 4000 Video Memory Technology up to 1.7GB Hard Disk   2TB 3.5" SEAGATE SSHD, SATA 6Gb/s 7200 RPM (64MB + 8GB SSD CACHE)

 

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No takers, so a shorter question!

 

PC will have a 4GHz i7-4790K CPU & nVidia GTX 970 4GB GPU.

 

Question: I will only, in essence, have FS9 and FSX on this PC. Is 16GBs RAM, rather then 8GBs, a total waste of money (£62 at current rates for the extra 8GBs)?

 

Oh, one other point )(in passing) - I don't need to install a /4GB switch into the fs exe file if I have a 64-bit O/S? Or do I? I did this some years ago, but have forgotten the 'rules' (I'll Google this again anyway).

 

Thanks

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With 8GB RAM you'll have the maximum 4GB your sim can use, plus 4GB reserve for what Windows and other programs will use. Non of my current or past flightsim computers had more than 8GB RAM and besides the limitation of the 4GB, by the 32-bit simulator, I never had any trouble with RAM.

 

If you're worried about RAM you could install CleanMem. You can have it automatically clean up RAM every so many minutes and for me it works fine. You wont notice anything in the sim when it runs and it keeps RAM use to it's minimum. You do need to go through the default profile, though, and make some changes to fit your system and preferences.

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Actually my FS PC only has 6GBs and I never have issues (especially with a 64-bit O/S). Tempting to go for 16GBs in a new setup, but in practice I think it will make no difference at all to performance - just psychological. I am not doing video editing or whatever on the PC, only FS9/FSX.

 

Very wary of software that 'reclaims' RAM (from past advice and expert experience), but thanks for the tip!

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I tried quite a few RAM cleaners and I know the problems with those, but CleanMem works in a different way and runs only a few seconds when triggered and I havent noticed any problems at all. I'm not very good with technical explanations, but on the website you can find all the details about how CleanMem is different. 

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OK, thanks. I'll certainly look now and maybe try it out if I get any problems with RAM levels, but I doubt Win7 (or Win10) + 8GBs RAM will need the 'help'.

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OK, a bit nearer to deciding what to go for. However, although an Intel i7-4790K (@ 4GHx) is definite, I can't make my mind up over:

 

1. ASUS H81I-PLUS vs ASUS H97I-PLUS M/B

2. 8GB RAM vs 16GB (Kingston Hyper-X Fury DDR3 1600MHz)

3. nVidia GTX 960 2GB vs nVidia GTX 970 4GB

 

As this is a backup system and I save about £150 sterling with the 2nd. options, I wonder if any small difference (would it be small though) I might notice side-by-side, if I had the two compare, is worth the extra outlay. Given I have a great CPU in both, what do folks think? Any real reason to think the more expensive options are worth it in FS9 (or FSX, though I rarely fly it).

 

Googled for hours, but not much about how this might pan out in MSFS of course...

 

M.

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Your system will be serious "overkill" for FS9 though! Remember that both FS9 and FSX do not take advantage of hyperthreading. I don't think a "back up" system needs an i7 CPU.

 

1. ASUS H81I-PLUS vs ASUS H97I-PLUS M/B

2. 8GB RAM vs 16GB (Kingston Hyper-X Fury DDR3 1600MHz)

3. nVidia GTX 960 2GB vs nVidia GTX 970 4GB

 

I assume you intend to do some overclocking (that's what the K allows you to do with the i7-4790K processor).

1) Go for a Z97, Z87 series can have compatibility issues with Devil's Canyon CPU's, why are you looking at H series boards?

2) I'm also considering 16MB RAM for my build but 8MB is likely OK for most people, I wouldn't consider anything less than 1866MHz DDR3 though.

3) Can't help you much with 9## series GPU but more VRAM is definitely good for future-proofing the system.

 

If you're rather new to flightsim or don't have lots of addons already then I would urge caution with FSX - all the tweeking etc - I still use FS9 sometimes! Please be aware of alternative sims:

X-Plane

Prepar3d

Flightgear

DCS World

IL-2 Sturmovik

Rise of Flight

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Thanks...

 

No, I'm not really new to FS. Started with FS2002 when it came out and have been posting here for over 12 years now. I have hundreds and hundreds of addons (actually thousands if you count each a/c model and scenery entry), many payware. My FS9 folder is about 150GBs now: I still fly FS9 far more than FSX, but need a new rig to run both even so.

 

My preference now is for a mini-PC, so that I can travel with it as hand-luggage when I fly (I spend most of the year working away from the UK).

 

I think that in the end, getting a new PC is as much about psychology as anything else! 8GBs of RAM, may be enough but for a little more I can get 16GBs, for instance. I guess most people don't want to think they haven't gone for the maximum they can afford when they get a new PC (I only do so every 5 years or thereabouts).

 

The spec so far then, is:

 

ASUS® H97I-PLUS: Mini-ITX, LG1150, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs

Intel® Core i7-4790k (4.0GHz) 8MB Cache

16GB KINGSTON HYPER-X FURY DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz (2 x 8GB)

4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 970

1x480GB KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE SSD, SATA 6 Gb/s

1x240GB KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE SSD, SATA 6 Gb/s

CORSAIR 550W VS SERIES VS-550 POWER SUPPLY

NOCTUA NH-L9i CPU COOLER

Windows 7 x64 Premium

 

To get more than 1600MHz RAM I'd need to upgrade the M/B, but to do that I'd have to add around £100 sterling, which is probably not justified? Why do you say you wouldn't consider anything under 1866MHz? From what I've read elsewhere I am not going to notice any difference in the sim by using faster RAM than 1600MHz? (Actually 1866MHz is not an option for this build - I'd have to go with 2133MHz + the much pricier M/B to support it).

 

M.

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No, I'm not really new to FS.

 

Sorry I should have looked more closely at you avatar! Re the DDR3 speeds, when I last checked there wasn't a noticeable price premium from 1600 to 1866 and in synthetic benchmarks there wasn't much difference from 1866 to 2400, but the 1600 lagged behind a little.

Q1) Will the board not support 1866MHz RAM via XMP profile?

Q2) Maybe you should consider an i5-4690K CPU instead and save about £80?

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Sorry I should have looked more closely at you avatar! :P

 

Probably go with 2x8GB 1600 MHz ... for this mini PC I can choose 1600 or 2133MHz only.

 

Hmmm, you are right, I could save about £100 with the i5 CPU... I could spend that on the 2133MHz RAM and the compatible M/B. Or....

 

i5-4670K@3.5GHz & 16GB 2133MHz RAM

 

Or....

 

i74970K@4GHz & 16GB 1600MHz RAM.

 

I'd have said the latter before you mentioned the i5 CPU, but as even FSX doesn't support quad-core or hyperthreading, and this rig is purely for FS9/FSX, probably better to go for i5@3.5GHz & 16GB 1600MHz RAM and save myself some cash! I'll need a UPS anyway here, that'll buy me one!

 

Is there any advantage in FSX/9 to a multi- over quad core? Seems a quad- works far better than a dual core, from the Googling I've done.

 

Too many imponderables!

 

(Not going to overclock, no. I am bringing the PC back to Sri Lanka where the tropical temperatures might kill an o/c rig  in time, so I'll see how I go with the default clock speeds!).

 

BTW:

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Sorry I should have looked more closely at you avatar! :P

 

You've been around here longer than me - humble apologies!!!

 

I really think for you the i5-4790K (get the overclockable version in case in the future you might use it in another build) + 8MB RAM kit would give you the performance you want and ave £££s. It's worth mentioning that some modern sims like DCS World don't utilise hyperthreading. The reason I'm going for the i7-4790K is for future-proofing as my new build has to last 4 to 5yrs.

 

Re multiple cores in FS9. I believe that FS9 will itself be running off of a single core but which leaves the other cores for Windows or advanced addons to utilise. FSX will take limited advantage of additional physical cores, but I think it's mainly for things like terrain loading. FS9 would probably be good on a fast dual core system but for a new build, even on a budget, I wouldn't look at less than a quad core CPU.

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i5-4690K, I guess you mean. Probably, but of course there is conflicting advice wherever you look (as ever!). The FSX guru at Toms Hardware (and others) seem to think that the multi-core i7 is worth the outlay for FSX. You can add an AffinityMask setting to the FSX config file (as I have with PC in the UK), but whether this adds or detracts from performance it'd be hard to say.

 

In the end, when I am spending a four-figure sum on the PC, the i7-4790K over the i5 CPU only adds another £80..  No, I wouldn't get less than a quad-core, I agree.

 

Ho-hum...

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Ok, at the risk of boring everyone silly (I myself am a bit obsessed with making the right choice of course!), the difference between this:

 

Processor (CPU)

Intel® Corei5 Quad Core Processor i5-4690K (3.5GHz)

Motherboard

ASUS® H97I-PLUS: Mini-ITX, LG1150, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs

RAM

8GB KINGSTON DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz (1 x 8GB)  - am trying to get 2 x 4GBs!!!

Graphics Card

2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 960 - 1 DVI, HDMI, 3 DP

1st Hard Disk

240GB KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE SSD, SATA 6 Gb/s

2nd Hard Disk

240GB KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE SSD, SATA 6 Gb/s

 

which is my minimum spec, and this, which is my maximum (differences in bold):

 

Processor (CPU)

Intel® Corei7 Quad Core Processor i7-4790k (4.0GHz) 8MB Cache

Motherboard

ASUS® H97I-PLUS: Mini-ITX, LG1150, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs

Memory (RAM)

16GB KINGSTON HYPER-X FURY DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz (2 x 8GB)

Graphics Card

2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 960 - 1 DVI, HDMI, 3 DP

1st Hard Disk

480GB KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE SSD, SATA 6 Gb/

2nd Hard Disk

240GB KINGSTON HYPERX SAVAGE SSD, SATA 6 Gb/s

 

is about £200. I wonder how FSX would run in the cheaper option. Since I hardly ever fly it however, I might be tempted to get that cheaper system and just enjoy FS9 on it (which I assume would run just great with those specs). On the other hand, £200 isn't a huge sum of money to get the better spec. That said, even the better spec will be yesterday's news within 6 months, so...!

 

And even the cheaper spec is far better than my 'main FS PC' back in the UK (with its i7-950 CPU)!

 

Thanks again for the input!

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Hmmm, another thing, re the GPU. I run FS9/FSX on two screens. In FS9 I have FSNavigator and/or other charts & maps on one screen and the sim on the other. Is the GTX960 2GBs (4GBs???) still a good choice or will the GTX970 really be worth the (substantial) cost difference?

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