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I bought a second-hand PC with the following configuration:
- Core i7 - 4770S, 3.10 GHz
- ASUS B85M-E
- 16 GB RAM
- 2 x 300 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600

I intend to use it mostly for FSX with triple FHD monitor setup but not exclusively. As I've read, FSX is CPU demanding, however I wonder what role GPU plays considering the triple monitor setup? Does the GPU or VRAM matter more? What would be the best price/performance card for this configuration, either second-hand or new one?

My first choice would be RX570, followed closely by GTX1060 3GB. I know FSX used to like Nvidia more but I'm curios has that changed with time? How are newer Radeons such as RX570? It seems to me RX570 handles better higher resolutions (>FHD), newer software and technology (DX12, MSAAx4 etc), has more VRAM (4GB vs 3) and generally looks like more future proof. I'd also like to try Prepar3D and xPlane, and perhaps some other games in the future.

Other choices GTX 970, 980 or RX580, 590.

 

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14 hours ago, Flion said:

I bought a second-hand PC with the following configuration:
- Core i7 - 4770S, 3.10 GHz
- ASUS B85M-E
- 16 GB RAM
- 2 x 300 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600

I intend to use it mostly for FSX with triple FHD monitor setup but not exclusively. As I've read, FSX is CPU demanding, however I wonder what role GPU plays considering the triple monitor setup? Does the GPU or VRAM matter more? What would be the best price/performance card for this configuration, either second-hand or new one?

My first choice would be RX570, followed closely by GTX1060 3GB. I know FSX used to like Nvidia more but I'm curios has that changed with time? How are newer Radeons such as RX570? It seems to me RX570 handles better higher resolutions (>FHD), newer software and technology (DX12, MSAAx4 etc), has more VRAM (4GB vs 3) and generally looks like more future proof. I'd also like to try Prepar3D and xPlane, and perhaps some other games in the future.

Other choices GTX 970, 980 or RX580, 590.

 

Nvidia is still king.  I would not go with anything with less then 8gb vram. 6gb is the absolute minimum.  Don't mess with the 900 series cards unless it is a 980ti.  I would shoot for a 1070ti or 1080.  What is your budget?

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I7-4770 is still a good cpu. As stated above go with Nvidia...at a minimum a 6 gig 1070 but that said a 8 gig 1070 would be the way to go. Consider getting a SSD...the prices are dropping nicely and you'll be glad you did. You'd have a nice set up for FSX/P3d.

Dave

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Thanks for the information guys! You really opened my eyes. I had a completely wrong idea that the GPU is of little importance. I was even considering buying a quite inexpensive card, such as GTX 660, 750 etc! So VRAM does play a big role in FSX? How about Asus RX580 8gb? I have a good deal on that one, around 130$.

I will certainly buy an SSD. Since we already touched the SSD topic I would love to buy an M.2 however seems that the MB doesn't support it. Can anyone confirm that? Do I have any choices except SATA?

I payed the above mentioned configuration 200eur (~220$), fully functional. I don't have a particular budget for the GPU however it's my personal belief there's no need to spend a fortune on a high end card that can run FSX at super ultra mega giga high settings. I'm fine with turning it down. My only concern is that it runs FSX at good/average/playable frame rate at medium (or even low) settings with tripple monitor setup.

Off topic: How about X-Plane and Radeons (ie RX580). I consider making a change at one point of time in the future.

Duka

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For FSX I'm not convinced you need as much VRAM as others above have suggested, remember as a 32 bit application it can only use 4 GB memory in total (VRAM+RAM+PF). Where the VRAM comes in handy is P3D, where 3 GB is really a minimum for reasonable single monitor performance, I think 6GB is a good shout. FSX does not lean on the graphics card that much but other applications (P3D, Xplane) will so I'd suggest at least GTX1070 or GTX980 to assure reasonable performance in the future, traditionally nVidia worked better than ATI/AMD with FSX but I am unsure if this is still the case.

Your build seems to have a serious lack of storage space. Why not get a 7200 rpm 1TB SATA drive for storage (I have a personal dislike of Seagate, I have far fewer issues with Western Digital), and a smaller SSD can be used to run applications and the OS.

Edited by ckyliu
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To be brutally honest, I don't think a non-overclockable 4770S running at 3.1GHz is going to offer much possibility of success when trying to run a triple-monitor configuration in FSX.  CPU throughput does matter a lot in FSX--most of the rendering workload in FSX is done by the CPU--and a 5760x1080 virtual screen is a big bite for the old software, even on an overclocked CPU in the mid-to-high 4 GHz range.  Use of DX10 preview can help shift some of the workload to the GPU, but I don't think you're going to be able to sustain framerates that are very satisfying no matter what GPU you select.

With triple monitors on a single card I would not consider anything with less than 4 GB VRAM, preferably 6 or more.

Regards

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Thanks Scott,

I'm concerned about CPU as well. Is it going to be able to run FSX at medium low or low settings?

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1 hour ago, Flion said:

Thanks Scott,

I'm concerned about CPU as well. Is it going to be able to run FSX at medium low or low settings?

With triple monitors?  I have to say I am skeptical.  Of course one man's "low" may be another man's "medium", so depending on how much IQ you're willing to sacrifice, it might be possible (e.g. low to no traffic, low to no autogen, clear weather etc).  I have not run FSX for years now, but every time I tried it with a CPU running below 4 GHz (and I had only a single 1920x1200 monitor) I had major problems sustaining usable frame rates.  The first PC that produced what I considered minimally acceptable performance in FSX on a single monitor was an overclocked i7-975 running at 4.5 GHz and a GTX480 GPU.

Good luck...just go into it with your eyes open and realistic expectations.

 

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1 hour ago, ckyliu said:

For FSX I'm not convinced you need as much VRAM as others above have suggested,

OP said:  "I'd also like to try Prepar3D and xPlane, and perhaps some other games in the future"

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1 hour ago, Flion said:

Thanks for the information guys! You really opened my eyes. I had a completely wrong idea that the GPU is of little importance. I was even considering buying a quite inexpensive card, such as GTX 660, 750 etc! So VRAM does play a big role in FSX? How about Asus RX580 8gb? I have a good deal on that one, around 130$.

I will certainly buy an SSD. Since we already touched the SSD topic I would love to buy an M.2 however seems that the MB doesn't support it. Can anyone confirm that? Do I have any choices except SATA?

I payed the above mentioned configuration 200eur (~220$), fully functional. I don't have a particular budget for the GPU however it's my personal belief there's no need to spend a fortune on a high end card that can run FSX at super ultra mega giga high settings. I'm fine with turning it down. My only concern is that it runs FSX at good/average/playable frame rate at medium (or even low) settings with tripple monitor setup.

Off topic: How about X-Plane and Radeons (ie RX580). I consider making a change at one point of time in the future.

Duka

1.  Totally forget AMD GPU's exist right now. Stay away

2.  If running just FSX you can MAYBE get away with 4GB ram.  But with triple monitors that's cutting it close.

3.  If you plan to venture into the P3D and Xplane world 6gb bare minimum.  8GB would be preferred. 

GTX1060, GTX1070, GTX1070ti, and GTX1080 are the cards I would look at depending on budget.  If you can spend more start looking at a 1080ti and the 2000 series cards.

Edited by mpw8679
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Thanks,

I have a clearer picture now. Could you clarify one more thing considering the processor speed - Is the clock speed the only thing that matters or the total processing power achieved with advances in technology? Newer Core i5-8400 @2.80GHz should process more data and give 15% better perfomance than Core i7-4790 @3.60GHz despite the lower clock speed. Is the same true for FSX?

How do they compare in FSX?

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9 minutes ago, Flion said:

Thanks,

I have a clearer picture now. Could you clarify one more thing considering the processor speed - Is the clock speed the only thing that matters or the total processing power achieved with advances in technology? Newer Core i5-8400 @2.80GHz should process more data and give 15% better perfomance than Core i7-4790 @3.60GHz despite the lower clock speed. Is the same true for FSX?

How do they compare in FSX?

The i5-8400 is a 6-core CPU...those throughput numbers are only valid for a multi-threaded workload where all cores are being fully leveraged.  FSX tasks primarily core 0, with much less workload going out to the additional cores.  I'd take the 3.6 GHz 4790 hands-down over the 2.8 GHz 8400 for FSX

Pretty much all of the simulators today (FSX, P3D, and XPlane) still depend on single-core throughput as the most critical determinant of performance.  The slower the primary thread runs, the less work that can be farmed out to other cores or the GPU, and the slower the best framerate.

Regards

 

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What I can see here, the difference between 4770s and 4790 in PassMark single thread performance is about 5%. Can we use the simple math and say the difference is 1-2 FPS on 30FPS or the math is much more complicated and takes the base clockspeed into equation? I belive the difference in performance comes exactly from the clockspeed so no need for additional compensation or am I wrong? Also, it seems that i5-8400 has better both - the overall performance and the single thread performance.

21otymd.jpg

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When they measure the single-thread performance, it's just that--a single thread only, so the chip will clock up to its full turbo speed (assuming the heat sink keeps it below the thermal throttling limit and the chip doesn't exceed its TDP).  A flight sim program is going to present loads to more than a single core--most or all of them to some degree--so the turbo mechanism will not clock to anywhere near max turbo, if it clocks up at all with even relatively light loads across all the cores.

Using a "K" series CPU with an unlocked multiplier, and a suitable matched motherboard with a BIOS that supports overclocking, you can force the turbo onto all the cores up to the best stable speed.  But without the "K" you're stuck with the default turbo mode control logic, which is really only going to get you to advertised max turbo speed with loads present on one, or maybe two cores (on some 6/8 core CPUs).

Regards

 

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3 hours ago, Flion said:

Newer Core i5-8400 @2.80GHz should process more data and give 15% better perfomance than Core i7-4790 @3.60GHz despite the lower clock speed.

As w6kd has pointed out already, that's not true when you talk about single thread performance which is so important for flight sims. Take a look here for a better idea of single thread performance for a good selection of processors: https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/intel_core_i9_9900k_processor_review,7.html. The CineBench 15 - Single Thread chart is run at stock CPU speeds. The IPC / Single Thread chart is run with all CPUs at the same clock speed (3.5GHz) and so gives a better comparison of true single core performance. If you ignore the FX 8370, you can see that's there's less than 20% difference between them all (less than 10% for most of the results). With some judicious overclocking, even old CPUs should produce single core performance not too much different from the latest and greatest. For FSX in particular, FPS in-game has a fairly linear relationship with processor speed - a 15% increase in clock speed should give (very) approximately 15% more FPS. So a 4790K overclocked to about 4.6GHz (not too difficult) would give only about 9% less FPS than a stock 9900K. For the average FSX setup, that would probably only equate to about 3-4 FPS! The advantage of the newer processors is that they are generally capable of overclocking much higher than the older ones.

Edited by vortex681
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Thanks guys! I'll probably go with GTX 1060 or eventually 1070 if I find a good deal as it seems it handles OpenGL games much better. 

 

5 hours ago, Flion said:

I will certainly buy an SSD. Since we already touched the SSD topic I would love to buy an M.2 however seems that the MB doesn't support it. Can anyone confirm that? Do I have any choices except SATA?

Any suggestions for the SSD? No M.2 on motherboard? 

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18 minutes ago, Flion said:

Any suggestions for the SSD? No M.2 on motherboard? 

The only place you notice M.2 or NVMe is in the pocketbook. I upgraded from a SATA 850PRO to an M.2 NVMe 970PRO. No perceived difference.

Cheers!

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My 4770 is the K version. It is unlocked.Whatever cpu you go for think about getting a K version.

Dave

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19 hours ago, Flion said:

Thanks guys! I'll probably go with GTX 1060 or eventually 1070 if I find a good deal as it seems it handles OpenGL games much better. 

 

Any suggestions for the SSD? No M.2 on motherboard? 

Nothing wrong with the Samsung drives.  I have used Crucial and Samsung  and have been very satisfied.  My Crucial is one of the earlier models and it is still going strong.  

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19 hours ago, Flion said:

Thanks guys! I'll probably go with GTX 1060 or eventually 1070 if I find a good deal as it seems it handles OpenGL games much better. 

 

Any suggestions for the SSD? No M.2 on motherboard? 

Nothing wrong with the Samsung drives.  I have used Crucial and Samsung  and have been very satisfied.  My Crucial is one of the earlier models and it is still going strong.  

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I eventually ended up with MSI GTX 1060 AERO ITX 3G OC and Crucial MX500 500 GB SSD. I'm very keen to try the whole setup however I'm out of my hometown for another 3 weeks which makes me increasingly impatient to find out if it will be able to sustain a playable framerates. What are your thoughts? How should I tweak the settings for this configuration?

Also I will install Win 10 from scratch. I read that FSX should be installed to C:\FSX. Any other useful suggestions?

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18 hours ago, jmdriskell said:

I'd put FSX on a separate SSD.

 

Jim Driskell

Why? The old advice about keeping FSX separate was more for HDDs to prevent the drive becoming fragmented and slowing down loading the sim. Modern SSDs are so fast that it's not a problem (assuming there's enough space) having everything on the same drive.

Edited by vortex681

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You may be right but I've got an old box with a 1 G HDD so I installed a SSD for FSX. And the SSDs aren't very expensive.

 

Jim Driskell

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21 hours ago, vortex681 said:

Why? The old advice about keeping FSX separate was more for HDDs to prevent the drive becoming fragmented and slowing down loading the sim. Modern SSDs are so fast that it's not a problem (assuming there's enough space) having everything on the same drive.

Quite true, so long as you have space on a SSD.  With SSD's, the only reason to put FSX on a separate SSD is for drive space consideration.

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