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Opinions on this hardware build out for FSX...?

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My current PC is four yrs old, and I would have upgraded or replaced soon anyhow... at least that is how I am justifying replacing it to better run FSX :~)Here's what I'm thinking about building:AMD Phenom 9600 Quad Core ProcessorAMD Crossfire capable motherboard (790X, etc)AMD/ATI Radeon 3870 512mb x 2 (crossfire mode)4 gigabyte RAMWestern Digital 10,000 rpm Raptor 150 gig SATA driveVista 64 bit (64 bit = recognize all 4 gigabyte of RAM)Alternatively (but more expensively):Intel Quad Core Processor @ 2.6 GhznVidia SLI capable motherboardnVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 512mb x 2 (SLI)4 gigabyte RAMWestern Digital 10,000 rpm Raptor SATA driveVista 64 bit I know the Intel processor is faster but I need to keep expense somewhat under control.Low cost alternative:Intel Core 2 Duo processor @ 2.4 GhznVidia SLI motherboardnVidia GeForce 8600 GT 512mb x 12 Gigabyte RAMSeagate 160 gigabyte 7200rpm SATA driveVista 32 bitKeeping in mind that my current PC is as follows so any of the above would be a huge performance increase:current setup:AMD Athlon XP 3000+BioStar nForce2 motherboardRadeon 9600XT 256mb AGP vidcard768mb DDR RAM (PC400)Maxtor 100 gigabyte 7200rpm ATA133 driveXP Home SP2I also realize that both ATI and nVidia's DX10 Vista drivers are not up to full speed yet and that Crossfire and SLI aren't supported in DX10/Vista yet. Yet. Eventually they will be, hopefully.

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If your primary objective is to achieve max FSX-playability ... I'd have a couple of observations:1) The Nvidia 8800 has been implicated in some problems (flashing runways, CTDs using menus). I don't have this card, so can't give you a personal view, but my opinion, having read a LOT of posts, is that DX10 isn't ready for primetime on the driver side. Gamers using this card with the few other DX10 games available are reporting similar issues (so I have read.)2) DX10 in FSX is demonstration purposes only (for the reason cited above, I would assume) although I gather some people are flying the sim with DX10 enabled and living with the bugs because of the increased performance they get with bloom enabled.3) 64-bit Vista? If you ask me, Vista isn't ready for prime time, and you'll have fewer problems with XP/SP3. Vista is also obscenely expensive with little to no added value and a adds LOT more DRM.4) FSX is CPU hungry, not video hungry. Adding dual video cards will not enhance your playability. Spend money on cores, rather than your video card.Just my opinion.

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Agreed on the videocards. Whether you go with Nvidia or ATI you only need one. FSX doesn't even tax a decent single 7 series nvidia card, it's all about the cpu. SLI or Crossfire will buy you nada with this sim. The menu CTD issue is mostly with 7xxx series nvidia cards (I had one, and had the ctds). The 8800's for the most part seem to work fine, my 8800 ultra runs FSX/sp2 perfectly. The only problems I've heard are with the 320mb or 640mb versions. The 512 and 768s seem good to go.Generally in my experience ATI cards are slower but more stable, nvidias faster but buggier. If you play a lot of other games which are generally gpu demanding then an 8800 is probably your best choice, but if FSX is your sole gaming app then ATI might be safer.Vista is simply unfinished. I'd wait until some feedback on SP1 for it sometime next year before diving in there. My vista ultimate experience was nothing but a massive headache and turned FSX into a sheer stuttering mess. XP is still king unfortunately and I reverted to it within two weeks of installing Vista, and minus a lot of hair. Also be aware that Vsync is totally broken in DX10, it can't even be forced in drivers, so if screen tearing drives you as batty as it does me, FSX DX10 is a non-starter.Definitely get the fastest quad core you can, and that basically means intel. AMD's new phenom struggles to match the performance of a midrange intel quad (QX6600). If you go with any quad definitely look into water cooling for the cpu, it'll buy you a fair bit more headroom for overclocking, which you'll likely need to do to get FSX to perform well. Quads generate a ton of heat and air cooling isn't really sufficient, perhaps with the exception of the new intel 45nm Penryn QX9650 which uses far less power.Good luck. :)

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It's been a long time since I've responded to any threads but I do read all these FSX and Scenery-Design Avsim forums daily, which by the way I really enjoy...I was blessed to retire 6 years ago at 52 years old as fiber optic engineer from a major Telco, To keep busy and in all the latest technology which I really like I started a PCServer repair business which I have much enjoyed running and which from the beginning has kept me very busy so I feel I have some good computing experience...Ever since Vista came out, and for some time before, I was training on this new OS so I could repair and maintain the various flavors of Vista that seem to exist out there...I too, like so many, struggled with the lack of drivers and Vista compatible software available until a week ago when the very latest, and last missing component drivers, were finally turned made available for my system... They were the Nvidia, Vista-64 bit drivers, that would officially let me turn on my 2 SLI Video boards and reap the benefits of SLI's use of multiple Graphic boards...This last week I have set up my SLI custom settings for all my Vista games and I have to say the increase in FPS, and mainly smoothness, are very highly improved over a single GPU card in Vista64, and more importantly over Windows XP Pro 32... This came as a real surprise to me and I guess after a year of frustration with Vista, not only for me but also my clients, I didn't expect 64 bit Vista SLI to out perform Win XP Pro 32, but for me and for whatever reasons it does by a large margin... We know the 4 core processors play a big roll here too now that FSX can use them... I've read that FSX cannot use SLI but I am and I absolutely see a 40% increase in FPS and mainly smoothness over using just 1 video board...Also I might note that much has been written in the blogs about the so called 4gb SLI Vista barrier that inhibited SLI from working... Whether or not this problem ever existed I don't know but I do know that finally my SLI works with 4gb of ram and it is so smooth and so fast that it has truly thrilled me, especially in FSX within and around large airports and under quite high graphic settings... Only a few settings are not maxed and they are Autogen which is set at Very Dense and AI Traffic which is now set at 75%... Others like GA, Road, boat traffic is at 15%... Weather is at medium and 60 miles minimum... I always run Real weather so there is a big load there as we know and my water settings are 1xhigh, Global is maxed...FS9 shows higher FPS in Win XP Pro 32 under SLI but it is a totally different beast in that it is nowhere as smooth as SLI in 64bit FSX, at least for me it is and with no CTD's or out of Ram errors no matter how long or complex the flights, AI, and weather...I have run Futuremarks'3D6Mark Benchmarks and in the Vista Ultimate 64 bit OS, with Quad Core AMD Opteron 270 processors, and 4gb of 4200 DRAM and I'm seeing a solid 40% FPS increase in SLI over a single GPU... My Windows XP Pro 32 bit OS which I dual boot to on my same Server tower, just on another SATA2 hard drive, consistently shows roughly a 35% increase in SLI mode over a single Nvidia Geforce 7800GTX...Most SLI users have read over the last couple years that SLI only offers roughly a 33% increase in FPS speed overall... We see great increases in some programs and maybe only 25% in others which makes folks question if the extra expense of SLI mode is really worth it... Of course there are the new SLI-3 drivers and MOBO's available now that will handle up to 3 SLI boards for those who inherit a great Aunts fortune, or win a lottery like my next-door neighbor did to the tune of $5.2 million... After taxes he took a 20 year annuity for $175k per year and still doesn't mow his lawn... ha.I was all set this week to purchase a new DX10, XFX-Nvidia Geforce 8800GTS, 512mb DDR3, XXX factory over clocked, lifetime warranty GPU that one of my buddies, who also runs a PC repair business recommended... He says it will totally blow away my DX9 7800GTX 512mb GPU's, and for what I thought was a pretty decent price of $340... I then downloaded and installed the latest Nvidia 169.25 drivers, which for the very first time since I installed Vista Ultimate 64, turned SLI on properly... All this time my SLI has always worked flawlessly on Windows XP Pro 32 and in all benchmark tests always showed about a 35% increase in most games and business programs that used it, AutoCAD Architectural Desktop 2006, etc...I still would like to upgrade to a DX10 card and will eventually but after reading review after review the last few days my 7800GTX's are rated still a close equal card for card except for the missing DX10 hardware, so for me I think I'll hold off for a while and try to get my money's worth out of my 7 series cards now that SLI is turned on...What a tremendous difference in smoothness at much higher graphics settings I'm seeing now in SLI... FSX is interesting in that you may not see a real high increase in FPS numbers but the smoothness provided by a second GPU in SLI is so welcomed especially in and over large cities and airports... I had noticed an increase in FSX loading times and smoothness after SP2's install but now combined with SLI working I finally have what maybe they intended FSX to be...System combinations in hardware, software, and even down to chipset levels, can make for an infinite variation of FS performance for all of us so it becomes really enjoyable when that magic combination of hardware and hex code finally come together...Merry Christmas to all...bnickSystem Specs:Server Workstation Vista Ultimate 64 Tyan Thunder S2895 Mobo 4: AMD Dual-Core 270 Opteron processors 2: Asus Nvidia Geforce 7800GTX 512mb SLI Mode Graphics 4gb SDRAM 42001: Western Digital 500gb SATA-2 drive (Vista 64) 3: Western Digital 250gb SATA-2 drives ( one dedicated for Win XP Pro 32)24" Dell 1920X1200x32Creative AudigyX-Fi Extreme Music 7.1 Surround Sound

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>Quads>generate a ton of heat and air cooling isn't really>sufficient, perhaps with the exception of the new intel 45nm>Penryn QX9650 which uses far less power.>>Good luck. :)>>I think thats somewhat misleading.....I run my Q6600@3.4GHZ at 29C idle and max under heavy load for hours it reaches 50C tops....You just need good air cooling and case cooling, I use the ANTEC 900 case thermaltake ultra120 heatsink with a yate loon fan 120mm....I use the go stepping Q6600. The temperature only starts to rise to levels that would need water cooling when it hits 3.6GHZ and the voltage is required to be a LOT higher!IanQ6600@3.4GHZThermaltake Ultra 120 With Yate Loon 120MMInno3D 8800GT 512MB 1280x10244GB Crucial Ballistix 800MHZ RAMVista X64 Ultimate

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I've "tried" Vista 32bit more times than I have fingers and toes to count on. I kept wanting to love it and fully adopt it but it's got too many problems and indeed in my experience anyway, my games are running with lesser performance.So regardless of whatever hardware that you choose, I'd have to say stick with XP for now. As someone else might have mentioned, Vista is not ready for primetime just yet IMO, though I wish that it were because visually it's quite appealing to me.

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Are you sure you'll run SLI ? If you like a future proofed PC, you should go for a X48 motherboard, Penryn at 3.4 to 3.8 GHz and Vista 64 / 4 GB RAM. Depends on your resolution, but a single 8800GT (G92) should do the trick.Heiko

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My opinion is the intel Q6600 is the best bang for the buck right now. I have played computer chess daily for the past 1 1/2 years at playchess.com... one thing FSX and comp chess have in common: more (threads/GHz) is never enough. I know several there who run the Q6600 from 3.4 to as high as 4.0 stable... on air... for many hours running Rybka (www.rybkachess.com) which is a stress test in and of itself. On air with no problems. I have no info from there on phenom as intels have been most popular since the release of Conroe.Personally, I built a system similiar back in July of '06 similiar to bnick's, except mine has the opty 285s (4 threads/2.6GHz) and just one ATI X1800... running Win XP x64. The personal experience I have with Clovertown (5355s) and Phil Taylor's interview with ExtremeQuest (http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=5wKe3V1l6Dk) has convinced me that my next build (Feb hopefully, fingers crossed) is using Harpertown (Newegg has the E5450s and X5460s now). An 8-way seems the right path for me.There's a great post on FSX and the Q6600 here: http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho..._id=31642&page= Hopefully there will be more benchmark postings there with phenom and penryn.Rob O.

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>Are you sure you'll run SLI ? If you like a future proofed>PC, you should go for a X48 motherboard, Penryn at 3.4 to 3.8>GHz and Vista 64 / 4 GB RAM. Depends on your resolution, but a>single 8800GT (G92) should do the trick.>>Heiko>>I do want a future-proof PC. That's why I was leaning towards Vista64 and 4 Gigabytes RAM. Great to hear of bnick's experience w/ Vista64 and the latest nVidia drivers? I used to overclock back in the day, LOL I've been a PC hobbyist for awhile, but had my head out of it lately... trying to learn what's hot and what's not currently, and what will hold its ground for years to come. Best overclock I ever got was a Celeron 300 on an aBit mobo (Intel BH chipset based)... those things used to run @ 450 easy... 50% overclock... hard to achieve today. But like I said, haven't had my head into it for awhile. X48... assume that's an Intel chipset, and I've read about Penryn.... smaller die size Intel quad core (?) I do doubt I'll overclock again, unless its proven to be rock-stable with a cooling unit that's whisper quiet. My current old PC is pretty noisy on fans and the new one is going to need to be quiet. Question: Mainstream Intel processors are still all 32 bit, yes? So to run Vista 64 one would have to have an AMD 64 processor?

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Any new Intel processor currently shipping has the x64 instruction set (this goes back a few years to atleast Pentium D I believe). AMD was first to market with AMD64 in their Opterons (2003?) and I think they were the ones to push Microsoft into developing XP Pro x64 (which is based on Win Server 2003 SP1). Intel came out what I understand to be an indentical x64 instruction set (EM64T) several years ago (shortly after AMD).So no... any Intel Core2 you buy today like Conroe, Yorkfield etc... are 64-bit.Fwiw, I run XP Pro x64 exclusively (I never owned the 32bit version!)... The only caveat with x64 is to make sure what you own has 64-bit drivers. I can't use Rhapsody (only 32bit support for now). So if u have a camera or the drivers for your joystick hardware (no XP Pro x64 drivers yet for my Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar afaik) make sure it's supported. My printer/scanner (HP OfficeJet G85) works fine with the drivers that came with x64 Win. There is always the "dual boot" option. http://www.planetamd64.com/ is a good place to check for driver info. My understanding of 32bit software apps (in fact almost all I have is 32bit software)... mine all work... the ones that won't might be one that uses a 16bit installer (16bit apps don't work). Also, I was a Symantec AV user until x64 a year and a half ago. There was no "simple" AV solution from Norton at the time so I found an excellent AV from avast! http://www.avast.com/eng/x64.html It's free for the individual user (Home Edition)... u just need to register and the license is good for one year (which u just renew/retype ur info to get the new free license).Hope this helps,Rob O.

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Excellent, I'm going with an Intel processor then. Probably the 2.4Ghz Quad Core q6600. Anyone know the best motherboard chipset to put it on? As far as motherboard manufacturers I like Gigabyte, MSI, and Asus.

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>>I think thats somewhat misleading.....I run my Q6600@3.4GHZ at>29C idle and max under heavy load for hours it reaches 50C>tops....>I have a Q6600 (G0 stepping) but am currently running it at stock 2.66 ghz. Can you recommend any sites that explain how to overclock?

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Okay, I've got it narrowed down. I'm also toning it down a bit, and putting less into the video card.- NZXT brand tower case w/ NZXT 500W power supply- MSI P6N Diamond i680 (nVidia) SLI motherboard- Intel Q6600 Quad Core 2.4Ghz- 4 Gigabyte Patriot DDR2 800Mhz PC6400 RAM (hi-po ram)- nVidia 8600GT w/ 512mb (DX10 compatible)- 320 gig 7200rpm SATA drive- Vista Home Basic 64 bit editionI chose the i680 because I read where if you ever plan to go SLI you should use a board that has 32 pipelines vs. 16, and the i680 chipset has 32 SLI pipelines (?) Plus the MSI P6N Diamond got good reviews on Newegg.

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