So ... I'm new here. Well, not quite new - I've been quietly reading this forum for weeks, trying to assimilate information. What a bloomin' wonderful resource it is! Thank you.
Well, I'm here because I really want to build a 737 home cockpit. I'm based in Birmingham, England, and I've been fascinated by flying all my life. Gained a PPL a few years back, but no longer fly - I just don't have the time to stay current. I'm reasonably okay with computer hardware - I've built a few PCs over the years, and I'm into my electronics, too - I've made my own PCBs. All of which, I hope, stands me in reasonably good stead. My carpentry is appalling, but that can be honed, I hope... My major deficiency is the software and coding side. I am pretty useless right now. I've got my head around mouse macros, assigning toggle switches, and things like that, but ... my gosh ... I'm completely baffled by the cards - USBkeys, BU0836 .... I've tried and tried, but it just doesn't make sense!
I apologise right now for this being a long post. I've done far too much thinking on my own, which is always a dangerous thing. I could really use some advice from you experts. I thought maybe the best thing to do would be to put down what my current thought process is, and maybe if anyone could chime in with anything they think relevant, I can start moving towards decisions.
So ... I'm going to need a flight sim. I think it has to be Prepar3d. I have my old FSX DVDs, but ... well, it seems that with v3, P3D has made headway with the memory problems, albeit still a 32 bit application. I was thinking I might sign up to their monthly developer subscription in the first instance, and see what happens time-frame-wise with v4.
I'm going to need a PC to run it on. I ditched desktops a few years ago, so will need to build something suitably beefy. I would like to run the cockpit off 1 computer for as long as possible. This kit is expensive enough! I completely get that if I want 3 screens, full flight displays and the rest, I'm probably going to need at least one, if not two, additional PCs, but I thought while I was setting it up, I'd make do with one massive LCD, or two at a push, for the front cockpit. To this end, the First Officer's main displays will just be a Y-splitter from the Captain's side. No additional processing power. I thought I would concentrate on the Captain's side, and fill the FO's side with dummys / printed panels for the time being. I was wondering about putting the Captian's display, upper & lower EICAS through a TH2Go, just drag and drop.
As for the flight model, I love what PDMG have done with their 737. It's a truly glorious thing, very reasonably priced for what it is. I'm just hugely confused as to how to configure outputs from it to, for example, gauges, or the landing gear LEDs. It seems that ProSim 737 is much, much easier in this respect. But is it $600 easier?!
The PC I plan to build will be something along the lines of a mid-range i7, overclocked to 4.4GHz ish, running Windows 10. More if I can get it to run cool enough. Do you think it's worth going all-out with Skylake architecture, or should sticking to a Haswell be okay? I was thinking of a GTX 780 as seeming like the best bang for the buck at the moment. The OS will be on a small SSD, but other than shorter loading times, I can't see a reason to put P3D on one, particularly if I'm going to be running Orbx Global, too - I'll wait for the prices to come down for the 500Gb - 1TB SSDs. So I'll put P3D, Orbx Global, and the PDMG on a 7,200 rpm HDD. I'm wondering about adding a second graphics card to handle the Captain's / FO's displays and upper/lower EICAS etc further down the line, as a sort of stop gap before building a second PC.
Is a reasonable long-term solution / good idea to plan for an eventual second PC to run FSXpand for the panel displays when I want to expand to a 3-5 screen setup for the main display? The thought of having a digital flaps gauge through FSXpand seems easier than setting up a servo, and I've seen a fair few sims set up like that. But I can't for the life of me work out how people are putting the Brake panel over the top of where the top left hand of the screen must be with that configuration.
Well, that's about the size of it at the moment. I'd be ever so grateful if you fine people could point out any thoughts you may have, things I've missed / misunderstood etc. Any suggestions for PC components for the first PC and guidance on choosing I/O boards and associated software / panels for the easiest, least-coding-necessary life would be really welcome!
I'm sorry this post was so long - I'm sure there will be many more to come, but hopefully of a less rambling nature!
Anway. It's all very exciting! And thank you again! :o)