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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
  • 5480
    • Boston Virtual ARTCC
The Giant Computer Build Thread!
« on: April 10, 2012, 07:26:09 am »
Many users have great questions about building a new computer to get the absolute most out of Flight Sim! To help us keep these topics organized, all threads regarding building a new computer (and hardware suggestions) are merged into this one by forum administrators.

In future, members who have questions about what type of equipment to purchase can check out this thread, and post their questions/configurations/suggestions to it as well!

This is one of the first posts that I found on the subject (and spawns this giant merged thread):

Quote from: "Showacho"
Hi guys,

I am planning to buy a new computer so I can fly and speak with ATC stutter-free. I found a shop which offers a desktop especially built for FSX. The one they put together is a basic model but can be upgraded at different points.
I however don't know which upgrades I should choose and was hoping you could give me some tips. I am including screenshots of the options (along with their prices). For instance, has anyone of you any experience with installing FSX on a Solid State Drive?
Without changes, this computer costs 1175 euro. I was thinking of not crossing the 1500 euro line. Oh, and it has an i7 2700k 32NM 4 cores 8 threads 3.5 GHz-5.7 GHz.


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

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Lucas Kaelin

  • 1498
  • aka ShyFlyGuy
Re: Helping me build my new computer
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 11:19:38 am »
Spend the $$$ get the SSD. Install is lightning fast along with load time. This is the single most valuable upgrade you will see a difference for in your PC. My personal preference is for a Corsair M4 series SSD, but again my preference. The OCZ 3 series drives are faster, but I've heard they still have stability problems. Personally reinstalling all of Windows and FSX isn't fun to do, but some people don't mind it. Intel SSD's are supposed to be good as well, I've never heard anything bad about them, they just didn't have the same performance at the price point to compare with the Corsair.

When it comes to video cards, Nvidia is my preference for speed and stability, but many prefer the deeper colors, tones, and shading that ATI cards seem to produce. In order to pick your PSU you need to know which video card and what power requirements it has. According to Tom's Hardware the new Nvidia 680 GTX cards are awesome, and offer options that will make a noticeable difference in your display, however, the ATI 7970 or 7950 should be better bang for your buck. That's considering the 680 is still in infancy, is having availability issues, and has a 500+USD price tag. I've had ATI cards and Nvidia cards, ATI really do look better overall, but don't push as many frames as Nvidia. If all you do for gaming is FSX, then any of the 3 aforementioned cards will be more than ample, and you might even consider the next tier down (check out Tom's graphics card hierarchy chart). Their short list of options I'm very surprised to see a GTX 590, as they've been out of stock for some time, however, from that list I wouldn't pick anything less than a GTX 560, although my choice would be a GTX 570.

For a power system I'm a big fan of having more available than you will ever need. A good way to quickly kill a power supply is to run it at high load for long periods of time. Some say that it doesn't matter how much load you put on a supply if it's rated for it, but the advertised ratings are peak performance numbers not steady load numbers. Think of an engine with a redline of 6000rpm, you can run to 6000rpm but it wasn't designed to run at that rpm constantly and will break down quicker and more frequently than running at a steady 3000rpm. You don't need double the overhead but you get the point. 650w is the minimum for any system I'm building for gaming, mine has a PC Power & Cooling 750w. PC Power & Cooling are the most reliable power supplies out there, and usually it reflects a little in their price. They don't appear to be an option, and there's nothing wrong with Antec or Corsair, both of which are stable and I've never had problems with.

Their RAM descriptions are very lacking, and I'm not going to look up all those part numbers. In short get 8+GB and if you can afford lower latency then go for it, although you typically won't see a difference in less than 2 in the CAS. I don't get anything with CAS > 9 though, and try to keep the timing numbers close together if not the same.

Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask more questions.
There is an art to flying;
The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. -Douglas Adams



Re: Helping me build my new computer
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 04:51:11 am »
Thanks for your elaborate reply. These are great tips. 680 GTX is a bit too steep for me though. At this moment I think I'll go for the 570, and will be adding an SSD.

Re: Helping me build my new computer
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 06:00:52 am »
Any chance you can get both the SSD and the HDD? Or is that what the options are indicating?

If you only got the SSD, and the least expensive upgrade being only 60GB, after installing Windows 7 and FSX, you'll barely have any room to spare for your other applications and documents.

In most cases, people with SSDs in a primary desktop computer also have a HDD for file, music, and video storage. (A single video alone can take up 5-6GB.)

If they won't allow you to get that dual configuration, I would recommend ordering it with just the HDD. Then, you can order a SSD elsewhere (60GB should be sufficient) and either add it in yourself if you feel comfortable, or purchase one at a local computer store where they can add it for you.


Finally, I'm usually wary about sites that claim to build computers for FSX. While components for FSX can be chosen correctly, the prices usually seem a bit steep unless you find a good deal. With the components you've chosen, you can probably get the same exact PC built for you elsewhere for perhaps 300 euro (almost $400 USD) cheaper. If you have experience ordering from this site, that's fine, but just a suggestion if you haven't ordered yet.
Brandon - bcarter755
   
Let Epsilon be less than zero.

Re: Helping me build my new computer
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 11:02:41 am »
Thanks bcarter. They allow a dual configuration. And the shop is quite good. I have the feeling their prices are fair.
By the way, they just updated the options.

Here is what i'm thinking I will order.





Any foolish mistakes I made?
The motherboard is ASUS P8Z77-V DDR3 SOCKET 1155 INTELĀ® Z77

I have a question about the RAM.
I chose 16GB: CORSAIR CML16GX3M4A1600C9
but at the same price they offer a CORSAIR CML16GX3M4A1600C9B (the same with a B at the end). Does anybody know the difference?

thanks!

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Lucas Kaelin

  • 1498
  • aka ShyFlyGuy
Re: Helping me build my new computer
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 04:50:33 pm »
Quote from: "Showacho"
I have a question about the RAM.
I chose 16GB: CORSAIR CML16GX3M4A1600C9
but at the same price they offer a CORSAIR CML16GX3M4A1600C9B (the same with a B at the end). Does anybody know the difference?

According to Corsair's website there's literally no difference in specs between RAM.
The only other warning I have is the Lite-On DVD burner. I've had 2 of these fail on me, and replaced them with ASUS drives which are noticeably faster and more reliable. They may not be an option from them, but something to keep in mind for the long term. The ASUS SATA drive is only $30 on NewEgg
I think you'll be very happy with both the dual config SSD/HDD, as well as the 570 for video.
There is an art to flying;
The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. -Douglas Adams



Re: Helping me build my new computer
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 06:21:56 pm »
Thanks! You've been a great help. I will change the dvd burner and go ahead with ordering...

I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 12:46:43 am »
Hi All,
I need a new GPU. I want to spend under $200. I am leaning on a Nvidia GTX 560 TI 1GB of GDDR5 i found at a local store or a GTX 480 with 1536MB. Any help, input, or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Max
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 02:53:54 pm by Ameri767300 »
Max E. (Ameri767300) -- <a href=\"mailto:maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com\">maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com</a>

"So yea, right, go right on Victor, right on 13L, and hold short of Zulu-Echo Ibe

Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 07:11:07 am »
GTX460
Cpais - Claudio | "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in"


Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2012, 07:29:14 am »
If I were you,

I'd jump on the 560 TI you found. Such a great card and you have agreat price on it!
www.youtube.com/cocicofa for FSX videos!

Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2012, 10:51:07 am »
Quote from: "Cpais"
GTX460

How does it match up to the 560??
Max E. (Ameri767300) -- <a href=\"mailto:maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com\">maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com</a>

"So yea, right, go right on Victor, right on 13L, and hold short of Zulu-Echo Ibe

Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2012, 04:03:57 pm »
Quote from: "ameri767300"
Quote from: "Cpais"
GTX460

How does it match up to the 560??

http://www.hwcompare.com/8872/geforce-g ... tx-560-ti/

When buying a GPU, you're looking at many factors, and not just cost or "apparent performance." Some simple steps to take:

Pre.) Since you already set a price point, you're containing yourself to a few cards which may not present the performance you are looking for. Keep in mind, that every 6 months, a new "generation" of cards begins production, and usually a year after release, the last "generation" of cards get price slashed. Also, every generation improves upon its predecessors as well. Something else to think about.

1.) What are your current system specs. What motherboard, power supply, northbridge, etc? These can affect the final performance of your graphics card, none more so than your power supply. Many common issues for users who buy supped up video cards and have them perform substandard, is due to a lack of power availability within the system. Any graphics card update needs to consider the current power supply and system configuration. Make sure you have the power to run the new GPU, all of your other components, and have room to spare. Your graphics cards today also have their own power connectors right on the card, requiring you have a power supply that can power them independently. Make sure you can do this. Also, protip: components under heavy use draw more power than when they are at rest. Plan for a system at 85-90% TDP, and you would be planning smart.

2.) What are you looking to do with the card? The two major makers are NVidia and ATI (now owned by AMD). Speaking literally, they both make excellent cards. Some differences to consider, are one, your gaming market, and two, specs of the card. NVidia makes strides to support older architecture as well as new developments, while ATI every few years will shed compatibility with older algorithms. They've already begun doing this with some FSX threads, but ATIs maintain the ability to process for FSX, still a good consideration. As a note, when I say gaming market, look at some forum posts out there for people who play the same games you do. There are many who build performance and high end systems to suit their needs on a particular game, and these previous endeavors are a wealth of information which can be useful for you. Play FSX only? Seek out high end FSX systems and compare. Play FSX and others, like BF3? Best thing to do at that point, is purchase a card that will play your most demanding game a properly for you. This will help ensure your other programs will also run reliably.

3.) Card specs. Don't even bother looking at anything less than 1GB GDDR5. At minimum, standard systems have 1GB today, and future computer requirements will only ask for more. Look to 1280MB or more, 2GB if you have the money and find a good deal. But 1GB will be, at bare minimum, where you want to set your baseline. Also, bus speed is an important factor. Put simply, the higher the bus speed, the more information can be passed through the card in one particular moment.

4.) Post and ask. Don't just find a card which fits the above and say, "DONE." Ask around at tech forums, post questions, read reviews. No one card is the same as its brother, and each person gets different performance calculations from their cards.

Going more indepth is outside what the scope here is, but if you need more detail, let me know.

In the mean time, here is a selection of NVidia and ATI cards which would best fit your budget, and needs for FSX:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130625
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814102959
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814150560
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814150612
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130660

If you can, look into spending the little extra for a GTX570. The 6 series is out for NVIdia now, but the 570 is one of the most versatile and powerful cards out right now, and at an average of $230, they're some of the most competitively priced.
Dan | danp@bvartcc.com

Private Pilot - ASEL
KHVN - Tweed-New Haven/KOXC - Waterbury-Oxford

Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2012, 07:45:51 pm »
Here are my specs

i7 2600k at 4.5 GHz
8GB of DDR5
2.5 TB of HD
Nvidia GTS250
850w Power Supply.

I've narrowed it down between the GTX560 TI DS and the GTX480. The GTX480 out performs it, but people say the 560 is a better newer card. Any experience??
Max E. (Ameri767300) -- <a href=\"mailto:maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com\">maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com</a>

"So yea, right, go right on Victor, right on 13L, and hold short of Zulu-Echo Ibe

Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2012, 11:07:42 pm »
will you be using it primarily for FSX, or other advance gaming and/or video processing?
Cpais - Claudio | "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in"


Re: I need a good GPU for $200
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2012, 11:28:50 pm »
Quote from: "Cpais"
will you be using it primarily for FSX, or other advance gaming and/or video processing?

Just FSX gaming wise and just some amateur editing with Sony Vegas Pro 11
Max E. (Ameri767300) -- <a href=\"mailto:maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com\">maxe@bostonvirtualatc.com</a>

"So yea, right, go right on Victor, right on 13L, and hold short of Zulu-Echo Ibe