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Flight Simulator Card choice for new build

Associate
Joined
4 Sep 2009
Posts
10
Hello, I'm looking for some advice on a card for a new build i7 to play FSX 90% of the time.

I don't tend to play anything else, but when I do its usually COD or Halo - I might try Crysis when I have a system that will run it - :)

Anyway can you advise me on the best card - NVIDIA is usually quoted as the best for frames and Flight Sim, but its only a DX10 game and GTX2xx cards seem to be very expensive at the moment - Can anyone suggest an NVIDIA card that has good performance in DX10??

I'm asking because I've been using ATI cards and have no idea what all the NVIDIA cards actually perform like. I know FSX isn't that popular a game, but any advice would be appreciated

Thanks
 
Soldato
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
7,373
Location
Ealing
All depends on budget and what the rest of the system specs are mate. I've just put a flight sim system together for me local atc sqaudron where I'm a civilian instructor using the following:

E5200 @3.15ghz
MSI Matx G31 mobo
2 x 2gb pc 8500 kingston memory
ATI 4870 1gb
XP pro

It appears to run reasonably well at medium settings on a 24" screen @ 1900 x 1080, but it could certainly do with a few upgrades. Its gonna have a GTX 260 installed in the near future as thats been recommended as the best brand, but also this game likes a heavily overclocked cpu, (the higher the better) and a quad if possible rather than a Duo.:)
 
Associate
OP
Joined
4 Sep 2009
Posts
10
Hi guys :) thanks for the fast replies.

I'm going for an i7 bundle clocked at 4Ghz from the guys here at overclockers.

I've chosen that because I want to run as close to max settings as I can - Flight Sim is very CPU bound. I'll never get close to max settings without an i7.

Pieman - its great you support the ATC :) ours could do with an FSX PC but I don't think they'd like my old P4 3.6 lol

If they are running FSX and can afford it - you will be happy to know that Windows 7 RTM will make a difference and speed things up - even on my old rig I got 7fps for the same settings and 4Gb of RAM
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
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2,649
Location
Nr Colchester, Essex
New ATI cards have eyefinty support, so the possability of a 3 screen cockpit. That's what I am hoping for, I haven't found any performance stats using it though.

Fastest CPU possible is more important than GPU even 8800GTX vs any current gen there is nothing in it. It's all about the CPU.
 
Soldato
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
7,373
Location
Ealing
Hi guys :) thanks for the fast replies.

I'm going for an i7 bundle clocked at 4Ghz from the guys here at overclockers.

I've chosen that because I want to run as close to max settings as I can - Flight Sim is very CPU bound. I'll never get close to max settings without an i7.

Pieman - its great you support the ATC :) ours could do with an FSX PC but I don't think they'd like my old P4 3.6 lol

If they are running FSX and can afford it - you will be happy to know that Windows 7 RTM will make a difference and speed things up - even on my old rig I got 7fps for the same settings and 4Gb of RAM

Thanks mate, I was in a position to provide a decent system for them so I built it, problem is having the time available to suss it all out and use it accordingly for training, leisure, etc.
Incentally, what squadron are affiliated with? ours is 342sqdn ealing and Brentford.:)
 
Associate
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3 Aug 2003
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Location
Plymouth, UK
I used to run FSX on my sig rig at almost max settings, with many add ons too and didnt see any frame rates below 24 fps.

If you are feeling flush i would go for a 5850 and 3 x 24" monitors for nice big cockpit real estate. Throw in a Track IR and you will be laughing kitbags........oh no, can feel myslef getting drawn back to flying again....

If not so flush, I'd still go 5850, 1 24" monitor and Track IR, with view to expand to extra monitors when the cash becomes available
 
Associate
Joined
29 Jan 2007
Posts
270
Location
Scotland
I play FSX mostly, until yesterday i used Windows 7RC, but now i do have Windows 7 Ultimate signature version, so i am still to test it how it all works, but i do not expect it to be different from RC edition.

I clocked my E8400 to 3.8 with 4gb of ram and ATI 3870 x2.
I use 1900 x 1200 res monitor with both anitalias and aniso enebled, on quite high settings all across the board, i am hiting frames around 40-50, but that depends on which scenery/aircraft i am using. For more demanding scenery i need to tweak options to get decent frames.

Fact is that Nvidia is better option for FSX, but as mentioned already give it fast CPU and decent amount of ram you should be ok with Newer ATI or Nvidia cards.

There is extensive tuning guide for fsx at link below

http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=29041

Cheers
 
Associate
OP
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4 Sep 2009
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10
Shelster: - I used to get frames like that with FS 2004 but can't get near them in FSX with half decent settings.

I agree with you Track IR is a must :)

I'm also running Voice Buddy in FSX. Because my current rig is struggling so much I haven't updated my other add-ons from FS2004 but I'm hoping to upgrade Ultimate Traffic to v2 and start using Radar Contact v4 again - they are like long lost friends ! lol

pieman109 - I'm one of the System Admins at MoD Stafford. I don't know the Sqn number, but I've asked :) - Look into Radar Contact - its MUCH better ATC than the native MS one.
 
Associate
OP
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Vekiq:

Many thanks for you input. Its always great to get advice for someone who is pushing the settings.

I would be surprised if you don't get a small performance boost from the RTM version of windows 7.

In our test rigs at work and my domain at home there were memory performance gains once we rebuilt using the RTM mid September.

Hope you get a few frames too.

Regards
 
Man of Honour
Joined
13 Oct 2006
Posts
83,100
9800GTX+/250GTS was traditionally the fastest card for FSX... I don't know if they 5800 series trumps that... if as I suspect this is partly due to the brutal texture fillrate on the "high end" G92b cores then the 5870 should be a clear winner here as it has 43% faster fillrate than the 250GTS. However I haven't seen benchmarks yet to confirm that.
 
Caporegime
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20 Jan 2005
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43,233
Location
Co Durham
Soldato
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
7,373
Location
Ealing
Well unless you are gaming at 1900 x 1200 there is only about 1fps between a 9600GT and GTX280 with FSX (scroll the links down)

9600GT in FSX: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ng,2037-7.html

280 GTX in FSX: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ng,2037-5.html

So on that basis unless you have a monster cpu, it is not really worth spending much more than a 9600GT. Whether the 5xxx series breaks this we will have to see.

Those are really surprising benchies (to me anyway:)), in FSX theres virtually no difference between a 9600gt and a gtx280 with the same cpu, only when the cpu is overclocked. Going by those all I'd need to get hold of a decent clocking processor and gt it up to about 3.8ghz I'd have thought, an 8400 springs to mind, though a quad apparently would nice I wonder wether the mobo I'm using allow a decent overclock on a low end, (Q6600 'frinstance) cpu. Probably more cost effective to go for the 8400 :)
 
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Caporegime
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Co Durham
Those are really surprising benchies (to me anyway:)), in FSX theres virtually no difference between a 9600gt and a gtx260 with the same cpu, only when the cpu is overclocked. Going by those all I'd need to get hold of a decent clocking processor and gt it up to about 3.8ghz I'd have thought, an 8400 springs to mind, though a quad apparently would nice I wonder wether the mobo I'm using allow a decent overclock on a low end, (Q6600 'frinstance) cpu. Probably more cost effective to go for the 8400 :)

Looking at the spec you put together earlier, your mistake was getting a 4870and a lowly processor but I guess you were doing it to a budget (however,a 9600gt would have being cheaper than a 4870). They have big problems with FSX with slowdowns with heavy clouds. Nvidia are indeed king of FSX (for now)

Really the key to the best FSX performance for your money is a 9600GT (or maybe a 8800GTS) and an overclocked quad (FSX takes advantage of multicores)

A q8400 (quad and same money as a q6600) would be a cracking choice, give it some overclock to at least 3.5Ghz and get that 4870 swapped out and it would make a huge difference.

If you look around you can get 8800GTS (or 9800GTX) for around £50-£60 now.
 
Soldato
Joined
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Posts
7,373
Location
Ealing
Looking at the spec you put together earlier, your mistake was getting a 4870and a lowly processor but I guess you were doing it to a budget (however,a 9600gt would have being cheaper than a 4870). They have big problems with FSX with slowdowns with heavy clouds. Nvidia are indeed king of FSX (for now)

Really the key to the best FSX performance for your money is a 9600GT (or maybe a 8800GTS) and an overclocked quad (FSX takes advantage of multicores)

A q8400 (quad and same money as a q6600) would be a cracking choice, give it some overclock to at least 3.5Ghz and get that 4870 swapped out and it would make a huge difference.

If you look around you can get 8800GTS (or 9800GTX) for around £50-£60 now.

Thats the problem, its gotta be done on a budget and passed by the commitee so going for the best bang for buck was given really. When I get my replacement vidcard (5870), I'll use me gtx260 instead of the 4870 1gb then look at an e8400. I'd like a quad but I'd have to for a cheaper one, summat like a q6600 and I can't guarantee I'd get a decent enough overclock with the MSI Matx mobo I'm using as it's bios options are a bit limiting, but using an 8400 chances are I'd get at least 3.6ghz and have 6mb of L2 cache which should help performance.
Wadya think?
 
Caporegime
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Location
Co Durham
Thats the problem, its gotta be done on a budget and passed by the commitee so going for the best bang for buck was given really. When I get my replacement vidcard (5870), I'll use me gtx260 instead of the 4870 1gb then look at an e8400. I'd like a quad but I'd have to for a cheaper one, summat like a q6600 and I can't guarantee I'd get a decent enough overclock with the MSI Matx mobo I'm using as it's bios options are a bit limiting, but using an 8400 chances are I'd get at least 3.6ghz and have 6mb of L2 cache which should help performance.
Wadya think?

Still don;t see why you can't get a q8400 if you can afford the q6600? However, i do appreciate budget contraints and yes, with the gtx260 (although overkill and won;t add anymore fps as per the links I did) with the e8400 overclocked as well it will be a big improvement.

Alternative is sell the gtz260, buy a 9600/8800/9800 and use the money surplus to buy a quad?
 
Associate
Joined
29 Jan 2007
Posts
270
Location
Scotland
Vekiq:

Many thanks for you input. Its always great to get advice for someone who is pushing the settings.

I would be surprised if you don't get a small performance boost from the RTM version of windows 7.

In our test rigs at work and my domain at home there were memory performance gains once we rebuilt using the RTM mid September.

Hope you get a few frames too.

Regards

you are right badger, with official win 7 installation i have gained performance, quite a bit in fact.

I tested with ultimate scenery solution Europe x, just flights constellation professional, real air spitfire, BF 109 G and PMDG`s MD11. Amazing, all settings at ultra high, smooth 35-50 frames.

Now i have to push it further with beautiful but demanding Aerosoft scenery, VFR London and Mega airport Heathrow, i am going to go for short flight from london city airport to heathrow probably with PMDG`s JS4100, this will be interesting.

I did not think i wil say that, ever in my life, but well done Microsoft, OS that works :)
 
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Associate
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1 Jan 2010
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16
I thought that FSX was majorly cpu dependant so getting a top graphics card would simply be a waste, i play with a 260gtx and it still looks great.
 
Associate
Joined
12 Jul 2005
Posts
1,056
Get the highest CPU clocking you can either I5 at 4+ghz or i7 at 4+ghx.

GFX Something like a 58xx would be fine.

I play FSX with loads of add-ons at 5040 * 1050 over 3 * 2407s via triplehead2go.

The only times it tend to struggle is when I'm taking off from Heathrow due to me having Heathrow X (from Aerosoft), Traffic X (form just flight), VFR Real Scenery (from Horizon) and Real Environment Extreme (REX from Sim Market) so that puts quite a strain on the rig.

The total spec of my PC is in the sig below, I run all of the FSX of the 300GB Velociraptor and I think that makes quite a difference, but as you can see I'm running a last generation CPU and GFX card to do all of this across a huge resolution.

Hope this helps some of your decision making.

Taff
 
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