747-400fan

Simming with a tight budget

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As you folks may know, all kinds of pc parts are shoooting  up in value, resulting in a tie for us, budget simmers with low money. I know that flight simming is a niche, but still: I think that at least a third of us started with fsx on a crappy laptop at minimum settings. These days it's not only the CPU that does the job. I started simming under 10fps(lol). Now I moved to P4D, earnt some experience and know what I want. But still, knowledge doesn't do the trick. This is  why I created this topic: to help people together, one helping another one with its knowledge

 

In my case: If you have any tips about a proper config on a <500€/550$, please feel free to write it below. Looking for a 720p/1080p mid-range graphics with at least 20fps @ heathrow(quite playeable) on an NGX for instance.

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I had a terrific conversation with Winfried during the recent Flight Sim Expo, and one of the issues I raised was the cost that people often have to incur if they wish to join the flight sim world.  Later the same conversation played out with other developers, so believe me it's on people's minds and we kicked a few ideas around.  That said, there is nothing we can do about the cost of building a new system capable of running P3DV4+.  The good news is that (after prices of new items stabilize) processor prices haven't changed that much since 2010, memory costs are far lower than what they were in 2010, as are power supplies and water coolers.  The costs that have shot up are graphics cards, and some believe this is due to the number of people using graphics processors for crypto currency mining.

 

Option 1: Building a system to fly general aviation aircraft from small to default airfields in P3Dv4+ is going to cost at least $800 USD. 

 

Option 2: Building a system to run high end airliners at high end payware scenery with other addons will cost at least $1200 USD, and the same old rule applies... get as much CPU and GPU as you can afford.

 

The magic processor speed for running P3Dv4+ in an active environment (AI aircraft or online traffic) is 4.0+ GHz and for me it's 4.5GHz.  This often means overclocking, which is preferable to using a Turbo mode as the latter seems to lead to a less frame rate friendly environment. As far as I'm concerned, having a water cooled processor is a must, and this only adds about $120 to the overall cost of the system.  Why watercooled?  Well, you can work your processor harder while keeping the temps down, thus adding to the stability while running flight sim as well as protecting your system (investment).

 

With the way things are going, the only graphics card I would consider is the NVIDIA 1080, which matches up to the processor speeds noted above.  Right now you can pick up a vanilla 1080 for about $600 USD and the prices will drop when the next NVIDIA card is released.

 

Memory is easy.  16GB minimum of the fastest RAM your system will run, though I would certain get 32GB.

 

Hard drives are a bit stickier, SSDs are great but need to be backed up (I image them every so often) to a traditional hard drive.  Not all SSDs are created equally, and you'll need to research and compare them before selecting one. If an SSD isn't in your budget then there are some fine analog drives. That said, having 32GB of RAM will help out a bit while running P3Dv4+ in a scenery laden environment.

 

Instead of trying to push an $800 system to provide a terrific flight sim experience, I would recommend saving up to by a system that will last you for years.  This is what I did 6 years ago I purchased and built my i7-4770K system and today I'm still able to run the latest flight sim software / addons while not struggling at all to maintain 30+fps.

 

I hope this has been helpful, and extend to everyone my very best wishes.

 

 

 

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I also got the feeling that some developers don't take system demands into consideration when they're developing a product. They just want to make it look as good as possible, which is understandable. But what good does that do if 90 percent of all computers don't meet the demands for their product? If the developers could lower the quality of their products just a little bit, for some people this would make the difference between being able to run it and not being able to run it.

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Impossible, it's customers that always demand more and more details. And of course there are more then enough add-ons that are simple and do not ask a lot of hardware.

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16 hours ago, 747-400fan said:

In my case: If you have any tips about a proper config on a <500€/550$, please feel free to write it below. Looking for a 720p/1080p mid-range graphics with at least 20fps @ heathrow(quite playeable) on an NGX for instance.

 

20 fps would be possible on that budget but almost all sliders would be down to minimal. What good is a complex airport add-on when you have to disable most of it? You would be far better of with a default airport in my opinion and spend the saved money.

 

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