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FWAviation

Hardware recommendations for P3Dv4

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Hi folks, I've often mentioned on this forum that I plan to switch to P3Dv4 - and I'm getting serious now. Since my knowledge about PC hardware is a bit limited, especially if it comes to gaming PCs, it would be fantastic if you experts and experienced P3Dv4 users could tell what you can recommend in terms of a good P3Dv4 hardware configuration.

 

From what I gathered from this forum and other websites so far is:

 

1) CPU: 6-core is recommended, and with an i7, there can nothing go wrong

2) Graphic card: Should have at least 8GB of memory, GTX1070 is a very decent workhorse - but how about a GTX1080?

3) 16GB DDR4 is a minimum, better choose 32GB if add-ons become more demanding in the next few years

4) A SSD is absolutely necessary to run P3Dv4, particularly the M.2 SSDs are recommended

5) In the end, it's not all about hardware, but the more important thing are the correct P3Dv4 settings

 

Have I forgotten something important? Since a new computer is of course quite an investment (but I have no alternative, since my current notebook sure wouldn't be able to cope with the demands of P3Dv4 especially for the GPU), I would prefer to make an investment for the future, so I tend to rather choose the newer and more powerful components. Unless that means to spend 3,000 euros or more, of course. ;)

 

What are your thoughts?

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It sounds like you have already done some research on this, because your thoughts are pretty much on.

 

I will post the primary specs of the machine I built, and then some insight into why I chose each component:

i7 8700K (overclocked to 4.8 or so)

ASUS Maximus X Hero Wifi   (can't go wrong with ASUS or the Gigabyte Aorus series of boards)

Corsair h100i water cooler (I should have gone with the h115i Pro, quieter fans, and would allow a little more o/c)

eVGA 1080ti SC2 (also water cooled)

32 GB 3200 mhz memory

1 250 GB Samsung M.2 SSD, and 1 500 GB Samsung M.2 SSD

 

So as to the cpu, I would recommend the 8700K -- Hyperthreading ON - a decent watercooler, and with a comparable gfx card, your sim will be fine at Heathrow with AI and heavy weather, with quite good settings in P3D.

As to the vidcard, the 1080ti's are undoubtedly going to drop in price now that the RTX2080 cards are coming out.  9 months ago, I chose to future-proof somewhat, by buying a 1080ti, a card with 11GB of vidmem (we may not need this overhead now, but we might later...), and a waterblock installed from the factory (video cards run hot, and I wanted a potentially long life out of mine).  I planned to skip nVidia's next gen cards (what are now the 2080 series), unless they were must-have good (and I think I made the right choice, based on what we've seen so far of the 2080's).  I do not know your planned monitor setup, but a pair of 2080's in SLI with a 4K setup look to be the primary benefit of that card at this point in time.  However, as nVidia releases more mature driver packages for this card, its benefit could go higher for single card ops.

As to the main memory, I chose 32 GB not because our sim uses that now, but because it might at some point.  16 would work fine, too, but I also do some image work and sometimes that pushes the system memory.

As to the storage, in my opinion any decent SSD is fine.  I consider a mechanical HD to be only something I would use for mass storage/backup, at this point in time.  I am not sure my purchase of M.2 SSD's was really worth it, in terms of improving load times.  I do not know that having a boot SSD and a sim SSD really makes much difference anymore.  I did that anyway, just in case separating the OS I/O from the sim I/O still mattered.   Most importantly, however, if you plan on lot of add-ons, 500 GB will get cramped.  Mine is down to about 180 GB free, and I haven't installed any photoscenery.  If Aerosoft would quit making such good stuff, I wouldn't have this problem...

 

 

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@Mace_RB Thank you very much for your recommendations and your great explanations, Rhett! Sorry for all the following questions, but this is really interesting. I numbered them, so it might be easier for you to respond to them. ;-)

 

1) I got the recommendation in the meantime, to watch for Intel CPUs with the addition "K" because it offers more reserves for overclocking. Can you confirm that, too?

 

2) The recommendation also was that a water cooler is not really needed since current fans do a sufficient job and the noise is not really a problem. So I suppose that is rather a matter of taste, and how much one gets bothered by the noise of the fans, right? Or does a water cooler really prolong the life of the hardware components?

 

3) I am also tending strongly towards investing into a 1080. What is the difference between a 1080 and a 1080ti, by the way, especially when it comes to running P3D with it? Does the ti offer more vidmem (11GB as opposed to 8GB which seems to be the standard memory for the "simple" 1080)?

 

4) In terms of monitor setup, I don't plan for two monitors, due to a lack of space on my desk and also because I'm rather a "after-work flyer" who is happy if he can see anything at all on his monitor. ;) That's also why I'm not even sure whether I should buy a 4K monitor. But I could regret that, if texture quality becomes better and better in the future, right? ;-)

 

5) 32 GB of main memory are still a bit hard to find in ready-made gaming PCs that I find on the internet and if you don't want to go far beyond the 2,000 EUR threshold. So I might go for 16 GB first and maybe a PC that makes it easy to upgrade it to 32 GB later (if that is possible).

 

6) In terms of SSD memory: Yes, 500 GB could certainly become an issue after a while, and most ready-made PCs offer even only 250 GB. I am also an avid shopper of add-ons, so this problem is not a trivial one. Can one also put add-ons on the HDD, or will that confuse P3D if it has to load some add-ons from the SSD, and some from the HDD? Is it better to put all add-ons either on the SSD or the HDD?

 

Thank you again for your support!

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To at least answer your question 4, 5 and 6:

4) 4k monitor: I also have only an old 4:3 Monior with a 1600x1200 resolution and I'm happy with it. But all colleagues in the dev and deputy team having a (curved) 4k monitor never wanted to go back ;)

5) when you start with 16GB: usually a mainboard got 4 slots for RAM modules. so check that tey are not all covered with 4GB modules (this makes it sometimes cheaper) sufficient are 2 modules, each with 8GB, so you can easily add another 2x8GB; one 16GB module is the perfect solution but more expensive

6) P3D want be confused, when you put P3D itself on a SSD and your addons on another HDD. But loading time of the sim might significantly slow down when a HDD is involved. So if possible I would go for a 1TB SSD. Especially since some addon (like Orbx) can not be installed outside P3D.

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As far as I know, only the 'K' processors are overclockable. The non 'K' processors are not. And since the sim benefits a lot of a higher clockspeed, you'd be foolish to not choose a 'K' as long as you have the funds for a decent CPU cooler.

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Thanks, @mopperle, for your answers! I will try to find out whether those ready-made PCs have all 4 RAM slats covered or not. And maybe, depending on what is left of my budget, I will stick to a non-4K monitor, too. ;-) 1TB SSDs are usually not part of the ready-made PCs I saw so far, but I will check whether it is possible to change that inside the package and upgrade to a larger SSD.

Thank you also, @Roelio! What do you recommend as CPU cooler? Is a water cooler necessary in your opinion or will a fan cooler do as well?

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I always got a bad feeling when it comes to ready-made PCs, usually they're not that good. Occasionally there's a good one, but mostly there's always something about them that's not completely as you desire.

 

The best PCs are custom-made. They're tailored to your wishes, exactly as you want them to be. And it doesn't have to be more expensive than a ready-made PC, in fact it's mostly cheaper. The better computer shops can have a PC custom built for you. If they can't, don't buy there! It tells something about the level of service in the shop. Alternatively, you can buy a pile of parts and build it yourself. It's not extremely difficult.

 

I can tell you a story from a guy who also bought a ready-made PC a few years ago. Everything worked great until he decided he needed a better video card. He took the old video card out and put the new one in, and the computer didn't boot. What turned out to be the problem? The producer of the PC had calculated that with it's original hardware the PC would never consume more than 200 watt, so they put a 200 watt PSU in it. However the new video card required a bit more, so he also had to replace the PSU in order to get the new video card to work.

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1 hour ago, PatrickZ said:

I always got a bad feeling when it comes to ready-made PCs, usually they're not that good. Occasionally there's a good one, but mostly there's always something about them that's not completely as you desire.

 

The best PCs are custom-made. They're tailored to your wishes, exactly as you want them to be. And it doesn't have to be more expensive than a ready-made PC, in fact it's mostly cheaper. The better computer shops can have a PC custom built for you. If they can't, don't buy there! It tells something about the level of service in the shop. Alternatively, you can buy a pile of parts and build it yourself. It's not extremely difficult.

 

I can tell you a story from a guy who also bought a ready-made PC a few years ago. Everything worked great until he decided he needed a better video card. He took the old video card out and put the new one in, and the computer didn't boot. What turned out to be the problem? The producer of the PC had calculated that with it's original hardware the PC would never consume more than 200 watt, so they put a 200 watt PSU in it. However the new video card required a bit more, so he also had to replace the PSU in order to get the new video card to work.

 

Sadly, this is a very true and realistic view on ready made Desktop PCs, and depending on who the builder is upgrading them can certainly cause issues. 

 

Now, I was once (I'm retired) a computer engineer, and short of my old Tandy and Apple computer days (when I was troublesghooting and fixing mainframe computers) I have always built my own.  With a little research, it's actually easy to do.  My son is now in his 30's, but back when he was 15 and there was barely an Internet and no Youtube Videos to help you out, he built his own computer without any input or help from me.  So it's not really difficult and it will save you money!

 

 

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5 hours ago, FWAviation said:

@Mace_RB Thank you very much for your recommendations and your great explanations, Rhett! Sorry for all the following questions, but this is really interesting. I numbered them, so it might be easier for you to respond to them. ;-)

 

1) I got the recommendation in the meantime, to watch for Intel CPUs with the addition "K" because it offers more reserves for overclocking. Can you confirm that, too?

 

2) The recommendation also was that a water cooler is not really needed since current fans do a sufficient job and the noise is not really a problem. So I suppose that is rather a matter of taste, and how much one gets bothered by the noise of the fans, right? Or does a water cooler really prolong the life of the hardware components?

 

3) I am also tending strongly towards investing into a 1080. What is the difference between a 1080 and a 1080ti, by the way, especially when it comes to running P3D with it? Does the ti offer more vidmem (11GB as opposed to 8GB which seems to be the standard memory for the "simple" 1080)?

 

4) In terms of monitor setup, I don't plan for two monitors, due to a lack of space on my desk and also because I'm rather a "after-work flyer" who is happy if he can see anything at all on his monitor. ;) That's also why I'm not even sure whether I should buy a 4K monitor. But I could regret that, if texture quality becomes better and better in the future, right? ;-)

 

5) 32 GB of main memory are still a bit hard to find in ready-made gaming PCs that I find on the internet and if you don't want to go far beyond the 2,000 EUR threshold. So I might go for 16 GB first and maybe a PC that makes it easy to upgrade it to 32 GB later (if that is possible).

 

6) In terms of SSD memory: Yes, 500 GB could certainly become an issue after a while, and most ready-made PCs offer even only 250 GB. I am also an avid shopper of add-ons, so this problem is not a trivial one. Can one also put add-ons on the HDD, or will that confuse P3D if it has to load some add-ons from the SSD, and some from the HDD? Is it better to put all add-ons either on the SSD or the HDD?

 

Thank you again for your support!

 

I think everyone has already given good answers to your questions.

 

1.  K cpus Yes definitely go for a "K" cpu -- you will want to overclock, even just a little mild overclock helps immensely in the sim, and it's simple and easy to do with a good motherboard.  My Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard, for example, has factory-pre-sets for mild overclocking.   That motherboard may be past your budget, and not needed for your build, BUT you can find a motherboard by ASRock that will be inexpensive but still allow for some overclocking.

2.  Watercool vs. air In many cases the fans on a watercooler are the same sound-volume as an air fan cooler would be, so yes, I concur with whoever told you that.  I would say if you're just doing a mild overclock, an air cooler will do perfectly fine.  You will want a water cooler if you want to push it to around 5.0 ghz, but that's a pretty solid overclock and maybe beyond what you're looking to do.

3. 1080 vs 1080ti   That's not something I have researched.  I /think/ the non-ti 1080's have less memory, but I'm not sure about that -- hopefully someone else has firsthand knowledge.  I do not know if the non-ti's have slower clocks or less features, either.  1080Ti's should drop in price as the RTX2080 cards are out now.

4. monitor -- I don't run a 4K screen, either, but I think moving forward it will be the way to go.   Like me, you may be quite happy with a non-4K monitor.   I know Mathijs and a lot of the Aerosoft folks are using 4K's now and curved etc. and it's something to look into, for sure. 

5. memory -- 16 GB is fine.  I agree with Otto, if you buy 2x8gb modules, you can always add 2 more later to go to 32 GB if your motherboard has 4 ram slots.  I would consider ram with the lowest CAS latency you can find, from a quality vendor like G.Skill, Corsair, Crucial, etc.

6. disk -- I agree with the others I would go for a 1 TB SSD.  Maybe buy a big hard drive for backup / archive purposes.

 

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Another problem with "cookie-cutter" PC's is that the manufacturer will use the slowest / cheapest/ least reliable components they can.   Like that 200 watt power supply PatrickZ mentioned.   If you get a 1080 card you will want at least a 600 watt PSU, preferably 800 watt if you plan to overclock.  Price difference isn't that much.

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Thanks, @Mace_RB, Dave and Patrick (sadly, I can't link your two profiles here - is that linking function limited to one profile only?) for your advice! The German online store that was recommended to me (Mifcom) has a good reputation among gamers and advertises with only using high-quality hardware. You also have many possibilities to switch the individual hardware components in their packages to components you prefer. You will have to do some individual modifications anyway, since their packages usually don't include the operating system yet. But since I want to save time and even with a YouTube tutorial, I would feel unsure, I rather not build a computer on my own. I have actually made good experiences in the past with a desktop computer that was built in a shop after I chose the components I preferred. I guess that if you don't have much understanding of how hardware components interact etc., that is the safer way to go. It might also save time and nerves.

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Regarding memory. Use always a pair of modules. Not just a single one.

The CPU has a dual channel interface (the very expensive ones have quad channel), if you only use one slot, you limit the bandwidth.

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Mifcom and other shops where they assemble your components for a small fee are not comparable to those offering preconfigured systems, I would say going this way is safe enough. Just don't go for this single 16GB RAM module that was mentioned above, you will loose the DualChannel doing so. While this does not make a huge difference, I would not miss the increased bandwith you get with DualChannel...

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22 hours ago, FWAviation said:

Thank you also, @Roelio! What do you recommend as CPU cooler? Is a water cooler necessary in your opinion or will a fan cooler do as well?

 

I run a Corsair H100i for a few years now and it keeps my 4770k @4.6Ghz in check. Although, this summer it was quite hot here in NL and I had to turn down the clockspeed because my CPU got too hot. But we're talking room temperatures of around 40C, so I was not surprised at all that the cooler couldn't handle it. I prefer a AIO water cooler, because of the cleaner look and easier acces to components in my PC case. But a big air cooler should cool around the same degree while doing it a bit quieter as well. It all comes down to preference and budget ;)

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Regarding AiO you should also consider this: in the unlikely event that the water pump fails, the water evaporates or something else is broken, this would usually mean you have to replace the whole thing. A basic air cooler such as the NH-U14S is technically more simple, the only moving part that can actually break is the fan, this is replaced in some minutes and much cheaper than replacing the full thing. Although I personally know some people with an AiO and none of them ever broke down, you can read from many others in the net that their AiO failed after some years. Or the pump became much louder.

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That's really great advice, @Roelio and @Querer - thanks! Especially your statement, Querer, falls in line with what I heard elsewhere already - it's not necessary and can even be more bothersome to have a water cooler instead of an air cooler.

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Most flight simmers (using high end third party addons) overclock their processors, and doing this brings more heat.  I've been using the the Corsair coolers for many, many years without any issue whatsoever and it's meant my being able to run extremely cool - which not only is a plus for performance, but longevity of the processor as well.

 

Best wishes.

 

 

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Thank you, @DaveCT2003 - but there seem to be conflicting opinions on whether air coolers are worse, equally or even better capable of cooling the components compared to water coolers. Therefore I'm not sure whether a water cooler is really necessary also regarding the longevity of the processor or other components. As @Querer already pointed out, there could be trouble ahead if I bought a water cooler instead of an air cooler.

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Just to make this clear: it is my personal opinion to prefer high-end air cooler, as my overclocking is not that extreme that I need the extra power of a high-end water cooling solution. And as Dave said, it is easily possible that you will never have any troubles also with the AiO (true for some of my friends), but IF you get troubles, solving them will be either more expensive or more cumbersome, as any defect of the AiO usually results in replacing the whole thing.

 

Regarding cooling capabilities: there are enough reviews online for almost every available air or water cooling solution and the verdict is always the same: besides the very powerful high-end AiO solutions with 240 or even 320mm radiators, you will get the same result with a high-end air cooling solution. Regarding noise: an AiO always has one noise source in addition to a air cooling solution: the pump. Of course, you will find models that are more or less noisy, same as for air cooling solutions, but in general, AiO are slightly more noisy, especially when the computer is not under heavy load.

 

In the end, it remains a choice based on personal preferences. I decided to go for a NH-U14S when I switched to a 8700K with the aim of 5.0GHz overclock (delidded processor) simply due to the fact that several reviews stated that the performance of NH-U14S is great for an tower air cooler. Better cooling is only possible with an high-end AiO such as the H150i that are about twice as expensive (or more) or with a custom water cooling solution that is even more expensive.

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But again, air cooling moves heat from the CPU (GPU) to the inside of the case and you need additional fans to move it outside, water cooling moves it to where it needs to go in one step. I build many systems without any case fans because of this.

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On 10/19/2018 at 4:10 AM, FWAviation said:

 Therefore I'm not sure whether a water cooler is really necessary also regarding the longevity of the processor or other components.

 

You will get various opinions on component longevity, because really there is no way to quantify it that I know of -- other than everyone's own experiences.   Water offers the best cooling, which to the best of my knowledge is a factual statement and not an opinion, but how that translates to longevity does get into the realm of opinion or experience.   My oldest hardware today, is only about 6 years old, but still running strong (water cooled FSX machine).

 

Some of the air coolers these days are very, very good.  And by the same token many of the water cooling systems have very quiet pumps (my P3D computer's pump cannot be heard over the radiator cooling fans, for example).

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Hi folks, I just wanted to give you an update - I finally decided on my new system and I received the new computer last week. I am very happy with it so far, and it sure is a whole new feeling flying around without fear of OOMs and with all the graphic possibilities of P3Dv4 on a smooth system. I still have plenty of work in order to set up my system with at least most of my previous add-ons, but also that is going pretty smooth so far. And Aerosoft will probably be happy about the PMDG and other upgrade purchases I had to make already in their online shop. 😉

 

Here are my specs:

 

Processor: Intel i9-9900K with 8x 3.6GHz / 5.0GHz Turbo, 16MB Cache --> so far I'm running P3D without overclocking, but it's comforting to know that the i9 has such large reserves for it

 

Graphics card: 8GB Palit RTX2080 GamingPro --> the 1080ti was sadly taken out of stock of most online computer shops while I was doing my research - but I hope that even with 8GB, I will be prepared for most add-ons or P3D updates in the years to come; and the 11GB RTX 2080ti would have been far too expensive for too little gain of performance, according to the reviews I read

 

Mainboard: MSI Z390 Tomahawk

 

RAM: 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair DDR4 3000MHz Vengeance LPX --> so I followed your advice not to go for 4x8 in order to keep two RAM slots open

 

SSD: 500GB SAMSUNG 970-EVO M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVME (read 3400MB/s ; write 2300MB/s) --> I chose that instead of a 1TB drive because I have plenty of reserves on the SATA and a 1TB SSD would have been too expensive in my opinion

 

Hard drive: 2TB SATA 6GB/s 7200rpm

 

Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 --> so I went for an air cooler and am very happy with it so far, too; of course it is under less stress due to the lack of overclocking and because I haven't done a long flightsimming session with it yet, but it is really astonishingly quiet so far

 

Thank you all for giving me your good advice - that was very helpful for me to find some guidance through the complex world of gaming hardware. Thank you to @Mace_RB, @mopperle, @Roelio, @PatrickZ, @DaveCT2003, @masterhawk, @Querer and @Mathijs Kok - much appreciated! And I hope that from this hardware configuration and from the advice you gave me, also other P3D and/or gaming hardware newbies like me will draw some helpful conclusions.

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Hello Guys,

To avoid starting new topic let me add my request to this one.

Xmass is coming so I decided to make a gift for myself.

After many hours searching best solutions which can fit my budget I come with this configuration.

• Intel Core i7-8700K, Hexa Core, 3.70GHz

• NZXT liquid cooler Kraken X62

• TUF Z370-PLUS GAMING II

• G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 32GB (4x8GB) 3200MHz CL14 1.35V XMP 2.0

• WD Black NVMe SSD 1TB M.2 PCI-E 3400/2800MB/s

• INNO3D GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti X3 GAMING OC, 11GB GDDR6

• Silverstone ATX PSU SST-ET750-HG, 750W 80 Plus Gold,Low Noise

• NZXT computer case H440 Matte Black-blue with window

I'm not IT person so will be great if you can check if this set will do the job for another few years or maybe some components are not compatible or alternatively, better replacements are available.

I just want to find some balance on the cost/quality/performance ratio.

Thanks.

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