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Karen Hamilton

Need Advice On Using Laptop For Flight Sim

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Posted for Zorro.

What should a laptop computer specifications be for flight simulators?

I would like to know what the laptop computer specifications should be for gaming software. I am looking at a 17" Dell laptop "Alienware" running Windows Vista 64-bit. My computer specifications are listed below.

Will 64bit work?

I intend on running flight simulators with special interest in any and all soaring software. Will this be a good machine for gaming?

Video graphics card- Dual 512 MB ATI mobility HD 3870 CrossfireX Enabled

Processor- Intel Core p8400 2.26 GHz, 3 MB Cache

Design Display- 17" Wide UXGA 1920 x1200 with Clearview Technology

Memory- 4GB dual channel DDR3 SO-DIMM at 1066 MHz

System Drive- 160 GB 7200 rpm. I could move up to a 320 GB 7200 rpm if you think it's better?

Optical Drive- 8x Dual layer Burner DVD +-RW, CD RW

Wireless Network Card- Wireless Intel Ultimate 5300 a/b/g/ Draft -n Mini Card (450 Mbps)

Sound Card- Internal High Definition with Surround Sound

Wireless Router- D Link DGL 4500 Xtreme n Gaming Router

Three year warranty

Total cost for the above is $2,800.00

Will this do the job? Would you change anything?

I look forward to hearing form any and all.

Thanks,

Zorro

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That will be the fastest gaming laptop you can buy, pretty much, and will be capable of running all the flight simulators (all current games, actually) although *of course* you will have to adjust some options (scenery density, etc) to get the perfect framerate - this is true of all games as they try not to have the software limit the machine...

Any laptop won't compare in price/performance with a desktop - i.e. this performance would cost half in a desktop PC, but I guess that's not what you want.

Battery life in this laptop probably sucks, or at the very least the laptop's heavy - that's the price you pay for the performance. Gaming will drain the battery in 30 mins or less (my guess) but office use should be much better but nowhere near as good as laptops designed for long battery life (i.e. small screens and low performance).

Re disk space, go for the larger disk if you are keen on flightsims. X-Plane 9 is a 70GB install, for example (although that's way the biggest)... Also perhaps counter-intuitively, larger disks generally have a faster transfer rate (more bytes spin off the disk in a single rotation...)

Ian

p.s.

Wireless Network Card- Wireless Intel Ultimate 5300 a/b/g/ Draft -n Mini Card (450 Mbps)

hahahahahhahahhaahhaaahahahaha

but hey, it'll give you wireless connectivity like any other wireless card. Online gaming over a wireless connection is generally problematic if you're trying to shoot people and can't afford periodic lag, but otherwise ok. With a bit of luck the 'gaming' router simply comes with the right default settings to minimise that kind of issue. But flightsims don't usually have big demands in that regard and multiplayer (i.e. online) FSX sucks anyway.

p.p.s

that 17" laptop screen will be amazing to look at, but for most games you won't need to run it at it's max resolution, and framerates will be better. I.e. try it at a slightly lower game resolution but have anti-aliasing set, and up the other sliders (scenery complexity, autogen density, shadows, cloud detail) before you try upping the resolution to the full 1920x1200. *If* you have to make a tradeoff, I'm sure that'll give you the best result. For the normal Windows office desktop, 1920x1200 will kick ass so it's definitely a benefit. You should find it's great having a 17" screen for flightsims, but the actual resolution is slightly less critical as long as anti-aliasing (AA) and AF (anisotropic filtering) are set to ON to smooth out the lines.

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That will be the fastest gaming laptop you can buy, pretty much, and will be capable of running all the flight simulators (all current games, actually) although *of course* you will have to adjust some options (scenery density, etc) to get the perfect framerate - this is true of all games as they try not to have the software limit the machine...

Any laptop won't compare in price/performance with a desktop - i.e. this performance would cost half in a desktop PC, but I guess that's not what you want.

Battery life in this laptop probably sucks, or at the very least the laptop's heavy - that's the price you pay for the performance. Gaming will drain the battery in 30 mins or less (my guess) but office use should be much better but nowhere near as good as laptops designed for long battery life (i.e. small screens and low performance).

Re disk space, go for the larger disk if you are keen on flightsims. X-Plane 9 is a 70GB install, for example (although that's way the biggest)... Also perhaps counter-intuitively, larger disks generally have a faster transfer rate (more bytes spin off the disk in a single rotation...)

Ian

p.s.

hahahahahhahahhaahhaaahahahaha

but hey, it'll give you wireless connectivity like any other wireless card. Online gaming over a wireless connection is generally problematic if you're trying to shoot people and can't afford periodic lag, but otherwise ok. With a bit of luck the 'gaming' router simply comes with the right default settings to minimise that kind of issue. But flightsims don't usually have big demands in that regard and multiplayer (i.e. online) FSX sucks anyway.

p.p.s

that 17" laptop screen will be amazing to look at, but for most games you won't need to run it at it's max resolution, and framerates will be better. I.e. try it at a slightly lower game resolution but have anti-aliasing set, and up the other sliders (scenery complexity, autogen density, shadows, cloud detail) before you try upping the resolution to the full 1920x1200. *If* you have to make a tradeoff, I'm sure that'll give you the best result. For the normal Windows office desktop, 1920x1200 will kick ass so it's definitely a benefit. You should find it's great having a 17" screen for flightsims, but the actual resolution is slightly less critical as long as anti-aliasing (AA) and AF (anisotropic filtering) are set to ON to smooth out the lines.

Thank you for the information regarding a laptop computer. I am brand new to all of this. What are the programs I want to buy to get started with soaring once I purchase my computer

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Thank you for the information regarding a laptop computer. I am brand new to all of this. What are the programs I want to buy to get started with soaring once I purchase my computer

It's not as if there's a million choices.

FSX will give you the DG808S glider and a couple of soaring missions.

Via links on this site you can get:

* SOAR DG808S - replaces the FSX default DG808S with more accurate flight performance and better instruments

* CumulusX! - gives you more accurate thermals

* sim_probe - partly an add-on to CumulusX adding ridge lift, plus acts as a flight logger

if you google 'fsx soaring mission' you'll get a few links to free downloadable soaring missions - the basic idea is the mission sets the 'waypoints' of a soaring task, sets the weather and positions the glider at the start, and a timer tracks your time around the task. Do the default microsoft ones first (austrian soaring, swedish soaring) which don't need *any* addons and you'll get the idea. But after you get good at it you'll find the add-ons really move FSX into a different league of fidelity - with hindsight the FSX glider instruments will feel like a joke, the FSX thermals could keep a cow aloft, and FSX default has no ridge lift so long ridge-running missions (or free flight) would be impossible and I think these now represent the majority of soaring hours flown in FSX.

good luck

Ian

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As far as aircraft go (freeware in paticular), you can fill many, many hangers with Wolfgang Piper's selection of aircraft here http://www.fsglider.de/index.htm . He has been creating and updating gliders for many years. By the way, he's done a lot of updating in the last few months. You can also do a search for David Rowberry aircraft at AVSIM.com, Simviation.com, and maybe at FlightSim.com.

Whatever you do, make sure you download CumulusX! and Sim_Probe as Ian suggested (they are very good quality Freeware as well). The Freeware developers in our community are very gifted at what they have accomplished throughout the years, and very kind for providing support and guidence as well.

I should probably mention that I think there is still a huge following for the soaring sim CONDOR. I myself don't have it, but you can find more info here http://www.condorsoaring.com/ .

Scott

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Hi Karen,

a little addition from my side:

I've been using Vista64bit Ultimate for a year now. There's some minor issues, it's quite RAM consuming but it works pretty smart here. And with switching DirectX10-Preview on I gained about 5 to 10 % frame rate - even with all those shadows turned ON.

If you have special questions about Vista64 just let me know.

Cheers,

Dirk.

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It's not as if there's a million choices.

FSX will give you the DG808S glider and a couple of soaring missions.

Via links on this site you can get:

* SOAR DG808S - replaces the FSX default DG808S with more accurate flight performance and better instruments

* CumulusX! - gives you more accurate thermals

* sim_probe - partly an add-on to CumulusX adding ridge lift, plus acts as a flight logger

if you google 'fsx soaring mission' you'll get a few links to free downloadable soaring missions - the basic idea is the mission sets the 'waypoints' of a soaring task, sets the weather and positions the glider at the start, and a timer tracks your time around the task. Do the default microsoft ones first (austrian soaring, swedish soaring) which don't need *any* addons and you'll get the idea. But after you get good at it you'll find the add-ons really move FSX into a different league of fidelity - with hindsight the FSX glider instruments will feel like a joke, the FSX thermals could keep a cow aloft, and FSX default has no ridge lift so long ridge-running missions (or free flight) would be impossible and I think these now represent the majority of soaring hours flown in FSX.

good luck

Ian

Where do I go for the three above links for * SOAR DG808S, * CumulusX! and * sim_probe.

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Where do I go for the three above links for * SOAR DG808S, * CumulusX! and * sim_probe.

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It's not as if there's a million choices.

FSX will give you the DG808S glider and a couple of soaring missions.

Via links on this site you can get:

* SOAR DG808S - replaces the FSX default DG808S with more accurate flight performance and better instruments

* CumulusX! - gives you more accurate thermals

* sim_probe - partly an add-on to CumulusX adding ridge lift, plus acts as a flight logger

if you google 'fsx soaring mission' you'll get a few links to free downloadable soaring missions - the basic idea is the mission sets the 'waypoints' of a soaring task, sets the weather and positions the glider at the start, and a timer tracks your time around the task. Do the default microsoft ones first (austrian soaring, swedish soaring) which don't need *any* addons and you'll get the idea. But after you get good at it you'll find the add-ons really move FSX into a different league of fidelity - with hindsight the FSX glider instruments will feel like a joke, the FSX thermals could keep a cow aloft, and FSX default has no ridge lift so long ridge-running missions (or free flight) would be impossible and I think these now represent the majority of soaring hours flown in FSX.

good luck

Ian

Where do I go for these three items?

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* CumulusX! - http://luerkens.homepage.t-online.de/peter/

* SOAR DG808S v3 - at the address mentioned in last post (to make sure you have the latest version), or here in our own Downloads --> Aircraft --> FSX section

* sim_probe - also at the address in last post

---------------------------------------------------------

WELCOME to SOAR, Zorro! I hope you find things here always pleasant and satisfying!

Scott

EDIT: For the last 2 items, goto this address instead http://carrier.csi.cam.ac.uk/forsterlewis/.../fsx/index.html .

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