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Mathijs Kok

Hardware needed for FSx

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Lately I read so much bull about hardware needed for FSx, we decided to post a small guide here that is based on a budget that is not astronomical and that is PROVEN for FSx beta 3. We tried to keep the language simple and will explain where needed. Your comments are welcome, but please don't tell us MS is crazy to demand this hardware. That's becoming old very fast. If you can not afford this hardware, I am sorry, MS is probably sorry. But wait 6 months and you get it for half the price and there is still a lot of life in Fs2004!

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

CPU

Really only on choice, the Intel Duo 2 Core rules the scene with low prices, low heat signature, low energy demands and above all, more power then ever seen before on a desktop. They really are a must. There are several kinds but the E6600 running at 2400 MHz really seems to be the best balance between price and power. Around 300 euro should get you one. Forget AMD (they will be back), forget Pentiums

Motherboard

Personally I find mobo's boring and the difference in performance is minimal between models, so I tend to buy the cheapest model that has all the features I need. Any Asus will work fine, say 150 euro max.

Memory

FSx needs two GB. Period, no discussion.

With one GB you will be waiting a lot, with three you will be spending too much. Those two strips of ram are a pain in the neck because memory is pretty expensive these days. There several kinds that can be used and they do not differ a lot in price. Get the fastest your mobo will support, most likely that will be DDR2-667. Get two strips of one Gb, many mobo's work faster with two chips instead of a single 2 GB strip. Expect to pay something like 220 Euro for 2GB.

Hard disk

For somebody like me who needs to start FS several times an hour the loading is important. On my previous system loading FSx into dense setting on Seattle, could take up to 4 minutes. That's a pain in the neck. So I spend 250 Euro on a 150 GB Western Digital 10.000 rpm disk. the fastest you can buy for SATA. Loading is fast as FS2004. I would NOT advise this disk to a simmer unless he has more money then sense.

Note: I did not go for a RAID system. Even brand new those are just a bit faster and as all disk degrade over time, not really known, but the same test done on the same disk (after a low level format) after a year of hard use can get results that are 25% lower. Raid disk suffer even harder from this for some reason.

Graphics card

Well clearly it has to be PCIe, but after that things get blurry. NVIDIA, or ATI Radeon the brands both have very good cards. FSx is still basically limited by the CPU and if you buy a card with 256 MB between 100 and 150 Euro you get good frame rates. BUT... not a good looking sim. Any additional money will allow you to activate more features that will make it look a lot better. The sweet spot seems to be around 300 Euro. Spend more and you are paying a lot for marginal gains in looks and nearly nothing in performance. Good cards are Radeon X1900, NVIDIA 7900. As FSx has a lot of textures to load getting 512 Mb of memory really helps. Compared to shoot them up games where the additional memory makes little sense, it helps a lot in FS.

Conclusion

Replacing the hard disk with a larger and better priced model, you can get this whole set for around 1000 Euro and 1000 dollar (prices in the US are still a bit better). Now this rig will get you solid fps on serious settings that get you a nice details and great views. Even under duress you will get smooth 20 fps using FPS limit. Most of the time FSx will have ample resources to work ahead, queuing textures etc so it will be smooth as silk.

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Hi Mathijs,

A sensible discusion on hardware, now that makes a refreshing change. I'd certainly agree with you on the 6600 (having just got one ;) ). I couldn't justify going up to the 6700 for a little more clock speed, the 6600 has the same cache and from the look of several forums I visit would Overclock to the same as a 6700 (for the braver souls).

One thing I'm glad you pointed out in the other thread is the lack of support for Physics cards. I for one am glad they aren't supported since in most games that have implemented them they've actualy caused a drop in performance, due to them overloading the graphics cards with new objects to render. Even the first person shooter comunities have turned against them and they tend to be even keener than us simmers in every new upgrade there is.

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Hi Mathijs,

One thing I'm glad you pointed out in the other thread is the lack of support for Physics cards. I for one am glad they aren't supported since in most games that have implemented them they've actualy caused a drop in performance, due to them overloading the graphics cards with new objects to render. Even the first person shooter comunities have turned against them and they tend to be even keener than us simmers in every new upgrade there is.

Until physics hardware is part of DirectX it will make very little impact. There is one new development that I find exiting, high end network cards. They DO seem to make a difference on then first tests I seen. And they CERTAINLY will make a difference for FS as that is a lot based on CPU and interrupts. check out http://www.killernic.com/KillerNic/.

Same with sound cards, FSx gains a lot of fps when you press [q]. That means my sound system uses a lot of CPU, somehting I will look into next week.

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Hi Mathijs,

Getting the message for the 6800 a 6600 is correct so, having to change my machine for my bithday (....got to find an excuse !) my question would be the graphic card

1 X 7950GTX 512 Mo or,

1 X 7900GTX 512 Mo or,

2 X 7900GTX 512 Mo ??

amicalement

roland

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all i can say is, thank god its my 18th this year. Good excuse for expencive prezzies.

Thinks for this info. i thing for this machine its going to havee to be another GB of RAM (to add to my current GB) and the top AGP card. As i cant run PCI-e. Then i just have to lower the setings and cope.

I shall save for a new machine, little by little.

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Hi Mathijs,

Getting the message for the 6800 a 6600 is correct so, having to change my machine for my bithday (....got to find an excuse !) my question would be the graphic card

1 X 7950GTX 512 Mo or,

1 X 7900GTX 512 Mo or,

2 X 7900GTX 512 Mo ??

amicalement

roland

Roland, I got no idea, serious.

I got a very pragmatic view on hardware that is based on what I really SEE running FS. But I doubt you would be able to see the difference between all these cards when you would now know. I do know the TWO cards are overkill and if you are not a big fan of other first person shooters would not bring a lot benefit. I know the 7900GTX 512 Mo is a very nice card. Very sharp, very good for high resolutions (so for CRT use).

My advise, get the cheapest on your list, spend the rest on a party for your birthday. And invite us.

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Hi, Great post...A trip to www.tigerdirect.com found just about everything you suggesyed at some pretty good prices. There doesn't seem to be much of a sellection of cards availible for the Core 2 processors just a couple of ASUS socket 775 and a Gigibite board. can you pass on the ASUS board number you are using? Of coarse all this may change in a few short months. Vista and Direct X10 may not be out till the 1st of the year, which to the best of my understanding, FSX is designed to work it's best with...then there's all the updates that folks like you will be trying to get out...so I figure that gives me several months to accumulate and build this new computer. Any monitor recomendations? Robin

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Hi Mathijs,

Thanks for the reply - the new computer will mainly be for FsX - it will be on my actual CRT - your opinion is true "I believe only what I see" (Saint-Thomas ?) so now I've got the parts needed.

For the money saved no problem oysters and fresh white wine waiting !

Just a few miles from your home

Amicalement

roland

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Hey Mathijs,

I am the administrator of Canadian Pilots and I was wondering if you could tell me how well my system would run FSX.........

Motherboard: MSI K8N NEO 4-F.

Processor: Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Dual Core.

Videocard: Nvidia Geforce 7950 GX2 1GB.

RAM: 4 GB of DDR400 Ram.

Power Supply: 600 Watt.

Thanks for any info 8)

Ludo Lambrechts

Canadian Pilots © .

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Hey Mathijs,

I am the administrator of Canadian Pilots and I was wondering if you could tell me how well my system would run FSX.........

LOL, your kidding right?

Considering you can't go much higher on that socket, you'll be fine in FSX, but performance wise, the Intel Conroe does beat any AMD chip out at the moment.

Nice vid card, considering the ACES team has posted that FSX will benefit from moe GPU power (unlike FS9), that will help quite a bit.....until DX10 comes out then new card and possibly new Mobo.

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I want to thank you guys for this, I had it all planned out and was going to go out and buy an AMD 6600.. This is actually a cheaper alternative for me I think and it sounds like I get a better PC... Thank you!

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One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread yet is the DX10 that is coming next year.....

Above specs are fine when running FSX NOW..... but you'll need to BUY yet ANOTHER set of hardware as soon as DX10 comes out... :cry:

Specifically it will need a new graphics card, as NO card today is capable of running DX10. And then there is the issue of Vista of course..... will DX10 NEED Vista to run !!??

I ran FSX on Vista NOW and it doesn't deserve it... slower than on XP Pro actually :wink:

Just some thoughts.....

Francois

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Hi, Great post...A trip to www.tigerdirect.com found just about everything you suggesyed at some pretty good prices. There doesn't seem to be much of a sellection of cards availible for the Core 2 processors just a couple of ASUS socket 775 and a Gigibite board. can you pass on the ASUS board number you are using? Of coarse all this may change in a few short months. Vista and Direct X10 may not be out till the 1st of the year, which to the best of my understanding, FSX is designed to work it's best with...then there's all the updates that folks like you will be trying to get out...so I figure that gives me several months to accumulate and build this new computer. Any monitor recomendations? Robin

Monitors, well clearly it has to be LCD these days and there are a lot of pretty good ones for very acceptable prices. I got one very strong advise though, don't buy one large screen but two smaller ones. You get much more pixels for your money and your flexibility will increase a lot. I got two 19' screens of LG, both around 2 years old and they are still great.

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Ho Ho !

So I must wait ? ..... :cry:

As anybody seen FsX run under VISTA and DX10 ? ATI card R600 ?

Does it or is it supposed to bring a lot of improvement ?

best regards

roland

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Roland,

the PROBLEM is that DX10 is not OUT yet, so nobody can test it.. and MS will have to make a PATCH to FSX (as they have already announced).

So yes, if you want to run the ULTIMATE FSX in future, you should wait......

You will need a new graphics card, and perhaps a new motherboard that will accept it... and FSX needs to be patched for it to use the expected new DX10 features. :wink:

I am postponing further upgrading until second half 2007.......

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LOL, your kidding right?

Considering you can't go much higher on that socket, you'll be fine in FSX, but performance wise, the Intel Conroe does beat any AMD chip out at the moment.

Nice vid card, considering the ACES team has posted that FSX will benefit from moe GPU power (unlike FS9), that will help quite a bit.....until DX10 comes out then new card and possibly new Mobo.

Yeah Mc Design is right, not ideal, but it should be plenty fast. The 4GB will help a lot with fluidity and restarting FSx will be very fast.

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One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread yet is the DX10 that is coming next year.....

Above specs are fine when running FSX NOW..... but you'll need to BUY yet ANOTHER set of hardware as soon as DX10 comes out... :cry:

Specifically it will need a new graphics card, as NO card today is capable of running DX10. And then there is the issue of Vista of course..... will DX10 NEED Vista to run !!??

I ran FSX on Vista NOW and it doesn't deserve it... slower than on XP Pro actually :wink:

Just some thoughts.....

Francois

Right, but it is estimated that DX10 graphics card of some power will start out at VERY high prices. So we got to wait for Vista to be released (linked to DX10), wait for FS to be updated, wait for the cards to drop to my sweet spot of 300 Euro. I don't expect all of that to happen before fall of 2007.

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François,

Well I think that I will wait a bit more and not spend money on a new PC that will need new hardware what ? three or four months later.

Best regards

roland

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Right, but it is estimated that DX10 graphics card of some power will start out at VERY high prices. So we got to wait for Vista to be released (linked to DX10), wait for FS to be updated, wait for the cards to drop to my sweet spot of 300 Euro. I don't expect all of that to happen before fall of 2007.

Indeed, hence my second half 2007 hardware plans :wink:

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Thanks for the reply Mathjiskok, I've thought abought 2 monitors since I do a great deal of graphics work with Photoshop and other related programs, but been nervous about the learning curve of setting them up and I've not had as good of luck with my first LCD (Viewsonic 17") its been a great monitor and the color and resolutions been great, but I think I have a bad power supply because the screen constantly goes black in the first few minutes of use, even though I leave power on all the time. Anyway, I think I will jump into the dual monitor thing with the new computor.

I agree, this thread has certainly raised some questions as to when is a good time to upgrade. I just purchased Tungas and its opened up a whole new world to adventer. Hope it doesn't take too long to get it and Mystic on track with FSX. I don't think I would enjoy FSX without my Aerosoft Piper Cub!

As a producer of FS add-ons does the fact that Vista and DX10 release dates are up in the are, put a dampener on your present and future projects? Robin

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You will need a new graphics card, and perhaps a new motherboard that will accept it... and FSX needs to be patched for it to use the expected new DX10 features. :wink:

Aye. a DX10 gfx card will be needed but as far as I know if you're running a PCIe card at the moment then it'll be a plug in and throw out the DX9 card job. No new MOBO. I could be wrong of course but thats the gen of the hardware forums I lurk in.

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Aye. a DX10 gfx card will be needed but as far as I know if you're running a PCIe card at the moment then it'll be a plug in and throw out the DX9 card job. No new MOBO. I could be wrong of course but thats the gen of the hardware forums I lurk in.

I said 'possibly' a new motherboard, meaning 'for those folks who are using '"older" boards currently'.

From what I read on the various forums MANY people are running 'behind the curve' on hardware still..... it IS expensive ! :wink:

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Thanks for the reply Mathjiskok, I've thought abought 2 monitors since I do a great deal of graphics work with Photoshop and other related programs, but been nervous about the learning curve of setting them up and I've not had as good of luck with my first LCD (Viewsonic 17") its been a great monitor and the color and resolutions been great, but I think I have a bad power supply because the screen constantly goes black in the first few minutes of use, even though I leave power on all the time. Anyway, I think I will jump into the dual monitor thing with the new computor.

I agree, this thread has certainly raised some questions as to when is a good time to upgrade. I just purchased Tungas and its opened up a whole new world to adventer. Hope it doesn't take too long to get it and Mystic on track with FSX. I don't think I would enjoy FSX without my Aerosoft Piper Cub!

As a producer of FS add-ons does the fact that Vista and DX10 release dates are up in the are, put a dampener on your present and future projects? Robin

Two monitors setup is REALLY easy, provided you have a graphics card with TWO exits (most do !). Just plug them in, change your Display settings in the Control Panel and presto !

As for the Tungas and Mystic developers (I think you mean our Tongass and Misty Fjords ? )..... no, we're not worried about the change to DX10.

FSX in general though is causing some problems to 'port' our products over and we'll need time to do that.

Kind regards,

Francois

www.fsaddon.com

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From what I read on the various forums MANY people are running 'behind the curve' on hardware still..... it IS expensive ! :wink:

Yes that surprises me a bit as well, simmers used to run top of the line hardware but they seem to have been spoiled with the stable FS2004 and Windows XP for a while, not feeling the need to stay on 'the curve'.

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Not really a surprise when the FSX was known about, but the hardware requirement wasn't. It made no sense to make any plans for upgrades until the possibilities for SLi, Crossfire, Physix, hyperthreading, multiple processing, RAM, sound and all the other emergent technology that might impact on the new sim were better known.

And every month you wait, the techniology you need gets cheaper. As Francois says, minimal upgrade to suit FSX NOW, sit back and watch for the true nature of DX10 development before upgrading later. I shan't be adding DX10 technology until about the same time as him, no matter what the benefit to FSX. Why?

Well, first I want the price of that all-new hardware to drop to a realistic level, and second I want to be sure that my money is being spent wisely - it may be there is no benefit to DX10 for FSX!

I doubt it, as it's clearly part of MS's strategy to get everybody to upgrade to the new API, but as we haven't seen it yet, other than static artists impressions, I'm not jumping the gun. This is much moer than just a leap from a 6 series card to a 7 series, or from single processor to multiple, this is a whole new API, part of the very heart of the computer. If you thnik it will only impact on FSX, you'd be wrong. And that worries me, because like most, I use a computer for more than just flight simming!

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