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Old 09-02-2013, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Feedback for PC build to run Flight Sim

Hello everyone,

I am planning to build a PC this winter - since it has been many years since I have built my own PC and I'm hoping to make it last, I would GREATLY appreciate any time you could take to look it over and provide your feedback.

Here is the parts list I've been working on:
Intel Core i7-3770K, EVGA GeForce GTX 680, Zalman Z5 Plus - FSX Build - Final - GLaDOS's Saved Part List - PCPartPicker

The primary purpose of this PC will be to run my Flight Sim, in this case Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX). This is a huge hobby of mine and I've always wanted to upgrade from my laptop to a higher-end gaming PC. For those who may not know, FSX is more CPU-intensive than it is GPU-intensive. I am hoping to have this PC support 3 monitors and many peripherals (i.e. yoke, rudder, throttles, etc.) I plan to overclock the CPU to get it somewhere between 4.2 - 4.8 GHz, if possible. This will be my first overclock.

Eventually, once I move into a new place, I think I may also add a large (3-4 TB?) spinning drive to hold all of my iTunes media.

Some concerns I had:
1. Can the GTX 680 2GB support 3 monitors running a game on high-graphics? The reading I've done suggest that it is possible, but I couldn't confirm if that was true for both the 2GB and 4GB models.

2. Is liquid cooling necessary to safely overclock or will adding multiple fans be sufficient? I believe the case on this list supported up to 5 fans.

Again, any feedback you could provide would be great! I know there's a number of threads similar to this so I really do appreciate anyone who could take the time to review my parts list.

Thank you very much!
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feedback for PC build to run Flight Sim

Few problems here.

With Haswell being out, it makes more sense to buy a 4770k for the same money. That being said, you don't need the Extreme 6. You can save money and get the Extreme 4. To finalize the combo, the i7 would be pointless as FSX doesn't utilize HT like most all other games. The 4670k (with ASRock Extreme 3 or 4 Z87) is 100 bucks cheaper and will do the same thing. That being said, OCing isn't necessary. FSX is dated now, and modern processors are way more than enough to play the game without spending so much unnecessary cash on cooling and such to overclock these warm CPUs.

Next on the list (disregarding the cooler since it isn't necessary) is the RAM. That kit is made for the older first gen i7 setups. 3 sticks = triple channel. You want 2 sticks. 2x4, or 2x8 depending on how much you want to spend. With all the addons I've played with on FSX, I've never needed more than 8GB to run that game. A cheap 2x4GB 1600 kit would be plenty.

The SSDs you have picked, junk. If you want this to last, buy a more quality brand. Corsair Neutron GTX, Samsung 840pro (not the standard), Intel 520 (or the newer ones if they are out now), or if you are ok with slower IOPS and write speeds, Crucial M500. I understand the 128+480 so I won't comment on that, although if all you're going to do for a primary purpose is run FSX I'd just get a 240GB SSD for OS/programs/FSX, then a 1TB or 500GB for data. Only a few games take advantage of the SSD, but the rest of the PC and access times are changed greatly.

Answering your first question, and was the first concern I noticed off the bat, was the 680. The GTX770 is either cheaper or the same price and is literally the same thing as a 680 except slightly better. GPU Boost 2.0, and a better VRM setup. If you are running a stock copy of FSX a single 4GB 770 should run 3 1080p screens fine. If you are using Real Environment Extreme or other visual mods it might struggle.

Next on the list is the PSU, big fat no. If you intend on staying with a single card setup a quality 650w PSU will do you in just fine and will last 5+ years. Seasonic M1211 620w, Corsair TX650m, Corsair HX650, are good starts. If you plan to add another 770 then make that a 750w of any of the models listed.

Now down to cooling. If you are adamant on overclocking and are experienced in it, as well as monitoring your own temps and stressing for stability, then I have to say to safely overclock a Haswell or even Ivy chip you need good cooling. H80i, H100i, Swiftech H220 (if you can find it), something in that ballpark. They get hot. Since your demands listed do not even come close to warranting the need to overclock I just highly suggest leaving the CPU stock.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feedback for PC build to run Flight Sim

Hi PP Mguire - thanks for your reply.

I will draw up a new parts list with your recommendations in mind (will probably need to do that tomorrow night). There was just a few things I was confused about:

1. Ever post or article I've read suggested that overclocking was a necessity for FSX to run at it's best performance. This is the first time I've seen it suggested that the stock CPU speed was sufficient.

2. Your recommendations for the HDD configuration make sense. I had read from several sources that the OS should be installed on it's own drive and that FSX and it's add-ons should be on a separate drive installed at the root level of that drive. Is this not necessary?

3. I was hoping to eventually install add-ons to the FSX platform (some ORBX scenery, REX, and some additional aircraft). If the GTX 670 4GB may struggle, should I go with the GTX 680 4GB or maybe install two separate graphics cards?

Thank you very much for your help!
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feedback for PC build to run Flight Sim

1. Most things written up for FSX are old. Try to remember that when FSX was released the most powerful CPU on the market was the fabled Core 2 Duo. The little e6300 that could. A modern Core i3 is quite literally 5-7x more powerful than that, while even being a dual core itself. That being said, what I'm recommending you to get is a 4th generation Core i series CPU that is 6-7 generations ahead with 2 more cores. Does that make a bit more sense now? That's why I keep telling people, a stock CPU these days is more than plenty for any kind of gaming. Not only that, but since you want to run Surround, you will need to concentrate on more GPU power than anything.

2. I was merely saying that because there aren't many games that really get a boost in loading times over a standard HDD. Most people say to get a secondary data HDD (not an SSD) because most people get a 120GB OS drive and can't afford anything bigger. Sense you can afford to get a 240GB or bigger SSD there is no issue putting your OS and installing the rest of your programs on there and having a side HDD of like 500GB just in case you may fill it up. That all depends really on how much you will be installing onto your drive programs wise. Considering the info you've mentioned, all I'm thinking here is some dude putting Windows and FSX on his computer and that's it. The main thing you need to do is get a different brand really. One of the ones I mentioned.

3. The 700 series is out. So please, don't buy a 600 series card. Depending on how much you want to spend, get a single 4GB eVGA GTX 770, or eVGA GTX 780. The GTX 770 is literally the same card as the 680, except with improvements to the VRM circuit and has GPU Boost 2.0.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feedback for PC build to run Flight Sim

Thanks I'll keep your recommendations in mind.
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