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Building a Flight Simulator X (video card suggestions)

Best Video cards i need to go with for the triplehead2go with direct X 10

  • SLI NVIDIA x2 8600 GT's

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • SLI NVIDIA x2 8800 GT's

    Votes: 21 41.2%
  • Crossfire ATI x2 HD 2900XT's

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • Crossfire ATI x2 HD 3850's

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Crossfire ATI x2 HD 3870's

    Votes: 14 27.5%
  • No you have no idea what you are doing pick the Video card i am suggesting

    Votes: 12 23.5%

  • Total voters
    51

glocke6

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Hey guys i dont want to sound like a newb but here we go.

Building a flight simulator with Microsofts Flight Simulator X. I am wanting to do three monitors with pan views. I have some options and i was thinking pending what you guys say will be better.

I am looking to buy a Intel Quad 6600 8mb cpu to handle this task, with 74gb raptor 10k 16mb cache drive and some low lag. memory probably 2-4 gb. I am having problems figuring out what video cards to go with. I am probably going to install a TripleHead2Go. To do the multiple monitors. So question is to get the picture like the Direct X 10 and not the 9 let me know whats the best options. I perfer ATI but i am willing to make the switch to NVIDIA as long as i get the graphics i want. Now not to sound to picky i dont want take out a mortage to pay for this system so I dont plan on putting in any GTX's etc.. so best bang for the buck is what i am looking at. Thanks for your opinions.




I really dont know where to go with this whole thing. I have never seen the triplehead2go in action or how to set it up. I am just looking for some direction. Thank you for your input!
 

hughyhunter

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Nov 20, 2007
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As you can tell from the charts here... using MFS at the resolution that you want to play at is extremely taxing on your computer. So here is what I would suggest:
single gpu
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=859&model2=722&chart=293

Since you seem new to computer building (just an assumption) I am going to assume that you probably wont start with overclocking with being an option. So I will recommend what I think you should get based on your not wanting to sell your soul to the devil and all for this rig.

MFS requires the use of Vista if you want the X version or whatever... that means in order to view it in all it's splendor you want a DX10 gpu. And proven from the charts on THG for dual cards their doesnt seem to be much performance difference with multiple cards. So here is what I would get based on what you are going to do:

GPU: I'm going to recommend one of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010380048+106791921+1067932704&Configurator=&Subcategory=48&description=&Ntk=&srchInDesc= and the only reason why one of these vs. 512 version is because you are going to need the extra VGA memory for all that real-estate screen wise.
CPU: I dont think you should get a quad core... flight sim wont use it! Be conservative and spend your money else where and get a nice C2D like the E8400 or something cheaper like the E6750. Both will do just fine with your game.
I would recommend the same exact memory I got http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227267 just make sure you are loading 64bit vista not 32bit.
For mobo get a P35 chipset or if you want an X38 (if you have extra money) both are great for power users (if you choose to be one someday) and are affordable.


 

monst0r

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CPU: I dont think you should get a quad core... flight sim wont use it! Be conservative and spend your money else where and get a nice C2D like the E8400 or something cheaper like the E6750. Both will do just fine with your game.
eh, FSX scales extremely well with the number of cores i believe. it will boost your frames considerably in low resolutions, and im sure it would be noticable in higher resolutions too.

by the way those "screenshots" of DX10 were artist renditions of what FSX would look like in DX10, not actual gameplay
 

glocke6

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well its funny that you say that i have been building PC's since 286's. But I have fallen out of perspectives with this SLI Crossfire war and newer equipment. I am personally not a big fan of overclocking the last system i overclocked was with a Celeron PII chip that was made in a different country and you could overlock the piss out of it. But i would rather not fry a new system. lol. What CPU would you recommend if not the Q6600?
 

deathbybubba

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q6600 is fine. All though you say you do not want to overclock, the q6600 wouldn't break a sweat pushing 3.0 (that is what I'm going to clock mine at when I get it) with only changing the FSB and it would be worth it for FSX because for the most part it is a CPU bound game/sim. I'm not sure if the DX10 patch is out for it yet but my plan right now is to have the q6600 clocked at 3.0 with an x38 mobo (gigabyte) 3870 x2 and possibly a 3870 down the road or if they can get 4 gpu's to scale better then another x2. But then again the 4870x2 might be out by then and I'll snag one of those puppies up.
 
It is my understanding that flight simulator-x is one of the few games that will actually take advantage of more than two cores. A poster on these forums has some actual experience with quad vs duo cpu's and fsx.
If you can, wait a bit for the 45nm quad cpu's to launch. They are faster, cooler, and cheaper than current parts.

 

blacksci

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Indeed the quad core is actually a excellent proccessor to use for flight simulator x, and have seen nothing but glowing reviews from people using it for this game. Since you dont want to sell your soul, i would go with this, as the 45nm cores have yet to have a actual price, and even though everyone is hopeful, i really dont see intel letting it go for cheap, especially since they have no competition in this segment right now. As for video card how much are you looking to spend? That would go a long way in helping you decide whats right for your budget.
 

hughyhunter

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Welll if the FSX is utilizing all four cores than I would consider it... I would spend the extra money a maybe a awesome card like maybe the 1gb version of 8800gt or something like that... I would asume that the extra memory would help with 3 displays. I would also get a intel based motherboard since you dont really like the idea of sli (or do you?) and opt for a P35 or x38. Maybe get some high bandwidth memory like DDR3 or something like that.
 

blacksci

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My humble opinion, sli is for those who have to overcompensate, the price versus the frames diffrence is just insane. Stay away from ddr3, for the money, and performance ddr2 is the much wiser choice, may not be the case in another year, but for now it is. Rather then upgrading to the 1 gb 8800 gt get something better, like the gts (g92) or a gtx or ultra. And yes, FSX does use 4 cores, right now its one of the few multi threaded games out there.
 

LukeBird

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At work I tested FS X on one of my PCs there (QX6850, 2GB 1066 RAM, 8800GTX) @ 1680x1050 with basically mid settings across the board. Average was about 23fps-ish, so to go to 3 monitors, and get anything like playable framerates, you're going to need a lot more graphics oomph than an 8800GT.
If it were me, I wouldn't look at anything below 8800GT's in SLi. Put my preference would be 3870X2's in CF. That will allow you to use the X38 chipset, which is generally very good (and probably better than it's nvidia counterpart) and I would look at the fastest quad you can afford, as FS X does multi-thread very well (watching it load the cores on my QX is great :D) and I would go with 4Gb DDR2 as well :)
 
glocke6:
You might not be on the best forum for your issues. Apparently there are a number of serious flight sim forums around, where you will get some good advice from actual experienced users.

You piqued my interest if FSX, and I did some research. Here is a good post of some good advice:
Other poster talking: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At the risk of repeating what has already been said, may I offer some thoughts based on my own experience as a user of Microsoft's flight simulators since about 1995 (and earlier, if memory serves)?

First, the game now makes much better use of multi-core processors. In my case installing SP1 more than doubled the achievable framerate (against Microsoft's prediction of an average 20% performance increase). Admittedly I run it on a dual Xeon 5160 set-up (ie, four Core 2 cores running at 3GHz) so this might be a little above average; but others have also reported major improvements. This suggests that MS has finally broken (or, at least, weakened) the link between performance and fast clock speeds. So you might be better off with a moderately-paced quad core processor, than a faster dual-core processor.

Secondly, the game now makes better use of modern graphics cards. With previous versions of this game, I have always been disappointed by the limited advantages achieved by adding a better card. But this time, the improvement has been remarkable. I went from a 7900GT-based card to a BFG 8800 GTS OC2 320MB. I'd say that the improvement was of the order of another 70% or so after a little adjustment of the settings in the Nvidia control panel. I would be interested to see Tom's VGA Charts updated to show the framerates achieved under SP1: my strong suspicion is that the "bottlenecking" which previously occurred (8800GTX performing much the same as far older and slower cards) is a thing of the past. I think you should expect that performance will relate much more closely to the quality of the card than was the case in the past.

Thirdly, at least one real expert (Phil Taylor, who is one of the developers and who has a blog to which an earlier post provided a link) is uncertain about how DirectX 10 will affect performance. It's too technical for me; but as I understand it, DX10 holds the promise of making some procedures faster; but, on the other hand, in doing so, it may impose a greater memory overhead than DirectX 9. So it might be sensible to buy a cheap-ish DirectX 9 card for the time being, with a view to buying the latest and best DirectX 10 card when Microsoft gets round to delivering the DirectX 10 update for FSX. For example, my 8800GTS (admittedly a DX10-ready card) only has 320MB of RAM. This is fine even for a resolution of 1920x1200; but I have no confidence that the memory will be sufficient under DX10.

Fourthly, do not underestimate the importance of RAM. It is by no means unheard-of for FSX to crash with out-of-memory errors. This is partly to do with the need for un-fragmented memory space. I would not recommend less than 4GB of RAM: this will allow you to set a switch which lets FSX see beyond the 2GB normally allocated to 32-bit applications, which will reduce this problem (or at least, it has for me).

Fifthly, hard drive speed is not a significant factor for this game in my experience. I have run it from slow (7200 RPM) SATA drives, fast (15K RPM) SCSI drives, and even from fast (15K RPM) SCSI RAID 0 drives: trust me, it makes no appreciable difference.

Sixthly, like others who have replied to your post, I would be surprised if you can achieve an average framerate as high as 39 FPS with high settings. It is easy to get high FPS by flying in open sky, even with high settings; but your FPS will rapidly drop as you approach the ground, especially near built-up areas. Do not assume that you will be unaffected by this just because you plan to fly "seriously". A low framerate, or a "spiky" one, can critically affect your ability to control the plane on landing and take off. May I suggest that a more realistic target, even for a really good setup, is 20-25 FPS in built-up areas with maximum scenery complexity and autogen density. This is perfectly adequate for smooth flight. You can of course scrape together a higher framerate by reducing the levels of detail but, believe me, you will not want to do so once you have seen the thing running properly.

Seventhly, may I suggest that you should think again about a multi-monitor setup, at least until you've seen how well the game performs with a single display? I don't know what they're running in your shop in Toronto, but my experience tells me that it must be a pretty outstanding machine if it can really run multiple displays at high settings with a sustainable framerate that even approaches 39FPS.

geofelt talking:------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a practical matter, I would suggest that you go slow, and upgrade your system in the areas that it needs it based on your actual experience.

Start with just one monitor. Look for one with a wide viewing angle. 178 degrees is best.

Start with a P35 based mobo that has at leaast 2 pci-e slots. Your upgrade might be a second vga card for adding monitors instead of using the triple head to go approach. The mobo should be capable of running the upcoming 45nm quads. If it supports the Q9650, you should be ok. Like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128083
Today, the Q6600 is probably the best bang for the buck for FSX. The new 45nm parts are about 10% faster clock for clock than the current E/Q6xxx cpu's. The new cpu's will be priced a bit better, so you should be able to get a Q9450 2.66 for about 10% over the $316 1000 unit price.

DDR2-800 is cheap, start with a matched 4gb set of ram in a 2x2gb configuration.
There is the suggestion that FSX likes ram, and that preserves your option to go to 8gb. Don't worry about the ramspeed, core 2 duo's and quads are not very sensitive to memory speeds. The difference in real world applications(vs. synthetic benchmarks) is on the order of 1-3% between the slowest and fastest ram. If you want high overclocks, then ram speed matters more.

The more detail you want, the more you need a good vga card. Preferably a dx10 capable unit. Get an EVGA card. That gives you the option to use their "step-up" program to upgrade to a stronger card within 90 days if the one you pick is not good enough. I would suggest the EVGA 8800GTS-512-G92. $259.99 after rebate.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130325
It is almost as fast as the 8800GTX, and runs much cooler because of a good otes cooler. You likely will never have to change it.

As an alternative, consider the 9600GT: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130328 for
$179.99.

Considering the price of the triplehead2go unit, It might be better to get two vga cards instead. Run your main monitor on one, and the two side monitors on the other. I believe that FSX supports multiple monitors.
 

glocke6

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Wow thank you GeoFelt. that is alot of great information. The next question is that though the triplehead2go does it have a built in GPU or do i have to build up the GPUs in the unit to make it process 3 monitors?
 
As I understand it, the triplehead2go is a splitter that separates the output of what your vga card thinks is a big 3840x1024 display and sends it to 3 1280 x 1024 displays. It does not have any gpu capabilities by itself. It is a way to get multimonitor output to a program that does not support multi monitors.
 

amddiesel

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indeed on the screenshots.... What view is that from.... a bush plane in canada out of plane view or something?
 

amddiesel

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Right on... That game is soo demanding you will spend 5 grand on a rig and you still wont be satisfied with its performance
 

blacksci

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I agree with that comment, when you put a game out there that cant even be supported by the latest and greatest with a good fps, then what the hell is the use? Think that was kind of the issue with farcry when it first came out, my 6800 gt had issues pushing the game, and that was the best card you could get at the time.
 

hughyhunter

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OH jeeze... I guess I wasted money on an SLI system... I'll throw it away now!

Wrong... look at TH charts for multi gpu and single and compare... It dang near doubles frame rates... that's not a wasted investment when you try to play crysis at 1680x1050! It may be a waste for FSX though!
 


First of all WHY do you want Triple head to go?
I love Matrox, but the TH2G is mainly to add wide/multi-monitor support to those games that don't support it. It also limits your resolution choices more.

FSX supports multi-monitor right out of the box, and so I would recommend getting 2 cards NOT in SLi/Xfire to do the task instead of feeding a higher resolution to the TH2G.

I would recommend getting 2 similar cards you can multi-GPU together (for other games) but it's not mandatory. Funny thing is for true balance you'd probably want something where if you had a power difference the more powerful card drove the two side panels rather than the single center.

For the money you save from the TH2G you could buy the better options in CPU, memory and GPU.

FSX requires a great deal of system resources, and a Quad is the best option after FSX's multi-core patch.

I would recommend getting two GF8800GT-512 cards as your best value. You can pay more for more power as well.

I would recommend other cards like the HD3870 if there were other games you play for FSX the GF8800s would likely give you the best performance with the GT-512 giving the best bang-for-your-buck in this game.
 


Dude you already blew your cred with your first post in this thread, move on, this one's obviously not for you and not an SLi debate thread. [:thegreatgrapeape:4]

 

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