Optimal Configuration

Got the best performer PC around? post your config here.

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Who makes the better Video card???

Nvidia
24
75%
ATI
8
25%
 
Total votes: 32

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Sandpiper-N121PP
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Optimal Configuration

Post by Sandpiper-N121PP » Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:05 am

Ok... there seems to be quite a bit of discussion lately on what is the best video card, the best CPU, the best whatever to run MSFS 2004 on. So I am going post what will help you to decide what you need to purchase to get the most of your flying experience from the simulator.

ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE DOING ANYTNING YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT!!! DOING SOMETHING TO YOUR COMPUTER WITHOUT PROPER KNOWLEDGE CAN CAUSE IRREVERSIBLE RESULTS!!!

First of all here is the link to their site for the game...

http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimulator/

Here is what Microsoft says is the requirements for running MSFS 2004...

Microsoft® Windows® 98/Me/XP/2000
PC with 450 MHz equivalent or higher processor
128 MB of system RAM for 2000/XP, 64 MB RAM for 98/Me
1.8 GB available hard disk space
4x speed or faster CD-ROM drive
8 MB video card required
Sound card, speakers or headphones required for audio
Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
56.6 Kbps or better modem for online play

Note that the system above will get the game to start... but will give you very poor performance. This is the MINIMAL REQUIREMENTS!!!

Now I will do a brief breakdown of the components and what it all means for everybody. At the end I will put it all together in a scenario.

NOTE: I will be centering this discussion around the XP O/S primarily!

O/S - Operating System

Microsoft Windows ( 98 / ME / XP / 2000 )

I personally would run it on XP ( or 2000 ) because it is a more stable O/S for the game.

98 will let you run it but even with a rockin system... you will still suffer video lag and performace because of 98's problem with limited ram expansion, and overall performance. It was a great O/S for it's time but not for most modern day software.

ME - I would definatly not run it on this for ME is, was and still is a MAJOR GRAPHICS HOG! You will get less than great performance from this O/S


CPU - Central Proccessing Unit

Microsoft recommends a 450 Mhz or faster. Please note that this game is very much a CPU Dependant game and will work your CPU to it's maximum limits!!! The better, faster the CPU is, the better results you will obtain ( with limitations on the other components in your system )!!! Your motherboard ( M/B ) you put it on and it's Front Side Bus ( FSB ) and other options all come into play on how your CPU will act in your system and the results you will get from it. There is a lot of CPU's on the market to choose from for systems you build. AMD & Pentium are the big ones on the market. Everybody has their favorites but when it comes to this simulator, it really needs a fast one to give the performance you may be looking for.


RAM - Random Access Memory

Windows XP requires a minimum of 64 MB of ram to run ( you will get very bad performance with this ) 128 recommended. Windows XP will use about 128 to 200 MB in most cases to boot up and run properly ( sometimes more depending on what you have in your system on bootup ). Any extra goes to other programs that boot up in the system tray or is left over for swap file or free for your games or other programs. So the more memory and the faster your memory is... the better off you will be as well. There is alot of different brands and speeds or memory on the market. Some M/B's require you use only certain brands of memory or limit you to how much you can put on them. Be aware of when you purchase memory that it does in fact work with your system.


HD - Hard Drive

You do need the 1.8 gig of space... but the faster access time you have off of your hard drive the better off you will be. A standard IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics | ATA - Advanced Technology Attachment ( IDE or ATA drive ) 40 gig drive with a 7200 Revolutions Per Minute ( RPM ) will obtain good results. If your motherboard supports it... a
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment ( SATA Drive ) would be even better. Sata Drives generate faster access times and usually come with a minimum 2 MB cache ( space to temporarily store information ) and some have 8 MB or better. Also doing routine defragging or clean up of your hard drive will help to speed up performance to access to your data on the drive as well.


CD - Compact Disk Player

Just a ton of these to choose from on the market. CD/RW ( Compact Disk/Rewritable ), CD/DVD ( Compact Disk/Digital Versatile Disc ) are the 2 most common. Different brands, speeds, options to choose from. Simple truth is that the faster the speed is the faster your data will be accessed ( but this also is limited to your M/B & CPU & Memory ) Kinda like this... you can get a 52 CD/DVD/RW and put it in your system... but if your CPU is busy doing other things, or your memory is maxed out being used, while you are trying to access the data on the CD Player... it will impede the performance of it and you will not be getting your data at the peak performance your CD Player can give to you.

Video Card

Yes... we have had many discussions on this on this board. Simple truth is this... PCI - E ( Peripheral Component Interconnect Express ( NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH PCI ( Peripheral Component Interconnect ) ) is faster than AGP ( Accelerated Graphics Port ) is. There are a ton of companies on the market making video cards now and each with the promise of faster performance than the competition. Please check your M/B's specifications to see what kind you can use in your system. NOTE: Just because you purchase the latest and greatest DOES NOT MEAN you will get screaming graphics!!! Once again your M/B, CPU, MEMORY, and other components must be compliant with this item and be up to par with it to obtain top performance from it. Some video cards require power to be plugged into them. Most require certain bus speeds from your M/B. Also note that just because you are using the latest drivers does not mean it is giving you the best performance you can get from it. There are settings that can usually be changed and different settings will give different results. Be very careful when purchasing new components like this because very nice video cards cost lots of $$$!!!


Sound Card

Sound cards like other cards come in a variety of different brands. Some M/B's have built in sound as well. Sound Cards can ironically impede performance in the simulator, but only in the settings in the game usually. If you choose to have high quality sounds and you have a lower end CPU or other components... it can impede performance overall in the simulation. For the most part though it will not happen. Make sure that if you do purchase an add in card that it is also compliant with your M/B as well. You can add Surround Sound with a Woofer Speakers to your computer to add the realism to your simulation. These speaker systems can cost money but most feel they are worth every penny. Sound is to your taste... so shop around and compare.


Power Supply

The big thing in your case that you attach all the power cables from to your components. 8) Most cases come with a standard 300 to 350 W supply now days. Some computers built by people need more power than others because of their components they put in. Be very careful when you choose one and make sure your other componets can be plugged into a higher power supply if you choose to upgrade. By not making sure of this you CAN DAMAGE YOUR COMPUTER AND IT'S COMPONENTS!!! BE CAREFUL!!! 8O



Standard Keyboard, Mouse are pretty self explanitory. so I will not be going into these topics. If you feel you need help with them... I will gladly explain to any questions posted. Also the same with Modems and Lan Play. This all can be answered in personal questions if you need help. Please ask if you do.

Now let's put it all together.

So we first need a great O/S. Lets use XP Home for most standard users.


Case and Power Supply. Make sure the case you get to put it all in is very well ventilated. This helps your computer to not overhead and run better. Also make sure your power supply you get is both compliant with everything you are putting in the system but powerful enough to drive everything you need.

Now we need a great CPU. Personally I love AMD for a CPU because of their performance and speed. If you can afford to get a 64 Bit 939 Pin because they just really rock. The do cost but are really worth the results.

Now a Mother Board. As for a M/B... check out your local shops and ask them for suggestions. They will give you plenty of information and be glad to help you. They also will be able to suggest the one that will go with the processor you choose.

Lets add some Ram. 1 Gig is about standard for most users today. Some need more and some need alot more. Discuss with your computer store what you expect your computer to do for you and they can help you to decide just how much memory you need. Leaving room for expansion is always a great thing too.

Now a hard drive. If you can ( and your new M/B supports it ) get a SATA with some cache because of their speed & performance.

Now a video Card. Make sure you really shop around for this. These are a major investment and DO RESEARCH!!! Make sure you get all of the info you can on the one you are looking at to not only make sure it will work for your system... but is the best choice for you.

Now a CD Player. Shop around again and see what you need. You may only need a CD Player. Some need a CD/RW. Once you determine what you need... look at all your options and choose what works well for your new system.

A Sound Card. Shop around again and make sure you get one that gives you the sound you are looking for. Some people are happy with built in sound on their M/B. Shop and Listen. If in doubt... ask your local shop questions, they will help you.

I currently am using the following...

Windows XP Home Edition
AMD 64 3000+ Athlon
Asus A8V Deluxe Mother Board
500 W Ultra X Connect Power Supply
1 Gig of PC2700 Memory
Seagate ATA 40 GB Master Drive
Seagate SATA 200 GB Slave Drive ( 8 MB Cache )
EVGA GeForce 6800 GT 256 Meg AGP Video Card
MSI 52X CD/RW
MSI 16X DVD
Sound Blaster Audigy LS
Microsoft Forced Feedback Joystick
19 in Pixie Monitor
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro
Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer 2.0
Comcast Cable Internet

With this system I am able to run MSFS 2004 on Full Graphics in 1024 X 768 32 Bit Mode and achieve excellent results. I get between 30 to 60 FPS ( Frames Per Second ) in most areas and only drop down to about 15 to 20 in major areas ( Airports & Cities ) I can have 100% traffic going, addons ( Planes Scenery, Ect.) I can run this game at a higher setting in video but I have to upgrade my monitor to be able to do this. Even still in 1024 x 768 I am getting great results and graphics. My card allows me to run A/A ( Antialiasing ) at 8XS which is used to reduce the jaggie stair step look on straight lines like wing edges and such. I can run A/F ( Anisotropic Filtering ) at 16X which improves the image quality.

So in conclusion... purchasing a prefab system ( Dell, Compaq, Gateway, Ect. ) are nice for most users but when it comes to high end gaming and simulation... they are not the best choice. Building your own system piece at a time is the best way because then you can tailor your system to do for you what you need it to. If you are not knowledgable on how to build a system... shop around... ask questions. Shops will help you build them and choose what works best together. The other great thing about building your own system is that when it comes time for an upgrade... you can just take out your old piece and put in the new one ( if it is compliant with your current hardware ). Also never build your system around one game. Try and build a system that will run more than just a couple of games... this way you are not limiting yourself to one thing.

I have told many of my clients in the past to sit down and write down what it is they want their computer to do for them. Then we built their computer around that along with a little more speed and other things ( with room for expansion ) and they were always satisfied. I hope this article will help some of you and please always ask if you have questions.

Most of all just enjoy MSFS 2004. It is a great simulator and probably has the largest amount of expansion add-on's for any software on the market today.
Like Microsoft says... where do you want to go today ( in the world!!! )??? 8) :roll: =D>
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You land a million plane's safely... then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it!!! [-X :roll: =;

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Post by viche12345 » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:23 pm

Give a round of applause =D> . This post should be published, or maybe added to the tutorials of Surclaro.
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Post by skipperdan » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:03 pm

Thanks Sandpiper:

That is an excellent analysis. 8) 8)
I AM NOT A PILOT. I JUST LOVE AVIATION.

CAPTAIN--CIVIL AIR PATROL
...Emergency Services Training Officer
...Instructor at the Florida Wing Conference 2012.
...Mission Observer (front right seat)
...Air Operations Branch Director
...Flew several times in a Cessna 182 with G1000 (maintaining the MFD).
...Attended two day class conducted by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center
...Completed training for Flight Line Marshall, Flight Release Officer, and Mission Radio Operator.

You should visit your local Civil Air Patrol Squadron and complete an application for membership.
.
Please watch this video that my son made of a Discovery Flight from Albert Whitted Airport (my home base). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EMUg1jiCss
.
Please check out scenery that I helped develop for Albert Whitted Airport http://www.surclaro.com/download.php?query=KSPG&op=search&cid=
.
Check out this article in Air and Space Magazine concerning Albert Whitted Airport:
http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/The-Airport-That-Wouldnt-Die.html

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Post by boeingman777 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:02 am

Very informative, Sandpiper! :D Thanks for your time and research. I'm sure it will help a great many members! =D>
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Optimal Configurations

Post by Sandpiper-N121PP » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:07 am

Thanks all... I just wanted to give a bite for all of those out there whom are trying to either build or purchase a new computer in the very near future... or to help those needing or wanting to upgrade their current system. 8)
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You land a million plane's safely... then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it!!! [-X :roll: =;

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Post by rd » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:16 am

HELP ME PLEASE SANDPIPER,

I have a Tandy TRS 80, and it won't let me fly. Here's my specs.

NAME Color Computer
MANUFACTURER Tandy Radio Shack
TYPE Home Computer
BUILT IN LANGUAGE Tandy (Microsoft) BASIC interpreter
KEYBOARD QWERTY, calculator type keyboard
CPU Motorola 6809 E
SPEED 0.895 MHz (or 1.79 MHz)
RAM 4 KB (up to 64 KB)
ROM 8 KB
TEXT MODES max : 16 x 32, min : 16 x 8
GRAPHIC MODES Several graphic modes, max : 256 x 192 (with 2 colors)
COLORS 9
SOUND 1 voice
SIZE / WEIGHT 36.9 (W) x 34.4 (D) x 9.4 (H) cm
I/O PORTS Tape, RGB, Joystick (2), Monitor, Cardridge, Serial RS232
OS OS-9 Level 1
POWER SUPPLY Built-in power supply unit
PRICE $400


This thing is killing me. I love flying soooo much.


Ardie/rd

:lol: gotcha ROFLMAO
RD

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Post by boeingman777 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:33 am

:D Not to reply for Sandpiper, but nobody will be able to offer you a soloution for that system....LMAO!!! :D That's funny.....
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Post by ricktobin » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:13 pm

That sounds like the system I ran FS1 on. Complete with a 5 1/2 floppy and a cassette tape.

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Post by Sandpiper-N121PP » Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:11 am

rd wrote:HELP ME PLEASE SANDPIPER,

I have a Tandy TRS 80, and it won't let me fly. Here's my specs.

NAME Color Computer
MANUFACTURER Tandy Radio Shack
TYPE Home Computer
BUILT IN LANGUAGE Tandy (Microsoft) BASIC interpreter
KEYBOARD QWERTY, calculator type keyboard
CPU Motorola 6809 E
SPEED 0.895 MHz (or 1.79 MHz)
RAM 4 KB (up to 64 KB)
ROM 8 KB
TEXT MODES max : 16 x 32, min : 16 x 8
GRAPHIC MODES Several graphic modes, max : 256 x 192 (with 2 colors)
COLORS 9
SOUND 1 voice
SIZE / WEIGHT 36.9 (W) x 34.4 (D) x 9.4 (H) cm
I/O PORTS Tape, RGB, Joystick (2), Monitor, Cardridge, Serial RS232
OS OS-9 Level 1
POWER SUPPLY Built-in power supply unit
PRICE $400


This thing is killing me. I love flying soooo much.


Ardie/rd

:lol: gotcha ROFLMAO
DO NOT ATTEMPT THE FOLLOWING>>> IT IS SIMPLY A JOKE!!!

OK... I CAN help you with this one. It will take some work... but here we go.

For the following flight you will need the following...

1 post hole digger

1 bag of cement

2 large poles

50 large rubber bands

1 P.O.S. Computer... with flight software ( not nessacery to install it ( just put it in the box ))

1 box

1 roll of box tape

1 pair of cutters

1 friend with a truck

Fire Extinguisher may be nessasary... BE SAFE and READY FOR ALL EMERGENCIES!!!


First go down to Home Depot... or any other hardware store. Purchase enough concrete mix to fill two 1 foot diameter holes that are 3 feet deep each. Get a post hole digger for you will need it. While you are on your way back home... stop by the lumber yard and purchase 2 telephone size poles stakes. 12 inches in diameter by 3 feet tall. Then go to this web site and order about 50 of their pallet rubber bands.

http://www.aerorubber.com/pallet.htm

Also you will need for this flight a box that can hold the entire contents of your existing computer. You will also need alot of box tape unless you are into effects ( fireworks and such ) then you just need to tape it shut.

Using the post hole digger dig your holes about 4 to 5 feet apart... place one pole in each and make sure you lean it at a 35 degree angle back towards you. Fill each hole with cement and then go to bed. ( probably best to do this on a friday night so you can have friends over to see the spectacle the next day! ) Get up the next morning... make sure the poles and cement are firm and dry. Attach your pallet rubber bands from each pole to pole. Save 10 for you will need them. Now take your package ( computer that is neatly boxed up ) and get it out side near your home made catapult. Wrapping the last 10 rubberbands in a U Shape around the middle of the others attache to the poles. Get your friend with his truck... and attach the end to his trailer hitch. drive the truck carefully away from the poles ( not to uproot them from the ground and get smacked or killed by flying poles, rubber bands and cememt ) stop when they are pretty tight. Get out of the truck... place your computer with the flight software in the box in the rubber band holder... do a 5 second count down and then cut the rubber bands attached to the truck! That software will work just fine now... not sure about the landing but you can do it again and again and again until you get your landing and approach speeds down. Keep the Fire Extinguisher handing for those's Crash & Burn Landings!!!

Hope this helps!!! :roll: \:D/ #-o
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You land a million plane's safely... then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it!!! [-X :roll: =;

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Post by rd » Sat Sep 24, 2005 5:40 am

You're a trooper sweety. :lol: :lol: :lol:

BTW: I doubled the order on the pallette bands, so we should be flying in no time.

Ardie/rd
RD

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Post by viche12345 » Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:49 pm

Exx, make this topic a sticky...or publish in the tutorials section of Surclaro. I refer to this all the time and don't want to search for it all the time.

Thanks.
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Post by planesmart2 » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:33 pm

I have a dell dimension 3000. I want to replace my video card, but I was told by a person on the microsoft message board that I could not replace my video card, Is this true??

Exxman

Post by Exxman » Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:10 am

viche12345 wrote:Exx, make this topic a sticky...or publish in the tutorials section of Surclaro. I refer to this all the time and don't want to search for it all the time.

Thanks.
It is now an announcement. Planesmart...start up another thread with your question so others can see and help ya.

Exx

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Thank You

Post by Sandpiper-N121PP » Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:06 am

Exxman wrote:
viche12345 wrote:Exx, make this topic a sticky...or publish in the tutorials section of Surclaro. I refer to this all the time and don't want to search for it all the time.

Thanks.
It is now an announcement. Planesmart...start up another thread with your question so others can see and help ya.

Exx
Thank you Viche12345 for asking Exx to make this a sticky. I am so glad that people appriciate my topics that I put up... I try to be as informative and as helpful as I can to all. Thank You Exx for making it an announcement. :oops: I am practikally blushing having a sticky in one forum... actually one of my very first topics I submitted ( What would you like to see in the next flight simulator ) and now an announcement. Thanks to all for the support... and for the nice friendships you all have given to me over the year! \:D/
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You land a million plane's safely... then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it!!! [-X :roll: =;

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Post by 09El_Boissevain » Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:40 pm

As for the poll.. nVidia's 8800 Ultra beat 2 HD2900XTs in Crossfire with full AA. (2 crossfire HD2900XT beat 8800 Ultra w/o AA)

But to see 2 GPUs against ONE... the nVidia is obviously better 8) 8)


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