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Advice on Upgrade Please

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Hi Guys,

I was hoping someone might be kind enough to give me a steer towards what are the current cpu/mobo combinations that are at the best price/performance sweet spot. I get pretty good frame rates in all but the most demanding situations (eg it slows down where Orbx scenery has dense trees in NZ).

So although better frame rates in all circumstances would be nice, the main frustration is the time it takes to start up FSX, and then to load the scenery. Consequently I was thinking that I would like to install a pair of conventional 500GB or possibly 1TB RAID 0 HDDs instead of the single HDD I have at the moment. I remember getting a significant performance boost when I did this several years ago in a previous rig.

But of course I would get the best speed increase if my mobo had SATA3, not SATA2 as is the case at the moment.

My current specs are:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940 3.0GHz overclocked to 3.1GHz

RAM: Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066mhz

Mother Board: MSI DKA790GX

GPU: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 6950 2GB GDDR5

Case: Fractal Design R3 Black Pearl

PSU: Corsair TX850 Enthusiast Series

So - should I stick with my current CPU and GFX card and just upgrade the mobo and get the new disks, or bite the bullet and get a new cpu/mobo and RAM? My budget is approx £450-£550 as I'm about to sell an iMac and a laptop but could be persuaded to spend a bit more if there's a particularly good deal out there!

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If loading time is worrying you, get an SSD - they move data around about 15 times faster, so FSX should start in seconds, not minutes. You'll need at least 128GB I think - some will go to OS, and the rest to FSX and sceneries that fit in the remainder. That will cost anywhere between £60-120 (I don't really know, but it used to be £1/GB, but the price is dropping fast). Get a normal HDD as well for the remainder of everything else, including small-scale sceneries that don't take ages to load. If you splash the cash, 256GB SSD and 1 or 2TB HDD seems best.

Any better CPU you can get, the better as well. I have an AMD 1090T, which has 6 cores @ 3.2GHz. FSX with Acceleration *appears* to use all of them, but a 4-core will be just as good. I use my processor more for music notation software audio playback, but the 1090T is good. With adequate cooling people have OC'ed it to 4.1GHz I think. If money is a big concern, stay with AMD. Intel certainly are better, and maybe an i5 or i7, 4-core, OC'ed, would be better.

Your graphics card is plenty adequate enough for FSX and doesn't need to be upgraded.

I know nothing about motherboards.

If you have any money left over, have 4 or 8GB of RAM - you might not use more than 4GB ever, but one day you'll load FSX, REX, UTX, AES, ORBX scenery, PMDG aircraft, and maybe AirHauler, and your computer will be annoyed, so 8GB might be better. If possible, get 1333MHz or higher.

As I (will) say to everyone - take this with a spoonful of salt. Everything is left up to you and I urge you to talk to a proper computer-builder or at least a friend face-to-face that knows what he's talking about.

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Thanks for this. Sorry I haven't responded until now. I had stopped checking for any replies.

I have also discovered the mine of (up-to-date) information at http://kostasfsworld.wordpress.com/fsx-software-and-hardware-guide/

Haven't had time to absorb it all yet, but it seems to provide some very good advice.

Thanks again for taking time to help.


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