Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Building a FSX Computer – The Parts Have Been Ordered

Well, after spending about two months off and on researching components for my system, I’ve place the orders and should have things set up in about a week or so. I came in slightly over my budget but not by much. To summarize, my goal was to build a high-end (although not necessarily crazy lets go overboard super-duper-high-end) system for running FSX.

These are my comments pre-build for why I selected the various components. In a few weeks, I’ll come back with some follow-up comments about each component once the system is up and running and I have a chance to test things out. I will, of course, also start reporting on the level of performance achieved by this new system with FSX.

Anyway, here’s the parts list:

CORE COMPONENTS

Power Supply
ETASIS ET850 ATX12V / EPS12V True 850W, Max 950W
This SLI approved PSU will pump in plenty of juice to keep things running smoothly.

Case
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Black Full Tower Case w/ 25CM Fan
A big case with several large and powerful fans for maximum air movement. Plenty of room to expand in the future if necessary. The blue LEDs and clear side panel add a nice bit of style.

Motherboard
P5N32-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel
Essentially the same motherboard as the Striker Extreme model, minus some pointless LEDs and a few other cosmetic details, but $100 cheaper. As mentioned in previous posts, a 680i motherboard is required for the best SLI performance but is not (currently and probably never) compatible with the new 45 nm quad-core chips from Intel. However, the minor performance increase in achieved by the QX9850 over the QX6850 is trivial compared to the performance lost by halving the GPU power available (via SLI). Some have commented that SLI doesn’t have as much impact for FSX vs other games, but given that I’ll use this system for things other than FSX I want to keep the power of SLI.

CPU
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 Kentsfield 3.0GHz LGA 775
Again, see comments above regarding the latest 45 nm chips. This quad-core is excellent and provides a solid foundation for the system. Initially I don’t plan to do any overclocking, although I may experiment with this down the line if it seems like there is room for performance improvements.

GPUs
(2x) Foxconn FV-N88XMAD2-ONOC GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported OverClock
See my previous posts about the GTXs vs the Ultras. This factory overclocked 8800GTX is virtually identical to many of the 8800Ultras on the market minus a 10% clock speed reduction on the VRAM. Two of these puppies will be operating in SLI mode to allow for maximum GPU power. Many have commented that these, and overclocked 8800s in general, can run very hot and hence more reason why I opted for the big case with big fans.

RAM
(2x) Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
I’ve order two sets of these SLI approved sticks for a total of 4GB of RAM.

OS
Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium
This will be my first Vista system. Vista’s required to use DirectX10 and the 64-bit environment will allow for all 4 GB of RAM to be fully utilized without any fuss.

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Fairly standard here.

Display
Westinghouse L2410NM Glossy Black 24″ 8ms Widescreen LCD
There isn’t much point in building a high-end system and then outputting to a small monitor. This LCD is plenty big and has received rave reviews, despite being one of the least expensive 24” monitors currently on the market. The only slightly quirky thing was that it has an HDMI input but no DVI input (but does have a VGA input) and thus I needed to buy a DVI to HDMI monitor cable.

 

OTHER PARTS WORTH NOTING

CPU Cooler
ZALMAN CNPS9500 LED 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan with Heatsink
An upgrade from the standard issue Intel heatsink. Combined with the large case and fans, this should provide for optimal air cooling of the quad-core CPU. There are plenty of reports showing impressive overclocking using this setup whilst keeping the temps under control through an air-only cooling system.

CPU Thermal Compound
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
Hands down Arctic Silver is the best in the business. There isn’t much point in upgrading to a fancier CPU cooling system only to save a few bucks using cheapo thermal compound. At only about $6 per tube there’s really no excuse to use anything else.

Optical Drive
LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DH-20A4P-04
Just a standard issue optical drive.

Keyboard
Saitek PZ30AU Black USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard
This keyboard has received very positive reviews and features LED backlit keys for ease of use in dark settings.

Mouse
Logitech MX518 2-Tone 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB + PS/2 Wired Optical Gaming-Grade Mouse
One of the most popular high-performance optical mice for gaming applications.

Sponsored video content:



One Comment on “Building a FSX Computer – The Parts Have Been Ordered”

  1. tomas

    Hi, what cost this computer for FSX which you build? Sorry for my english. Thanks for your answer. Tomas

Post comments, questions and suggestions here:

You must be logged in to post a comment.