Perfect PC for FSX and P3D (spring 2016)

How to build a perfect PC for FSX and P3D? Look at my suggestions for a dream PC and for a budget version.

Asus Z170 Pro Gamer (photo: Asus)

Asus Z170 Pro Gamer (photo: Asus)

I started writing about PC configuration for FSX several years ago on CalypteAviation.com (in Polish). This is the first edition of that series in English. I hope it will be as helpful to you as the previous editions were to my Polish readers.

Prices I mention are based on U.S. shops when in $ and on German shops when in Euro. Prices in your country may be slightly different.

Dream PC

This is something that I would build if I was not traveling and spending money on my photo equipment. This PC is not cheap but in my opinion it has a very good performance to price ratio (in FSX). It is even better if you use P3D and in modern games of different genres.

  • CPU: i7-6700K (overclocked to 4.8-5.0GHz) $370 / 355 Euro
  • Motherboard: Asus Z170 PRO GAMING $190 / 160 Euro
  • GPU: GTX 980 $500 / 520 Euro
  • Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB (2x8GB) 2666MHz DDR4 $100 / 90 Euro
  • Hard drive (magnetic): SSHD SEAGATE 2TB 3,5″ ST2000DX001 7200 64MB $90 / 90 Euro
  • SSD drive: mSATA 500GB $160 / 170 Euro
  • DVD $20 / 20 Euro
  • Power supply $170 / 170 Euro
  • Case: $60 / 60 Euro
  • Water cooling: $100-250 / 100-250 Euro
  • OS: Windows 10 64bit $120 / 115 Euro

Total: $1,880 – 2,030 in U.S.
Total: 1,850-2000 Euro in Germany

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Budget PC

About 50% cheaper and still should give you a decent framerates and quality in FSX. My general rule in building PCs for FSX is to use the “second best” in every field. Usually it is significantly cheaper then the latest product. Sometimes (like here) I use “third best” component. My aim was to build this PC at around $1000.

Important note. I am building the best PC for FSX and P3D. If you intent to use some other software that will perform better with Hyper Threading technology – you should consider a lower tier i7 CPU. For FSX (and generally for P3D) i5 should give you a better performance compared to i7 in the same price range.

To stay inside of my $1000 limit I also chose the “third best” graphics (GPU). If you can spare additional $150 I would suggest GTX 970 instead of 960.

  • CPU: i5-6600K (overclocked to 4.5+ GHz) $220 / 240 Euro
  • Motherboard: Asus Z170 PRO GAMING $190 / 160 Euro
  • GPU: GTX 960 2GB $190 / 200 Euro
  • Memory: 2x4GB: KINGSTON HyperX DDR3 2x4GB 2400MHz $55 / 55 Euro
  • Hard Drive (magnetic): SSHD SEAGATE 1TB 3,5″ ST1000DX001 7200 64MB $70 / 80 Euro
  • DVD $20 / 20 Euro
  • Power supply $90 / 90 Euro
  • Case: $60 / 60 Euro
  • CPU radiator + 12cm fan $40 / 40 Euro
  • OS: Windows 10 64bit $120 / 115 Euro

Total: $1,035 in U.S.
Total: 1,060 Euro in Germany

Both calculations are based on listed prices of individual components. Contact your local computer store for a better deal. Based on the experience of my readers – the price for the whole PC may ba 10-20% lower.

Are savings possible?

If you need to lower the cost even more – consider this:

  • Memory – at current prices I advice against any savings here.
  • Power supply – I calculated a strong power units for both PCs. Usually you can go a little lower in terms of Wattage. You can also pick a cheaper power supply unit. Be aware that this can cause unstable performance and crashes when your power supply unit gets overloaded.
  • Cooling. You can save a few bucks on radiator and 12cm fan. With water cooling you have vast choice of options so take what you can afford but keep in mind that you need your CPU to run at proper temperatures.
  • Case – usually you pay for what you see. If you do not need great looks – simply take something with good ventilation.
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More savings? Using second hand parts?

For years I have been buying parts for my PC and my cameras on eBay and I never had any problems with second hand devices. But others had!

What should you buy on eBay and what should you stay away from? There is some risk in buying “easily-breakable” parts like OC (overclocked) CPUs and GPUs. When you have no idea how they were treated – you may expect all the problems associated with heat damage or over-voltage damage.

Having said that – I use a gaming Mobo and overclocked GPU. I bought both on ebay or a simillar site. And they work beautifully. So, when you have a choice of buying better device or a cheaper but new… I would seriously consider looking on ebay.

Aircraft recommended by C-Aviation. When you buy products at FSS following these links you help pay for keeping this site online. You may consider contributing directly. Thanks for your support!
Carenado - Cessna C337H Skymaster HD Series for FSX/P3D A2A - Wings of Power 3: Spitfire Lionheart - Quest Kodiak Lotus Simulations - L-39 Albatros Aerosoft - F-14 X (Download) Aerosoft - Twin Otter Extended (Download)

Something a little more expensive?

If you want to build a better PC than what I suggested earlier – use a batter GPU. I suggested GTX 980 and GTX 960. You can add a second 980 and connect them with SLI in the hi-end setup. In case of 960 I suggest switching to 970. 980 seems to be an overkill for FSX running on i5 CPU but you can consider it if you use P3D or any GPU dependent games.

If you intend to do some serious experiments with overclocking (meaning – if you want to overclock to values higher than I mentioned earlier) – consider a better cooling, a better motherboard and a better power supply.

Sceneries recommended by C-Aviation. When you buy products at FSS following these links you help pay for keeping this site online. You may consider contributing directly. Thanks for your support!
Aerosoft - Night Environment - Poland Pacific Islands Simulation - Atolls of Tuvalu Vidan Design - Danish Airfields X - Endelave Vidan Design - Danish Airfields X - Nordborg Vidan Design - Sonderborg X Vidan Design - Danish Airfields X - Tunø

Overclocking is necessary

FSX and P3D use CPU speed. The faster it runs – the better performance you get in your sim. Do not even think about running your CPU at factory settings, but keep in mind that you need better cooling to run it safely at higher speeds.

In modern motherboards and CPUs basic overclocking can be done with software provided with the motherboard or through EUFI/BIOS.

Flight Simulatora X / P3D PC

I will never be perfect. You can always run into trouble with advanced planes and sceneries – no matter how good your equipment is.

If someone says that he has a PC that runs PMDG’s 777 at Aerosoft’s Mega Airport with all the other add-ons installed and he gets 60fps on a machine that costs $800… he is laying or he does not know what he is talking about…

You will experience problems, but a proper configuration and a good PC can solve some of them. Please make sure that your config is ok and that your PC can run FSX with add-ons before complaining about performance on forums and in fb groups.

Summary
Perfect PC for FSX and P3D (spring 2016)
Article Name
Perfect PC for FSX and P3D (spring 2016)
Description
How to build a perfect PC for FSX and P3D? Look at my suggestions for a dream PC and for a budget version.
Author
Software recommended by C-Aviation. When you buy products at FSS following these links you help pay for keeping this site online. You may consider contributing directly. Thanks for your support!
Aerosoft - Professional Flight Planner X (Download) A2A - Accu-Feel v.2 AL&S: Global FSX Enhancement REX - REX4 Texture Direct HD with REX Soft Clouds HiFi Tech - Active Sky 2016 Full Version for FSX

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