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Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?! :: Archived
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:13 am
Post subject: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

(That doesn't mean I'm retirin' from CFS3 myself though!)

Amost brings a tear to my eye (sniff). It's time to retire the ol' Dell Dimension 8300 used as the test rig in the CFS3 Tweaks and Tips guide, gents.....it's gettin' dawg-damn slow, and after 3-1/2 years of trying to keep it afloat with decent FPS rates in various sims, CFS3 and FS9 are showing it's limits for sure. Matter of fact, my laptop with a 1.5Mhz Pentium-M flies both sims much better, just because the internal components are better matched (faster bus & RAM). By comparison, it's almost PAINFUL to fly on the ol' Dell any more.

So I've decided to give the ol' early 1.8Ghz P4 with 100Mhz front side bus, 1Gig of old-fashioned SD-RAM (Stands for Dog-Slow) and maybe even the should-be-fast-but-is-also kinda slow 160-Gig HD a break from flying duties. It shall live out the rest of it's days at the service of my boy, who will no doubt torment it with various online games, Runescape junk and all that. Not the most glorious retirement for a fine steed that's brought so much pain and havoc to various fierce online opponents, but it's either that or assign it Solitaire and Home Accounting duties with my spouse. Either way, it's going to a desk job for sure. I blame Dell for not ever returning my calls regarding a system upgrade.

Anyway, I'm seeking opinions & such regarding any "sweet spot" deals out there y'all might know or be happy with? Particularly, pretty definite about certain things I want in the next system:

- INTEL P4, 3.0GHz minimum, HT version. Not AMD or Celeron, I'm an old-fashioned Intel diehard. Prices seem to have settled down on this speed range.
- 1Gig fast RAM this time around....DDR stuff?
- Could keep the NVidia-based FX5200 card or go with something a little better but not too dear? What's a pretty reasonably-priced improvement over this card, anyone know?
- 160GB or better HD (seems a pretty common size now)
- SOME kind of manufacturer behind the whole deal. Like a Gateway/EMachines kinda thing I guess. I've assembled probably over 100 custom PC's in a past job and know what I'm doing, and am at the point in life I don't wanna deal with it, or self-support, but want someone I can call and make miserable instead. That's why I got that dang Dell, was my very-first ever 'store bought' PC since buying a used IBM XT back in '85.

Oh yeah....here's the funny part - trying to stay arounf $600-$700 US currency. Prob'ly keep my monitor and some other stuff, so it's just a fairly straightforward box I'm talkin' about. Figured, some of you might be willing to offer some input on a new SSS (StoopySimSystem)?

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Uhu_Fledermaus
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:27 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

not shure how the things are at your end Stoopy,

at this end Siemens Fujitsu offers a very nice ready to rock rig with :
P4 3,4 HT
1 G ram
200 G HD
ATI9800pro
DVD dubbellayer burner/reader
Sound stuff (dunno wich)
Windows XP home and some other stuff

price including Her Majesty's taxes = 900,00 Euro's

I was contemplating to buy one of these myself

just waiting for the comments ! Laughing


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RCAF_MadDog
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:29 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Myself I would rather run 2-3 smaller drives than one big drive windows dont have to search through as much info to find what its looking for and another point is .....I put windows on the main drive and Utility type programs on the 2nd and all games on the third. If my main drive crashes I still have all the downloads Utilities and Games reinstall windows (Ghost Image) and im up and running in minutes. And im a diehard Intel man also and I dont use anything but Asus mobo's and my brand of hard drives are always Maxtor. As far as video cards my next one will be ATI instead of the faithful NVidea and im prolly gonna check out the PCI Express but not sure. As far as Ram I would make sure everything is 800mhz FSB.

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 6:04 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Hmmm! Fast responses, Thanks gents I appreciate it!

Hate to feel dumb but really I just don't keep up with the new stuff anymore.....coupla more quick questions?

1. D'ya think the ATI 9600 series - or 9600SE - offer better performance than say the NVidia FX5200? (Just generally speaking - I know opinions & brand loyalties will vary). Or is the 9800 sereies the better jump in performance for a mid-range vid card?

2. 800Mhz RAM? I see speeds up to 533Mhz (PC4300)....still, DDR Memory is the stuff newer than mine....Dual-Channel's the way to go right? PC3200, 400Mhz seems like the sweet spot on pricing, should do?

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Uhu_Fledermaus
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 6:21 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Rolling Eyes

Personally I prefer the ATI cards, but I'm maybe biased as I have a ATI 9800pro card installed here and rather happy with it, see also piccie's about first hop ! Wink
and indeed the faster RAM the better, alltough also depends on the depth of your wallet !
but that's an item that can be upgraded in time with lesser expenses Wink


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RCAF_MadDog
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 6:25 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

2. 800Mhz RAM? I see speeds up to 533Mhz (PC4300)....still, DDR Memory is the stuff newer than mine....Dual-Channel's the way to go right? PC3200, 400Mhz seems like the sweet spot on pricing, should do?


yeah as far as im concerned the dual channel is the way to go the Ram I have is rambus rdram 800mhz FSB but its expensive and a dieing breed. The dual channel ram thats 400mhz shouldnt cause a bottle neck even if the cpu an the mobo is 800mhz. Just my opnion on the ram

As far as the vid cards im not sure ..

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:00 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Thanks, Maddog. Fled, those are indeed some very tasty screenies you do. If I may ask, what kind of general frame rates does your system acheive in such settings like the last hop you showed, with mountain terrain and fog, etc.?

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Uhu_Fledermaus
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 8:39 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Cool
I've applied the following setings :

Scenery
Terrain mesh complexity = 100
Terrain size texture = high
Terrain detail = land only
Water effects = high
Dawn/dusk texture blending = checked
Extended terrain textures = checked
Special effects detail = high
Scenery complexity = Dense
Autogen Density = Dense
Add-on dynamic scenery = checked / setting = extremely dense
Ground scenery cast shadows = checked
Sun glare = checked
Lens flare = checked

Aircraft
Quality = Ultra high
Virtual cockpit gauge quality = high
Reflections = checked
Aircraft casts shadows = checked
Landing lights = checked

Weather
Sight distance minimum= 60 miles
Cloud draw distance = 50 miles
3D cloud percentage = 80 (higher doesn't give a noticable difference)
Detailled clouds = checked
Cloud coverage density = Maximum

Hardware
Render to Texture = NOT checked
Transform and Lightning = checked
Anti Aliasing = NOT checked
Filtering = bilinear
MIP mapping = 5
Hardware rendered lights = 3
Global max texture size = Massive

Target frame rate = 20 (higher doesn't improve anything and also eats up resources)

P4 2,8 running as 3,08 on ASUS P4C800 "de luxe"
2G RAM Corsair DDR 3200 pro
320 G (4 x 80G) HD's
ATI Radeon 9800pro
screen res 1280 x 1240 32 bit
the latest ATI drivers
monitor = Sony HMD 19" Trinitron

system build in July 2003


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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:38 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Dang me, Fled, That's nothing less than a BUTTLOAD of info....and a helluva nice system!!!!

Don't see too much Siemens stuff over on this side of the pond... yet......although their washers and driers and phones are showing up slowly. They're stuff is also loosely invovled in something I do for a living, so...uhh.... I like to avoid any potential conflicts of interest by not buying their stuff for my home. No offense to the Germans of course... Smile

Hey, dig it, though....looks like a pretty good lo-cost potential candidate, eh?

www.compusa.com/produc...pfp=BROWSE

I'm looking kinda sideways-like at that ATI X300 SE PCI Express vid card .... ain't never heard of me such a'beast...... guess I could giver 'er a whirl and swap out to the ol' Nvidia FX5200 if it ain't up to snuff, I reckon.....'zat one o'them newfangled thangs thats supposed to be better'n AGP vid cards??

Thanks for all the input you guys.... pretty cool that a coupla folks at good ol' COm-C wanna he'p out Stoopy with his new rig!


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Uhu_Fledermaus
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:53 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Mr. Green

That looks like a nice system Stoopy and it offers potential for upgrading, the first upgrade I would make is to toss in some more RAM ! Wink

Can't comment on the PCI vidcard and I know that the PCI slot stuff is the latest development, I'd tend to hang in a bit longer till more of that stuff hits the market as now it's "brand new" and therefore also more costly ! Wink

Also convinced that a few more people should butt in here and deliver some comments, I can only relate from own expiriences and there is more out there than this ! Laughing

but apart from that it will set you up nicely I think


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RCAF_MadDog
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 10:33 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

PCI express is one of them new thangies lol And i'd have to read up on it but i believe it will let ya run 2 vid cards as one. Hitman would be the one to ask about that though

Im not familiar with vid cards much anymore im still using a GF4 lol

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Shadow_Bshwackr
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:54 pm
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

General opinions among most of the Admins here at CC is the use of Asus/Intel combo main boards. Like you Stoopy, I'm an all Intel guy and while I agree that AMD makes some killer CPU's, the main board chipsets used such as VIA, Nvidia or SiS don't have access to the Windows/Intel instruction sets that Intel is privy to. This doesn't mean they don't do a good job, they do, but in my past experience, Intel works great straight out of the box with no problems. I can't say the same for the others I've used in the past building puters.

ATI v Nvidia is always going to be an ongoing debate and I say use whatever you feel will get you the most "bang for your buck". Personally, I've used both and feel both are great companies capable of wonderful graphics and game playing.

BTW, your old rig makes a great Web/printer/game server....:D Just a thought....lol
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Shadow_Homfixr
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 6:38 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Before buying a store bought rig you might want to check out this site:

www.tigerdirect.com/

I have had great success with everything I have bought there and they have some killer deals. Ready to go rigs to custom built for you with every accessory available.

As far as vid cards go, definitely get a newer card that is DX 9 compliant. The 5200 will not run all the things that DX 9 offers. I took my 5200 and threw it out(j/k). Still have it but it is in the desk draw...lol...it wouldn't run Joint Operations worth a dang so I got the 6800 GT. A little pricey at $400 but well worth the investment. I can now crank the vids all the way to the top in JO nad FS9 Laughing . My wife's rig has a 5700 LE in it and things run great there too..bout $130. Good luck!

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:39 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Ooops! Well I guess I read your post too late Homfixer, 'cuz the wifey and I just got back from the store. I travel a good bit so it drives me nuts when I order stuff, and it comes in when I'm away from home, ....so for me it's worth it to go touch, feel, pay and come home with a box, lol!

Got a new Gateway 554GE sittin' next to me on the dining room table right now, installing the ATI utilities that came with the X800XL PCI EXpress card we bought as an upgrade for it. Actually, we are real pleased with the price of the system, it's not quite the same as the one I was looking at, it differs in that it already came with a meg of fast RAM in it already instead of 512M... otherwise, same box.

Edit: Actually, I went and just looked (looking for a few other specs on it anyway and ran across this) - I paid just almost $400 less than what tigerdirect is showing as the price. Seriously...I guess this particular web page may be out of date?

www.tigerdirect.ca/app...=G153-1022

Anyway thats the box I got.

Birthday's comin up and so wifey picked out a new 19" Viewsonic flat CRT monitor for me too. I almost said no, but...guess I got sidetracked.....not LCD, but I'm an old-fashioned CRT guy anyways.

This ATI X800 card is supposed to be fairly decent, isn't it? 256M of ram on it and 16 graphic pipelines, whatever they do. All I know is the vid card itself weighs over a frikkin' pound, is HUGE compared to the lil' X300 card that came out of the PCI-X slot, and has a gawdawful cool lookin' fan on it.

Welp......hope this'll be good enuff, seems like it oughta flat dust the ol' Dell workhorse, gonna have to last another 4 years like it's predecessor at least, and now time to install a few progs and see what color smoke we get! Thanks all for the he'p, all!!!!

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 9:28 am
Post subject: Re: Retirin' the CFS3 Test Rig...but for what?!

Heh...Umm......Ahhhh......forget I asked about that video card. Almost thought something was wrong for a while. Locked FPS at 30 in FS9, set it to 1600 x 1200 x 32bit res, ultra detail, flew around Chicago for half an hour with cold fronts moving in....never saw it dip below 30FPS until I landed the Bell 207 on the pitcher's mound of Wrigley field....dipped down to 28 for sec....Most immersive simmign experience I've ever had! And I've NO idea what the thing would actually top out at FPS-wise.....

You have GOT to get yourself one of THESE! WooHOOOO!!!!!

Loadin' CFS3 up next......thinkin' this oughta work too

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