My PC may be too old

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    Ian Robson

    Hi All, Just wanted to update you all on a new situation I have encountered. I last upgraded my PC motherboard and CPU in 2012, and at the time I got a CPU which was recommended to me. Since then I’ve updated other components to end up with a PC with the specs below, and it has served me very well over these past 7 years.

    i7 2600K overclocked to 4.7GHz
    16GB RAM

    Now that I’ve started getting through the 737 Systems course I thought I’d start flying the Zibo 737 to get my hand back in; however on each occasion when on final approach my frame rate drops to single figures and looks like a slide show. In that scenario a safe landing is a lottery.

    It looks like I’m going to have to save up and upgrade my PC to allow me to successfully fly the 737. In the meantime I’ll return to ‘lighter’ add-on aircraft and continue to progress through the 737 system training.


    MidCon Admin

    Thanks for the progress update Ian.

    I just recently acquired a whole new machine myself but still haven’t properly configured it yet.

    I’m sure the upgrade will serve you well!

    As a side note, you’re doing very well in the systems modules. I hope you’re enjoying it!


    Ian Robson

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks, yes I am enjoying it. It’s summer and the weather hasn’t been too bad so I’ve slowed up a bit on the modules but still keen to continue.

    Not sure when I can upgrade but hopefully it will be before I complete the systems course.

    All the best

    Ian Robson

    I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I spent some time today tweaking XP11 and ensuring no unnecessary apps were running with positive results. I did a test flight in the Zibo mod and whilst frames did reduce on approach & landing they remained high enough to retain control throughout the phase.

    More testing required but it looks a lot more positive than it did when I wrote the post above.

    MidCon Admin

    Good to hear! Maybe reducing some scenery complexity settings (if that’s possible in Xplane) may help.


    John Morgan

    My nearly 9 year-old laptop is finally getting to a point I’ve decided it’s time for a new desktop. Despite the specs being at FSX’s recommended, I never got FSX to work on it even with the sliders all at minimums. It used to run FS9 very well, but the past 3 years or so I’ve had more and more freeze-ups and CTDs. This weekend I had it freeze up and go berzerk on decent into MIA during a VATSIM event (which usually isn’t as taxing as running default ATC with all the AI traffic I’ve installed over the years). After 15 minutes, the sim started running again but dumped FSINN and SimACARS. I figured I’d at least land for the sense of completion. At about 100 feet AGL, it CTD’d. Had the wife not been home, the laptop may or may not have broken out the office window.

    I forgot how frustrating computer shopping can be, and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s possible to get a decent gaming machine that isn’t lit up like some teenager’s Honda Civic. I don’t need the lights and I’m pretty sure I’m paying for all that lighting.

    If you don’t mind my asking, Mike, what system did you get?

    MidCon Admin


    I haven’t built a PC in over 10 years, before SSD’s and liquid cooling were commonplace so I had no experience with that. Rather than risk ruining expensive components I just opted to do a custom build this time around.

    I spent a lot of time looking at/pricing systems with pretty much every custom builder out there.

    Ultimately, the best bang for the buck ended up being AVA Direct, a company in Ohio.

    My new rig:

    Full tower ATX case
    1000 Watt power supply
    ASUS TUF Z390-Pro Gaming mainboard
    Intel I9 9900K / overclocked to 5.0 Ghz / Liquid Cooled
    64GB 3200 Mhz RAM
    nVidia GeForce RTX 2080 11GB video card
    Samsung 2TB SSD / primary drive
    Seagate 4TB 7200 RPM storage drive
    Asus STRIX SOAR 7.1 sound card
    Windows 10 Home
    AVA Bronze (3 years labor / 2 years parts)

    $4500.00 / FedEx Shipping

    Monitor – Viewsonic VX4380-4K – 43″ UHD 4K computer monitor (not a TV)
    $600.00 from Amazon

    All said and done, a little over 5 grand invested…but, it’s been 10 years since my last new system and I was WAY overdue.

    P3Dv4.5 out of the box with default settings I actually saw frame rates in excess of 250 FPS!.. LOL

    I’m currently running P3D with most sliders well to the right, along with Orbx Global Base, Global Vector, North American/South American/European Landclass, Global Trees HD, Global Buildings HD, REX SkyForce with ActiveSky as the engine, and consistently have frame rates above 50.

    If I get into some really heavy weather the frames will drop to between 30-40 but visually it’s still smooth.

    I’m just now to the point where I’m ready to start adding 3rd party planes and airports.


    John Morgan


    And here I’m cringing over the thought of replacing a 9-year-old laptop that originally cost $1300 with $2800 on a desktop I’ll have to assemble myself.

    I last built a custom system myself in high school, circa 1999. It’s the system I ran Fly! with the PMDG 757-200 when I originally joined on in the AWVA days. My last desktop was purchased about 15 years ago and was ordered to my specs. As you’ve said, a lot has changed and it’s becoming a massive learning curve.

    This is what I’m currently playing with as a potential build:

    Ian Robson

    Hi John,

    That looks like a really decent PC you have picked out there.

    I’m definitely going to need to follow your example as my PC is struggling, especially on VATSIM with a bit of traffic and clouds. I’m still putting some money aside every month to fund this upgrade; hopefully only a couple of months away now.

    Best of luck with your build! I’m told that it’s just like building lego 🙂

    John Morgan


    I’ve assembled enough computers in my life to know Legos are a poor comparison. I’ve never zapped a Lego because I forgot to touch the case first or spent 2 hours straightening the pins on a Lego brick because I accidentally dropped it on the motherboard pin-side down.

    We’ll see what I ultimately end up with as I keep playing around with it to try and balance it out more. Unfortunately, I’ve started warming to the idea of some RGB lighting in the build which isn’t helping narrow things down anymore.

    Good luck on your new system as well.

    MidCon Admin

    You can save some money by not going with the $200 version of P3D as long as you don’t mind that it says “academic” in small text in the upper right hand corner.


    John Morgan

    I’m debating that myself. How distracting is it?

    John Morgan

    Well. I pulled the trigger on the computer. Parts will be arriving between Wednesday and the weekend. I caught FS2Crew for the PMDG737NGX 64bit and GSX + Level 2 bundle while the sales were on this weekend. Besides ASP4 and the PMDG 737NGX (and of course P3D4), what are the goto add-ons? I was using FSGenesis terrain and Ultimate Terrain with FS9, along with the freeware airport environment upgrade textures. Are the ORBX Global packages worth the cost?

    Fortunately, some of my stuff with FS9 will transfer (like PFPX and FS Captain).

    After 15 years milking FS9 along, I feel like I’m coming out of a bunker into the light of day.

    MidCon Admin


    Coming from FSX to P3D was pretty amazing. The academic license watermark isn’t distracting at all, you’ll get to where you don’t even notice it.

    In my opinion, the ORBX packages are well worth the investment.

    I’m running Global Base, Vector, All the Landclass packages, HD Trees, HD buildings. The results are nothing short of stunning.

    I’d also recommend REX SkyForce with ActiveSky as the weather engine, I have Environment Force as well, but haven’t installed it yet. It’s essentially a shader application, and is supposed to work in concert with SkyForce to provide a more life-like “living environment”. Not 100% convinced yet that I need it.

    Keep us posted on your progress!


    John Morgan

    I’ll be skipping over FSX. I’ve had it since it came out, but I could run FS9 with max settings and high-detail add-ons while FSX never ran on any computer I’ve had unless I removed add-ons and ran with minimum settings. Though, FS5, FS95, and FS98 were the only ones I upgraded to sequentially. I moved on to the Terminal Reality series between FS98 and FS9.

    I’ve looked at the Orbx stuff and I’m hoping for holiday sales. Especially since they have Felts Field (KSFF) where I took my first flight lesson and Kenai Municipal (PAEN) where I flew out of the first 14 years of my life (starting two weeks after my birth). If they develop Spokane International (KGEG) and Portland-Hillsboro (KHIO) my wallet and marriage may suffer. This past February they apparently had a 70% off sale for first-time customers and I may wait them out to see if it comes back around. From what I’ve seen though, I’ll definitely be snagging it when I can afford it.

    I’m definitely grabbing Active Sky as I’ve been using it since version 6 and currently am using ASE (which apparently still grants me a discount on AS16/ASP4). I also understand it’s what drives the WXR in the PMDG NGX. Do you prefer REX SF3D over Hi-Fi ASCA? I’m having a hard time from videos and reviews determining which does a better job.

    The processor, Blu-ray drive, and case already arrived as of today. Already I’ve hit a snag with the case as it’s much larger than I was envisioning and doesn’t fit under my desk where I’d hoped. However, going from a full to mid tower only shaves an inch and a half on how far it’ll stick out (still 3 inches into where my chair should sit). I measured but realized I hit the wall with the tape measure and forgot there is a cross-member support. I’m just going to have to find a different storage spot for all my flight sim peripherals besides piled on each other the floor under my desk when not in use. This is probably a good thing.

    Sorry for hijacking your thread, Ian. Having re-read your post after catching up on about 20 years of technology, I think your GPU is adequate without jumping up to the RTX 20 series unless you want to “future proof” and your RAM is fine even if a lower speed though it might be worth adding more if you’ve got the slots. The CPU is most-likely the bottleneck in the system. So you may get away with getting just the newer processor and the motherboard to support it for around $500-600. I ultimately was fighting between the GTX 1070 and the RTX 2070 Super. I went with the RTX only because the pricing was similar at time of purchase. After a year of the RTX being out, not much has adopted ray-tracing which is about all it has over the GTX line. If I had the GTX1070 already, there just wouldn’t be much incentive for me to shell out for the RTX right now.

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