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Hi guys. I am looking to purchase a system that will do the following...
1) Run FSX with all settings at max (framerates as high as possible)
2) Run 2 displays
a) 1st display (15" DVI monitor) only shows dashboard controls
b) 2nd display (60" HDMI Sony TV at 1080p resolution) shows
I'm not worried about money at this point. I'd just like some suggestions as to building or buying a machine that will do this.
I'd advise building, because you'll probably get a lot more performance for your money, and because you can hand pick components to suit your needs. My general advice --
Get the biggest, fastest, most badass processor you can afford. I'm talkin the latest quad core monster that intel has come up with... You can never have too many clock cycles with FSX.
Any decent graphics card will run 2 monitors, so you just want to get a fast one. I wouldn't really recommend SLI/Crossfire, since that has trouble with multiple monitors as far as i'm aware and you're better off buying one really fast card rather than 2 halfway decent cards. You might consider getting a monster to run the main display and a smaller one to run the instrument panel; not too difficult to set up and should be a moderate framerate boost.
4 to 8 gigs of ram won't do you wrong. Get fast ram-- learn about timing and clock speeds if you like, or just read newegg reviews. Just be aware that not all ram is created equal...
I'd recommend a 64 bit operating system, I hear windows 7 runs pretty well (and is free, but you'll have to buy it in about a year.) Vista gets a worse rap than it deserves, but XP will probably serve you better as it's a little lighter weight.
The hard drive isn't terribly critical, but obviously you want a big one to hold all your scenery addons, and you want a fast one ot make those loading screens go by faster. You want to get SATA rather than IDE, it's faster.
One other thing-- You can get a lot of speed from overclocking your processor. Pick a motherboard that's overclock-friendly (lets you adjust clock speeds and voltages from the bios), and read up on it. It's actually a lot harder to permanently damage anything than people make it sound.
Of course there are other fun htings you can do... water cooling and the like, it all depends on just how hardcore you want to go and how much time you want to invest.
good luck, wish i was in a place where i didn't care about the money involved!!
What video card(s) do you suggest? And how much video memory does it need?