Hardware Upgrade Advice for FS2004?

CinciBearFan Guest

I'm flying along in FS2004 pretty reasonably...with moderate slider settings...I can use 3D clouds, but not much more of the advance features...flying around in the Cessna 152, I can generally pull off 18-20 FPS...which to me is pretty smooth. but I want to pull at least that with many of the sliders maxed.

I've looked all over the net at reviews, and it's really been hard to find an answer to my particular scenario. I'm trying to find the true bottleneck in my system, and get the most bang for my buck.

My current system:
Celeron 600 OCed to 900 Mhz (via Slocket III)
Nvidia Geforce2 32MB AGP card
Soundblaster Live Value! 5.1
Abit BH-6 Motherboard
CH products USB Pedals, and Flight Yoke

and I'm debating if I should make one more "baby step" before making a wholesale mobo/processor/memory change.

My main interest here is Madden and Flight Simulator 2004 performance. Right now, it's adequate, but at moderate settings...I want to pump up my sliders for more realism, with good FPS.

Here are what I consider my options:

1. Go to a Celeron 1.3Ghz, hope to get about 1.5-1.6Mhz with OC.
Net Cost: $35

2. Keep 900 Mhz, beef up video card to Ti4200 vintage card.
Net cost: $90

3. Finally get new Mobo: go with AMD 2500+ barton core, Nforce2 with Integrated Graphics (Geforce4 MX) Mobo, 512 MB DRAM in 256MB dual mode.
Net cost: $150 (assuming an ebay sale of Sound Card, vid card, Mobo/CPU/RAM/NIC=hassle)

Obviously, it would make the most sense to go with #3 for max performance...but my wife would want to kick my ass 🙂 Especially after just spending $200+ on yoke and pedals. 🙂

But in order to keep the price down on option #3, how much do I suffer in FPS by using the built in AC97 audio, and IGP. In otherwords, am I that much better off using the built in GeForce4 and built in Audio, or will those things limit the effectivenss of my new system. I would imagine with Dual Channell DDR, 33% more memory, GeForce4, and 92% more processing power than option #1, plus improved architecture, I should be best off going that route...

But if I can get 90% there, for only $35, and then upgrade everything else when the next gen of vid cards, mobos and CPUs come out, dropping what I really want to "commodity" pricing in 3-6 months...I'd like to go that route.

Thoughts, comments?

7 Responses

Pro Member Trainee
CinciBearFan Trainee

just checking into this thread...because the other one doesn't have me registered... 🙂

Pro Member Trainee
abaris Trainee

I can fly without stutterings with settings to "ultrahigh" with my Athlon XP 2000+, 512 RAM, Geforce 4400ti with the newest drivers. Screen Resolution 1280x1024 32 bit. Soundcard is Aureon Fun 5.1. I would discard the built in AC under all circumstances.

Hope, that helps a bit to narrow it down.

tomdot Guest

if you do go the whole hog for upgrade you could get your cash back by videoing the kicking....
only kidding
the trouble with option 3 is by the time you do that we might have the new AMD64 out which sould be like a dog with two tails... but then again the older AMDxp's will be old hat and should..repeat should drop in price
go on take a chance on that price drop
Any one else with any thoughts

happy landings

ps the video still worth thinking about

tomdot Guest

Opps forgot the sound issue....DITCH on board whatever route you take

catch ya soon

Pro Member Trainee
CinciBearFan Trainee

Ordered the following:

Shuttle AN35N
AMD XP 2100+
GF4 Ti4200 (with VIVO)
512MB PC2100 DDR (2x256 to take advantage of dual channel)

Came in at almost exactly $200.

Sounds like I should keep my sound card (SB Live Value! 5.1).

I'll do a couple of experiments in FPS when I get it together...a few permutations I will run:

Baseline1: 900 Mhz, 384 MB, GF2, SB Live! Value
Baseline2: 2100+ at stock speed, 512MB Ram DUAL channel GF4 Ti4200, SB Live! Value

with 2100+ OC'd to 2400+ speed (if possible)
with 512MB Ram Single Channel
With GeForce2 card (just for kicks)
Without SB Live! Value card

I'll let you know in a few days.

Can anyone recommend a great reproducable benchmark to use in FS2004? (i.e. 2000 ft above LAX, max sliders, in FlightOne Cessna152?) etc etc.

Pro Member Trainee
CinciBearFan Trainee

Here's what I did...

Takeoff from SFO Runway 28L in FlightOne Cessna 152 (which I know is a FPS hog over the default 172, and what I will primarily want to travel in.

Everything max...all displays: "Ultra-High", Trilinear filtering, AA on (my card doesn't support it though, but my new card will), Traffic at 100%, both GA and commercial. Sound quality on "High".

Weather set to change abruptly, with building storms.

Time of day: DUSK.
Resolution: 1024x768x32

I figured this would be the most intense test I could give it...maybe a JFK takeoff might be more, I don't know...but oh well, wanted the setting sun effects

With this configuration:
Celeron 600 oc'ed at 900 mhz. 256 MB PC133 SDRam, GEForce2 32MB DDR card, Sound Blaster Live! Value, USB peddals, and CH Products yoke, 19" Samsung Monitor, DirectX9.0

a whopping 3.2 FPS average. Range from 2.0 to 4.4

Adding another 128MB of RAM (384 Total) got me up to a 3.6 FPS average, ranging from 2.8 to 5.0

Daytime flying (noon, no dusk effects) jumped me up to about 10 FPS.

Regardless of FPS, A/C reflections were poor and blocky, water didn't have any reflections, water looked cheesy, Anti-Alias didn't work. Basically, could not tell much difference with settings max vs settings medium, my CPU/GPU couldn't render anything any better.

Today, my new MOBO, CPU should be delivered, so I'll give you the update, maybe tonight, of Nforce2 board, 2100+ AMD CPU, and 512MB DDR in Dual Channel ... using the same vid card. New vid card should arrive by Monday, at which point I'll update again.


Pro Member Trainee
ricco Trainee

well what happened ❓

Did it crash and burn? 🙄


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