Question Advice upgrading PC for Flight Simulators

Mar 27, 2022
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Hello everyone,

I have a nice pc, but after some years i want to upgrade it. I would like to get some advice if im doing this right.
To start, here is a list of my current pc's specifications:

Intel i7 8700k
2x Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4 (HX426C16FB2K2/16)
1x Crucial MX500 250GB SSD (OS Drive)
1x Crucial MX300 525GB SSD (Games Drive)
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 AERO 8G OC
Corsair RM650x
Fractal Design Define 7 Tower case

So most of the time i am playing flight simulators. X-plane & MSFS2020.
I have one 4k monitor in the middle and two 1080p monitors on both sides. When playing simulator on resolution 3840x2160 and side monitors on 1080p its running 10fps. When i play on 1080p on all monitors is getting to 20fps. So i want to improve that. Its needs to be better.

This is what i had in mind:

The 2 ssd's i will replace with a Samsung 980 Pro 2TB for OS and flight simulator folders. Than another Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB for other stuff.

Than i was thinking to place a MSI GeForce RTX 3080 TI next to my GTX 1080. So my 4k monitor on the 3080. And the two 1080p monitors on the gtx 1080. Or would it be better to do it vice versa.

The powerunit i want to replace by a Corsair RM1000x. Would that deliver enough power for 2 gpu's?

I also need to replace my RAM memory's i think? What memory's would fit my plan? I also want to change my case for a NZXT H510 white. But i think that would be no problem.
If someone could help me if this plan what i had in mind is correct?

Thanks in advance.

Greetz Coen
 
Hi and welcome. With the caveat that I'm not into flight sims at all, just gaming in general..

You can't run 2 GPU's in that configuration and have them work together on the same game. The best option would be to just get the fastest single card possible to power all 3 monitors. You cant even run SLI with matched cards these days, its been effecitively killed off by Nvidia/AMD.

However going to a single RTX 3080TI would give you a good boost, almost 3 times the frames according to Guru3d's review. You also need a new PSU as these new cards are using a lot of power. The 1000W RMx you mentioned would be great.

I very much doubt that replacing your SSD will gain you any in game performance at all, there's little difference as of yet between a SATA SSD and a PCIE-4.0 drive in normal games as of yet despite the huge theoretical gap.

Finally just a suggestion, Guru3d stated that MSFS2021 maxes out a single thread on a CPU a lot at least in the original unpatched release. This means that the fastest single thread CPU speed you can get would help. Currently that would be an Intel 12700K by a hair. If you matched that with a new motherboard and 32GB of fast RAM it would give you the best experience possible, as it seems the game can benefit from the extra RAM unlike most games.

Your I7 8700k is around on par with a 10600K all other things being equal, so you'd perhaps see a 30% boost in frame rates when you were CPU limited from upgrading CPU/mobo/RAM to a 12700K. Not huge but not insignificant. Might be worth looking into if your GPU upgrade doesnt get you all that you want.

Looks like these Flight sims are expensive to run!
 
Last edited:
Mar 27, 2022
5
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Hi and welcome. With the caveat that I'm not into flight sims at all, just gaming in general..
Thank you so much for your reply and welcome!!

You can't run 2 GPU's in that configuration and have them work together on the same game. The best option would be to just get the fastest single card possible to power all 3 monitors. You cant even run SLI with matched cards these days, its been effecitively killed off by Nvidia/AMD.
Ok, that changes everything. Glad i asked this here.

at least in the original unpatched release. This means that the fastest single thread CPU speed you can get would help. Currently that would be an Intel 12700K by a hair. If you matched that with a new motherboard and 32GB of fast RAM it would give you the best experience possible, as it seems the game can benefit from the extra RAM unlike most games.

Your I7 8700k is around on par with a 10600K all other things being equal, so you'd perhaps see a 30% boost in frame rates when you were CPU limited from upgrading CPU/mobo/RAM to a 12700K. Not huge but not insignificant. Might be worth looking into if your GPU upgrade doesnt get you all that you want.
So what you are suggesting is that i start with upgrading my RAM to 32gb and GPU to a rtx3080 or 3090). Look if that is changing my fps. 40-50 fps would be enough for the flightsims.

But what you are telling about the cpu, i'm not understanding that good.
Would my 8700k be a bottleneck?
I now see i didnt mentioned my motherboard. Its a Asus Rog Strix z370-e.
Is upgrading my cpu limited by my mobo?
So if de gpu and ram upgrade would not work good enough, i need to upgrade my cpu. But if that is limited by my mobo i also need to update that. So then i almost got to build a new pc. Is that what you are trying to explain me?

I will start looking for a rtx card. Do you have any recommendations for good ram memory cards? Or do i just buy 2 more Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4?

Thanks!!
 
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Thank you so much for your reply and welcome!!



Ok, that changes everything. Glad i asked this here.

https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/ms_flight_simulator_(2020)_the_2021_pc_graphics_performance_benchmark_review,9.html

So what you are suggesting is that i start with upgrading my RAM to 32gb and GPU to a rtx3080 or 3090). Look if that is changing my fps. 40-50 fps would be enough for the flightsims.

But what you are telling about the cpu, i'm not understanding that good.
Would my 8700k be a bottleneck?
I now see i didnt mentioned my motherboard. Its a Asus Rog Strix z370-e.
Is upgrading my cpu limited by my mobo?
So if de gpu and ram upgrade would not work good enough, i need to upgrade my cpu. But if that is limited by my mobo i also need to update that. So then i almost got to build a new pc. Is that what you are trying to explain me?

I will start looking for a rtx card. Do you have any recommendations for good ram memory cards? Or do i just buy 2 more Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4?

Thanks!!
Youre welcome :) Sorry if my post is a bit confusing, I'll try to clear it up.

First off I would just upgrade the GPU first and see how much that helps. Any card available is compatible with your motherboard. As the Nvidia RTX 3080/3080Ti/3090/3090Ti use huge amounts of power, even some people with very good 850 watt power supplies have had problems with them, that's why I also suggested you upgrade the PSU at the same time to avoid problems. The 1000W RMx you suggested is a very good one and will have plenty of room to spare even with an RTX 3090.

32GB of RAM I've read in a couple of places can help with stuttering in Flight Sim, it wouldn't improve the raw FPS but might help make the experience be smoother, if that's a problem for you. If you did so, I recommend buying a new 32GB RAM kit. Occasionally two kits bought separately do not work together and can cause issues, even if they are from the same brand.

Finally it seems Flight Simulator can benefit from a very fast CPU. The one you have is still pretty good for most games, but if Flight Simulator is your main thing, you might find upgrading your CPU to the latest and fastest would help quite a bit too. That of course depends on whether the new GPU helps enough, and also your budget. You'd also need a new motherboard and RAM in this case as well.
 
Mar 27, 2022
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Youre welcome :) Sorry if my post is a bit confusing, I'll try to clear it up.
Sorry for my late reply. Finaly i have some time to pick up this upgrade project.

First off I would just upgrade the GPU first and see how much that helps. Any card available is compatible with your motherboard. As the Nvidia RTX 3080/3080Ti/3090/3090Ti use huge amounts of power, even some people with very good 850 watt power supplies have had problems with them, that's why I also suggested you upgrade the PSU at the same time to avoid problems. The 1000W RMx you suggested is a very good one and will have plenty of room to spare even with an RTX 3090.
Thats clear. Have to save some money first for this huge upgrade. Hope prices will drop someday!

32GB of RAM I've read in a couple of places can help with stuttering in Flight Sim, it wouldn't improve the raw FPS but might help make the experience be smoother, if that's a problem for you. If you did so, I recommend buying a new 32GB RAM kit. Occasionally two kits bought separately do not work together and can cause issues, even if they are from the same brand.
Ok so now i have the next RAM memory in mind:

Corsair DDR4 Vengeance RGB Pro 2x16GB 3600mhz. I can buy it for €150.
Would it be my best option for ram memory in this price range?

Than my last question about internal storage. My idea is to buy two Samsung Pro 980 nvme ssd. One 2TB and one 1TB. Reading the manual my motherboard will have no problems with these drives?

Than on the 1TB drive i will install windows and store my documents. On the 2TB drive i will install my flight simulator. Would it matter for performance in which M.2 slot i will install the drives? Because de bottom slot is located under a coolsink. Any advice would be nice!

Thanks in advance!
 
Ok so now i have the next RAM memory in mind:

Corsair DDR4 Vengeance RGB Pro 2x16GB 3600mhz. I can buy it for €150.
Would it be my best option for ram memory in this price range?
What motherboard do you have exactly? Make sure the motherboard lists the RAM kit you choose on its QVL (Qualified vendors) list. You can find it at the manufacturers site for the board usually under support. Worth updating to the latest BIOS as well before hand as it might help with compatibility/stability.

I would say aim for something 3600/C16 rather than C18, its a small difference but not much more money usally for a small benefit. Faster than that and there's a stronger possibility you might need to manually tune things a bit, which takes time and a lot of research. I'm not personally familiar with your CPU but as far as I can find 3600C16 should be a good drop in for you.

Than my last question about internal storage. My idea is to buy two Samsung Pro 980 nvme ssd. One 2TB and one 1TB. Reading the manual my motherboard will have no problems with these drives?

Than on the 1TB drive i will install windows and store my documents. On the 2TB drive i will install my flight simulator. Would it matter for performance in which M.2 slot i will install the drives? Because de bottom slot is located under a coolsink. Any advice would be nice!

Thanks in advance!
To begin with your motherboard will only support PCI-E 3.0, so while those 980 Pro drives will work, they wont at full PCI-E4.0 speed they are rated for. Depending on whether you wanted to keep them to use in a newer system later on it could be worth saving the money and grabbing some cheaper PCI-E 3.0 drives as you wouldn't get any benefit in this system.

I'd always want heatsinks on both drives, so whatever happens if you get 2 NVME drives get an aftermarket one for the top slot. They are fairly cheap.

Moving into areas where I'm not sure 100% now I'm afraid. Looking into Z390 with your CPU there might be some problems running 2 NVME drives even at PCI-E 3.0. Depending on your motherboard you may also find that running dual NVME drives limits your speed further, as there arent enough PCI-E lanes on the chipset and CPU to support 2 drives and GPU running simultaneously. I am honestly not sure if this would be noticeable during a game like MSFS, as it would only happen when GPU and both drives were being fully accessed at the same time.

Some higher end motherboards do have a separate PLX chip to add extra lanes in that would solve that issue. If you state your exact motherboard make and model we would know if there was potentially a problem.
 
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Mar 27, 2022
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What motherboard do you have exactly? Make sure the motherboard lists the RAM kit you choose on its QVL (Qualified vendors) list. You can find it at the manufacturers site for the board usually under support. Worth updating to the latest BIOS as well before hand as it might help with compatibility/stability.
Thank for your reply. I checked the mobo's manufacture site. This ram was listed there.
My mobo is the Asus Rog Z370-e. [/QUOTE]

To begin with your motherboard will only support PCI-E 3.0, so while those 980 Pro drives will work, they wont at full PCI-E4.0 speed they are rated for. Depending on whether you wanted to keep them to use in a newer system later on it could be worth saving the money and grabbing some cheaper PCI-E 3.0 drives as you wouldn't get any benefit in this system.
My plan is to later use them in a newer system. So i will buy this pcie 4.0 drives.
Do you recommend to buy a new motherboard?

I'd always want heatsinks on both drives, so whatever happens if you get 2 NVME drives get an aftermarket one for the top slot. They are fairly cheap.
Ok i will look into that!

Moving into areas where I'm not sure 100% now I'm afraid. Looking into Z390 with your CPU there might be some problems running 2 NVME drives even at PCI-E 3.0. Depending on your motherboard you may also find that running dual NVME drives limits your speed further, as there arent enough PCI-E lanes on the chipset and CPU to support 2 drives and GPU running simultaneously. I am honestly not sure if this would be noticeable during a game like MSFS, as it would only happen when GPU and both drives were being fully accessed at the same time.

Some higher end motherboards do have a separate PLX chip to add extra lanes in that would solve that issue. If you state your exact motherboard make and model we would know if there was potentially a problem.
Is it possible to replace my motherboard for a newer version before upgrading my cpu and gpu? Or am i limited and do i need to upgarde everything then?

So my upgrade order will be:
Motherboard
M.2 drives
RAM memory
 

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