Processor questions for Flight Simulator 2020

Aug 17, 2020
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Hi All,

Hi all! First post, first custom PC. I'm getting ready to order a PC for the (sole) purpose of running FS 2020 well, as the title implies.

I plan to configure it with a fairly minimal GPU (GTX 1660 or so) and upgrade to the new GTX 3xxx a little later on. With that exception, I'd like to build the best rig I responsibly can. I don't need to spend the most money possible for bragging rights and I want to be smart about it, as cost is a thing. I'll probably go with 32GB RAM, a fast SSD, liquid cooling etc.

Through the last few weeks of browsing the interwebs, I've learned that for gaming clock speed is king. I've also read that this particular sim multi-threads pretty well though, and I am trying to balance that information to choose the best processor for the money that I won't regret down the road.

It looks to me that the i5-10600 and i9-10900 are the best options (nothing against AMD; I am just not as familiar with them). So I have a few questions:
  • the i5-10600 is a 6-core processor but can manage 12 threads. Are these "piggybacked" threads just as good as a single thread per core? Or will it act more like a 6-thread processor?
  • the i9-10900 has a higher turbo speed but a lower base speed. Do I care? If so, which one do I care about?
  • Should I be concerned about TDP?
  • I believe I want the K version, even if I don't overclock it initially. Any words of wisdom here?

The cost difference between these processors is a few hundred bucks. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but I'd certainly like to not spend it if I'd never notice the difference.

Thanks in advance!
 
Feb 17, 2020
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To be honest, what you should do is not buy the system yet but wait for the game to release (apparently it releases tomorrow?). And then review options.

What will almost certainly happen is that tech websites will benchmark the game on various settings and hardware configurations, and work out what the game wants / benefits from in terms of hardware. I'd be surprised if PC Gamer didn't do a performance review. OC3D, DSO Gaming, and Techpowerup will probably do them, and hopefully Techspot too.

It may take some outlets a few days to get their articles out the door, especially if they weren't sampled for reviews beforehand (i.e. MS didn't give them a copy early and they had to wait and buy it like the rest of us).

Through the last few weeks of browsing the interwebs, I've learned that for gaming clock speed is king.
That's not really accurate - or not accurate enough that people should be saying it. Clock speed is a part of it (how many cycles per second), but it's also IPC (instructions per clock/cycle - how much stuff it does per cycle), and other factors like CPU cache, and latency between parts of the CPU.

Intel has the gaming performance crown at the moment, in that its best CPUs can deliver at least technically better performance than AMD's best ones. The margins vary game to game, and so we'll want to see the performance reviews.

the i5-10600 is a 6-core processor but can manage 12 threads. Are these "piggybacked" threads just as good as a single thread per core? Or will it act more like a 6-thread processor?
It will act like a 12 thread CPU because it is one, but it only has 6 cores. Have a look at this. In short the extra threads can improve performance, including at least a bit in gaming. Again, depends on the game.

One general comment about Intel CPUs - there's often very little point from a gaming POV to any of their CPUs that aren't -K SKUs, and it's arguably a shame not to overclock these because otherwise you're leaving performance 'on the table' - having paid a very high price premium for the CPU to begin with.
 
Aug 17, 2020
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@Oussebon thank you for the detailed reply and the video, all very helpful. I had incorrectly assumed that hyperthreading somehow mimicked the performance of multiple cores but I see now that it is a very different thing.

You're right the game has been released as of today and it's actually downloading now onto my Legion Y520 - we'll see how that goes! Good points on forthcoming reviews...there will probably lots of insight in the near future.
 
Sep 2, 2020
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How is the game running? I am not a gamer but I bought a GTX 1050ti and installed it in the only machine that i had that would fit it which only had a i5-4590 and 8 GB of RAM which puts me right around the minimum spec. As you'd expect, it runs like poo but it does work on the lowest settings.

I have a much better machine that I use for work but it is small form factor and the GTX 1050ti didn't fit it because the single x16 slot on the mother board was on the left side of the 2 slots.

So like you I am planning on building a machine with scavenged parts like the NVME hard drive and RAM from my "good PC" but I am going to get a Ryzen 5 or 7 processor. I have had good luck in the past with AMD processors and you can get a lot of horsepower for less money.
 

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