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New pc spec for flightsim


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Hi All. I'm looking at the following new rig spec for flightsim:


Intel Core i7 11700K 8C16T, O/C up to 5.0GHz


16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz


512GB Intel 660p M.2 SSD

2TB Seagate BarraCuda HDD, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache

1TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD

Windows 10 Home 64 bit


Apparently, if I have multiple HDDs/SSDs RAID configuration is an option - do I go for that?



My plan:


Install MSFS to the 1TB SSD


Install P3dv4 and P3Dv5 to the 2TB HDD.


Is the spec good enough? Does my plan make sense?


Comments/advice appreciated,






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Hello Don,

you might find that the 3060 is a bit lower spec than the rest of your proposed system, given that it seems that

MSFS seems to put most of its load onto the GPU.

If you can find a 3070 or 3080 anywhere, that might be a better choice.

I decided that as a 1TB M2 is very much faster than any SSD, I would buy one of them instead of the

1TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD. Probably it will be cheaper too.

If your Intel Z590 Chipset motherboard is anything like mine, it will take two M2s and still leave SATA connections

for your HDD. 

(There are actually three M2 slots but one is for "CPU support", something that I don't really understand and probably don't need either)

I went for 32GB of RAM at 3200 as well.


I have installed FSX, P3D v4 and P3D v5 to the M2 but with the Orbx folder/Orbx Central Library on a 3TB HDD.

That seems to give the fastest loading times and performance for the available hardware.

I have never used RAID but I doubt that it would be necessary.

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32 minutes ago, Nick Cooper said:

I decided that as a 1TB M2 is very much faster than any SSD, I would buy one of them instead of the

1TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD. Probably it will be cheaper too.


Nick, excuse my ignorance... an M2 drive is not an HDD, but a faster SSD drive than an "ordinary" non-M2 SSD drive?



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4 hours ago, donbrindles said:


Nick, excuse my ignorance... an M2 drive is not an HDD, but a faster SSD drive than an "ordinary" non-M2 SSD drive?





both are solid state drives but an M2 can be used either in SATA mode, which makes it about the same speed

and wastes its capabilities, or in what is called NVMe.

You should buy one that is capable of NVMe.

Typically, an M2 in NVMe mode will be five times as fast as an SSD in SATA mode.

This link explains in non-technical terms.

NVMe vs. M.2 vs. SATA – What’s the Difference? (velocitymicro.com)


I bought this one: WD Blue SN550 1TB High-Performance M.2 PCIe NVME SSD : AmazonSmile: Computers & Accessories

Here is the SSD from the same source: Samsung SSD 870 EVO, 1 TB, Form Factor 2.5”, Intelligent Turbo Write, Magician 6 Software, Black (Internal SSD) : AmazonSmile: Computers & Accessories


Here is a very unscientific comparison, the G drive is my M2 and is getting on for full.



Here is my C drive, a run of the mill SSD:



but it gives you some idea of the difference.





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4 hours ago, donbrindles said:

an M2 drive is not an HDD, but a faster SSD drive than an "ordinary" non-M2 SSD drive?



Nick was faster than me.  What he said!


Additionally, I think M.2 is technically about the form factor of the drive. 

M.2 looks a lot like a stick of RAM and can plug directly to the motherboard.

A "standard" SSD looks like a slim box that attaches to the motherboard via a SATA cable.


As Nick said, the drive's specs and whether it is NVMe or SATA will determine the performance.


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Hello Don,

on the subject of graphics cards, while the 3060 is much better than your 1060:





It is not much better than the 1070ti that I have, note the list prices versus what you would have to pay today!!!




 The 3070 however is considerably better than both of them:





This is a very useful site indeed for making valid comparisons: UserBenchmark: Nvidia RTX 3060 vs 3070

I think that you should probably defer the update to your graphics card until things settle down, or perhaps

even research a good second hand 1080ti.





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I bought a machine last July specifically for running MSFS and it was $850 for the entire brand new Alienware. I only run at 1080p, but I have never been disappointed in MSFS performance, and Asobo's new update should improve performance even more. You don't need an outrageous PC to enjoy MSFS, and GPU prices are ludicrous in general, and particularly right now. Even with that 3060, the PC you listed will be far more powerful than the vast majority of MSFS users have. If you are going to go all the way, go ahead and get 32GB of RAM rather than 16. And don't worry about RAID. The way you are planning to use those three drives is almost exactly what I have done and I do not regret it.

Edited by Seanmo
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Hi Don


Just food for thought ....


You have spec'd  out a very powerful system, however as Nick as mentioned the GPU may be a bit on the weaker 



I think the one critical aspect missing from the discussion though is what resolution do you plan on using  and what fps

do you wish to achieve. 


There is an enormous difference in system resource load to render at 4K compared with  a lower resolution.


For example on my system I use 2560x1440 native resolution with all settings on Ultra MS2020 and fps locked externally at 30 fps with NVCP.

My GPU is a RTX 2060 super 8GB.  Vram is roughly always about 4- 5.5 GB , My personal operating strategy is that I like to have my

GPU utilization in the range of around 60 - 85% or so load, and these settings allow me to do this.


Performance is absolutely rock solid in MS, regardless of where I fly.  I have tried running on a 4K monitor and performance is very much

less than stellar shall we say.


I still have sufficient Vram  but my gpu simply doesn't have that processing capability to render MS2020 efficiently

at 4K with the render settings that I chose to use  


At 1080p native resolution my fps (unlocked) is 45 - 55 fps and of course rock solid at 30 fps locked.


In XPlane I have all sliders to the right , with fps locked at 30 with the same result and fps unlocked in the range of 60 -70 +


My understanding though is that the 3060 with 12 GB Vram, simply doesn't have sufficient processing power to actually make

 use of the total 12 GB available for a flight simulator , so it may be poor economy in that regard.


I fully support Nick's advice in terms of gpu suggestions , but would wish to add that the performance upgrade coming on the 27th

may give additional insight into which GPU performance criteria are now important.


There are two other aspects which I think are also very important in the discussion. Firstly a very high quality, very stable power supply

is a must in such a system and high quality PSU's are not that much more than the less expensive ones.  In my experience  i have had

very good luck with both Corsair and Seasonic (my current build)


The other aspect that I have found makes a big difference to my system is the case and how well it is designed for air flow.


I recently had my case upgraded by adding slightly larger air intake (120 mm to 140 mm) and extra exhaust fans. 

My computer builder said simply that to cool efficiently you need a good case  (I have a Fractal that I am very happy with)

but more importantly you need to bring as much cooling air into the system as you can and balance airflow on the exhaust side. 


The result - my gpu temp dropped 7C on average and my CPU (air cooled) dropped 5C.  So keeping my settings exactly the

same as before,  at 2.5K  my gpu temp now runs at right around 62 - 63C and my CPU is about 45C.


Prior to adding the extra air balancing, my GPU was always at 70C and my CPU was right around 50C


Heat is the Achilles  heel of electronics in my experience.  I understand  that PSU and case cooling are subjects that  folks don't

get terribly interested in, but I mention it simply because it is often overlooked. However  in my personal experience I found that it

can make a very positive difference when you get it balanced out.


The best part is that extra good quality fans are not expensive (I am having good luck with Arctic cooling) and my machine under

load is very much quieter.:)


Hope this helps


Edited by renault
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I would go with adding as much M2 capacity as you can.  Its my opinion that the systems that you can get now can be adequately fast for what is available in flight sim, and maybe into the future also,  However, I think the future is going to require about 4 TB of memory minimum with the fastest type of storage, which is currently the M2 drive. .  The system that my son and I built a couple of months ago has an 2 TB M2 drive in the non SATA configuration as Nick suggests.  All it has on it is Win 10 and P3Dv5.2hf1 plus a few extra airplanes and almost all of the Western USA Orbx scenery.  No Orbx upgrade scenery other than the USA.  The M2 drive is already up to 1.05 TB. 


My stem has a 1 TB SSD with all the old FSX stuff on it.  I also have a 4 TB HD.  When I add MSFS 2020  I will move FSX to the HDD and install 2020 on the SSD, Or maybe get another M2 Drive.


Cooling is important too.  I have a Radeon 5700XT for the GPU.  I can run it at unlimited over most of the western us and it can hit up to 100 fps, but when get into built up areas I have to throttle down to about 40 fps to keep it from heating up my computer room. When GPU prices come down a bit I am going to replace it with something faster that hopefully will run cooler.  In short, get as much fast storage as you can and the fastest GPU you can.  Its just that right now a high end GPU is going to cost as much as all the rest of your system.

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Hello Don.


I recently upgraded my system, and we have a few components in common, the CPU and the motherboard, both of which I think are terrific. Like the others, I can't help but feel the the GPU will be your Achilles' heel.

I had a 1080ti, but wanted to be able to fly MSFS in 4k, (which it did) and VR, (with which it would have struggled) so I bit the bullet and bought an Nvidia 3090. I know it's like using a hammer to crack a walnut, but I wanted the new card then and there, and I felt that as both the available 3080, and the 3090 prices were inflated because of the crypto miners, I opted for the 3090, as the markup on it, was not as savage as on the 3080.

The other area I boosted was RAM. I had 32GB of DDR4 in the machine already, and boosted it up with another 32GB to make 64GB. All of that really makes my PC, and MSFS sing. Overkill perhaps, but if you could go to 32GB, I think it could make a difference.

And, I agree with Nick and the others about M.2 SSD drives. Your new motherboard wil accommodate two, and the prices aren't too bad now. I have a 1TB, and a 2TB card. The 1 has the OS, and some other programs, the 2 has my flight sims.

But, really at the end of the day, it's your system, however I strongly suggest another look at the GPU

Edited by tigermothpilot
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590 boards are PCIE 4.0, can accommodate both PCIE 4.0 video cards and M2 drives. Samsung 980PRO is a PCIE 4.0 drive and is twice as fast as  other Samsung drives. It is about $200 for a 1tb drive. That is the way to go if you want the quickest drive access. The Intel M2 drives (I have both 660 and 665 in other PCs) are significantly slower than Samsung PCIE 3.0 M2 drives, and the cost is not much different. You need the Rocket CPU to use PCIE 4.0.


To answer Nick's question about the CPU connected M2 slot: The chipset allows one M2 drive to bypass the common data bus and connect directly to the CPU. That should be faster and that is where my Samsung 980PRO is installed with the OS.

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Hi Everyone. Thanks so much for all your comments and advice, it's been really helpful. I finally decided to go for the following spec...probably not perfect, but it -almost! - meets my budget, and I'm hoping it'll give me good results. I'll be installing MSFS to the 1TB SSD, and P3D 4.5 and 5.2 to the 2TB HDD...


Intel Core i7-10700K CPU, 8 Cores / 16 Threads, 3.8 - 5.1GHz
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6 Graphics Card
Noctua NH-U12S Chromax Black CPU Cooler
Asus TUF GAMING Z590-PLUS (WI-FI) Motherboard
32GB DDR4 3200MHz Memory (2 x 16GB Sticks)
250GB Seagate FireCuda 510 M.2 PCIe SSD
1TB Samsung 870 QVO Solid State Drive
Seagate 2TB BarraCuda 7200RPM Hard Disk
24x DVD-RW Drive
Corsair RM650x 80 PLUS Gold 650W PSU
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
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