Getting the best out of my gaming PC

#1
I am beginning to think that my system is not set up to optomise frame rate and loading times. I am hoping to achieve silky smooth 70fps for MS Flight Simulator X. Currently Its a bit juddery at times. I've got an i7 processor and 6GB DDR RAM, running Win7 Home Premium

Currently I have 1.32TB of storage on my PC, divided up between :-

C: Packard Bell, 500GB. OS and all my MS Office and games and flight sim software loaded on it

D: DATA, currently empty

and E:, a 320GB drive removed from a broken laptop and USB'd to the PC.

Should I put my OS and all the MS Office, Internet browser software on C: ?

All my gaming software on D: ?

And all my backups on E: and remove it after backup.

I believe doing this will also limit viruses to infecting only the C' drive?, but will it cause problems if I want to play online (currently only Rise of Flight requires an online connection, but will work, not very well, without one)

Should I also set up a separate login on startup just for gaming? Will that speed things up?

I read something in PC Pilot mag recently that suggested the above was a good idea, but was very vague on how to do it. I don't want to **** it up and then spend ages repairing it.

Any ideas? Any examples of an optimum setup?

RSVP

[also posted on gaming forum]

http://www.arrse.co.uk/gaming-software/156307-getting-best-out-my-gaming-pc.html#post3582980
 
#2
I am beginning to think that my system is not set up to optomise frame rate and loading times. I am hoping to achieve silky smooth 70fps for MS Flight Simulator X. Currently Its a bit juddery at times. I've got an i7 processor and 6GB DDR RAM, running Win7 Home Premium

Currently I have 1.32TB of storage on my PC, divided up between :-

C: Packard Bell, 500GB. OS and all my MS Office and games and flight sim software loaded on it

D: DATA, currently empty

and E:, a 320GB drive removed from a broken laptop and USB'd to the PC.

Should I put my OS and all the MS Office, Internet browser software on C: ?

All my gaming software on D: ?

And all my backups on E: and remove it after backup.

I believe doing this will also limit viruses to infecting only the C' drive?, but will it cause problems if I want to play online (currently only Rise of Flight requires an online connection, but will work, not very well, without one)

Should I also set up a separate login on startup just for gaming? Will that speed things up?

I read something in PC Pilot mag recently that suggested the above was a good idea, but was very vague on how to do it. I don't want to **** it up and then spend ages repairing it.

Any ideas? Any examples of an optimum setup?

RSVP

[also posted on gaming forum]

http://www.arrse.co.uk/gaming-software/156307-getting-best-out-my-gaming-pc.html#post3582980
You haven't mentioned what graphics card you have. The right graphics card will make all the difference in achieving good frame rates.
 
#3
Having the correct drivers is far more important than shuffling your programs around (assuming each hard drive is equal in performance.) If you've got a virus then you've done something wrong.

Also, try to minimise background processes and bloated background software. For example, uTorrent instead of Vuze, Avast instead of McAfee/Norton, shutting down crap like iTunesHelper32.exe, so on, so forth.

PS PS obviously Born_Again_Stab is right. I would expect any prebuilt computer with an i7 to have at least a decent mid-range graphics card.

What resolution monitor do you have? You need a seriously powerful graphics card to run stuff at 1920x1080, especially with high anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. The other components don't factor into it at all.

PS PS PS Some games are just poorly optimised and have juddering whatever you do. I don't know MS Flight Simulator's reputation in this regard.
 
#4
Surely windows 7 32-bit only recognises 4gb of RAM? do you know which version you have?
i would put a copy of windows on each drive, one for office & one for games,

your backup plan sounds about right

you can click start search "system information" & post a picture of what you see, so you can get more specific advice
 
#6
By the sound of it, it's probabally your GFX card. Your proccessor is top notch and where you save your games will make little difference, updating your GFX card with the latest drivers or possibly buying a second or even new card would be the best option.

Ain'tNoCracka!
 
#7
PS PS obviously Born_Again_Stab is right. I would expect any prebuilt computer with an i7 to have at least a decent mid-range graphics card.
I would hope so, but my Dell Inspiron (i5) was left short with the poor gfx card it shipped wth. My fault though for not doing my homework prior to purchase.
 
#8
I would hope so, but my Dell Inspiron (i5) was left short with the poor gfx card it shipped wth. My fault though for not doing my homework prior to purchase.
Laptops are the exception, of course, what with integrated graphics and the generally poor performance of graphics cards versus their desktop counterparts - I should know, I got a £780 Dell XPS yesterday which struggles with Crysis on High, although I knew full well what I was getting - but walt_of_the_walts referred repeatedly to a 'PC', so I'm guessing he's got a desktop.

I'm looking on Dell right now and they do offer a i7 system with a Radeon 5450, which would certainly struggle, especially at high resolutions, with any game released recently. And with Crysis. :p
 
#9
My gfx card is a ATI Radeon HD 5570 1024MB.

Its a desktop 64bit machine.

My monitor is running 1920x1080, its max setting.

Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are things I can switch on, or probably have already, but I didn't notice the difference.

Keep it coming guys. There's clearly a lot of practical knowledge here. (I got next to **** all from Curry's, where I bought the machine, Q'elle surprise...)
 
#11
Buy a new graphics card :)
I've read a number of reviews of this card, and they seem inconclusive. Some rate it well, others say its mediocre.

What's wrong with it, and what sort of numbers should I be looking for flight sims/air combat sims?

Incidentally, IL2:1946 runs very well on my machine. As does Blackshark, LOMAC Flaming Cliffs 2. FSX is the worst really. Is it the scenery files? I have add-ons for weather and scenery too. It's just that some people are achieving higher frame rates on 2-3GB machines with crappier gfx cards than I am!
 
#13
My monitor is running 1920x1080, its max setting.
That will murder a low-end graphics card.

Basically you've got a very powerful CPU mated with a lot of RAM mated with a pretty low-end graphics card. In the present generation there's no 'good' or 'bad' graphics cards, since AMD/ATI and Nvidia have been producing good-quality stuff for a while now; it's just that they all operate on a scale of weak through to powerful, cheap to expensive, and therefore good/bad value. Yours is low-end.

Charts, benchmarks 2010 Gaming Graphics Charts (High Quality), Battlefield Bad Company 2

IL2:1946 is almost five years old. Lock-On is eight. Flight Simulator X is also five, but I suspect it may be simply poorly optimised, or you're using insane settings (like massive draw distance) owing to its nature as a simulator, not a game.

In any case, get a new graphics card and you'll have a very powerful computer on your hands. I'd spend at least £125 to ensure you have a dramatic leap (probably about 3x) over your existing card.

Make sure your power supply is good enough, though. I would have thought 700W is the minimum though I'm not up to date as I was.
 
#14
A good quality, 600w PSU (something like Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, OCZ) would be quite capable of powering that system if you upgraded to a GTX460 graphics card (approx £120 for the card).

Power supplies are an area that alot of people buy cheap and are probably one of the most important areas to spend a bit of money on. A lower wattage, high quality unit will often outperform and higher wattage cheap unit. You want to be looking at running your supply at approximately 70-80% of is maximum capacity when it is under load to prolong its life.

Personally I use here as a guide to required wattage. Put in all the components you have, add a couple of USBs to account for plugging stuff in and out, I usually put the capacitor ageing at 10% and see what it comes up with. Whatever Wattage it suggests, I consider that to be the wattage I am aiming for at 70-80%.

So, it it comes up saying you ideally want 400w PSU, then I would put in around 500w unit - 400w is 80% of 500w :) if that makes sense.
 
#15
There you go, the down-low on PSUs.

On the other thread you were recommended a 7950GX2, not only is this not much more powerful than your current one but it's also quite old and very power-hungry, as well as only available second-hand. I wouldn't recommend it.
 
#17
All very interesting. I think its a 600w PSU by the way, but I'll check it when I get home. I have wondered about the Gfx card, and think it might be an idea to upgrade that component sooner or later.

What is odd, is that graphical qulaity varies considerably. IL2 is not very hig res (it defaults to a lower res when launched) but looking at screenshots from others on the web, I should be doing better. the speed of gameplay is good and so is the scenery/cloud detail. LOMAC FC:2 is actually the last years follow on, Flaming cliffs and the graphics, especially the scenery are pretty good, although not state of the art. DCS Blackshark and Rise of flight are stunning and fairly smooth too, but load times are long. DCS are bringing out an A10 Warthog sim later on this year (Beta version available, I know, but I'll wait for the finished product, and save up for the Warthog HOTAS hardware too!) so I want to be ready to run this without compromise.

Its just FS9 & FSX that is disappointing. Setting all the sliders to the lower end of graphics quality does not make any difference either, it's still juddery/jumpy/slow loading times. X-Plane 9 is just awful, but I'm very new to that and need to tinker with it some more.

I'm not seriously unhappy with the performance so far, but I think it could be better. Maybe I need a new graphics card then...
 
#18
To be honest I wouldn't guarantee perfect performance even with a GTX 580. These flight simulators you're playing are niche titles made typically by small developing, who aren't going to have the financial clout to create truly optimised game engines, which means they simply might not ever be smooth. It would be interesting to see you try Battlefield Bad Company 2 or the Call of Duty games.
 
#19
Before you go any further so we know what machine you have click start and type 'dxdiag' in the search bar (if its Windows Vista or Later) or click run and type it there (if you have Windows XP). Hit enter obviously and let it do it's thing...then click save all information and post it on here.

There is no use trying to get the maximum out of your machine if the machine it'self is shit and wont ever do it. Plus you should try over clocking/flashing your hardware.
 

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