Planning a mid to high end new Gaming PC build for MS Flight Simulator 2020

I’m excited about Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 that’s launching next month.

I’ve been and on and off flight simmer since first playing my first flight sims on a ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, and almost all recent versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator.

FS 5.1, 2002, 2004, FSX and various add on scenery

While Flight Simulator X has been updated to easily install via Steam, it’s been 14 years since FSX was released… that’s a long time between releases, but that’s not my focus of this post. If I’m gonna play FS 2020 I’m going to need some new hardware.

I’ve been mainly a Playstation console gamer for the past few years, but for playing Elite Dangerous and a few other casual games, a 2008 Mac Pro with a GTX 750ti has been more than enough for casual gaming, but it’s far from the minimum requirements for the new FS 2020 release.

From: Microsoft (link)

So, the first question, the age old PC builder question: Intel or AMD? AMD Ryzen have a slight cost advantage for comparable performance right now. I’m not looking for i9, or i7 performance, so even a comparable Ryzen 7 seem more than I need, so I’m going for a (current) top end Ryzen 5, the 3600XT at approx $250.

Ok, going AMD, so what chipset? M450, M550, X570? The best comparison of these chipsets I’ve seen is here.

  • X570 has support for the newer/faster M.2 PCIe x4 SSDs and is the latest chipset for AMD CPUs, so for the sake or $50 difference of so between slightly older M550 chipsets and X570, I’m going with X570

For RAM, X570 mobos support upto 4000MHz DDR4 RAM and faster with Gen3 Ryzen CPUs. What’s interesting is the prices (understandably) increase with speed, so doing some quick lookups: for 2 x 8Gb

  • 3200: $69
  • 3333: $99
  • 3400: $104
  • 4133: $229
  • 4266: $239
  • 4333: $264
  • 4400: $348
  • 4500: $499

I was initially thinking fastest RAM as possible, but there’s some lofty premium for those fastest (overclocked?) speeds, so rather go for the fastest 16GB I think I’m either going to go with some 3200 or 3400 and jump to 32GB instead (which is the ideal spec).

For motherboards I’m considering:

ASUS AM4 TUF GAMING X570-Plus ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Dual M.2, 12+2 with Dr. MOS Power Stage, HDMI, DP, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Aura Sync RGB Lighting

  • dual M.2 PCIe v4 slots
  • DDR4 upto 4400 (DDR4 4400(O.C.)/ 3466(O.C.)/ 3400(O.C.)/ 3200(O.C.)/ 3000(O.C.)/ 2933(O.C.)/ 2800(O.C.)/ 2666/ 2400/ 2133 MHz )

I ruled out this alternative:

MSI X570-A PRO Motherboard AMD AM4 SATA 6Gb/s M.2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 HDMI ATX

  • has 2 M.2 slots but only one 1 PCIe v4, but the other is PCIe v3
  • DDR4 upto 4400

For storage, I’ve already committed to a motherboard with PCIe v4 support, so I’m going with Corsair Force MP600 M.2 2280 500GB PCI-Express Gen 4.0 x4 NVMe initially, then I could always add more later.

For PSU, I’m going with a 650w modular from EVGA which should be more than enough power with some to spare.

Ok, that’s it for now. Parts are ordered from Newegg to arrive sometime next week, more updates to come later.

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