Premium Gen4 m.2 SSD vs budget Gen3 m.2 SSD

For my MS Flight Simulator build I went with a Corsair MP600 Gen 4 m.2 500GB SSD for my main drive for my Flight Sim install files and cache. Since Gen 4 m.2 storage is not the cheapest, I then added a second Gen 3 m.2 Sabrent Rocket Q SSD stick to add an additional general purpose 1TB storage, for other games etc.

Here’s the benchmark specs for the Corsair MP600 gen4 m2 SSD:

and as a comparison here the specs for the cheaper Sabrent gen3 1TB m2 SSD:

Still blazingly fast by any standard, but interesting to see the performance difference between gen4 m2 SSD and gen3 m2 SSD on the same motherboard.

Am I pleased with my MS Flight Simulator 2020 new PC build so far?

I couple of weeks back I did something I hadn’t done since around 2000. I built my own custom build PC specifically for playing the new MS Flight Simulator 2020. You can read about my musing on selecting my components here.

The final specs I went with are:

  • Fractal Meshify C case
  • ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Dual M.2)
  • EVGA 650 B5, 80 Plus BRONZE 650W
  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
  • Corsair Force MP600 M.2 2280 500GB PCI-Express Gen 4.0 x4 NVMe
  • CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3600

The last component I couldn’t decide on was the graphics card, but I eventually went with an EVGA RTX 2060 KO.

So what have been my results so far? Has it worked out as I expected?

Yes. I’m pleased. I’m only running at 1080 resolution as I don’t have a 4k monitor. On high settings I’m getting around 50 to 60 fps in most areas, including most cities. If I dial it up to Ultra I’m still getting around 50fps, but over cities like Seattle it does drop to around 20 to 30fps, and that seems to vary a lot.

I’ve played most of the prior MS Flight Simulator versions over the years, and from prior experience I’m happy with getting 30fps. To get 50 to 60 fps over most areas at high I am very happy with. I had those moments of doubt that maybe it would turn out you really did need a monster of a PC, but even going with slightly better that recommended specs, I’m more than happy with the results so far.

Have there been other issues? Sure, there’s lots of weird and unusual glitches and bugs, I’ll write about those in a following post later.

Corsair Force M.2 MP600 500GB Gen 4 SSD benchmarks

I’ve never seen any disk read and write throughput values measured in multiples of GB per second before, this is really quite astonishing. This is the performance benchmark in CrystalDiskMark of my new Corsair Force M.2 MP600 Gen 4 SSD in my new PC build. The motherboard is an Asus X570 Plus:

I’m used to seeing typical 500MB/s reads and writes on a SATA SSD, but these M.2 format SSDs are outstanding.

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.