After the disappointment of todays aborted flight attempts, the delivery man brought an unexpected surprise from Amazon.com.... the bits to build my new i7 based PC for running Flight Simulator (and others).
Strictly speaking, you understand, it's not technically a new PC. As a former IT professional and hobbyist I kinda accumulated a collection of PCs of various specifications. Technically these bits were to "repair" an existing machine. The fact that the only original part left of this particular machine will hopefully be lost on anyone who might criticise the expense of buying a new PC!
Anyway as I type this, I'm in the process of installing FSX + UTX+GEX+TrafficX onto the "new" PC, followed by my latest aquisitions - the UK2000 VFR Airfield UK series and Manchester Xtreme. I did briefly try these addons on my original Quad 2.4Ghz machine... the results were pretty but.... one... frame... per...second...if... I ...was...lucky....
Why upgrade when I was getting an admittedly acceptable frame rate on my old PC? Well to be honest it was six years old and about due for an upgrade/replacement. I knew I was only JUST running FSX acceptably even before I'd bought the UK2000 scenery. While I could have happily bimbled along for a while with default terrain, at some point I knew I was going to hit an add-on that pushed my system too hard.
Straight off the bat with no attempts at optimisation or overclocking I'm getting 15fps while over Manchester Xtreme. More importantly, it's a buttery smooth 15fps which personally I consider more important than raw framerate. I'm more than happy with it, and things can only get better once the PC is properly configured and optimised.
Oh and I owe my friend Crazy Eddy for coming up with the name for this new beastie. I have a history of naming my PCs after cartoon characters - the current box was called Coyote, after Wile E. The new Flightsim box is now called Hercules. It qualifies courtesy of the Disney cartoon, but as Edd pointed out, Hercules is also the name of an aircraft. Not only that, but both the character and the aircraft are known for their heavy lifting ability, and with an i7 3.4GHz proc soon to be modestly overclocked, this box is certainly going to be capable of some heavy work of its own.