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I'm returning to flight simming after quite a few years and have been given a desktop running a professional version of Windows 7, I'm told the graphics card is a good one, what Flight Sim would be best for this machine ? thanks
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Graphics card will make hardly any difference in the Sims performance. The Sim largely uses the CPU instead for rendering. Really quite a shame.


As to what Sim. That's a tough one. It all depends on what YOU prefer. I mean, there's X-Plane, FSX and FS2004 and if you want to do what many others do and violate an EULA, then there's Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D.


I would do some research myself into those Sims and see what you think. Also base your decision on the availability of add-ons. I would start with YouTube. Enter FSX, FS2004, P3D or X-Plane and see the various online videos.


I use FSX. I came from FS2004. There's quite a difference between the two, although the way in which each Sim's operate is relatively the same. X-Plane has a free Demo so try that out. Prepar3D doesn't have a demo, but it is based on FSX ESR (ESR? I think it's called). So like FSK, but more focus on its developed has been made. With P3D (Prepar3D) you can usually fly and use FSX aircraft and add-ons in it. There is even a FSX to P3D tool you can buy. It will transfer add-ons to P3D.


Just a tip. Don't install the Sim under the programs folder as that is "emulated" by Windows and can cause problems when you install add-ons. Instead, install to the root of C:\

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Hi, Thanks for a great reply, That's exactly the info I needed as I didn't want to buy into a sim that wouldn't work, I have been thinking of FSX or FS2004 so will look closely at them, also thanks for the tip about installing the software. nikksie
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Hi Nikksie,


To save you some 'legwork' here's some clarification WRT FSX and FS2004.....


FSX has been released in several versions-


Standard - the basic version.


Deluxe - which has some extra and updated Airplanes over the Standard version. It also includes the FSX Software Development Kit (SDK) - this is a set of development tools which allow users to develop, create or modify content for the simulation - i.e 3rd party addons.


Gold - which is the Deluxe version combined with the Acceleration Addon pack - which itself is also sold separately. The Accel pack adds 3 additional aircraft, some enhanced scenery locations, new missions and more functionality.


Steam Edition (known as FSX-SE) - This is the Gold edition hosted on the Steam gaming Client. It has been updated over the boxed edition slightly by having a number of common tweaks/fixes already encoded into the sim - these tweaks/fixes have to be manually added to the boxed versions by editing certain files or adding an additional file into the root directory of the sim. The SE version does not include the SDK but that can be download from a number of websites if required.


Of all the versions the -SE version is probably the one to go for. Boxed versions can be hard to come by, new unopened copies are often sold at ridiculously high prices although second hand copes are cheaper. The SE version, however, can be had for around £20 or so and is often on sale (on the Steam website) for less. You can buy it direct from the Steam website or from a number of vendors (in the form of a Steam 'Key' and small .exe installation file that requires you to register at the Steam Website to download the full product)


Two things that seems to put many people off the Steam version are.....


1. Steam uses a 'client' that provides access and updates to your 'games'. The perception is that you need to be continuously online and connected to this client to play - this is wrong. Once you have downloaded and installed the game and have completed the verification process you can change the Steam Client settings for the game so that it automatically starts in off-line mode even if there is an internet connection (depending on how you set it up you may get an info message asking if you want to start in offline mode or go online).


2. The availability of 'dedicated' SE addons - Whilst it does appear that there are fewer 'dedicated' SE addons, this is not really an issue. As FSX-SE is basically FSX Gold any FSX addon (be it freeware or payware) can be made to work in SE.


As CRJ_simpilot has pointed out WRT the install path - again Steam will normally try to install within a controlled area but you can re-direct it to any location that you wish.


WRT FS2004 - As with FSX this can be hard to find but is often a lot cheaper. However, unlike FSX-SE, there is no download of FS2004 available.




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Hi Brian

Thanks for your great reply, I have been thinking that MS FSX would likely be the one to go for and your answer and the previous one has helped me enormously, I now have a good idea what to buy and I am looking forward to returning to flight simming.

Thanks again nikksie

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Greetings All,


Prepar3D doesn't have a demo,


FYI Lockheed Martin DOES offer a 60 refund, which makes it almost the same as a demo. My Dad took them up on the refund when he tried version 3.1 and said it took about 4 days to have the monies credited back to his account.




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Hi there, just a little 'chirp' from Cape Town, South Africa...

Just bear in mind..

FSX (the original & Acceleration) - Released in 2006, development frozen in 2009


FSX: SE - Released in 2014 by Dovetail, basically a re-release of FSX, slightly tweaked to run on modern hardware. Development frozen in 2017


Flight Sim Word - released in May 2017 by Dovetail. Basically a 64bit version of FSX, completely redone, Basically a beta version, with regular Community Updates (Update 10 released)


Prepar3d or P3D - In early 2009, Aces Studios, which was responsible for the development of the Microsoft Flight Simulator, was shut down as part of Microsoft's cost-cutting measures, the American armaments company Lockheed Martin acquired the license and all source code from Microsoft ESP (commercial FSX SP2 license). On this basis, the first version of Prepar3D V1.0 was released in 2010. Up to v4. Also a 64bit release.


FS2004/FS9 - released in 2004, development frozen.


So, although FS2004, FSX & FSX:SE have had development frozen, there is a HUGE base of add-ons out there, with many still being released. Some very decent freeware as well.


FSW has mainly single & twin aircraft within it's default craft, with no military planes available (I stand corrected)


P3D is a 'Not for Entertainment' sim (as part of Lockheed Martin's EULA) but they do have an 'Academic' version that seems to be popular. Huge amount of add-ons.


However, although the 64bit versions, P3D & FSW, are based on FSX, they are 64bit, so there will be incompatibilities with add-ons, if trying to port older add-ons.


The best & safest way to do things, is to regard these as brand new sims, & only install add-ons for that particular sim.


Also, bear in mind, the newer the sim, the 'newer' your PC should be, so an older PC will struggle.


Which brings me to FS2004/FS9, & my sim journey.

This sim works on any (mostly & older) PC's, & unlike FSX,without much tweaking.


Ive had FSX & P3D, & was getting a bit frustrated with the way they performed on my PC, & I was getting a bit bored with the usual Point to point flying.

What revitalised my hobby was finding



I ended up with a 2nd install of FS9, with only the Ford scenery, planes & projects, as well as other selected planes.

There are some very unique things here, ALL FREEWARE, that are not available in FSX & it's derivatives, such as sloping runways, ramps, circular runways, & a runway in the sky!

The late Garry Smith, the developer of the Ford project, always said that simming is all about Facts, Fiction & Fun.


Sorry, this post ended up longer than I thought.


History of sims..



Just an idea, have a look at Flightgear..



It's an amazingly good freeware sim, with some great planes, including a highly detailed Space Shuttle.





Cape Town, South Africa

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  • 2 weeks later...
In case anyone was wondering I've purchased and downloaded FSX Steam edition, It took ages to download but that may have been because my computer is a long way from my router and in a different building, thanks for all your great replies as these helped me decide what to do, nikksie
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