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Where is the 'diminishing returns' point for CPU, GPU spend?


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Trying to decide on specs for a new PC, and finding it extremely difficult to make a judgement because there always seems to be that 'pay a little bit extra and get improvement x' consideration.


Is there any consensus on where the point of diminishing returns is when choosing GPUs, CPUs, RAM, SSDs?


i.e. looking at the xplane 11 recommended specs:


CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5 ghz or faster.

RAM: 16 GB.

VIDEO CARD: DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD w/4 GB VRAM.


If I go for an i7 9600k that costs twice as much (for sake of argument, I've actually not checked), will the FPS be twice as good? and will I really notice and enjoy the increased FPS twice as much?


Perhaps the point of diminishing returns is indeed the Recommended Specs? But then the publisher wants to sell the product, so probably lower them to not put off buyers.


My requirements are:


1. Should support three 22" monitors

2. Decent terrain textures, weather, and mesh (I like to do a lot of low mountain flying)

3. Not too bothered about buildings, trees, cars, other aircraft.


AMD Ryzen 5 3600X


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Hi Iain.

Too many variables to get a specific answer but what you described as recommended system will not work for you in XP11.30++

Minimum system 1 monitor 4K res., with 4xAA and everything else at Medium that will get you about 25-28FPS is CPU around I5-9 4.3-4.5 GHZ, 16GB of RAM around 1600+ and a 1070 with 1TB SSD, or Optane.

You will likely see some posts that claim much better performance but typically they do not specify the settings.

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  • 1 month later...

Iain, 2x the price won't give 2x the performance, for sure. The way I see it, the newest I5 will only get you about 15-20% higher FPS. An I7 won't be much more.

I'm looking at this as a successor build:


AMD Ryzen7 3700X

32 GB Ram

Nvidia RTX 2070 Super

a 570 chipset motherboard (haven't settled on a particular one yet).

1TB Samsung 970 NVMe m.2 SSD


If my 'research' holds, I too should see about 20% higher FPS than with the rig in my sig.



AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 48GB RAM, RTX 2070S, 2x1TB Nvme SSD. FSX Gold, XP-11, MSFS.

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The point of diminishing returns approaches somewhat quickly, as many parts are just unnecessary for their price. I believe that after spending about $1500 on a balanced build, you already start to hit that point. Gaming is very graphics intensive, so going up to a GTX 1080 Ti (don’t buy RTX) brings good performance for the dollar, however the CPU for gaming is much cheaper as many cores are slow and not utilised well in most games. Anything beyond 16GB of RAM is pointless for gamers, even if you keep many programmes open. Motherboards and cooling are crammed with unnecessary features. Gaming doesn’t require lots of amazing parts, and higher prices only yield better performance after about $2000.
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