DCS Will my system hack it, I'm a rank newbie

This is what I have today:
Logitech Extreme Pro 3d stick, no pedals
Dell Optiplex 9010 Win 10 Pro
1 TB Samsung EVO 860 SSD
Processor Intel(R) Core™ i5-3470 CPU @ 3.20GHz 3.20 GHz
Installed RAM 16.0 GB (15.9 GB usable)
Device ID 1AFD3C1C-E4D0-4D6F-B7AE-59A50932B387
Product ID 00330-80000-00000-AA429
System type 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor
Pen and touch No pen or touch input is available for this display
Just ordered a power supply as the stock Dell can’t support a true graphics card.
Is this processor adequate if I add an nVidia Graphics Card? Or, am I going to need a new box altogether?
As of this moment I haven’t even got the engine started on the TF-51D! So, I am decidedly not ready for an F18 and dog-fighting.
I am interested in the F4 Phantom and A4 Skyhawk
Maps interested in Israel and Vietnam
Any pointers and help would be appreciated


Welcome to Mudspike and thanks for providing all that detail! Makes it easy to help.

Your CPU/MoBo/RAM is not ideal. I upgraded from a similar setup years ago, and have no clue how well the current DCS version would run on that today.

However, don’t feel like you immediately have to build a >€1000 pc to fly VR like I do.

I recommend you just get the A-4 (it’s free) and get flying around. It’s all free, so no harm in trying how it feels with what you have already.

I don’t know what you’re planning with that power supply but any modern graphics card will probably be severely limited by that CPU/MoBo.

If you like DCS, and want to stay within a reasonable budget, I would look at buying a second hand pc with a Ryzen 5 5600 or higher, or an Intel i5 12400 or higher.
Consider upgrading the RAM to a 32GB 3200CL16 DDR4 set, as these only cost ~ €60 these days.

What is your monitor’s resolution and refresh rate? If it’s 1080p, 60Hz, an RX 6600 XT or RTX 3060 should be enough for reasonable eye candy. Up it to a 6700XT or 3070 / 4060 if you want to max the graphics.


Thanks Ever so much for the response. Even if I upgraded to a Dell 9020 i7 Quad 3.4 Ghz (4770) w/ 32GB RAM 1 TB ssd @$200+ I’d still have to add a Graphics Card and a Power Supply at least another two hundred at 71, retired and on a fixed income, and not guaranteed to keep the interest, might not be the best investment at this time.

I do have a donated AMD Box that was originally a gaming system, the SLI Graphics Card died and it is now a Linux NAS MoBo MS-7374 v1.2 SK N2 SLI Platinum AMD Phenom 9850 Quad

But, that may still not hack it adequately, and all that software rebuilding. And still need a Graphics Card.

Well, let me see if I can start the engine on the TF-51D and taxi, maybe I’ll get the “bug”


Hi there, and welcome … I think the best advice is to download the base game and give it a throw, it’s free after all, and the base su25t and Black Sea map will give you an idea how the game will perform on your setup.


Don’t buy this!

The i7 4770 is very similar in performance to what you have and way behind the Ryzen 3000 or Intel 9000 series I would aim for.

Honestly, do what you want but starting the Mustang can be quite annoying.

I recommend you just install the Skyhawk (click download then follow instructions in the README, let us know if you get stuck).

You like the A-4, it’s a great mod, and it’s easier to fly than the Mustang.

The kneeboard in the A-4 (in-game, press K or Ctrl K or Shift K) has a complete but compact manual with instructions on how to do everything. Youtube can help you as well if you like that.

1 Like

Does your computer accept regular ATX power supplys? Can it fit a Graphics card? Sometimes those prebuilts have custom parts and a custom form factor, that makes it hard to upgrade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp_X8qxbsMM&t=707s)

But if you can, I see no harm in a little upgrading, just make sure you get something appropriate for it, probably a couple of gens old, and ideally used. I can see a 2060 going in that system, for instance. I reckon it will be an ok experience in DCS 1080p, not ideal, but definitely good enough to get started. What is your total budget? sometimes getting a used gaming pc or even a new budget build could be a better option than tinkering with those old pre-builts…

Couldn’t cancel the Power Supply so I’ll have that for later. Ordered a 32GB RAM kit (4x8GB). According to the Recommended System Requirements an i5 at 3.0Ghz “should” handle it. Mine is only a dual core, though. I can upgrade the CPU, not sure yet what’s available. CPU upgrade is probably less expensive than a Graphics Card, but that can come later. Should have memory Saturday we’ll see what that does to initial load time.

Again Thanks!

Yes, as far as I can tell, without taring it down, a standard PC Power Supply will fit. I’ve been looking at an GTX1070 or GTX1080 Though I been wondering about the RTX series But, I don’t think at it’s best upgraded state it won’t have the horsepower for Ray Tracing. But, Tensor Cores sound interesting.

If you can send anything back (don’t you have a mandatory 14-day cancellation policy for online purchases by law?), I would.

Upgrading an 11-year old system is just not worth the money.

You are going to be bottlenecked by any CPU that is compatible with your motherboard, no matter the number after the “i”.

Your best bet is to buy a recent-ish (2019 or later) gaming pc on the used market. intel 9000 series or Ryzen 3000 series or higher.

More recent CPU > clock speed or RAM.

1 Like

Have you flown the A-4 yet?

Not yet, probably going to be Friday or Saturday before I get to sit still that long.

Actually the F4 is “my” jet. I’ve seen the A4 do aerobatics. “The Jet the pilot wears”. Though there is the BD5-J.

Once I get my feet under me it will be hard to decide on the F14 Tomcat or F18 Hornet

BTW The load time to ready with auto log-in is 1:42.50

I’d also support this, to be clear. Even a 500 dollar build like this would be a much better bet.


I’d only keep your current build if you really cannot afford to spend more than 200 dollars or so.


For DCS, anyway, raytracing is not implemented so it will offer you no benefit.
You should be able to fly DCS at medium settings with a 1070 or 1080 as long as the power supply is up to snuff. Having an SSD is good, that will help you a lot.

1 Like

FWIW my 5-YO box (maybe older, not sure) runs DCS fine in 2D. I run it multiple times daily in a window at 1080p. (On the road right now so can’t check; that resolution my be one jump up from there); medium quality settings; Joystick only (landings are ugly without a throttle)

I-6700; 32GB RAM; nvidia 1080 (latest MT build); 750W PSU.

I get 90-ish plus FPS but honestly don’t monitor that much; a sign that th FPS is doable I guess.

The hard drive is the biggest bottleneck observed as it’s a spinning disk (this PC isn’t for play it’s for testing missions); loading times are not good and scenery updates and such cause stutters.

1 Like

I am going to try an i7-4770 first, after upgrading the memory 16GB to 32GB I’ll report here how it goes.

But, a load of almost 2 minutes to “ready” is a bit harsh, I hope to reduce that a lot. We’ll see.


Yup. 2 minutes is about right for me, with the above PC, for the first run. Subsequent runs not too bad; DCS does a lot of work on a new (not the last one run) mission. Sounds seem to be a chore for it.

With my [not so new anymore] PC it never takes an annoying amount of time; new one runs off one of those new-fangled M.2 thingy’s

FWIW, even though I usually run in MT mode, I get quicker mission load times in the non multithreaded version. AMD CPU = not yet optimized.


There are several aspects to loading time.
One, theater. The smaller ones like the Black Sea and Marianas load much quicker than Syria or South Atlantic.
Two, units in the mission. If there are tons of air, sea, and ground units, the load time is significantly longer.
Three, detail levels. The higher you crank it up, the more is preloaded into memory off the disk at the start.

A big thing is definitely RAM. I went from 16 to 32GB for DCS years back and recently went to 64GB for DCS again. When I went to 32, nothing but DCS used more than 16. Nowadays a lot of programs do, but 32 was totally sufficient for everything…except DCS now. I was seeing near constant drive access on my SSD with 32 on the bigger terrains like Syria with large missions.
Going to 64 has lessened that and micro-pauses/stuttering from units spawning and other streaming assets.

That said, I wouldn’t throw 64GB at an older CPU like that. Save your money and just the lower the detail.


Good info there.

FWIW, and some deep in the weeds general info - only slightly related and has helped others…

DCS does a lot of work (as you noted) at the start of a mission, saving the results to:


From scripts to sounds, and more. Appears to reuse these, avoiding the conversion (work) the next time as applicable.

It only cleans this folder up upon exiting DCS completely - but it doesn’t always do it, notably when it crashes.

There are other instances when it doesn’t clean up after itself too but I haven’t nailed that down. Still don’t know the specifics but when this folder gets big it seems to affect loading times significantly - like 5+ minutes to load! (from less than a minute with same mission).

I’ve seen 10K+ files in there. I attribute it, usually, to my scripts (causing a premature exit or killing DCS on a break point). Others have reported same and it’s not my scripts causing it cus they don’t have that code.

So I just delete it completely, then run DCS again. This is where I really notice that the speed of my drive (spinning disks vs SSD, etc) is a problem, for me.