Perhaps looking for a new gaming PC

My current system is a I7-4790 CPU 3.6 GHz
16 GB
Nvidia G-Force GTX 970
Running windows 8.1.

I was wondering if I need to upgrade this to ensure a smooth running of DCS 2 flight sims (as I run DCS 1.5 now). I mostly run DCS, IL2 1946, WOFF, BMS 4.34 and Train Simulator 2019

For the most part they run fine with a few stuttering hear and there, but I want to go with DCS 2.(next level).

I am not a computer builder, and just as happy to purchase a gaming machine ready to use (once I specify the components). I would like to have a machine to run future releases with graphic updates, but to be honest, I am not sure how much higher they go unless they build the next versions on better platforms.

I suppose VR is good, but I really don’t see me using it for now…

So if you had my system would you upgrade to a new computer?
And if so, what type of Processor and graphic card would you go with. (I would like to stay with Nvidia).

I am willing to spend about 3 -4 k if needed (as that is what I see a high end system is costing - but don’t know if the components are overkill, or worth it in the end).

Spending 3-4k on a computer is never worth it. The sweet spot is between 1k - 2k for me.

If you play on a screen you should be fine by just updating your GPU.

I just updated from a i5-4690k (running at 4.1 GHZ) to a AMD Ryzen 3800X and the fps improvement in DCS VR is not that much, really.

For 2D, the new NVidia GPU I added last year did a huge improvement, though. I switched from a 970 to a 2080 and that did a lot.

This topic has come up quite a lot recently.
I rebuilt my PC in January.
@Franze has rebuilt recently, so has @Kinger and @AndyE will be as well. My system was two Intel generations behind yours so my upgrade was more dramatic. These guys can give more experience to a smaller leap in generations.

So to here are some recommendations - note I will only speak to Intel / Nvidia as those are the product lines I know. You can do the equivalent AMD / Radeon as well. This is also based on the full rebuild concept.

The I7-9700k is very good value especially on sale. Would fully recommend it. Single core performance is what matters at the moment, and this is only beat by hair by the I9-9900k. However, if you don’t do heavy video editing, streaming or rendering the extra expense for the I9-9900k isn’t justifiable compared to a I7-9700k on sale.

CPU cooling:
Ensure this is well covered by a large Noctua Air cooler or All-In-One water cooler like Corsair’s H-Series (240mm or larger radiator preferably). I prefer water coolers, personally.

DCS will push total system RAM usage well past 16GB with graphics turned up. 32GB of RAM would be my recommendation. 64GB is doable, but not necessary and likely a waste of money at this time for most people. 16GB is not enough for these sims anymore if you want top tier performance. This is critical to avoid pagefile use, which is a way of using diskspace as extra RAM. Storage below will explain why.

Graphics Card:
For VR you are likely to push up to a 2080ti but these are extremely expensive. Currently a 2070 is exceptional value. I will have to leave VR considerations to more experienced persons, as I haven’t taken the plunge.

This is currently one of the biggest concerns, or it should be. Storage is the slowest part of the system once again - your weak link.

PCI Express based NVMe SSD’s are 2-3x faster than standard 2.5” SSDs. I highly recommend two in your system. One for C drive Windows etc, the other for your sims. The boot and loading times will be stellar, and in DCS you won’t suffer pauses and stutters while the game tries to load from storage.

Don’t try to run DCS from a hard drive, it’s slow and not worth the hassle. Clicking on screen with a HDD can make DCS go “non-responsive” in Windows (if you wait it will typically still load and not crash) but still, this isn’t a recipe for success.

The Operating System:
A full copy of Windows 10 Professional.
Why Pro?
In the past MS has botched some updates that corrupted the OS. Windows 10 Pro allows you to delay updates. Home edition does not. This is optional based on your trust of MS, as to if you delay updates or not.

The current Windows 10 version 1909 also added some new CPU load balancing which had made a big difference to older hardware being able to multi-task well. I recommend updating to this current version.


If you would like to just upgrade:
-GPU like @Poneybirds said.
-Get everything on SSD, except you “data” (photos movies documents etc) those can stay on a big HDD. NVMe if your motherboard allows it.
-32GB of RAM would be nice but since Gen4 Intel was DDR3 RAM, I wouldn’t spend the money as you cannot up-cycle it. Upgraded drives and GPU could be taken to the next build, but RAM is now DDR4 series which isn’t compatible.

As for budget:
I cannot speak to USD as a Canadian, but in terms of CAD and pricing up here 2-3k is realistic for a full rebuild with some future proofing. 4K if you like to push things.


I’m on an i5-2500K and a 970, your PC will run DCS ok.

You could just get a bit beefier GPU and upgrade your RAM and you’re probably good for a couple of years if you don’t go VR.

My next upgrade will be the mobo, CPU and RAM, probably going with a Ryzen 7 3700X and 32GB of RAM (~650€ at current prices). After that at some point it will be the GPU, but i’m still waiting for a mid level GPU that is around 150W TDP like the 970 is. The 970 is really starting to get weighed down by its 3.5GB of VRAM (of which only 3/4 have the full memory bandwidth).

I don’t think that is true for everyone. I have been very happy with the PC I purchased from CyberPower almost a year ago, and it fell into the $3-4K price bracket when all was said and done. There is certainly a point where you start spending a lot more money for a small increase in performance though.

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Yes, of course it‘s an individual decision. I like to do smaller steps and update more often. Then again I broke that rule by buying a 2080.
it also depends on if you like to tinker or buy complete sets.

For the OP one option would be to buy a new GPU and an M.2 (PCIe) disk, that would speed up the DCS experience significantly. I think the CPU/RAM combo is still good for a year or more.

But it all depends on the budget :slight_smile:

Nice post @Wes

I’ll be honest in that I wouldn’t have recently updated my system (6700k with 16GB of 3000mhz RAM and a 1080ti) if I wasn’t running VR. VR can be very very hardware intensive. I’m now on a 9700k with 32GB of 3000mhz RAM and the same video card and the result in VR (via a Valve Index) were quite surprising in terms of smoothness while playing.

With a single 27" monitor and TIR the hardware above was more than enough on 1080p. If I was in the OP’s shoes and was looking to update my box without breaking the bank I’d consider the following:

Intel I5 9600k with a mid line compatible motherboard. (AMD also looks to be making some solid chips right now, but I’m not as familiar with them.)

Nvidia 2070 series GPU

32G of DDDR4 RAM (You can get by with 16, but with RAM prices coming down why not have some cushion?)

Some sort of quality CPU cooler. (You may not OC the chip now, but if you want to later you’ll have the cooling for it.)

A M.2 NVME drive for storage or at the very least a SSD. As Wes suggested having one for Windows and one for storage is great.

With 3-4k you can go for i9-9900 plus RTX 2080ti and 32GB of RAM and some NVME or SSD.

Is it overkill? There is no overkill in PC building. Just don’t buy Call of Duty or Star Wars themed PC case :wink:

What I will do? I will go for mid-range PC as I don’t have 3-4k :slight_smile:

I was sceptic about NVMe offering any benefits compared to a SATA SSD. My loading times are about half of what it was before, so this is something I learned.

Theoretical numbers are roughly like this:
Classic Hard Disc: ~ 80 MB/s
SSD: ~ 450 MB/s
NVMe (e.g. Samsung 970 evo plus): 2000 MB/s or something

It does not make a difference very often but it does when loading DCS. For me. Ymmv.

As a side note, good CPU cooling is not only important for overclocking. It can also affect the boost behavior, which is a standard thing. Also your motherboard might cap the power usage of your CPU. Be sure it does not cap too early!

Thanks everyone…looking around…
Of course, perhaps I should have mentioned that 3-4K is Canadian dollars…I think that puts it around 2 - 2.5 K USD.

I would also like to have a case that has at least 4 USB ports in the front…as I still keep my older computer at Win 8.1 with games that don’t like Win 10. Makes switching Hotas and other paraphernalia easier.

Then I agree with what @Wes proposed :

  • i7-9700 (K if you want to push the things)
  • RTX 2070 SUPER (2080 SUPER if you want to push it)
  • 32GB of RAM (don’t recommend to go for less)
  • NVME SSD (x2 if…)

That would be decent PC for 2D in FHD. For 2D in 4k I would go for everything in the parentheses.


This is a very good list.

I will also point this out:
The “K” series unlocked processors should cost more (maybe $20-30), but also are pretty much guaranteed to go on sale where as the non-K version is less likely to be on sale due to less demand and may be more expensive because the stores don’t buy them in as large quantities.

So you can get a K processor cheaper - and if you decide to overclock later towards the end of that build’s lifecycle, you can.

As an example, I have found the I9-9900K is about $50 cheaper than the I9-9900 before counting that the 9900K goes on sale.

To best make use of this functionality, the motherboard chipset should be the Z390 - which is pretty much “standard” anyway.

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Good point.
I would like to add that there are following versions of the Intel cpu :

  • i7-9700 (locked with integrated gpu )
  • i7-9700F (locked without integrated gpu)
  • i7-9700K (unlocked with integrated gpu)
  • i7-9700KF (unlocked without integrated gpu)

They are priced accordingly - F versions are hair cheaper.

Also. Locked cpu’s, non-K versions, are sold ‘boxed’ i.e. with cpu cooler. While the unlocked, K versions, are sold without it and you need to buy one.


This is an excellent point.
Personally, I would avoid the -F models on the grounds that should your graphics card decide to quit, the computer is still usable - just not for sim level gaming. If you have other PCs available or a tablet for your general computing needs, then this is less of a concern. I’d just think that most people in a panic may not have the funds available to buy a new GPU immediately, with how expensive they are currently.

The thing with the F series as well, is that they are essentially the same die as the regular model except that the GPU portion failed Quality Control and was disabled so they could still sell it. They also aren’t typically cheaper. Their purpose is to allow Intel to have chips on market since production is still behind demand overall. Don’t think this means its a bad/failing chip though - anyone with a current I5 really has a defective I7 with two cores shut off.

The net result is you don’t save money and lose a safety net. I would only consider an F series if it’s the only in-stock option.

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This is great information,but some items I am very confused about.

I have been looking around at a few gaming builders on the internet, but was wondering which ones produce good quality and either are based in Canada or ship to Canada (although most do)

So what I would like to do is go with a manufacturer, pick my items, show you guys if I am making any mistakes or something is better and let me know…

I have been looking at Ibuypower, cyberpowerpc, originpc, extreme pc to name a few…

thanks for your help so far.

So here is what I am looking at…
From Ibuypower…
(let me know what seems very odd, redundant or you would change)…
All ideas welcome…

Operating System :: Windows 10 Home - (64-bit)

Case :: iBUYPOWER InWin 305 Tempered Glass RGB Gaming Case
Case Fans :: 3x [Silent] be quiet! Pure Wings 2 PWM 120mm Black Fan

Processor :: Intel® Core™ i7-9700K Processor (8x 3.60GHz/12MB L3 Cache)

Processor Cooling :: NZXT Kraken X72 360mm Liquid Cooling System

Memory :: 32 GB [16 GB x2] DDR4-3000 Memory Module - Certified Major Brand Gaming Memory

Video Card :: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER - 8GB GDDR6 - GIGABYTE AORUS (VR-Ready)

Motherboard :: MSI Z390-A PRO – Gb LAN, USB 3.1 (1 Type-C, 3 Rear, 4 Front) - Free Upgrade to MSI MAG Z390 TOMAHAWK

Power Supply :: 1000 Watt - CORSAIR RM1000X Power Supply - 80 PLUS Gold, Full Modular

Advance Cabling Options :: Standard Default Cables

M.2/PCI-E SSD Card :: None

Intel Optane Memory Accelerator :: None

Primary Hard Drive :: 1 TB WD Green SSD + 3 TB 7200RPM Hard Drive

Data Hard Drive :: 1 TB WD Blue SSD – Read: 545MB/s, Write: 525MB/s - Dual 1TB Drives (2TB Capacity) - RAID 0 High Performance

Sound Card :: 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard

Network Card :: Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)

USB Expansion Card :: PCI-Express USB 3.0 4-Port Card

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I would investigate that - if the other board offers more back panel USB ports, that’s a plus for us USB-heavy sim pilots.

Overkill…you’ll have tons of headroom to add on anything. (650W would potentially even do - you can estimate that with PSUCalc if so inclined).

On this - the main drive should be NVME. The read and write speeds would easily be three times as fast, and they don’t cost much if any extra at present. 100% worth upgrading.

WARNING - Caps intended!
RAID 0 takes two drives and makes them act as one. Half the data is run on drive A, the other half on drive B. If either drive fails or is removed - all the data is lost. RAID 0’s benefit is that with two drives to work with, you essentially double the capacity, and performance. Do not store ANY data you CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE on this disk setup UNLESS you have a solid, reliable backup somewhere else. For more info, you can read Wikipedia’s page on RAID (mode zero). If that sounds like a bit much to worry about, opt for a single 2TB disk instead.


Thanks Wes…
I have to admit. some items I have I have no idea, but figured the bigger the better…

Re Motherboard. I really don’t have an idea on the better one over another…but more USB slots are better…I just want to make sure I have at least 4 on the case that can be used for HOTAS and stuff as well as the ones in the back used for keyboard, mouse and tracker IR.

Re: Power…I will lower it to 650 or 800 depending on what they have.

Re Hard drive and secondary drive.
What I wanted was one drive about 1TB (or smaller) for windows and main stuff…the second drive 1 or 2TB for games such as DCS, IL2 and so on.

That is what I thought it meant when they said Primary Hard Drive and Data Hard Drive.
What exactly is the M.2/PCI-E SSD Card and what does it do…Is this a Drive to store data? or do I still need both the Primary and Secondary as indicated if I have the M.2/PCI-E SSD Card

Okay lets roll back a step and do a bit of explanation on drives!

So I am sure you know the basic difference between a SSD and HDD.

Typical desktop HDD’s connect via SATA ports/cables and use the SATA III protocol, and are in a 3.5” form factor. They are cheap for large storage, but slow. Moving a large file, average HDDs can move up to 150MB/s roughly.

Up until recently, SSDs also only used SATA ports and protocol. They are in a 2.5” form factor (laptop drive size) such as the image below. They tend to get up to 600MB/s in speed.

A key point to note is that the upper limit of the SATA III protocol is 750MB/s.

Now we have a new design for SSD drives using a new form factor called M.2 which has it’s own connector, and shape. They look like this:

An M.2 drive can either use the SATA protocol (and will have speeds like the 2.5” drive) OR make use of the new Non-Volatile-Memory-Express (NVMe) protocol. NVMe protocol is only on M.2 form factor, and it’s connected in to the PCI-Express lanes which allows it speeds up to 3,500MB/s with drives currently on the market. This is waaay faster, and the drives are almost the same price now as a 2.5” SSD for smaller drives (up to about 1TB) so you have nothing to lose.

Because the NVMe protocol makes use of PCIe lanes, they drives are known by M.2 (the form factor), NVMe (the data transfer protocol) and PCIe (the underlaying connection). So you get bombarded with abbreviations. So long as it’s an M.2 NVMe/PCIe SSD, you should be good!
(Skip M.2 SATA because they aren’t any better than a regular “SSD” / 2.5”).

Most motherboards allow for 1 or 2 NVMe drives these days, so you can have one for windows and one for your most played games. (Or just windows if you can only have one).

Then use regular SSDs for other games, and a hard drive for data.

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