Thinking (just thinking) about getting a gaming desktop

Hey folks. I have been thinking (…really… just thinking, that’s all…) about finally upgrading to a desktop for flight sims. My laptop is coming up on 6 years old now, and while I can still run DCS on medium-ish settings, load times are incredibly long, I’d love a bigger screen, and I don’t want to be left behind when we get those sweet new clouds. I was able to run MSFS 2020, but on pretty low settings, and I’d like to be able to run that at some point as well. My son liked MSFS and has been playing Halo MCC and Star Wars Squadrons lately, so I think I can justify some “family value” here at some point.

The goal here is a system upgrade, but also to get into something that I can upgrade over time. So the type of system I’m looking for is probably what many here would consider a serious downgrade. But it just needs to be better than a 6 year old laptop… I’m handy enough to upgrade things in the future, but I’d rather not build it myself to start. I’m guessing there should be plenty of OTS options that meet what I’m looking for.

Current specs of my laptop are: Sager NP8671 17.3" Notebook, i74720HQ (3.6GHz), GTX 970M (3.0GB), 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB 7200RPM HD, 256GB SSD (just for DCS right now)

I’ll need a monitor (probably something basic at 24” is fine) and keyboard as well. Can I do this for < $1000? Any good suggestions?

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I think the hardest thing will be getting a good video card.

I would take a look at the DCS hardware forum, there are usually some folks asking for advice about their proposed rig.

You might also take a look at some of the completed builds on pc part picker to price things out:(

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It seems to be easier to get a 30xx series card if you buy a complete system, as the retailers are keeping those back for themselves, as better margins. I think this is what @BeachAV8R did to get two 3070’s…

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I was trying to find the specs of those systems because they sounded great.

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I think Chris must have avoided using a new topic and making them impossible to find to stop Kai from finding out what he was getting for Christmas. :wink:


I bought a 60" Samsung 4K TV. Far better value than a monitor


That must make for some epic gaming!

Revisiting this topic after seeing the 2.7 release trailer, and realizing there might be some room in our budget for me to squeeze this in in the next few months…

So what would be really helpful (because I am not very well versed in this stuff) is if someone could give me a ballpark on what GPU specs, CPU specs, and RAM I would need to run DCS well. Let’s say high graphics settings, 1080p, almost exclusively single player.

If anyone can give me these as starting points, it will help see what’s out there and what I can afford.


Honestly, I would dig up soms benchmarks for a 2.5.x version of DCS, but this is my gut feeling based on my recent pc upgrade (for DCS VR) and parts selection for 3 recent lower end builds:

Assuming you’re aiming for 1080p at 60 Hz, the GPU won’t be sweating it too much. Research properly, but GTX 1060 / RX580 may actually be enough.

If the prices of GPUs weren’t so insane, I’d recommend to just go with one tier higher: GTX 1070 / RX5600XT / RTX3060
But given the current circumstance, take a very close look if you need this right now.

For CPU, something comparable to Ryzen 5 3600 or the new Intel i5 would probably be good. At 1080p 60Hz, this may be more important for framerate than GPU.

RAM depends on processor, but probably 16GB of 3600CL16 is good for most. 32GB if you want to be on the safe side for heavy missions. Don’t forget to enable XMP and don’t mix sticks from different packages.

Make sure an SSD is in. Doesn’t need to be NVMe, but take it if the difference in price vs SATA is small.

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I have a spare Ryzen 7 3800X if there is a good home for it.

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Thanks. So looks like something like this would probably work, although I’m not familiar with ABS…

And this would probably be better from a GPU standpoint if my budget can allow it:

Or will the base clock on the i5 10th Gen 10400F be too low (2.90 ghz)? I’m not always sure if I should go by base clock or max turbo when evaluating a CPU for gaming.

The i5-10400F is good enough. Don’t stare blindly at clock speed, newer processors do much more per cycle than older ones. Really the only metric you should consider is singld core performance in benchmarks.

Of the 2 links you sent, I would prefer the first one, the cheaper one. I am not sure how much better the GTX 1660Ti is, but the Power Supply on the cheap pc is 100W more AND higher efficiency rating. 600W Gold vs 500W Bronze

That means you have more options for upgrading your GPU later, which is much more important than a little more performance right now.
Also lower electricity bill, and less heat.

And right now especially, you’re better off with a possibility to upgrade GPU, since you get very little GPU for your money nowadays.

Again, I would really recommend you look for some benchmarks (I think there were some on ED Forums) to see how playable DCS is with GTX 1660.

I just asked my little brother in law and he is unaware of specific framerate but is running medium high settings on a GTX1060 6GB at 1080p and happy.


Thank you so much. This is all very helpful.

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You’re welcome! I love picking parts for a pc, and recently researched and built my pc so it’s good fun and little effort for me.