Quality graphics card required for FS2004

  RayProud 23:27 07 Jan 2004

I'm choosing components for my next PC which will be used for Microsoft's FS2004. I'm having problems identifying the best card for this DirectX9 application. From the discussions I've had in flight sim forums the general concensus seems to be the ATI Radeon 9800Pro 128Mb card will be best. However, others have cast doubts on the image quality of ATI cards saying nVidia are better.

Utimately I want a card that will deliver fast frame rates and good quality images. I'll be running at 1280*960 on a 19" CRT display and won't be displaying the panels - just a forward 3D view. Autopilot software is running on a separate networked PC to keep the performance as high as possible.

I've shortlisted a Hercules 9800Pro 128Mb and a Gainward FX5700 although I will consider other chipsets. I don't require AA as the resolution is high enough not to need it. AF is required but I'm not sure if x4 or x8 is best and how much the higher setting would affect frame rates.

I'd like some help please. However, I need more than just a recommendation. I would like your reasons why the card you recommend is best. If you're an nVidia or ATI basher please go elsewhere. I'm looking for reasoned arguments why your choice is the best.


  Tk_RiceZ 23:31 07 Jan 2004

click here

gather your own opinion

  RayProud 23:36 07 Jan 2004

I visit Toms' Hardware frequently - thanks. But that review does not cover FS2004 so I'm not sure why you posted it. Unreal Tournament is not FS2004. I have seen their FS2004 comparison chart but that was with AF and AA enabled. It does not make any mention of image quality.

  gudgulf 00:04 08 Jan 2004

I think you will find that FS2004 does not appear on most sites that review graphics cards-----the point is that a 9800pro walks all over a gfx5700,whatever game or benchmark you care to throw at it!!!.

There is also a substantial price difference between these cards--if you are looking for a cheaper option than an ati 9800pro then I suggest you look at Tk_RiceZs link again ,and this time check out the Nvidia gfx5900xt.If you are after maximum performance for minimum price you cant go wrong with this.

  mole44 08:05 08 Jan 2004

i have an ati 9800 pro on my machine and i use it with flight simm 2004 its great,mind you i also have 1gig of ram and an amd2600,the graphics are just fine as are the screen updates smooth as you could want them to be.it even handles the rotating control tower light at night with ease.

  Tk_RiceZ 08:38 08 Jan 2004

the 9800xt is out of 5700's class but if your budget is tight then you can see that the 9800 128 is a good buy, as with all top graphics card, image quality are bound to be great or is that me just thinking differently? why else would you pay £300+, just for games? i don't think so........

  RayProud 17:13 08 Jan 2004

Guys, thanks for your replies. The card will be in a P4 3.0 1GHz system so price is not too much of a concern providing the speed and quality is there. The reason I stress quality is because I've had reports that some textures are not being reproduced correctly. i.e. some breakup on liveries being a main complaint although this was on FS2002 - FS2004 may be better perhaps?

Gudgulf, you say the 9800Pro walks all over a FX5700 in all respects. If you turn off AA is this still the case? From the reports on tomshardware it seems that the 9800 scores heavily over the nVidia chipsets with AA turned on but if it's off then the difference is quite small. AF seems to affect both chipsets about the same.

Mole, what AA and AF settings do you have enabled? What is your screen resolution? If you switch off AA how much higher do your frame rates go?

Tk_RiceZ, I would hope that image quality would be great on all expensive cards but it does take time for driver quality to settle down wity newly released games. Are you happy with the current quality of the drivers for the 9800 assuming you have one? FS is not a game - it's a simulation and some of us take it very seriously so are prepared to invest in a decent card but I need to be sure a particular card is the best for FS2004. I'm not interested in how they perform with other games.


  Mysticnas 17:27 08 Jan 2004

FS is not a game???

I'm quite sure you COULD class it as a game.

Try looking for it on software vendors list under software and not games.

Most places class it as a game. The fact that it's realistic, doesn't constitute that it's not a game.

For curiosities sake... just how seriously do you take it?

  RayProud 17:32 08 Jan 2004

I accept that stores will classify it as a game but when you get as involved as many of us do with FS2004 then the worst thing anyone can say about it is that it's a game. Visit these sites to see how much you can enhance a £50 program. It's quite easy to spend thousands!

click here
click here


  Mysticnas 17:41 08 Jan 2004

if you want top mainstream quality you'd best check out the GF FX 5950 Ultra or the ATi 9800XT.

Both are top of the range mainstream cards, you won't find better than them. What make you go for is upto you. I personally prefer Leadtek cards, their FX5950 is around £300ish.

Why don't you email MS and ask them what card would be best?

  Mysticnas 17:44 08 Jan 2004


not to be a nonce...

but if you're going to spend £1000's why don't you go and fly the real thing?

My brother taken flying lessons, they're not as expensive as buying all this stuff you know.

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