View Full Version : Flight Simulator with multi projector
04-12-2012, 12:33 AM
I want to put together a good computer for a flight simulator using projectors instead of monitors, so I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations on the components for a high-performance build with relatively hands-off stability. I've been debating Intel vs AMD, nVidia vs ATI, gaming vs pro graphics, etc. Recommendations would be highly appreciated.
I like the look of the ASUS P9X79 Pro with lots of tasty features and room for loads of memory. Is the i7-3930K a worthwhile upgrade from the 3820? Seems the extra $300 would be better spent on the graphics card otherwise. Likewise, is L-2011 a worthwhile improvement over the L-1155 systems?
I've tried using SLI/Crossfire before, but it seems almost redundant now with the multi-display options built into single cards these days, so I figure I'll just get one good card rather than two lesser models. Also, does anyone here have recent experience with Matrox graphics cards? I'm looking at their M9148 which includes edge blending for multiple projectors. I've read speculation that ATI will be adding that capability to their EyeFinity feature, and I'd be more comfortable going with an ATI card, but I can't tell if it's a go or not. Also, I haven't heard anything about this with nVidia. Anyone know?
Thanks for any help!
04-12-2012, 02:41 AM
I used to have a 720p projector setup for HTPC giving me a 108" display. It was great, but it needed a significant throw distance and even the white wall didn't give us great contrast so please consider in your budget proper reflective projection material and where the projectors are going to sit (plus they are generally noisy, which detracts from the immersion, unless you're using headphones). The offset that makes it worth it is that you wont need bezel compensation!!
I'm not totally up to speed with modern projectors, so I don't know DLP vs TFT in gaming and whether many 1080p ones are out there at reasonable cost. Ideally you want DVI/DP/HDMI not VGA input too. What ones were you going to buy? And how many are you going for? If 3 then either the latest Nvidia or AMD cards will be ideal. AMD even supports up to 5 or 6 on its higher-end cards (from HD 5000 series onwards). I would strongly advise 7900 or GTX 680 series (avoid Matrox, they don't have the graphical power). You will NEED more graphics memory the better for 5760x1080 resolution (3 monitors widescreen, for 6 double it). Even 2GB on the GTX 680s will run out on super-high res textures and complex scenes at that res. Nvidia GTX 500 series only support 2 monitors - to get more you'll have to SLI, plus, their memory capacity is weak at 1-1.5GB for multimonitor - you need at least 2GB.
Finally consider what the software is best optimized for? Which flight-sim software is it? Some have preference of AMD/Nvidia and if they are heavily CPU threaded then LGA2011 will be a better fit than LGA1155, if not, go LGA1155 and OC it further :D. This will also tell you the memory requirement - whether you need 8/16GB fast memory or 32/64GB 'slower' memory (for roughly the same cost).
04-12-2012, 05:27 AM
That's great feedback! Thanks so much.
I'm looking at short-throw and ultra-short-throw DLP projectors that won't need to be at the back of the room, plus I'll put them in a cooling cabinet to cut down on the noise. I'm learning a lot more about projectors as I go through the research. The big challenge is the edge blending to soften the transition from one projection to the next.
I currently have FSX and X-Plane 9, both of which work well on my current computer's nVidia, and I'm looking at X-Plane 10 as a possible upgrade.
It surprises me that most of the "professional" multi-port graphics cards (including ATI & nVidia) are topping out so low on memory. The best I could find for the Matrox 4-DP card was 1GB, so I was a little worried about it. I'm looking at having 3 channels for the simulation, plus one monitor for the control, so the 4-port card seemed best. The ATI FirePro 7900 has that along with 2GB of GDDR5, so it may be the winner of the race. And compared to the $2800 of the 6-port V9800, $700 doesn't seem too bad. With the right mobo, I can get two 7900's to double my vram at half the cost.
What do you think about the AMD FX series processors? A review I read put the top end FX closely matched to the i7-2600 with 8 cores and oc'd up to 5.2GHz. I've always appreciated the cost/performance ratio of AMD compared to Intel, and the fact that AMD doesn't change their socket every 6 months.
04-12-2012, 11:25 AM
It is threads like this that save me 3 days of searching the internet .. thnx guyz.
04-12-2012, 05:15 PM
RR, I would steer clear of the pro graphics. They are designed for precision over performance which is less than ideal for a gaming setup. You will pay far more for no performance gain.
Also, you mentioned short throw but didn't really talk about planned projection size. If you are going with something huge like Marshall was doing then 1080p would be preferred but if you are talking 3x 40" or so then you may not need that kind of pixel density. Projection tends to look pretty good even at lower resolutions so you could get away with 720p projectors and have a ton more selection to choose from.
I wouldn't discount SLI or crossfire. Often two "lesser" cards will outperform the single card performance leader. But if you go with less resolution like I mentioned then you could get away with pretty much any of the high end cards.
I'll give a nod to the new 6 series from Nvidia. They are designed to dynamically adjust performance and power consumption based on usage and can adjust vsynch to prevent tearing. They also have new AA algorithms but we'll see how soon they get implemented.
04-13-2012, 08:04 PM
Just for a comparison, I'm running 1 AMD HD 6870 1Gb card and it runs 3 monitors with out any problems, so I am ready to bet that running 3 projectors at 720 would be no problem at all.
So going higher with the 7xxx series from AMD or the 6xx series from Nvidia, you should get a very fluid image even at 1080.
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