Downtime & PC Upgrade

My computer has turned 5 years old and with Prepar3D getting hotter with each new update I’m getting restless. My Intel i7 2700K, Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z & Asus NVidia GTX 580 have served me very well. It is time to build a new PC, but two things made me wait.

NVidia is probably releasing their new GPUs “Pascal” in Q2 of this year, so wasting money on a GTX 980 seems like, well, a waste… Also, Intel is probably arriving with their 10nm Canonlake CPUs sometime in the first half of 2017, so to me it makes sense to wait with a new build until fall of 2017.

When I build computers I buy top of the line stuff (albeit, not the extreme variants). That has served me well in the past, and during the last 21 years I’ve only needed 4 PCs. Also I’ll be getting a 65″ 4K TV for my sim next time around, and that will challenge even the mighty GTX 980.

Instead I’m replacing my GTX 580 with a GTX 970, getting some new and faster DDR3 RAM, new Intel 730 SSDs and will hope and pray that the rest of the parts will keep on keeping on for another year and a half (I replace all my hard drives every 2 years). In other words, I’ll be busy dismanteling my PC, cleaning all the parts and putting it back together again. Fingers crossed, I’ll be back simming in a week or so. The mechanics only takes an afternoon of work, but getting all the software, sims and addons up and running takes quite a while.

ATW – Back to Square One

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I did a classic mistake rarely tolerated in aviation. I started my around the world (ATW) flight with little or no planning, and got stuck somewhere in Africa. A little bit wiser, and with a new plan, I’m now back (at square one).

It so happened that while cruising at 35′ feet above Ethiopia I got an idea. I had a vanilla Prepar3D v2.5. installed that wasn’t really used for anything except some scenery and airport development projects, so why not use it as my ATW simulator, and use ONLY freeware addons. No ORBX, no Pilot’s FS Global mesh or weather, no PMDG or A2A – just freeware. And better yet, why not share the best of the best freeware addons with you all as I progress and test them out.

I’m now on my 6th leg and will start my dispatches soon. All the approved and appraised freeware will be showcased on a parallel blog I’ve created called P3D Freeware. Chek it out here: https://p3dfreeware.wordpress.com/

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ATW #1: Beirut, Lebanon – Cairo, Egypt

Beirut is the capital and largest city in Lebanon. The city is as good a place as any to start my around the world journey, but I picked the place because it has a very good freeware scenery of it’s international airport, Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA), made by Lebor Simulations. The same crew also offers vector scenery for Lebanon which is OK to install if you don’t have ORBX FTX Vector. They had started development of a Beirut X scenery, but after news of its development surfaced in 2013 things have been quiet.

For the first flight I’m heading off to Cairo flying a real world EgyptAir route using the default FSX Boling 737 (copied over from FSX) with FSND FSX-B737 Upgraded Cockpit by Alejandro Rojas Lucena, Garrett Smith, Stephane Verrando & Rob Barendregt, and Egyptair repaint by Paul Davies. I tried several freeware scenery offerings for Egypt and Cairo, but none of them were any good, so I’ll be using the default scenery for this trip.

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