If you are a gear head and like to buy stuff, get into flight simulation. I’ve seen home-built cockpits for Boeing 737’s that are practically indistinguishable from the real thing, and cost well into the six-figure range. Yikes!
My rig is substantially more modest than that, costing just under $7,000, including construction materials (which were insubstantial compared to the high-tech stuff).
Here are the highlights of my system:
- Intel i7 7700k @ 4.2 GHz, overclocked to 4.6 GHz
- 32 GB RAM
- GTX 1080Ti video card with 11 GB VRAM
- 512 GB SSD main drive
- 4 TB hybrid data drive
- 8 TB USB 3.0 backup hard drive
- (3) 32″ flat-panel monitors (non-4K)
- (4) USB powered hubs
- APC 1500 battery backup UPS
- X-Plane v11.x from Laminar Research
- Windows 10 Home
- Saitek Pro Yoke and Throttle Quadrant
- Saitek Pro Rudder Pedals
- Saitek Multi-switch Panel
- Saitek Radio Panel
- (6) Saitek Flight Instrument Panels
- Buttkicker Gamer 2 vibration transducer
- VolairSim cockpit panel
- iPad 2
I also wear a HyperX Cloud X headset, connected with a ROCCA Juke USB sound card adapter, when flying with air traffic control (VATSIM).
Most of the gear listed can be seen in the following photos:
This simulator rig is built into a standard closet in a spare room. I used corrugated plastic panels above and on the sides to make it feel enclosed; it’s open in the back.
The bulk of the expense was split evenly between the computer system and the various Saitek avionics and control devices. I purchased the system custom built from X-Force PC based in North Carolina. They build the test rigs for Laminar Research, so I knew it would be built with optimum reliability and performance. It was a great decision, as the price wasn’t much different than if I had built the system by hand with the same hardware.