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PACS IV Review


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Do you entertain the thought of flying at home? Do you appreciate the guts of DIY geek projects? Then P.A.C.S. IV's your thing. P.A.C.S. IV is a kick-butt geek project, to be equipped with a HP Pavilion a367c PC, sporting a 2.8 GHz Intel CPU with Hyper-Threading Technology, and a GeForce 9600 GT (512-Mb 256-Bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x 16 HDCP Ready SLI supported) Graphics processor. The CPU is planned to be overclocked to 3.78 GHz, an increase of about 35%. (We still don't know how they're gonna cool that puppy).

But what's a flight simulator without sound, right? This simulator is running 1,500W's worth of Subwoofer's and Co-Axials2. Powering this suite is a Vintage Peavey Mk II Power Module to seal the deal. (They might need a hold-harmless agreement for every set of young eardrums that slip into that.)

And why just hear, when you can feel? This simulator will also have the world renowned AuraSound Bass Shakers installed, so that you feel every bump in the runway, and every shot fired from your .50 Calibers.

Finally, what all you geeks have been waiting for - The hardware. This simulator is integrating top-of-the-line hardware, with a little bit of overclocking, to push every square-inch of silicon to it's maximum performance envelope. Utilizing the CPU-Z and OCCT software platforms, all clocks, (CPU clock, Video clock, etc.) will be overclocked to their maximum potential.

To complement the sheer speed of a system like this, the flight specific hard-ware provides an even more immersive experience, with over 225-keyed inputs possible, along with 33-HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) based inputs [3 8-way hat switches, and 9 control axes], of which 3 modes multiply to almost unlimited combination. This gives you a possibility of over 543 inputs, easily covering all of the cockpit essentials with room to spare. This is all made possible by the Saitek X52 Pro Flight System. This, and 3 keypad surfaces, as well as rudder pedals help you maintain command of your aircraft at all times, even when the battle is heating up.

Over all visuals are pretty good, with a resolution of 1280 x 1080, meaning you will be able to see every detail in the world your flying in. The Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT is an excellent graphics processor for this application, and serves the programs run well. Overclocking this will also encourage better Frame rates in the games, making it more realistic by far. A standard CRT monitor is being used for the gauges currently, while a projector screen will soon sit atop the enclosure, providing a 40" x 40" display with a DPI ratio of 32 pixels to a square inch. (not bad, eh?). This will display your outside view, and could also be cloned to show a virtual cockpit. On the X52 throttle Quadrant, you will see a MFD (Multi-Function Display). This can be programmed to show airspeed, altitude, GPS, Autopilot, or your radio frequencies.

This project is currently underway, and to be semi-completed by the 30th of January, 2010. The official deadline for total completion is set for June 2010. Spencer, however, says that this date may not be realistic due to time constraints in his own schedule.

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