Use Your PC

Training simulator products are real-time 3D applications, so you need to have a PC that can deliver lots of computing and graphics “horsepower”. And that’s why training simulator companies typically “bundle” specialized computers with the products they sell but if something breaks down, you’ll need to send everything back to them.

Well at Simlog, we’ve learned to design our Personal Simulators for the high-powered “gaming” computers sold by leading OEMs (Dell, HP, etc.) to let you purchase your own computer, and have it serviced locally as required. And as these off-the-shelf computers continue to improve, we add more sophistication to our Personal Simulators, to provide even more operator training help to our customers.

In the following table, we present Simlog’s PC Requirements to obtain good-to-superior performance.

Component Desktop PC
Laptop PC
Operating System Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 11 Pro Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 11 Pro
CPU Intel Core i7 @ 3.0GHz or better Intel Core i7 @ 3.0GHz or better
RAM (main memory) 16GB of RAM 16GB of RAM
Graphics Card a high performance graphics card such as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 or higher with at least 8GB GDDR5 (video RAM)
(NVIDIA Quadro and AMD/ATI cards are not supported)
a high performance graphics card such as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 or higher with at least 8GB GDDR5 (video RAM)
(NVIDIA Quadro and AMD/ATI cards are not supported)
Hard Drive at least 8GB of available free disk space at least 8GB of available free disk space

Simlog recommendations

Input/Output Enough USB 2.0 type “A” ports for your simulator controls,  mouse, and keyboard, and 1 audio output (see note about sounds) Enough USB 2.0 type “A” ports for your simulator controls,  mouse, and keyboard, and 1 audio output (see note about sounds)

About displays

Today, many Simlog customers are using large displays (typically sold as “flat screen” TVs) and so Simlog has prepared some display recommendations.

About PC support for multiple displays

Simlog’s multi-display configurations need multiple video output signals from your PC. In the case of three displays placed in front of your simulator controls, they need to form a single Windows “desktop”, and that can be done in two ways:

  • For desktop PCs, use a graphics card that provides 3 (or more) video outputs to drive the 3 displays.
  • For laptop PCs, the graphics card typically provides just 1 video output, so connect that to an external multi-display adaptor to drive the 3 displays (Simlog recommends the Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital SE.) If your laptop PC has a 2nd video output, you can use that to drive a “rear” display.

Note that depending on the choice you make, you may also need video port adapters (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, etc.) to connect the video outputs of your computer to the video inputs of your displays.

About sounds

To properly hear the sounds generated by your Personal Simulator, Simlog recommends a high fidelity sound card for your PC, either integrated with the PC motherboard, or on a separate sound card.

Quality speakers will enhance the training experience and here Simlog recommends a “2.1” stereo sound system composed of small left and right speakers, along with a larger sub-woofer to better hear lower frequencies (such as engine sounds). For simulator labs, you may instead consider having headphones at each station to minimize audio distraction among simulator users.

About simulator controls

Simulator controls range from a pair of joysticks to more advanced multi-purpose configurations. With the more advanced configurations, with several controller devices all plugged into your PC via USB ports, it is possible that with Windows 8 or Windows 10, the order of these controller devices can change after you power up your PC. For this reason, if your simulator has several controllers, you may consider, if possible, Windows 7 rather than Windows 8 or Windows 10.

About networking your computers

In the case of simulator labs, if you have licensed your simulation software to work with Simlog’s Simulation Manager, Simlog recommends that you co-locate and connect all your PCs using a dedicated network. If instead you try to use your existing school-wide or company-wide network, you may encounter security or permissions problems, depending on the configuration of that network. Practically, those networks are typically designed to be very careful about sharing files among PCs, but this is exactly what Simlog software requires. Therefore, if you prepare a dedicated network for just your (Personal Simulator) PCs, file sharing can be allowed without compromising the security of your other network.

About electricity

Finally, Simlog recommends the use of a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to protect your PC from problems with electrical quality or reliability leading to “brown-outs” or “black-outs” e.g. when equipment turning on or off on the same circuit causes surges and changes in voltage. In most cases, a “moderate strength” UPS will provide enough protection to properly regulate electricity to your PC, and can be configured to allow your PC shut down safely in the case of power failure. For most desktop PCs, a UPS in the range of 1500 VA should be sufficient, depending on the quality of the available electrical supply. Laptop PCs may use a smaller UPS (e.g. 750 VA) due to their lower power requirements. In all cases, refer to the specifications of your PC for details.