You will not be able to fully judge the capabilities of home PC-based helicopter flight simulation if you are not using a computer system and peripherals that are capable of supporting the majority of its high-end features. Flight Simulators are usually flexible in terms of their resource consumption. You can often scale back their features in an attempt to run on under-powered personal computers.
If you choose to operate your pc-based helicopter flight simulation platform on a mediocre, poorly configured, or out-dated computer platform, than you should expect a mediocre and out-dated flight simulation experience. Many of the bad first impressions that professionals have had about pc-based flight simulation can be traced back to an introduction to flight simulators that were "straight out of the box" and running on a mediocre personal computer.
If you ask 5 experienced Flight Simulator users what type of computer specs you should have to successfully run Flight Simulator, you'll probably get 5 different answers. All of which might be right. That is because different people have different expectations, and different priorities when it comes to helicopter flight simulation. The following is a very basic recommendation of the type of computer specs you should have to enjoy flight simulation at home with a fair level of quality.
For FS2004 (FS9, Flight Simulator Century of Flight)
1. Processor: 2.8Ghz or more
2. Memory: 2GB DDR RAM
3. Graphics Card: NVIDIA or ATI with at least 256MB RAM
4. Hard Drive: At least 7,200 RPM
5. Monitor: At least 1024x768 (17" or more recommended)
For Flight Simulator X and X-Plane 9
1. Mother Board: At least 800mhz front side bus, with dual channel DDR or DDR2 memory support.
2. Processor: 3.0hz or more
3. Memory: At least 2GB DDR or DDR2 RAM (Matched, cooled, and fastest available)
4. Graphics Card: Latest PCI-Express NVIDIA or ATI with at least 512MB RAM
5. Hard Drive: At least 7,200 RPM
6. Monitor: At least 1280x1024 (17" or more recommended)
7. Sound Card: Any of the latest SoundBlaster line will likely do the trick. As the sound capabilities of FS have increased dramatically, those running sound from their motherboard will likely pay a price in performance.