You know, it's amazing that no one has done these benchmarks for desktop rigs already. I'm trying to design a rig that would make my XP sing in reasonably high detail but with the exception of your excellent work with portables rigs, the quality and quantity of benchmarks for XP10 is deplorable.
I would recommend three improvements/additions to your tests. One, XP 32bit vs 64bit. Does it make a difference? Two, a few people have been claiming that overclocked DDR3 memory improves explain performance. I think it's nonsense but it would be nice to see a benchmark. Three, with regards to your CPU benches, it would have been nice to see an i5 included in the benchmarks. It's much cheaper then the i7 and has all its features minus hyperthreading and 6mb of L3 cache instead of 8.
Flight Simulator X is still very much alive. Just look at all the add-ons still being churned out! Flight Simulator X has also been picked up by Lockheed Martin and developed into Prepar3d. The graphics of X-Plane look terrible. It doesn't even have proper shaders or anti-aliasing, let alone widespread bump map support. But, it strains the best hardware. This is the pinnacle of being un-optimized. X-plane 10 has been out for a while but it still manages to kill systmes.
Serious. After Microsoft more or less abandoned the flight simulator market following the release of their Flight Simulator X, Laminar Research has the only viable and constantly updated alternative with their X-Plane Flight Simulator. Our review will focus on the hardware requirements and show which notebooks and desktops handle the simulator smoothly.