Advice for an optimal PC build

Hello everyone,

Being frustrated on a regular basis with Xbox crashes, freezes etc… I begin to explore to build a PC specifically for flight simulator. I would like to know about the ideal specifications. I’m a not necessarly on a budget but I dont want an overkill build either… i started with this option:

Intel i9 12900k

32gb ram ddr5

The graphic card I honnestly dont know, heard not going under rtx-3060

So I would like some advice to be sure not to spend 2000$ (CAD$ :stuck_out_tongue: ) on the wring stuff

Thanks !

I suspect there are as many “ideal specifications” for a MSFS PC as there are users on this forum! :smiley:
Seriously, have a look at this thread, though I think these are US dollars:

That build is more than your budget, but you could use it a starting point and perhaps save some $$ on the case, purchase a 2TB SSD (I’d not recommend a HDD any more other than for archiving purposes), or purchase a lower-rated power supply, depending on the requirements of your chosen CPU & GPU.

W.r.t. the best graphics card, I have an Intel Arc A770 & am happy with it, but there are better (& more expensive) cards from AMD & NVidia. My only recommendation here is that whatever card you purchase has at least 16 GB onboard RAM.

Another post to peruse that might help is here. And a search for “optimal PC build” will bring up many more posts for your consideration.


Thank I will look at it. Indeed I dont think I would need a 4 to SSD as the pc will only be use for msfs and DCS.

Altough I am not sure about a Ryzen on the long run, I had much better experience with intel for a long term performance.

Much appreciated !

Check out Alienware Gaming Desktops from Dell. One of the best e-shops on the web and they make great machines.


I’d not recommend anything under 2 TB for the drive hosting MSFS. The price difference between 1 & 2 TB in not that much. I purchased MSFS a few weeks ago. The core install of the standard version on my D: drive, including a 150 GB manual cache, 5 GB rolling cache & all the free optional world, city, aircraft & activity updates is now ~467 GB, so let’s round this up to 500GB to allow for the world update XVI & any mandatory updates coming next year. Additional 3rd-party & free community add-ons downloaded later on could quickly add another few hundred GB or more.

If you are also thinking of purchasing the upcoming 2024 version when it is released, then that game would obviously need additional space, though no hardware requirements have been announced yet. So, say 750 GB for 2020 & 750 GB (pure guess) for 2024 leaves 500 GB for DCS (I have no idea how much space that app requires). I’d also suggest that you consider purchasing an additional SSD (1 TB, or 512 GB if you are stretched for $$) just for the Win 11 OS. This simplifies backup & restore (& may provide performance benefits). If you ever need to reinstall the OS and/or MSFS, you can do so independently. Also, make sure that the size of your graphics card does prevent any SSD slots on your motherboard from being used - or at least be aware of those that can’t be used so there are no surprises later on!

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Thanks. I think you are right about drives. Better more anyways.

I am not necessary shopping for a price, if I need tu spend more I will… I really just want to be happy with wht I will buy.

When you said 16gb onboard were you talking about the graphoc card ram or the pc ram on the motherboard ?

I use to always be Intel/Nvidia, though more out of convenience than being any sort of fan boy. I’m now on an all AMD system and really pleased with it. I’ve been running a 5800x3d for almost a year now and no issues. I plan to keep with the x3d’s for the foreseeable future as they have proven themselves to be some of the best gaming CPU’s. My graphics card is a 6600 XT, which has also performed well for me.

If I were building a new PC, I’d be going with a 7800x3d CPU, or 5800x3d if budget was an issue (and understanding it’s a dead but still capable platform). I’ve heard the x3d’s are not as dependent on top notch memory to get that performance. That’s just a no brainer to me.

I don’t care about ray tracing and the current sim doesn’t have it. I also don’t care about frame generation, upscaling, or VR use. Those are where an Nvidia GPU would be beneficial, but would be useless features to me. AMD competes strongly with rasterized performance at cheaper prices. As for which card, that again comes down to budget and the resolution you want to run at. Keep in mind you don’t HAVE to run everything at ultra to have a great looking and performing experience.

When you say 7800x3D are you talking about a Ryzen 7 or 9 ?

(Maybe it’s a dumb question but really new to the gaming stuff)

To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to those generation numbers. It’s like saying you have a i5 or i7, it doesn’t say anything about the exact CPU in question. A 5800x3d and 7800x3d are specific CPU models within their generation. I couldn’t tell you if they are Ryzen 7, 9, or something else because it doesn’t matter to me.

16 GB on the GPU. Some of the gaming GPU cards have 20 or 24GB, but you do pay a premium for this. My Arc A770 has 16 GB - the main reason, along with its power consumption & price, that I chose the card. I build my own PCs and prefer to purchase components that are ranked one or two spots below the fastest / biggest / best components at the time, as usually one pays a premium price for the “latest & greatest”.

In 2022 I paid ~ $1,240 US for the following:

  • Case: bequiet! Pure Base 500DX (includes 3x140 fans)
  • Power Supply: Enermax Revolution DF 850W 850 PLUS Gold
  • Motherboard: MSI PRO Z690-A WIFI DDR5 LGA 1700
  • System Memory: Kingston Fury Beast 32 GB (2x16 GB) 5200 MHz DDR5 CL40
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-12700K
  • Processor Cooling: bequiet! Pure Loop 240
  • SSD Drive: Western Digital WD_BLACK SN770 M.2 2280 1 TB PCIe Gen4
  • A couple of DP-to-HDMI cables to connect to my existing 1360 x 768 1080p @ 60Hz monitors

The Intel K series chips have an integrated UHD Graphics 770 chip that I used until I purchased my Intel Arc A770 this year for ~$300 US. So, overall cost was ~ $1,540 US. Older games such as FSX (at all-max settings) & general multimedia video & movie files had no problems running on the integrated graphics chip, but the IGC does not have the memory for this version of MSFS (or many of the latest games), so I purchased the Arc.

The availability of an integrated graphics chip could be considered superfluous if you have a GPU, but if your GPU fails, you can always boot to the IGC. Might not be able to play MSFS, but at least you still have a usable PC!

I also plugged in a few of my existing drives: an old 1 TB 4.5" SATA HDD for archiving, and a newer 4 TB 4.5" HDD for data that is not picky about disk I/O, such as media files & older games such as FSX.

MSFS 2020 is also installed on this HDD drive (in its own partition), and so far, I’ve not seen disk i/o being a bottlenecked to the program. I had a backup plan to purchase a second SSD if that had been the case. The Win 11 OS runs off the 1 TB WD SSD.

None or the components on my list have caused any problems since I purchased them over a year ago. So, using my PC as an example:

  • I’d still recommend the case & processor cooling.

  • My 850W Enermax is fine for my current set of components, but the newer GPUs tend to draw more power, so I’d suggest looking at a 1000W power supply to be on the safe side.

  • Intel has the newer 13 series chips now, so I’d purchase a i9-13900k if I was buying one today. I’ve always gone with Intel chips & never had a problem with them.

  • I chose the MSI PRO Z690-A WIFI DDR5 LGA 1700 for its expandability. You can plug tons of stuff into it - SSDs, HDDs, and more memory if needed. Was a good purchase at the time.

  • Neither the Kingston Fury Beast 32 GB (2x16 GB) 5200 MHz DDR5 CL40 nor Western Digital WD_BLACK SN770 M.2 2280 1 TB PCIe Gen4 are top-of-the-line, but both work perfectly well for my needs.

  • As mentioned, I kept my existing 1360 x 768 1080p @ 60Hz monitors, but if buying one today would go for a larger 4K model. I toyed with the idea of purchasing a MSI Optix G321CUV 32" UHD 3840 x 2160 (4K) 60 Hz Curved Monitor a few months ago, but there are comments on these forums about distortion at the sides of curved monitors, so need to do more investigative work. Perhaps folks who have curved monitors could chime in here with their comments.

  • Finally, don’t forget to plug everything into a good surge protector. It would be a shame to fry a $2,000 system for the want of a $20 surge protector. :cry:


Another Be Quiet! fan here as well. I’m running the 500FX (basically your DX with extra lights and 4 fans), and a Dark Rock 4 Pro dual tower air cooler. I like them for the aesthetics and they do live up to their name, and cooling has been fine. If not for my GPU adding to the jet engine sound effects when simming, it’s an exceptionally quiet setup.


@ Mooncatt3953: Yes, I’m definitely a fan of Be Quiet! Great cases - lots of space, easy cable management, super-quiet fans.

@ MrPinkQC: I ought also to mention the type of flying that I do. I’m a bush pilot at heart, and my PC specs reflect that. When I installed 2020, the install process at the end recommended an “Ultra” setting, so I chose that, & have always had wonderfully smooth flights. The only time I’ve experienced stuttering was when I was approaching Singapore airport while in multiplayer. There were a ton of aircraft parked at gates, in pattern & on final, and at about 5 miles out I had a brief stutter as the sim tried to load all the airport scenery & (I suspect) spawn all the multiplayer & AI aircraft (set at 80% in settings).

So, if I regularly flew some of the complex 3rd-part commercial jets available for MSFS in & out of major airports such as New York’s JFK or London Heathrow, and wanted Ultra AI & scenery, and had 2 or 3 large 4K monitors, I think my PC would not be able to deliver (I actually haven’t tried it yet - perhaps I should, though I don’t have the monitors). But I rarely fly jets and can always temporarily drop the various scenery settings down a notch or two when I do. Another example of where stutter-free flight is important is when completing the landing challenges. A stutter when on final could be disastrous! I’ve only tried one so far (first flight), & it was totally stutter-free. I shall not embarrass myself by revealing my score! :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

@ Mooncatt3953: Do you have any flying preferences such as mine, or are you more a “generalist”?

Well I enjoy a lot of different thing. Liner, low altitude ride with fighters, chopper ride… so I’d say scenery have an importance for me. I also plan getting into VR so I want a pc powerfull enought for that.

And I dont want to experience the same issues that I do with Xbox

For Vr, a 4090 is all you need. Period. My ‘small’ PNY is 375w at max, undervolted at 850mV and +1200 mem is a BEAST. Put your money there

Cpu, i5 13600k at -.125mV, is more than enough, air-cooled. No need for fancy water coled things. No need to overclock. No need to overspend. I am gpu limited with a 4090…

I have 40-45 fps EVERYWHERE (nyc included). With 200pct render, yes your read correctly, purple googles, with fs traffic, all settings ultra. Tlod 255 to 405 (dynamic) and olod 600. Toolkit wirh CAS 100. Dlss quality.

And my motherboard is only pci gen3… gen3, gen 4 or gen5 is NOT IMPORTANT

32gb ram ddr4 overclocked at 3600.cl16 18 18. Gear 1. Again, ddr4 or ddr5 not important

750w power supply top quality, a couple of m2 Samsung 970 evo pc gen3

And all in a tiny fractal ridge, same size than a PlayStation. Because my rig not only performes amazing, but also is cool and silent

If anyone needs details, pm.


I fly the CJ4 with the Woosel mod almost exclusively, and tend to hop around mid sized airports around the U.S. I don’t really fly the big jets, but occasionally hop in a prop for some low scenic flights. I also run FSLTL traffic set at about 40 IFR flights (any more than that and radio traffic becomes too much for me to enjoy), I think 10 on GA traffic, and I can’t remember off hand what historical parking is.

You won’t go wrong with a 4090, but you’ll likely spend your entire budget on just the card. Do you need a 4090? I would say do some research. I said earlier VR doesn’t interest me. That’s still true, but one of my daughters got a Quest 2 VR headset for Christmas this year to play stand alone games. I did try it myself on the sim, and I was actually impressed. For all the “4090 or bust” talk about running VR, I was able to get acceptable performance out of my lowly 8GB 6600 XT card. My only complaint was the digital cockpit screens were hard to read the text, but right mouse clicking to zoom helped with that and I was more interested in what was going on outside anyway. Sure, I had to tone down settings, but I’m now second guessing the 4090 elitism I see when talking VR. I personally have wanted to upgrade to a 7900 XTX card even before trying that, and I think that would still be acceptable for me. I primarily run a 4k60 monitor, but thinking that may drive a higher end VR headset ok for occasional use as well. It’s something I may look into more.

Not sure what those issues are, but I can almost guarantee you’ll have some issues on pc. Hopefully nothing game breaking for you, but there’s little annoyances all around the sim for pc users, with some major problems like how KDFW is basically broken to the point of being almost unusable. At least for most things, they are tolerable or have workarounds.

  1. The most important thing about a PC build is using good quality components that money can buy.
  2. Once the PC is built, and running stable, you are ready for OS installation.
  3. If you wish to run flight simulator, do not over clock CPU/GPU/MAINBOARD/RAM.
  4. Make sure the Case is a good one and allows plenty of cooling and good airflow
  5. After the build, do not mess with the system, as things can go from good to dire very quickly.
    This is my system:
    Using my old Cooler Master HAF-X Case
    Asus TUF RTX 4070 12gb
    64gb ram ddr5 Corsair Dominator (2x32gb)
    Sea Gate HDD 2tb for OS
    Toshiba HDD 8tb For FS2020
    MS mouse and Keyboard
    Saitek Pro flight yoke system and rudder pedal
    Windows 11 pro
    My system spec is very low, compared to some of our fellow simmers.
    Or buy a prebuilt system from a reputable company.

So I just visited my local computer store. Its a trust worthy place that I have known for several years.

Considering my actual graphic experience is based on Xbox he suggested the following setup :

CPU - i7 14700K

GPU - RTX 4070 or 4070ti

32gb ram

2to SSD minimum

I’ll pass on the case, power etc as those are not the core of my questionning, I’ll obviously go for what is need based on the main setup.

I spent over an hour with the technician and we compared performance of different components to choose a well balanced ratio between performance and price. Wich get around 2500 CAD ( 1871 USD) I know that I could have better graphics with a 4090 but the fact is that I am used to xbox graphics and they suits me fine. He told me I would have a little better performance with that config even with a 4070.

What do you think ?

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This is a good combo for 4K flat world experience. Get the Ti. If you like to go VR (what is the only way to go btw., imho) later you can upgrade this with an 4090 (or successor) easily. Just want to suggest two M.2 drives at least. Nice PSU is worth the money tho. Dont save here.

P.S. This combo is way beyond xbox.

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I already had that in mind. One SSD for the OS and another one for MSFS. And as the PC will be used only for flight sim (Already have a mac for all other purposes) the storage management wont be an issue. My main questionning was really one the CPU and GPU as I dont really know nothing about that. Nice to have a good community to give advices on here !