Low CPU usage and possible upgrade

Im lacking a bit of knowledge when it comes to hardware, so wanted to ask around a bit here.

1st thing: I started to monitor a bit the usage of components when using the sim, and my Vram is constantly in mid - high 90%. Which I understand is normal and not necesserely a bad thing?
GPU is around 50 - 60%, but my CPU is always around only 3 - 5%. And I was wondering if that is normal?

2nd thing: I run a combination of high and ultra settings, with som settings even at medium or low. OLOD and TLOD around 120.
Sometimes at 3rd party scenery like Aerosoft EBBR the FPS drops down to probably something like 15-20.
And I can forget about Iniscene EGLL as that is constant stutters and freezes on short final.
I was kind of expecting more from my build. Or am I expecting too much?
İs there some obvious adjustments to settings I can do to get better performance without losing much quality?
My current build is this:

  • RTX 3060ti 8GB
  • i7-12700F
  • 32gb RAM

I am using 1080 resolution.

Would it make sense to get a 1440 monitor or would that just make my performance even worse?
Or do I really have to spend 1000$ for a 3080 or similar with more Vram to get the performance and quality I want?

I know this was a long post with a lot of questions, but thanks in advance for any replies

8GB of VRAM is definetely not a lot and extending it would help, especially with stutters. It of course all depends on several factors.
Where I live you can buy a used 3090 (24GB) for 600$ and that’s definetely the most bang for the buck you can get.
A larger, higher resolution screen will shift the load from CPU to GPU. It also depends on a lot of factors, but in general the larger and higher res the screen the more of the cockpit you can see without moving the view, which is always beneficial.

Two things:

  1. the CPU overall usage, heck even the single core usage, is nowadays (since some years…) almost useless, because of the thread shuffling etc. Means: the % number does not tell you anything. Instead, watch your GPU numbers. You say that your GPU is runnunig only at 60%, this is clearly indicating a CPU limit.

  2. never buy a non-4xxx series GPU anymore for MSFS. Especially in a CPU Limit, the Frame Generation will save your back.

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My first MSFS pc had an 11700k CPU and RTX 3060 GPU, so not a million miles away from your build, and I was able to run Ultra global preset at 1080p, with TLOD and LOD around 160-180 depending on the area used.

CPU is king in MSFS, so maybe try increasing your TLOD and LOD a bit to see if it can utilise the CPU more. Since the sim is not multi-threaded, you can get some processor performance improvements by turning off hyperthreading in your bios, enabling resizable BAR in the Nvidia control panel and turning off HAGS and Game Mode in Windows.

Turn on the in-game FPS counter via Dev mode and try one of the complex area discovery flights - Naples or NY are good for this - and make small tweaks as you go. Fly for a while then pause the game and increase TLOD & LOD a couple of notches and resume. The moving trace will show you spikes in the CPU load and the frame time, and also whether you are CPU (“Mainthread”) or GPU limited. Almost certainly the CPU will be the limiting factor, but you should be able to tweak the settings and get the most out of it while avoiding going into the red, apart from an occasional spike.

Completely wrong, MSFS IS multi-threaded already now. I wonder why people continue to spread this misinformation.

Then: suggesting to increase TLOD and LOD further to use CPU more if he is already in full CPU limit indicated by the 60% load on the GPU is… well, no words to describe this.


Frame generation also works on the RTX 3000 series. If on budget I would rather buy a used high end 3000 series card with a lot of VRAM than an entry level 4000 series one.

It does, but only with a non-official mod nobody knows if Asobo not suddenly pulls the plug. And it seems (according to several feedback), that it has still some issues here and there.

Personally I would not depend on a third-party mod for my frame generation to function. Buying old high end because you are on a budget never pays off imho.

BTW: he already has a 3000 series card, so the most budget variant would be trying the mod already now on his 3060Ti…


Thanks for great replies, I will try some of the things suggested and see the impact with the in-game fps counter.
However, in terms of the 60% utilization of the GPU. I can mention that I tried switching to DX12 yesterday, and the fps and performance seemed to stay the same as with Dx11, but then all of a sudden, the utilization of the GPU was 95 - 100%. As I lack knowledge about these things I dont understand the reason for that, but probably that is normal?
I feel the visual didnt look so good in DX12, but maybe I can do some tweaks to that to make it look better, if it is better to have 99% GPU on DX12 compared to 60% on DX11?

Can I ask what mod this and what it does/how to use it?

You cant, as it is againts the rules of this forum. Google will help you :wink:

And no, 100% GPU utilisation wont suddenly change your CPU limit as long as you do not change the hardware :wink:

I use DX12 and DLSS DLAA. My GPU power load is very high (and hot spot temps are kind of scary) but DLAA gives me optimum graphical fidelity. If I use DLSS Quality, the GPU usage (and temps) decrease, but clarity is not as good.

I’m actually upgrading my 25mm thick 240mm radiator to a 60mm thick 280mm one to try to keep my GPU temps down. The new radiator will have 2 x140mm high static pressure fans, instead of the 2 x 120mm standard fans I have now.

You use a custom loop for your GPU? I use the MSI Gaming X Trio 4080, fixed the voltage to 1.000V resulting in 270W peak and have absolutely no issues with GPU temperatures.

My 3090 Ti is a furnace. Temps were well-controlled with its three fans, but it was dumping a lot of heat into the case. I bought an EKWB water block that was on a closeout sale, swapped the closed-loop from the CPU to the GPU, and put the CPU on a Themalright Peerless Assassin 120. Everything (including my VRM’s, RAM, and drives) are much happier now, and I don’t have to run my case fans at 747 volume to keep them cool. The thin 240mm radiator was great for just the CPU, but just doesn’t have the heatsink capacity I need for the GPU.

Ah, I see, I somehow thought that you use a 4000 series GPU.

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The values you show in your OP look right to me.

If you are not on the SU15 beta, I’d suggest holding off on any hardware purchases until SU15 is released (scheduled for the end of this month), for the reason described below.

Then, if you see reasonable improvement in performance, maybe wait until the hardware recommendations come out for 2024 (no ETA on this as yet, though we may know more after the FlightsimExpo being held 06/21-23).

I’m on the SU15 beta, and though I have a different PC configuration than you (i7-12700K, 32 GB 5200 MHz DDR5 CL40, Intel Arc 770) did see significant improvements to performance with these builds over large cities & airports such as EGLL. On the current release build, I’d routinely get massive stutters in such locations. On SU15, with the same settings & hardware, I could fly virtually stutter-free.

In fact, I recently upgraded from a 32" 1080p TV to a 55" 4k TV with the following Graphics & Traffic Tab settings. Performance is still very good. Frame rates are capped at 33% (i.e. 40), which I get over all but the largest airports & cities, where it can drop down to the mid 30s.

Graphics: Full Screen 3840 x 2160 TAA, Render resolution - 100, AMD Fidelity - 150, VSync - On, FRL - 33% MRR (120 Hz), HDR10 - On, DX12B, TLOD @ 400, OLD @ 200, Motion Blur - Off, Other settings - all Ultra (Water Waves & Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate @ High).

Traffic: Aircraft Traffic Type - Real-Time Online, Slider Settings - All 100%, Generics (AI, MP) - Both Off, Show MP in Vicinity - On, Traffic Variety - Ultra

Try reading the OP properly, and consider if your replies might be more polite please. Here is what the OP said:

“GPU is around 50 - 60%, but my CPU is always around only 3 - 5%”

TLOD and LOD impact the CPU. 3-5% is not the CPU’s limit, and neither does 60% GPU usage suggest this.

MSFS does indeed use multiple threads, but with one mainthread to tie everything together. For brevity, mentioning that it isn’t multi-threaded was intended to mean that it doesn’t use every single available core and thread, and therefore that hyperthreading can be turned off in bios for improvements to performance.
I should probably have made that clearer so apologies for that.

Having had a pc that was similar to the OP’s build and been looking at exactly the same situation myself 3 years ago, the suggestions I made could well improve performance. DX12 could also be worth exploring.

Do some reading please. When the load on the GPU is below 95% it is widely considered a CPU limit. In contrast, with modern multicore CPUs, a CPU can easily be running in a limit with 5% only, the 12700F from the topic starter has 20 threads. One running at 100% and 19 almost idling results in what total CPU usage? Do the maths. Also several benchmarks show NO FPS gain with hyperthreading off, people usually do this to reduce heat. End of the story or should I prove my points with sources for you?

If you were only running the sim and literally nothing else, then a 5% load would sound about right. Things is, many CPU’s are running around 5% just at idle due to all the background processes also running. The sim should have you running at a higher total CPU load of around 10-20% depending on several variables.

I would start looking at other things, like making sure you’re not in a power saving mode in Windows, CPU temps aren’t causing a thermal throttle, and making sure ram speed is correct.

Sure, my point was only that a GPU load below 95% is a clear sign of CPU limit in MSFS. Thats all

Great story, and thanks for the maths lesson, I really needed that reminder.

I don’t think we need continue.