Optimal settings for Flight Simulator - Nvidia

Some may not understand how certain settings work, or not realize they are in fact over rendering to resolution and causing a decline in performance with no visual increase.

This guide may help you a bit and was based on DAVID FLINCH and his original website info, who explains it well.

I had to make corrections to aspects that no longer apply, or will bottleneck new RTX GPU’s

First off optimal performance will be in 1080p. FOR 4k Keep some things the same, especially render scaling. Over scaling will cause decrease in performance, the ultra setting for that over scales to your native resolution. Until they fine tune this game, this may help. Memory leaks and other glitches are declining performance across the boards since the Alpha and Beta Final build.

Optimal performance recommendation (with some of my high end system increases that I corrected)

Test Systems: (No Overclocking to provide a reference standard)

I7 4 Core 10700k with Nvidia GTX 1080TI (OC set back to standard clocks for testing)

I9 8 Core 9800k with Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Special Edition (clocks set to defaults for tests)

I9 8 Core 9800k(F) with Nvidia RTX 2080 TI (Standard clocks for testing)

I9 8 Core 10900k with Nvidia Titan RTX

Goal to have a nice looking game with a little room for complex areas. Not to push the GPU full throttle from basic areas.


Display Mode

Microsoft Flight Simulator has only tow options for its “Display Mode” setting, Fullscreen and Windowed. It’s the player preference as neither of the options provides any noticeable increase in the game’s performance. Full screen is still recommended, more so if running the DEV menu to test Frame rate rather then Nvidia or AMD Hardware frame detection.


V-Sync And Frame Lock (CORRECTED ORIGINAL POST)
Forcing Vsync in the nvidia control panel no longer works correctly since the last nvidia driver update 452.06.
Maintain it via the game Vsync and lock for now, older drivers may be able to lock via Nvidia control panel)


Render Scaling (IMPORTANT)

This Microsoft Flight Simulator graphical option allows players to adjust the scale of the render resolution. When set at 100, it means that game is rendering at 100% of the resolution selected. If dropped down to 80, means 80% of the selected resolution and increasing it to 150 means that the game will render at 150% of the selected resolution.

Of course. decreasing the Render Scaling option will improve performance I recommend adjusting it at higher resolution like 4K and 1440P, however, it will make the game look blurry and the intensity of blurriness depends on how low you set it. For 1080p, I recommend keeping it at 100.

Recommended : 100 for 1080p,

Adjust it for 4K and 1440P resolutions 125 -150 at higher but 100 can still be sufficient on RTX Series)


Anti-Aliasing

Anti-Aliasing is the graphical setting that eliminates jagged edges in-game. This setting used to be quite taxing in performance but, that was before TAA (Temporal Anti-aliasing) was introduced. Now, TAA has become the standard AA solution in video games.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has three options for this graphical setting, FXAA, DLAA(Directionally Localized anti-aliasing), and TAA. FXAA is not that great and their performance impact of DLAA and TAA is almost the game.

I recommend that you enable TAA even if you have to sacrifice any other graphical setting, as this anti-aliasing solution is the best option here and makes the game looks good.

Make sure forced FXAA is OFF in Nvidia control panel

Recommended : TAA


Terrain Level Of Detail

This setting adjusts the quality of terrain and interestingly, players won’t notice much difference when they drop it below 100 or increase it. This quality needs to be adjusted depending on the system and since it’s a slider, I can’t recommend the perfect value. Players will have to adjust this setting on their own. Note that, setting Terrain Level Of Detail to 100 is equivalent to the high-end preset.

Recommended : Player defined
Optimal: 100


Terrain Vector Data

This Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 graphical setting adjusts how many samples the game will use for roads, water, and other curvy items on the terrain. The higher this setting the more detailed these aforementioned objects will be.

Dropping this setting to Medium from Ultra won’t degrade the detail significantly but dropping to Low will show a clear degradation in quality. I recommend Medium for mid-range PCs and set it to High for powerful PCs.

Optimal: Medium for GTX 1080 and Below
** High for RTX Series cards**


Buildings

“Buildings” is one of the graphical settings that costs a lot of performance. Fortunately, settings this setting to Medium, High, or Ultra doesn’t change the quality of building dramatically. The medium setting is recommended here to save FPS. Increase it to High if you intend to play the game at 30 FPS as the GPU will have enough headroom to handle it.

Just because you have a RTX 2080 Super, TI or Titan doesn’t matter for stable performance, you want performance over a tiny bit of eye candy.

Recommended : Medium**


Trees

This graphical setting acts almost like Buildings. Medium, High, and Ultra settings aren’t significantly distinct in terms of visuals. While setting it to Medium will save your FPS but, at Medium players will get aliasing around the foliage and bit of blurriness. Setting to High will resolve the issue.

I all comes down to image quality vs FPS, set it to Medium if you want to boost FPS or set it to High if you don’t want to see aliasing or have a GPU that can handle it.

Recommended : Medium to save FPS, High for better image quality


Grass And Bushes

This setting impacts performance if set at High and Ultra. Don’t turn this setting off as the game will look barren. Set it to at least Medium so have a balance of FPS and good image quality.

Recommended : Medium


Object Level Of Detail

This setting adjusts the distance at which individual objects render with high-quality assets. The more you increase the slider the more will the impact on performance. Since it’s a slider, I can’t recommend the perfect value, players will have to adjust his one on their own. Also, Object Level Of Detail at 100 is equivalent to the high-end preset.

Recommended: Player defined
Optimal: 100
High end RTX and 4k :125 to 160. ( will degrade some stability in complex areas)


Volumetric Clouds

Clouds in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 are some of the most realistic clouds in video games. Since players will be flying planes, they’ll encounter clouds more often. Volumetric Clouds can degrade performance but in stormy conditions. I recommend keeping this setting at High.

(note: if you optimize other settings clouds will perform well.)

Recommended : High


Texture Resolution

“Texture Resolution” is texture quality. This setting controls the quality of terrain textures. Turning this setting up will make the ground textures look good especially if players are flying low but that comes at the cost of performance.

I recommend to set it at Medium so that Textures aren’t that bad. However, you can set it at High if don’t like the way Medium quality looks an I recommend setting it to High if you plan to play Microsoft Flight Simulator at 30 FPS.

Recommended : Medium

For higher end RTX series cards High if a small craft pilot)


Anisotropic Filtering

Anisotropic Filtering doesn’t have any noticeable impact on performance so set it at 16X. (unless earlier GTX cards)

Recommended : 16X


Texture Supersampling

Texture Supersampling is one of the most performance impacting setting in Microsoft Flight Simulator. This setting renders key textures, like Floor Markings, at a higher value and then downsample it to the native resolution.

The “Texture Supersampling” setting improves the visual quality of key textures on terrain. I recommend setting it at 2×2 but, players can set it to 4×4 if they are playing at 30 FPS or have a high-end GPU.

Recommended: 2×2 For Mid range GPUs
Recommended: 4X4 for 1080TI or higher

You can go as high as 6x6 or 8x8 on RTX 2080 super and TI cards but it is over scanning the resolution and not needed- i can also cause artifacts and blurring in distance). Keep in midn you want to room in the GPU performance.


Texture Synthesis

This graphical setting controls the quality of synthesized textures. This is a kind of reconstruction of certain textures using low-quality assets. I recommend it to set it at Medium but can be set at High for better image quality on higher end cards.

Recommended : Medium (most decent GPUs)
High on Higher end and RTX cards


Water Waves

As the name of the setting suggests, it controls the quality of water waves in the game. There is not much difference between Medium, High, and Ultra. I recommend to set it at High for a balance of FPS and quality.

Recommended: High


Shadow Maps, Terrain Shadows

Both of these settings control the resolution of the shadows and farther away shadows. Setting them at high values will make the game look good considering the view distance. Setting them at a bit high values is good as it’ll make the foliage look good.

Ultra will cause over resolution on most screens and degrade performance a bit unless at a setting of at least 4k)

TRIAL AND ERROR Stay High for optimal, Lower for low end cards.


Contact Shadows

“Contact Shadows” fills the gap between the shadow and the object casting it to make it look natural. This is basically a screen-space technique, meaning it’ll only render the shadows for objects that are in the player’s field of view so it doesn’t impact much on performance. I recommend to set it at High.

Recommended : High


Windshield Effects

This graphical setting controls the weather effects on the plane’s windshield. Set this one to High as it won’t impact performance that much and could be set to Ultra.

Recommended : High (lower settings produce little change and may help lower end units)


Ambient Occlusion

“Ambient Occlusion” is the setting that is usually one of the most taxing settings in video games. However, for some reason, setting “Ambient Occlusion” at Ultra doesn’t make a difference in performance. So I recommend to set it to Ultra or drop it to High.

Recommended: Ultra (RTX series)
Optimal: High


Reflections

Reflections are something that players won’t see all the time. The only noticeable reflection in the game is in the cockpit view when plane controls reflect on the windshield. Setting to Medium or High would do the job.

Recommended: High


Light Shafts

This Microsoft Flight Simulator graphical setting controls the rays of light coming through clouds, buildings, and mountains. Set this one to High as it can make the game look good. If you want more FPS then set it to medium.

Recommended: High


Bloom, Depth Of Field, Lens Flare

These graphical settings don’t have much impact on performance, however, Depth Of Field might drop FPS for some but it can easily be set at Ultra on high end RTX cards.

May also be personal choice for bloom and DOF.

Recommended: High DOF most decent cards. Ultra for RTX series but I still prefer Highs apearance. Fine tune to your liking.


Use Generic Plane Models(Multiplayer and AI Traffic)

Turning on these settings will improve the game’s performance if players intend to play multiplayer or have enabled real-world air traffic. If not, then just disable them.

Note!!! to see live plane liveries (airlines on player planes liek delta ect… TURN IT OFF so you can see them. But instead turn off live traffic in your flight plan and only see live players


How To Get 1080p/60 FPS, Performance Boost

First, make sure you have installed the latest GPU driver and there is no background process using too much of your CPU, GPU, or HDD. There are a few other settings in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 that significantly impact the game’s performance.

In the Data tab of the options, under “Data Connections” are the following settings that have can drop the game’s FPS pretty low. (a good connection and RTX series may not degrade these)

Bing Data World Graphics
PhotoGrammetry
Live real-world air traffic
Live Weather

However, “Live real-world air traffic” and “Live Weather” are the most taxing options, especially on the CPU. Disable both of them if your CPU is struggling. (a good I7 and I9 can handle it)

enable Rolling Cache in the Data tab. This will help improve the game’s performance and won’t let the game stutter. Rolling Cache works best on a fast drive SSD.FS2020 should be installed on your SSD if you have one.

Not only that, but there are Nvidia Control Panel Settings that will help improve the game’s performance. open Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings > select the game. Make the following changes.

Anti-aliasing-FXAA – “Off”
Anti-aliasing-Gamma Correction – “Off”
CUDA GPUs – “All”
Low Latency Mode – depends on the player.
Set Power Management to “Prefer Maximum Performance” This in FACT reduces throttling
Shader Cache – “On” only if you are using an HDD. Don’t need to enable it for an SSD and RTX cards but still preferred.
Set Texture filtering – Quality (I disagreed with Davids original setting of performance, as it lead to bottlenecks on higher end cards.)
Triple Buffering – “Off”
Set Vertical Syn to “Software”

Since Nividia side drivers broke the control of Vsyn and Frame lock hardware sidem maintain i nthe game for now.

Apply these settings and players will see improvement in Microsoft Flight Simulator’s performance and the game will be running at 50-60 FPS steady.

Note!!! to see live plane liveries (airlines on player planes like delta ect… TURN IT OFF so you can see them. But instead turn off live traffic in your flight plan and only see live players. AI planes are a mess so leave it off.

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Excellent write up

Good write up , cheers.

Thanks for this. I will try this out for sure . I have a pretty decent system and was wondering why frames were in the low 20s to high teens.

Nice. :sunglasses:

Great Stuff, here’s a link to the authors actual article.

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Note!!! to see live plane liveries (airlines on player planes liek delta ect… TURN IT OFF so you can see them. But instead turn off live traffic in your flight plan and only see live players

2 Likes

Just note there have been tweaks to his original, mainly in relation to Texture quality over performance as performance in this type game causes a GPU bottleneck, especially on TI and RTX 2080 cards and reduced FPS by about 10

Frame limit via Nvidia Control panel seems to not work. Tried setting to 30 and it still maintains 60 target in game. Not certain why.

Re-enabled in game to maintain the 60 mark on the rtx 2080, 30 on a 1080 ti.

didn’t turn on developer mode to check fps, but stuttering has stopped, and definitely runs smoother overall. Anecdotally, I think it takes longer to load though. Don’t care about technical benchmarks as much as I care about a smooth display.

Thankyou.

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Stuttering generally is a live date streaming issue, or your rolling cache is not working or large enough. Future flights usually improve form same locations.

A SSD makes a big difference as well.

Make sure you are recieving data ok and nothing is being blocked if using live streaming of maps

Well done. This should be pinned. I have been testing a lot tonight with different settings, and I have really seen no difference running my live benchmarks no matter what I set it at, 50-60 fps, but I think I’ll use these settings as a base to run, and try tweaks as they are updated. Thanks!

Aorus Ultra Z390
Pentium 9900
64G ram
RTX 2080

Excellent guide

i’m running at around 40-50 FPS in C172 G1000 at my home countries largest airport Ben Gurion Tel-Aviv

i7-7700k stock 4.2Ghz (4.5Ghz boosted)
16GB ram 2100mh
GTX 1070 OC’d
Installed on an SSD

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just my 2 cents here. hope i help some of you.

If you have AF x16 turn off Texture SS. No difference in visual quality but a lot of difference in fps.

Terrain Vector Data to Ultra and wont make any difference at all at in FPS

The above is my opinion after 3 days of testing and tweaking.

6 Likes

Great to see more explanations of the graphics settings. Guides like this are a great help. But having spent hours tuning my PC in both alpha and release MSFS, I thought that there has to be a better method that people with different PCs could all use.

So I have been thinking about a step by step guide that doesn’t require users to understand terms like ambient occlusion. It would be targeted at users with low or mid-range PCs who don’t have inclination, knowledge or time to endlessly fine tune MSFS by adjusting each graphic setting individually. The idea is to achieve MSFS graphic settings that would give a good result for the majority of aircraft, for the majority of scenery areas.

Obviously tuning MSFS for the 787 at LAX or JFK is never going to end well for users on low or mid-range systems, so I don’t try to.

The premise of the guide is to utilise the Nvidia Experience. Basically you select a Nvidia preset, fire up MSFS and run the scenario and depending on the result either pick a lower or higher Nvidia present until you match nominated scenario values. This is repeated for a 2nd scenario to further target the right Nvidia preset. Then 3 simple manual tweaks to enhance areas where Nvidia Experience presets fall short for some PCs and you’re done.

To test my guide I have 2 PCs with MSFS installed. One sits just above “MS Minimum” spec while the 2nd PC sits just above the "MS Recommended” spec. Both need some fine turning to give their best in MSFS. Ignoring any existing settings I ran both through the steps of my guide and my “MS Recommended spec” PC was able to arrive at much the same performance as all my hours and hours of graphic adjustments achieved. While my “MS minimum spec” PC went from being just about useless in MSFS to actually usable, if not brilliant. All without having to understand or fiddle with a multitude of individual settings.

So firstly do you think this might be a good idea? And secondly would anyone like to volunteer to see if the guide can be followed easily and gives them a reasonable result. If you are interested, and use a Nvidia GPU, let me know and include your PC specs and I’ll send you a link to the guide. To avoid hijacking this thread, please send me a message directly. Probably be ready in less than a week and remember is not targeted at users with a cutting edge high end PCs. It’s not high tech itself, just a PDF. Lastly this is not a solution for the stutters.

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Good Day,
These setting were helpful in increasing my FPS. I did notice something this morning. If you have the AI control tab highlight (meaning on) i would loose almost 20 fps on external view and 10 fps cockpit view, anybody know why?. Just curious to see if anyone has noticed that.

Absolutely! I would test it.

Large plane detailed cockpits do loose frames. Especially the Airbus and 747. You could be at a steady 57 and it will drop to 38. With the aded detail of controls in the cockpit, that will happen. ONly work aroudn is lowerign object detail, but that is not always 100 percent effective

I think for IN. Operable buttons, they need to make them a flat image swithc and only have operable ones 3d Mesh buttons. .

IT will make a difference in areas you hit cloud fronts. While in Regular areas or moderate areas of graphical congestion the frames may be steady, look at total gpu usage. You don want it already at 98 percent.

A couple things on the original guide I didnt agree with either. Especially on 1080 and higher cards. Like the Nvidia textures being set to performance of Quality. This tends to bottleneck the GPU dropping frames and Quality or high quality works better over pumping up game settings. IF you set one to performance that cuts the textures , then pump it up in game, the gpu is actually working harder.

Terr. Vector Data affects roads and water way. IT also affects details in canyons, and the increases is noticed on memory use over Arizona, the Navajo nation, the Grand Canyon in smaller crafts. As altitude goes up Detail is lowered in game. IF in smaller crafts flyign over those areas, Vector DAta is very high. The good news is those regions have little clouds if any. But add in clouds and Frames will plummet fast. If Vector Data is too high you will hit a sudden drop in airports near water, if when at ground level size GPU side it is still rendered. You can adjust based on flying ALT ect. OR leave it at the recommended blend that leaves head way.

If you run the DEV report live, you notice a sudden Push to the GPU and that the GPU was the bottleneck (RTX 2080 Super and TI), Setting to high had a small decrease in shimmering effects but larger performance over water. Vector on High pushes the current steady load of the GPU up, leaving little head room.

4X4 supersampling is a sweat spot with little performance hit. 8x8 will load up the gpu, leaving less available, so if you hit geometric clouds in higher amounts you can suddenly hit low Frame rate (Even cause the AI to fail).Super sampling sharpens aspects, but as I said not very much when texture detail is set to Performance in the GPU menu, you instead get that blurring edge and a bottle neck to the gpu.

Part of our problems right now are memory leaks, and memory not being cleared on the fly (literally).

Well most guides start at Current Gen Minimal and High ends. Meaning basically a GTX 1080TI for base and RTX series for mid and high. Low end of minimal basically you set everything to Low. THe geforce experience recommendations since the last driver update that said optimized for FLight Simulator are a joke. The Nividia announced there is an issue with their settings:( so we wait. I haven’t rolled back the driver to see if there is a big difference or not,

A lot of the issues will be patched. There are clear memory leaks. Conflicts, and other aspects going on when you watch the DEV menu report memory usage, load times, offloads ect. Problem is nothing is offloading. The errors were not that bad in the Alpha and Beta.

I expect all around performance increases in the future. Right now the settings… are tentative.

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Great information…I don’t guess there is a way to save your setting short of writing them down? So i can do more testing without losing what works great so far?