Pre-built PC advice?

I’m considering whether to build or by my first ‘gaming’ PC specifically for FS2020. I’ve been a software developer for 30 years, so I am ok with either approach. I’ve been researching for about a week but much of the information is not specific to FS, so I’m asking here: Do you recommend build or buy? My budget is $3k and I have several old PCs so I could upgrade one if that makes sense. There are a lot of different experiences on this board so I’m still undecided. Also, some ‘experts’ recommend NOT buying until the ‘new stuff’ comes out. What say you?

Build is defo the way to go…you won’t get the cheap stuff they throw in cases half the time :slight_smile: Build build build…shop around and grab some bargains :slight_smile:

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Dell desktop, Dell laptop here. Both run MSFS very well, not a single CTD on either.

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Honestly you should really consider building, especially if you want the newest GPUs or CPUs. Building a PC is as intimidating as building with LEGOs, just make sure to watch a couple of videos. You will probably spend 1/3 of that budget on a really good PC, so that leaves the other 2/3 for stuff like a HOTAS, Screens/Monitors, a rig, maybe even VR?

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Thanks! Good information.

Dell XPS desktop runs very well i7700k, 1070, 16 GB ram, 1080p and happily runs Ultra :slight_smile:

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Exactly my XPS configuration! Runs 4K Ultra at decent frame rates for most scenarios.

Unless you hit a fault in any hardware or an incompatibility.
I used to self build but saw to many people having the above and if you are not using a local supplier?

Another option is to have a local shop build to your choice of parts.

I also have a Dell XPS, the 8930. I upgraded to 32GB RAM, and I recently added a 2080 Super, and it works within the 450W PSU that came standard. I don’t overclock the card, but the CPU is using the stock overclock setting. I have had close to zero problems. Only three CTDs in two months, and one was a reproduction use case to verify an issue for another member.

I run a mix of ultra, high and medium to my liking and get 45 fps on average. With a $3000 budget, you should be able to push it a bit further with the graphics card if you go with a beefier PSU.

I’m thinking of upgrading, too. You can probably make a homemade PC for less, but this looks pretty sweet for your budget:

I think with MSFS2020 the GPU is most important. I was lucky to get a RTX3070 and seeing how now it is hard to get a new GPU (will have to see stocking levels with the new AMD ones coming out) your only option may be to get a pre-built that includes the new Nvidia GPUs or AMD.

If you choose to build, you may be stuck at the GPU part trying to get your hands on one.

Spend 1/3? Yeah right! I would love to know where because anywhere is as expensive as buying a prebuilt

Me too man, I really hate these scalpers sucking up all our precious stock :frowning:. Pre-builts are overpriced, and with Ebay shoving the prices of PC parts sky high.

But also my point was that you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot to have a good experience with Flight Sim. There are other ways to invest to drastically improve it besides pumping up the graphics. Maybe me saying a REALLY good pc was a stretch, but not that far from the truth.

I’m still rocking my GTX 1080, i5-8600k that I built for around $1100 about 2-3 years ago. Obviously thirsty for an upgrade though too, but the new VR feature is enticing me.

Oh yes, I saw that too! I read somewhere that there’s a point of diminishing returns with the i9 but not sure of the details.

It’s mostly because Flight Sim is using DX11 as it’s pipeline and not being optimized for multi-threaded nearly as much, so having a really good single-threaded CPU will be like 90% of it :upside_down_face:

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You will definitely save money vs pre-builts. Also, you don’t know what you are going to get if you do a pre-built. Watch some of the Youtube videos about pre-builds. They either don’t configure BIOS correctly or I’ve seen them not connect certain connectors to the MOBO or to other cards. Fans incorrectly installed or profiled incorrectly. Ultimately, it comes down to whatever you are comfortable with. There are certainly some manufacturers that do Pre-Builts well but you really have to research. I think building your own is fun and you learn so much in the process. It helped me become a much better troubleshooter as well.

In any case, $3k is a lot for a computer and you should come out with a beast. Save some of that for peripherals and flight gear. Have fun bud! If you need any help with anything just ask, someone will have the answer.

Also, if you always wait until the “New” stuff comes out, you will be forever waiting lol. Good luck man

Been using Dell since the 90s. Solid, with great customer support. And no, I don’t work for them!

I am tempted to wait to check out the new AMD graphics cards.

Build one. It is so much fun, and you get exactly what you want. No bloatware either.

Here’s a great site where you can find all sorts of tips and tricks. It’ll build a “parts list” for you too, and automatically find the best price on a given component.


This is what I got for my flight sim. I am very happy. Runs on ultra and well too. Also alienware 34 inch curved gaming monitor.

I too have had good luck (for the most part) with Dell on the Business side. I have two homebuilds, a Dell work computer, an MSI Stealth, and a Surface Pro. The Dell has always been reliable, however, when they merged (acquired Alienware) Alienware went to hell in a handbasket.