Upgrade My Desktop PC

Dear friends:

I am using MSFS 2020 already which is running so so.

My system is as under, purchsed in 2018:

CPU- Core i7 8700K 3.70-4.70 GHz, 6 core, 12 MB cache LGA1151 8th gen Processor

GPU- MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8 GB DDR 5X Graphics Card


**RAM- 16 GB DDR4 3200 Bus Desktop RAM

**HDD- 512 GB M.2 2280 SATA SSD Drive

Mainboard-MSI Z370 Gaming Plus DDR4 4000 MHz Mainboard.

Now I like to upgrade for MSFS 2020 and upcoming MSFS 2024.

  1. What is your suggestion while maintaining a budget?

  2. Should I uninstall all my addons and MSFS 2020 before upgrade? Is that a must?

Thanks and regards,
Haseen Ahmad.

How big is your budget? That’s the critical question to provide meaningful advice.

What is your budget?

I think you would get the most value from a GPU upgrade, but only because your current GPU is extremely limiting. If you can spend $550 you can get an RTX 4070 12 GB card. If you can spend $800 you can get the best GPU value on the market today: The RTX 4070 Ti Super 16GB. With either of these you can take advantage of nVidia frame generation, basically doubling your FPS.

AMD has some decent GPU’s that tend to be less costly than an equivalent nVidia card as well, and they support AFMF, which is their version of frame generation. But FS2020 doesn’t support it (and maybe never will.) No one knows whether FS2024 will support AFMF. Frame Gen is a great way to improve performance in more modest systems like yours - but you need a GPU that supports it in the sim, which is why I recommend the RTX 4070 series.

Is your RAM currently 2 x 8 GB, or a single 16 GB module? If the latter, I’d add another matching 16 GB module to get dual-channel mode. RAM is cheap, so if you have 2 x 8 GB, I think upgrading to 2 x 16 GB would be wise. SU15 is in Beta right now, and testers are finding increased RAM usage. Your current 16 GB is ‘enough’ but just barely once that update is released.

The best ‘budget’ CPU upgrade for you would be the AMD 5800X3D, but you would need a new motherboard as well. I have that CPU on an MSI B550-A Pro - a very reasonably priced combination. The on-die cache of the X3D processors is a game changer, as the sim uses that cache very well.

Your current CPU/Motherboard combination is not bad, though.

To reiterate: Upgrade your RAM
Then prioritize upgrading that GTX 1080 GPU.

Your motherboard only has one M.2 slot, but you can easily add a 1 TB or 2 TB SATA drive, to give you more space for addons and other programs. 512 MB is not a lot of drive space.

*ETA: Make sure your power supply can handle the increased power load from any new components. If not, you’ll need to upgrade that as well.

Hi Haseen, I’m in a similar situation to you except I have an i5 7600k, 2070S GPU and 48gb RAM and quite a few SSDs and HDDs (mid 2017 based PC).

When you say upgrade, do you mean a new PC system? If so, then I think it really depends on your budget. I’m focusing on the AMD AM5 route with the 7800 X3d CPU and a RTX 4080 S GPU. That said, I am not sure atm whether to pull the trigger right now or wait for the new AMD CPUs to come in the 2nd half of this year with the 9000 X3d probably making an appearance around Feb (?) next year. Thing is, I don’t think I want to wait that long.

This is where I’m at atm. Not sure if that helps or not.

Regarding FS20 I would keep this as is and even if you decide not to upgrade buy another SSD (maybe 1 tb) for FS24 and put the fresh FS24 install on this.

Yes, quite so and this is something which is common to all of the first 3 comments too :slightly_smiling_face:

Until we know this any advice is probably going to be of limited use.

To give some generic advice, I’d say you ideally need a complete new system with every component upgraded over what you have now. Maybe keep the case and PSU (if it has enough wattage to cope). One of the problems with being multiple generations behind in things like CPU and GPU is that you really can’t just upgrade one part and expect to see a significant performance improvement. A good fast GPU needs a fast CPU to feed it; and a fast CPU with a slower GPU will still perform poorly. Then a fast CPU needs fast RAM. And fast storage.

Edit: I had originally said that your PC was mid-level for 2018, but I looked at the specs again and that’s not right. By 2018 standards it was comfortably high-end. By 2024 standards it’s mid-level in terms of potential performance.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a complete system replacement, then you’d get the most value out of a new GPU, although a fast 4000 series card won’t really stretch its legs fully without a faster, later-generation CPU, so that would be my second priority. But a CPU replacement means a motherboard and RAM replacement.

So it’s a question of budget and priorities.


Ask 50 people about PC upgrades, get 50 answers.

If you want to go really budget, get a $200 Ryzen 5 5600X3D and a sub-$100 compatible B-series motherboard. Keep everything else the same.

Check out Gamers Nexus comparison of the 5600X3D, 5700X3D, and 5800X3D. Very enlightening.

I played quite some time with a 10th Gen i7 and a GTX 1080 at 1440p and a mix of medium and high settings and had a pretty good experience.

SU15 should help even further with some of the CPU and RAM optimizations currently in Beta.

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I forgot about the 5600X3D. Not a bad option at all when budget-minded.

No, it’s not. Assuming you don’t install games on C drive because with a new hardware (mobo/cpu/gpu) I’d recommend installing fresh Windows. Just backup MSFS settings from %appdata% and restore them after upgrade.

My recommendation is:
*Buy an intel 9600 used for around 90 bucks
*Buy a rtx 4060 for around 300 bucks(frame gen is magic for the sim on lesser hardware)

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I have first hand experience with 8700K, so I am going to add my 2 cents with that perspective.

Very good chip when it came out, a bit limited with MSFS due to the limited cache and older design.
Yet, with its high core count and high frequency (mine reaches 4.9Ghz), it is not bad either.

With MSFS2024 just around the corner, I’d advise you to keep your current MB and CPU until further clarity on the requirements of the new game.

Instead I would advise to acquire 2x16GB of DDR4 3200Mhz or higher memory sticks and swap your GPU for a RX6800, new or used, due to low price and ample 16GB GDDR6, with roughly a 40% higher raw performance than your 1080. Another budget option is Intel Arc A770 16 GB.
Also, add a 2 TB NVME that you will be able to reuse in a new build, should you decide to acquire a new system down the road.

The idea is to have the highest impact stopgap upgrade with a minimal required investment as a interim measure.
Assuming a conservative resell value for your old parts, it would cost you less than 400$
(see price list below).

It should enable you to enjoy MSFS2020 relatively comfortably whilst you wait for MSFS2024.
When the new sim is out, you can reassess.



this recent video compares a 8700K with 32GB DDR4 to a 14700K with 96GB DDR5
GPU is 12G RTX3080Ti, monitor is 1440p, same MSFS settings for both CPUs
It is a fairly demanding scene (low 700ft above Paris, graphics intensive photogrammetry)
The older CPU can still provide decent performance when mated with a decent GPU and RAM. FPS stays above 30, sometimes hovering above 40.The last generation Intel processor does provide higher FPS, but the difference is not huge.

Of course, a 7800X3D/4090 combo would take the experience to another level.
But the 8700K is still a decent performer, when mated with the right components, like the ones suggested above.

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