Upgrading PC for MSFS questions

Hi, I am still pretty new to MSFS2020 and love it. It’s time to upgrade my PC and I have a few MSFS specific questions. My current system is a i7-8700k overclocked to 5GHz on all cores, 32 GB DDR4 and a RTX 2080 video card. I also have a high quality 850 watt power supply. I currently playing on 1440p monitor with gsync.

I want to upgrade the video card and the processor (with MB and RAM). But I can’t do processor and video card at the same time. I am planning to upgrade to RTX 4080 as soon as it gets available. Processor I am thinking about i7-13700k. But I have to wait a bit.

I know, my 8700k might bottleneck the 4080 possibly quite a bit, but I should still see significant improvements over the 2080. I would love to run flight simulator in Ultra settings on 1440p with good FPS on busy airports.

Right now I am running the game at 1440p with High End preset (clouds on ultra) and I am getting around 30 to 35 fps on busy airports and 50 to 75 fps up in the air (a320nx and pmdg 737). What could I expect with a 8700k / RTX 4080 combo if I go to preset ULTRA? (I know the card is not out yet, but someone should have at least a good guestimate) .

Anyone seeing a problem with FSMS upgrading video card now and processor later. Or should I do it for whatever interesting reason the other way around and get processor first and later video card?

Think moving up to those components will also need new motherboard, memory, and cooling options. I use laptop (gamer) with the RTX-2070, I-7-9750 and it works fine with some graphics settings medium. I also will upgrade maybe 1st half next year to dedicated gamer desktop but waiting for all the dust to settle on the newest processors and video cards, some heating issues and cable faults. In long run, think just new machine will be cheaper and more performance oriented than upgrading. Search forum in hardware/pc section and read all threads on problems going on upgrading etc. That will help you to decide.


My motherboard and cooling doesn’t need any upgrades for the RTX 4080. But if I switch to a new processor, of course I need a new MB, cooling etc. That is why I don’t want to do both upgrade (CPU and GPU) at the same time. I always design my systems for optimal cooling.

I build my own computers. So I usually have a tower with power supply and cooling fans set up so it is easy upgradeable. Saves you quite a bit of money not to buy PSU, Fans, tower all the time new…

A 5GHz cpu certainly helps but TLOD and traffic are likely to be a real struggle. A 2080 is a great card already so if you’re planning on it anyway then why not upgrade mobo and cpu first, PSU* and GPU later? At least that’s what I would do.

IMO a 850w psu isn’t nearly enough for a 4090 build, they are power hungry.

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What drops your FPS in busy big airports in PMDG 737-800 from my experience:

  • Traffic! By far… an empty payware Heathrow at Ultra settings run smoothly in my RTX2080 Super and i7-6700K (4 GHz) with 32GB DDR4
  • Ground traffic! I just realised how much of an improvement disabling these annoying taxiway hoggers (imagine having to race a Mercedes Sprinter into a runway holdshort or being told to go-around because a catering truck is crossing the runway) - again AIG traffic at 100% in Heathrow runs smoother without the ground traffic that goes everywhere - keep them at gates
  • PMDG’s system interactions especially when changing / loading states or configurations, might be even worse performance penalty with the upcoming fancier EFB. Don’t get me wrong - it is incredibly smooth for its complexity and depth, but noticably taxing on my system

My bottleneck is the processor here, as during the runs, my hardware monitoring tools keep showing the processor having to keep up with the rest of the hardwares.

Bottomline is you need to monitor how your PC components are doing when you are running MSFS to understand which one hurts your performance the most. My best guess is it is rarely the GPU, since MSFS has always been a CPU-heavy program since its FS2000 days.

I am not building a 4090. I said 4080 and a quality 850Watt PSU is plenty enough even for a 4090.

I don’t know. I have Riva running which shows me GPU and CPU load and my RTX 2080 is always almost 100% or at 100% and my 8700k only in the 30%. That is why I want to upgrade the GPU first. I’d like to run the game in Ultra settings at 1440p. And have smooth airports with fps well over 30.

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Hope you are not spending too much money! I upgraded my system from i9-9900 RTX 2080 super to i9-12900KF and 3090 RTX, entirely new computer (Alienware R13) and see very little improvement specially considering the amount of money I spent! I still get stutters (specially with AI traffic) and low frames in dense areas (i.e. EDDH,…). This game is not optimized yet and I think in order to get a smooth game, you have to wait for the next generation of hardware…

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@BossRaccoon…in what graphic setting and resolution are you flying?

Everything Ultra, TLOD at 300, Resolution is 2560X1440, V-sync on to 30fps. Don’t get me wrong! This is better than what I had with my old system but definitely not worth almost $5,000!

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Yep, I used to do that as well. But with plethora of manufacturers and components, the research on what, who, when, good quality, is more daunting than I want to do now. I have two vendors in mind, but want RTX 409x issues to clear.

Boss - Yep, this sim for the hardware we through at it, still bogs down for some reason. Routinely downloading updates at 15MBPS, but have 56MB service??? So hopefully soon, updates will fix or smooth the performance, lots of money to spend for only small performance increase, that has been bottleneck since release.

Happy flying.

I kinda would be interested in your framerates without the V-sync on. Would be interested how high it goes with your system up high in the sky and at a busy airport e.g. KLAX.

In the air it’s in the 40s and low 50s(sometimes). At a busy airport like EDDH it’s around 19-22 fps.

wow. that are lower fps for the same resolution than I have it with my current system on HighEnd preset (one down of Ultra).

I think for comparing FPS it’s important to define which place. PMDG 737 or Cessna 150?

in my case it is all either PMDG 737-800 or FBW320nx.

I just went from an 8700K to an 13600K and the improvements are pretty decent. In CPU bound situations, I get about 30% more FPS, sometimes even more. This even on the Z690 platform I chose to reuse my DDR4 RAM. In synthetic benchmarks, the improvement is ridiculous: CPU score in 3DMark Time Spy doubled, from 8300 up to 17300, even the overall score went up from 17500 to 20500.

I am pretty happy with the results, was expecting slightly less to be honest. Temps are also totally fine, not reaching 70°C after 1h of MSFS sitting on EBBR with FSLTL running.

what are examples for CPU bound situations MSFS? I am yet to find situations where my 8700k is using more than 40%.

Yeah, sorry I have to mention that I am using Fenix A320 so by no mean I am flying a default plane or anything like that.

Well it will run if that’s what you mean but the 4xxx’s can be a bit spikey and you have reckoned in zero to little overhead wheras 25 - 35% is always recommended for big rigs.