Upgrading PC for MSFS questions

I have a few questions for you. What settings are you running right now in the sim. And what are you looking for? I have a i9 9900k and a 2080. I get 60 FPS on high end settings. And it also runs smooth as butter

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Hi Steven,

I fly mostly FBW320nx and PDMG 737-800. I am using 2560x1440 resolution. All settings on High End (clouds on Ultra). no Vsync since I am using G-Sync monitor.

Up in the sky I have about 50 to 75fps. But on ground on busy airports it can drop to 30 to 35 fps. I tried FSLTL with live traffic infusion on KLAX airport and that gave me a less than 15fps s***show. I’d love to be able to put everything on Ultra with busy large airports to be at least over 45fps.

With my current setup I also get some stutters once in a while (screen freezes/lags for a split second). That is especially annoying during landing approach.

Steven, don’t tell me you getting 60s FPS at LAX with live traffic…unless you play in 1080p

Most common mistake here: with todays multi core CPUs, simply looking on the overall load never tells you the full story. Instead, you either monitor your GPU load (everything below 90% and you are for sure in a CPU limit) or, even more easy, enable the dev mode and the FPS counter. It will tell you if you are limited by main thread (e.g. the CPU) or GPU. My benchmark: sitting on the gate inside Fenix at EBBR with AIG at 70% (or FSLTL), I get 35 FPS now, with the 8700K I was at around 25-27 FPS. Never tested LAX though…

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Good point. Maybe I should turn show the load on all Individual cores in rica statistic servers.

So, what you are saying is that MSFS could be better optimized for multi core cpus?

Tbh this sim is bottlenecked by cpu. Just upgrading your gpu will only make it worst. The cpu won’t be able to hand out the info fast enough. I would upgrade the motherboard and cpu first. Then do the GPU after. The 2080 should be plenty for the time being. As far as huge gain in fps. I just watched a stream. Granted it was a 3 monitor 4K set up. He was only getting 22 fps on the ground at Boston using vatsim. He had a 4090.

As far as me I can load up at lax and tell you what I get. IBut yes most of the time on the ground and in the air I get about 30 to 60 FPS. 2k


A friend of mine had a i7-8700k with a RTX2080ti. FPS average round 30/35, high/ultra settings, tlod 200. He also want to upgrade, but don’t want to spend to much money.
Upgrade because of performance bound to CPU (main thread) and lots of stutters.

After reading all the good reviews of the AMD 5800X3D he switched to a AMD motherboard.
He now has a Asus TUF GAMING B550M-PLUS with a AMD 5800X3D and left RTX2080ti in place.

His average fps went up to 40/45 on the same airport and settings.
MSFS works great and smooth with almost no stutters.
Total cost of this upgrade € 538,-


That’s like asking how long is a piece of string? DX11 will always have shortcomings in that it’s limited to what it can offload from mainthread, DX12 is better but it’s a fact that no game can run without a mainthread doing it’s scheduling (and only 100% sandboxed apps ever could). As of yet full core use is only for video processing, number crunching, compiling etc. that’s where multithreading has it’s biggest advantages.

100% this. Having 8 cores does not mean 8x the potential performance except in very specific and unusual circumstances, which a flight sim will never be. Ever. So people need to set their expectations accordingly. I doubt there’s much improvement to be had from multi-threading now, MSFS already uses several cores quite efficiently.

For my money, there’s little to no visible difference with ultra vs high-end presets. Clouds, maybe. I fly on high because I value the extra FPS it gets me. Also, TLOD is the single biggest CPU killer and I am on 100 and staying there. I honestly don’t have a problem with that, things still look much better than the other sims.

I personally would go with the CPU upgrade first. If going Intel then 13th gen (ideally 13900K) is a no-brainer, but pair that with a motherboard that uses DDR5 and invest in some fast DDR5 RAM. I think it removes significant potential bottlenecks.

Once you get to the point with new CPU and tweaked settings where you’re only ever GPU-limited, then you would see the benefits from the GPU upgrade. Personally I’d save up my pennies a bit longer and go for the 4090 because 16GB VRAM may not cut it in a couple of years.

BUT… (and I seem to be saying this a lot of late) I don’t believe there is any possible system spec that will get you super-fast stutter-free performance in every situation with maxed settings and high-complexity add-ons like PMDG/FSLabs and complex payware airports. This game can max out any available hardware. It’s always going to be compromise between settings and performance.

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As others have said, I would prioritize upgrading the CPU. My specs are i7-12700K, RTX 3080, 32GB DDR5 and my screen is an ultrawide 3440x1440 (60Hz). I fly airliners 90% of the time and my bottleneck is the CPU. Honestly, I don’t care about fps as much as others on this thread. I care about smoothness and consistency, which is why I lock at 30 fps. I’m very happy with what my system delivers and besides a microstutter from time to time when flying low, I can fly with all settings on ultra, TLOD and OLOD at 200, and even boost the rendering scale to 120%. This gives me a really nice consistent frame rate and great graphics.
I also completely agree with @neilhewitt : this sim is all about compromise. I doubt that even an i9-13900 paired with a RTX 4090 would run the sim stutter-free at high frame rate with complex airliners. At least, not yet…

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You guys almost convinced me to upgrade the CPU first, and I very much tending to get the13700K…BUT…Intel is probably ending the 1700 Socket after this generations. So future CPU ugrades would need a new motherboard and ram. Maybe I should wait 1 year and keep my overclocked and delidded 8700k another 12 months of life. Overall the system runs still good, but the RTX 2080 is showing its limitations on newer games (not only MSFS).

Let see how much better worse it might get with a RTX4080.

Another question about CPUs for MSFS. How important is Level2 cache. 13500k, 13700k and 13900k all come with the same cache per core, but all together the cache levels change. Since the game is mostly single thread limited does the cache matter in this case (comparing those 3 processors)?

I mean, generally speaking more cache is good for most things, especially Windows, but does it affect MSFS materially? Probably not so much.

My main CPU criterion (other than affordability) tends to be how high it can turbo on one core without overclocking. Not that I won’t overclock, but the faster it runs stock, the better, at least on newer Intel chips. The 13900K will turbo to 5.8GHz. That’s jaw-dropping. Supposedly the 13900KS, when it releases, will turbo to 6GHz. 13700K goes to 5.4GHz which is still very respectable but for me, it would be 13900K all the way. Or wait for the KS (which I might do). And save the pennies because the price there will really, really hurt.

But is the extra price worth it? I mean I read reviews and there is no real problem to overclock even 13500k to 5.6 or 5.7 without to much tinkering around. And that is a CPU for under $400.

My 8700k is delidded and runs 5Ghz on all cores all the time…

But I am not really wonder if I should even invest big money in a socket 1700 eco system, when this will be mostly likely discontinued after this generation. So, future upgrades need new motherboard…

I think it all depends on your appetite for spending lots of money for diminishing returns :slight_smile:

I will in all likelihood stick with my 12900K for now. I haven’t even attempted to overclock it yet.

so my last 24 hours research about this topic is enforcing my inclination to actually get the RTX 4080 first…because I want to see how much the 8700k will actually bottleneck that thing. People tell me both ways…it goes from “oh it will bottleneck like crazy” to “as long you not using 1080p and use high graphics setting the bottlenecking will not be significant”. So I probably get the video card upgrade first, also because it will help out with other games where I want to do DLSS 3 and Raytracing. And, I will learn first hand what the 8700k Rtx4080 combo will do with MSFS…

Somehow I don’t see how it can make things worse…

My personal expectation is, that I can set FSMS to Ultra Settings and experience similar frame rates as I do now with everthing on High End. Maybe I should see a little more fps than now. But what I read and learned it seems like I will most likely not eliminate the micros stutters…

quick question: How is using live traffic vs. ai traffic affecting CPU performance?

For me, AI Traffic is a bigger FPS hit than live traffic and that seems to be CPU-related. I never use it. I have played with AIG but stopped during the SU10 beta and TBH I’m not sure where they are with bugs right now. When it’s stable I’ll go back to it as it has the lowest FPS hit of all.

I use mostly live traffic. How is ground traffic handled on live traffic?

I concur real time live is or can be less cpu intensive than AI although I think that depends on the AI traffic slider setting

Something to try is setting up a custom resolution 50% larger in each direction than your native and then use the DLSS quality setting to downscale it back to native. This will give a better picture but more importantly will tax your new very overpowered gpu more meaning less stutters and/or more headroom for LOD/traffic.