Use Graphics Presets as an Unaltered Grouping

I made an unlikely discovery this afternoon when tweaking my graphics settings. Like many people, I’d been suffering performance issues since the last two sim updates. (Please note that I said “sim updates,” rather than “world updates.”) One particularly bad FPS area for me was Atlanta-Hartsfield. Where I’d previously been getting a smooth 30FPS, I was now creeping along at an unusable 10FPS anywhere around the Atlanta region. Other heavy areas, such as NYC and LA, were likewise giving me performance issues where I’d experienced no such performance problems prior to the last two sim updates. But the worst, by far, was Atlanta. I’d spent weeks tweaking this setting and that setting, but I accomplished nothing. Keeping in mind that some of the graphics settings do not actually take effect until you reboot the program, I’d faithfully restarted MSFS every time I made any kind of change. I’d always changed each setting one at a time, so as to closely observe the effect of the change on FPS after I rebooted the sim. I’d literally tried hundreds of different combinations of graphics settings. But nothing made any real difference, even when I’d dialed most of the settings way down – far lower than the settings that used to work beautifully for me.

Finally, I discovered, quite by accident, what my problem was. I had apparently been mixing and matching graphics settings in a very self-defeating and perhaps contradictory way. Some of my settings were on Low, some on Medium, some on High, and one on Ultra. Again, these settings had worked perfectly on my system until the prior two sim updates. So I just decided to start over. I clicked the option to change all graphics settings to High as an unaltered group, and miraculously, my problems disappeared completely. I’m once again getting a solid 30FPS even at Atlanta! For purposes of experimentation, I then tried tweaking the individual settings again, lowering many of them in hope of boosting performance yet higher. It didn’t work. I was back to 10FPS in many of the heavy scenery regions.

So the moral of this story – at least for me – is to use the Graphics presets as an unaltered grouping. Very smart people at Asobo specially designed and grouped together these settings for us. Just accept one group of presets as a whole – depending on how much your machine can take – and then relax and forget about it. It’s possible that these settings were grouped together for a reason!


I happened upon the exact same situation, clicked the reset button, everything went to the high setting and it is all working great now, I am using V-sync on 30fps locked.

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Interesting, not sure if it’s ‘grouping’ though.

I get an increase as well when going back to standard high settings.
(from 16.5 to 18.0 fps on a big airport in the rain, inside the plane)

The changes it made for me were

  • Anisotropic filtering back to 8x (was on 16x)
  • Texture supersampling back to 4x4 (was on 8x8)
  • Texture Synthesis back to high (was on Ultra)
  • Windshield effects back to high (was on Ultra)
  • Motion Blur back to ON
  • Depth of Field back to ON
  • Glass Cockpit refresh rate back to Medium (was on High)
  • Windshield effects back to high (I had them on ULTRA)
  • Sharpen, Fringe, Dirt, Lensflare, Filmgrain, Vignette back to 1 (in UserCfg.opt)

The first 3 I changed on recommendation from Digital Foundry, back then it had no performance impact, maybe it does now.

I set Windshields effect to Ultra when the rain didn’t work, never turned it back, but it looks perfectly fine in high.

I dislike motion blur and depth of field with a passion, those are going back off, as well as sharpen and the other post process nonsense.

I guess the performance drop is from the first three. Glass cockpit refresh rate also makes a big difference, luckily not that much in the Bonanza as flying with anything lower than high feels very off.

I’ll check tomorrow if I see a difference with lower anisotropic filtering and texture supersampling. It’s a small difference anyway but maybe bigger in less stressful areas, and maybe just enough for the sim not to fall behind in heavy forested areas.


Hmmm, interesting topic. I shall have to play with this.

My system also struggles with Atlanta, I was sure it was the tree’s and the fact it’s a busy area with a lot of ground assets closely grouped.

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