UPDATE: World Update 6 added a new Off screen terrain pre-caching option which is now added to this guide. After the latest World Update 6 has been installed, delete and re-create a different size of Rolling Cache to prevent scenery and autogen problems. Be sure to check our updated Performance Boost Tricks from time to time.
This is a set-up guide for the best graphics without losing too much performance of the Microsoft Flight Simulator. My kinda solid frames-per-second value increased noticeably, and I still maintained very good-looking visuals and terrain detail, almost no difference compared all set to Ultra. There’s no need to max out all the settings, instead enjoy a lot smoother flying experience due to better performance with Sim Update 5. Of course, the benefit is tied to what kind of system you are running MSFS in, and the effect might change by future MSFS patches and optimizations by Asobo Studio. Hardware used for this article is Intel Core i7-9750, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.
Make sure your system is up-to-date, meaning your Windows 10 has all the latest updates installed. Open Start menu, select Settings – Update & Security – Windows Update – Check for updates. Also, ensure that all the apps are up-to-date in Microsoft Store. In the top right-hand side corner of the Microsoft Store, click on the three-dot menu > Downloads and updates, then click Get updates > Update all. I do recommend turning automatic updates OFF for both Windows 10 and Microsoft Store. Updates rolling on the background can interfere with the performance of MSFS.
Ensure your Graphics Processing Unit has the latest drivers installed. Outdated or corrupted graphics drivers can impact the performance of MSFS. I recommend you completely remove your old graphics drivers before installing the latest drivers. Go get the latest graphics card drivers for your GeForce or Radeon graphics card. Note that the GeForce Experience app can change the MSFS graphic settings without user notice. Disable this feature by unchecking the Automatically optimize newly added games under the GFE’s Optimal playable settings. Also, it’s important to disable any overclocking you have made when running the MSFS, it can cause random crash-to-desktop issues.
Next, let’s tweak a couple of settings on Windows 10 before launching the MSFS. With the Game Mode enabled, which should usually prioritize games and minimize background tasks to improve performance, many games encounter poorer frame rates, stutters, and freezes. Therefore, open the Start menu, select Settings, for Find a setting field type Game Mode, and under its settings turn Game Mode OFF. On the same page under the Related settings title, click on Graphics settings and make sure Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is OFF. Also, under Captures settings (found by Find a setting field), make sure Background recording is OFF.
Increasing the Virtual Memory can help to end unknown crash-to-desktop issues if having less than 32GB RAM. In the Windows Search bar, type and open View advanced system settings. Under the Advanced tab, click the Settings (Performance). On the Performance Options, go to the Advanced tab and set Processor scheduling to Background services (and Apply), which after click Change (Virtual memory). Uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. Click to select the drive on which Windows 10 is installed (by default C:). Select the Custom size and for both fields below, type the Pagefile in megabytes according to your physical memory present in your computer (e.g. 16GB RAM = 16384 megabytes). Finally, click Set, then click OK, and restart your computer.
Next, we will disable the full-screen optimizations of the MSFS executable file. Having your monitor’s dots per inch, aka DPI, set to a value other than 100% can cause issues with Microsoft Flight Simulator. As such, we recommend disabling display scaling on high DPI settings for Microsoft Flight Simulator. To do this, find FlightSimulator.exe and right-click it for Properties. Select the Compatibility tab and then Change high DPI settings. Under there, select the Override high DPI scaling behavior. Scaling performed by: Application check box and confirm changes by clicking OK.
Finally, it’s time to tweak the Microsoft Flight Simulator graphics settings in-game under GENERAL OPTIONS. Several settings have a high impact on performance but by setting them right you gain a smoother flight simulator and still maintain very good-looking visuals and the best terrain details. At first, set the Display Mode to FULL SCREEN, and make sure the Full Screen Resolution is your native resolution. Even though your monitor might support 4K, it can have a high frames-per-second impact, so we prefer to use Full HD resolution 1920X1080. Then, select the Global Rendering Quality to be HIGH-END and check that the rest of the options are as described below.
Render Scaling: 100
Terrain Level of Detail: 200
Off Screen Terrain Pre-Caching: ULTRA
Terrain Vector Data: ULTRA
Grass and Bushes: ULTRA
Object Level of Detail: 200
Volumetric Clouds: HIGH
Texture Resolution: HIGH
Anisotropic Filtering: 16X
Texture Supersampling: 6X6
Texture Synthesis: HIGH
Water Waves: HIGH
Shadow Maps: 1536
Terrain Shadows: 512
Contact Shadows: HIGH
Windshield Effects: HIGH
Ambient Occlusion: HIGH
Light Shafts: HIGH
Depth of Field: OFF
Motion Blur: OFF
Lens Correction: OFF
Lens Flare: OFF
Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate: MEDIUM
If flying online on networks such as VATSIM and PilotEdge, note that under the TRAFFIC page, the Ground Aircraft Density controls the amount of static aircraft at the gates, this should be set to zero. The other values under the TRAFFIC page should not be more than a value of 50 either. If your Internet connection is slower than 50 Mbps or experiencing stutters at Photogrammetry locations, disable Photogrammetry under the DATA page. Enabling a Rolling Cache minimum of 2 GB decreases the blurry ground texture and trees pop-ups in the distance when looking around. With graphics settings explained in this guide, my FPS is an average of 50, and even higher when climbing to cruise altitude. Next, check our Performance Boost Tricks to deal with most of the stutters left.