Flight Simulator Blog

Best Graphics Settings Guide

UPDATE – This article is for Windows 11 and Sim Update 9 due to Sim Update 10 Beta being still an ongoing development. A screenshot was added on how to set the Virtual Memory if having less than 32GB RAM. Be sure to check our Performance Boost Tricks as well.

This article is a set-up guide for the best graphics without losing too much performance of the Microsoft Flight Simulator. My frames-per-second value increased noticeably, and I still maintained stunning visuals and terrain detail, with almost no difference compared all set to Ultra. There’s no need to max out all the settings. Instead, enjoy a smoother flying experience due to better performance after these settings. Of course, the benefits are 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. The hardware used for this article is Intel Core i7-9750, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.

Ensure your system is up-to-date, meaning your Windows 11 has all the latest updates installed. Open the Start menu, select Settings – Windows Update – Check for updates. Also, ensure that all the apps are up-to-date in Microsoft Store. In the bottom left-hand side corner of the Microsoft Store window, click on the Library option, then on the top right-hand side of the window, click Get updates, and install all the available updates. I recommend disabling automatic updates under Windows Update – Advanced options due to updates rolling in the background can interfere with the performance of MSFS.

Ensure your Graphics Processing Unit, aka GPU, has the best driver installed. Too outdated or sometimes the newest graphics driver can impact the performance of MSFS. We will inform in here if there’s a specific driver version recommendation. Download the official graphics card driver for your GeForce or Radeon graphics card. Note that the GeForce Experience app changes the MSFS graphic settings without user notice, so always install the NVIDIA graphics driver without the GeForce Experience. Also, do not overclock the CPU or GPU, can cause random crash-to-desktop issues with MSFS.

Let’s change couple of settings on Windows 11 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, to Find a setting field, type Game Mode, and under its settings, turn Game Mode to OFF. On the same page under the Related settings title, click on Graphics – Change default graphics settings and make sure Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, aka HAGS, is OFF. Also, under Captures settings (found by Find a setting field), make sure that Record what happened is OFF.

Setting the Virtual Memory manually can help to end unknown crash-to-desktop issues and prevent stutters. 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 or 11 is installed (by default C:). Select the Custom size and for Initial size set 49152 MB and for Maximum size set 49152 MB. If having 32GB RAM installed or more, select System managed size instead. Finally, click Set, then click OK, and restart your computer.

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. Reset the in-sim graphics settings first by applying the Global Rendering Quality to be ULTRA and then check and modify that the rest of the options are as described below.

Render Scaling: 100
V-Sync: OFF
DirectX Version: DX11
Anti-Aliasing: TAA
Terrain Level of Detail: 150
Off Screen Terrain Pre-Caching: ULTRA
Terrain Vector Data: ULTRA
Buildings: ULTRA
Trees: 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: 1024
Terrain Shadows: 512
Contact Shadows: HIGH
Windshield Effects: HIGH
Ambient Occlusion: LOW
Cubemap Reflections: 192
Raymarched Reflections: HIGH
Light Shafts: ULTRA
Bloom: ON
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, note that under the TRAFFIC page, the Ground Aircraft Density controls the amount of static aircraft at the gates, set this 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 heavy stutters even though not flying near any photogrammetry area, disable Photogrammetry under the DATA page. Enable Rolling Cache minimum of 8 GB only if using Photogrammetry, otherwise disable and delete it. With graphics settings explained in this guide, my FPS is pretty much solid 35, with the FPS limit set to 35. Next, check our Performance Boost Tricks to deal with most of the stutters left.