UPDATE – This guide is now updated and compatible with Sim Update 14. Read it fully carefully because there are major changes. We recommend to remove cache files and folders as instructed.
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 operating system is up-to-date, meaning your Windows 10 or 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 Too outdated or sometimes the newest graphics driver can impact the performance. We will inform you 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 install without the GeForce Experience by choosing Installation options – Custom (Advanced) and uncheck it. Checking the Perform a clean installation will reset your NCP settings back to default ones, this is optional. After the installation, check the Nvidia Control Panel tricks as instructed.
Let’s change couple of settings on Windows 10 and Windows 11 before launching the MSFS. Game Mode enabled prioritizes games and minimize background tasks to improve performance. Open the Start menu, select Settings, to Find a setting field, type Game Mode, and under its settings, turn Game Mode to ON. On the same page under the Related settings title, click on Graphics – Change default graphics settings, make sure the Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, aka HAGS, is ON with the Optimisations for windowed games is ON as well. 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 Programs (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. I’m using the Full HD resolution 1920X1080, but if you have 4K monitor, you can try resolution 2560X1440 for sharper picture affecting frame-rate though. 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.
AMD FidelityFX Sharpening
50 or with 4K use 10
Terrain Level of Detail
Off Screen Terrain Pre-Caching
Terrain Vector Data
Grass and Bushes
Object Level of Detail
Depth of Field
Use Generic Plane Models
Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate
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 solid 30, with the FPS limit set to 30. Next, check our Performance Boost Tricks to deal with most of the stutters left.