Note: This article has been updated after Patch 3.
Here is a quick guide to set-up the best graphics without losing performance of the next-generation Microsoft Flight Simulator. My kinda solid FPS value increased noticeable and still maintained very good looking graphics visuals and terrain detail, almost no difference compared all set to Ultra. Of course, the benefit is tied to what kind of system you are running MSFS in, and the effect might change after future MSFS updates and optimizations by Asobo Studio.
At first, make sure you have the latest video card drivers installed. Because Nvidia’s latest drivers have specific optimizations for MSFS, and the driver update at the end of September gave me better FPS’s. The best situation would be to uninstall the old drivers and do a clean install of the new drivers. Secondly, go to Nvidia Control Panel, open 3D Settings, and make sure your Nvidia video card is selected (not the integrated). Then, from Program Settings choose Microsoft Flight Simulator, and tweak these settings (and leave all the others as default) to get the most of your video card:
Power Management: Prefer Maximum Performance
Texture Filtering – Quality: High Quality
Next, let’s tweak some Windows settings to force the operating system (Windows 10 version 2004 or Build 19041 or newer) to work as much as possible without stutters. Go to Game Mode and turn it On, so all priority is given to running games such as MSFS. From the right-hand side of the Game Mode menu select Graphics settings and open up Hardware-accelerated GPU Scheduling to be set On to reduce latency. Back in the Game Mode menu select Captures and for Background recording ensure it’s Off.
Now before you launch MSFS, restart your PC and continue reading then. After your PC has started, it’s time to tweak MSFS graphics settings behind MSFS Options and General. 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, select Global Rendering Quality to be Ultra and then set the options as described below.
Render Scaling: 100
Terrain Level of Detail: 125
Object Level of Detail: 100
Texture Supersampling: 6×6
Water Waves: Medium
Shadow Maps: 1536
Terrain Shadows: 512
Ambient Occlusion: High
Finally, this is optional based on your needs, but turning off the Live Real-World Air Traffic will give more extra FPS’s. I’ll keep it off anyway, because if I want air traffic and human-ATC around me, I will connect to a proper online flying network, such as IVAO, VATSIM or PilotEdge. Hardware used for MSFS when writing this article: i7-9750, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is available as a digital purchase from Microsoft Store and Steam as well as a DVD box from Aerosoft. Prices are for Standard 69.99 EUR, Deluxe 89.99 EUR, and Premium Deluxe 119.99 EUR. Standard Edition is also included in Xbox Game Pass for PC monthly subscription.