Note: Article updated after MSFS Patch 7 release.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator has been flying out there for a while now. There is a very good variety of graphing settings to tweak for every hardware configuration, finding out the best line between frames-per-second and in-game visuals. MSFS is a simulation for future hardware components for sure. All options set to Ultra and values max can even pull the top processors and graphics cards to their knees. Hardware used for MSFS when writing this article: i7-9750, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. I do recommend reading the official How to improve the performance guide before continuing reading this.
Here are listed all the graphics options and recommended values for each settings. If choosing a greater value, it really starts to impact on frames-per-second with certain settings. One to be mentioned especially is the Terrain Level of Detail which has the top most impact on the performance. On the other side options like Anti-Aliasing, Windshield Effects, Reflections, Light Shafts, Bloom, and Lens Flare all are having low impacts on FPS. Eventually, this all comes down to a lot of personal preference for how the flight simulator is looking visually and how many frames-per-second, FPS, is wanted. Performance impact, lowest (1/5) to highest (5/5), has been given for each setting.
MSFS – Options – General – Graphics
- Anti-Aliasing (2/5) – A technique to blur and smooth out edges, highly recommend using value TAA as it helps denoise Ambient Occlusion and Reflections.
- Terrain Level of Detail (5/5) – Visual quality of all the terrain, recommend value 200, if too much FPS drop then set value 125.
- Terrain Vector Data (3/5) – Texture patterns on a distance, recommend Ultra.
- Buildings (4/5) – Visual quality of the buildings, recommend Ultra.
- Trees (3/5) – Higher settings increase draw distance and quality of the trees, recommend Ultra.
- Grass and Bushes (4/5) – The density and render distance of the grass changes as the settings increase, recommend Ultra.
- Objects Level of Detail (4/5) – This controls the render distance of various objects in the world, recommend value 200.
- Volumetric Clouds (4/5) – Level of cloud resolution and quality, recommend High.
- Texture Resolution (4/5) – If you run out VRAM on your GPU, consider lowering this setting, recommend Ultra.
- Anisotropic Filtering (4/5) – Quality of textures and surfaces when viewed at oblique angles, recommend 16x.
- Texture Supersampling (4/5) – Ground textures at a distance become sharper as setting increases, recommend 6×6.
- Texture Synthesis (4/5) – Constructing a larger image from a smaller texture, recommend Ultra.
- Water Waves (4/5) – Resolution level of wave simulation, recommend Medium.
- Shadow Maps (3/5) – Resolution of shadow maps, recommend value 1536.
- Terrains Shadows (4/5) – Resolution of terrain shadows from a distance, recommend value 512.
- Contact Shadows (2/5) – Quality of shadows for screen space objects up close, recommend Ultra.
- Windshield Effects (2/5) – Quality for rain effects and reflections on the windshield, recommend Ultra.
- Ambient Occlusion (4/5) – A technique used to create artificial shadows on objects and surfaces, recommend High.
- Reflections (3/5) – Quality of reflections on reflective surfaces, recommend Ultra.
- Light Shafts (3/5) – A technique to simulate shafts of light from bright sources, recommend Ultra.
- Bloom (1/5) – Effect of bright lens bloom, recommend On.
- Depth of Field (3/5) – A technique to simulate background blur when viewing certain objects, recommend Ultra.
- Motion Blur (2/5) – Intensity of motion blur increases at higher setting, recommend Off.
- Lens Correction (2/5) – A process that corrects camera lens distortion, recommend Off.
- Lens Flare (2/5) – A technique that adds small flares to bright light sources, recommend On.
- Use Generic Plane Models (AI Traffic) (3/5) – Recommend On.
- Use Generic Plane Models (Multiplayer) (3/5) – Recommend On.
- Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate (3/5) – Recommend High.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is available as a digital purchase from Microsoft Store and Steam as well as boxed disc-publication 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.