Note: Article updated after MSFS Sim Update 2
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 Maximize Performance Guide after you have finished with this article.
Here are listed all the graphics options, and 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.
- Terrain Level of Detail (5/5) – Visual quality of all the terrain.
- Terrain Vector Data (3/5) – Texture patterns on a distance.
- Buildings (4/5) – Visual quality and draw distance of the buildings.
- Trees (3/5) – Visual quality and draw distance of the trees.
- Grass and Bushes (4/5) – The density and render distance of the grass and bushes.
- Objects Level of Detail (4/5) – This controls the render distance of various objects in the world.
- Volumetric Clouds (4/5) – Level of cloud resolution and quality.
- Texture Resolution (4/5) – If you run out VRAM on your GPU, consider lowering this setting.
- Anisotropic Filtering (4/5) – Quality of textures and surfaces when viewed at oblique angles.
- Texture Supersampling (4/5) – Ground textures at a distance become sharper as setting increases.
- Texture Synthesis (4/5) – Constructing a larger image from a smaller texture.
- Water Waves (4/5) – Resolution level of wave simulation.
- Shadow Maps (3/5) – Resolution of shadow maps.
- Terrains Shadows (4/5) – Resolution of terrain shadows from a distance.
- Contact Shadows (2/5) – Quality of shadows for screen space objects up close.
- Windshield Effects (2/5) – Quality for rain effects and reflections on the windshield.
- Ambient Occlusion (4/5) – A technique used to create artificial shadows on objects and surfaces.
- Reflections (3/5) – Quality of reflections on reflective surfaces.
- Light Shafts (3/5) – A technique to simulate shafts of light from bright sources.
- Bloom (1/5) – Effect of bright lens bloom.
- Depth of Field (3/5) – A technique to simulate background blur when viewing certain objects.
- Motion Blur (2/5) – Intensity of motion blur increases at higher setting.
- Lens Correction (2/5) – A process that corrects camera lens distortion.
- Lens Flare (2/5) – A technique that adds small flares to bright light sources.
- Use Generic Plane Models (AI Traffic) (3/5)
- Use Generic Plane Models (Multiplayer) (3/5)
- Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate (3/5)
Next, I do recommend reading the Maximize Performance Guide.