Microsoft Flight Simulator has been flying out there for a while now. There is a good variety of graphing settings to tweak for every hardware configuration. Finding out the best line between frames-per-second and in-game visuals can take some time at the start. MSFS is a simulation for future hardware components for sure. All options set to Ultra and values maxed can even pull the top processors and graphics cards to their knees. I do recommend reading the Maximize Performance Guide after you have finished with this article to maximize the smoothness of your MSFS.
Here are listed all the graphics options, and if choosing a greater value, it starts to impact frames-per-second with certain settings. Especially, options Terrain Level of Detail and Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate have the top most impact on the performance. On the other side options like Anti-Aliasing, Windshield Effects, and Reflections has a low impact on frames-per-second. 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 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 (3/5) – Use simple models instead of flyable plane models.
- Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate (5/5) – Smoothness of the cockpit screens.
Next, I do recommend reading the Maximize Performance Guide.