Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC now has huge performance improvements

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Today, Microsoft Flight Simulator receives its greatest update ever on PC, owing to a new patch that improves performance significantly. Since its release last year, the game has been notoriously demanding, but the simulator’s developers have been working hard to improve its CPU and memory utilization. Players on PC can now download the latest update, which should boost frame rates on a wide range of hardware.

I’ve been testing the upgrade on my own PC, which is equipped with an Intel Core i9-11900K and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, over the past several weeks, and the improvements are astounding, even on top gear. During our GPU reviews, I use Microsoft Flight Simulator for benchmarks, and my frame rate has gone from an average of 45fps to 68fps in the same portion flying across Seattle. With ultra settings activated at 1440p, that’s a jump of more than 50%.

Even flying through New York City sees significant gains, with my system now averaging 80 frames per second in what is traditionally a very taxing phase of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The improvements have been so dramatic that I’ve had to double- and triple-check my settings to ensure I was running at ultra on everything.

Overall, the game now feels a lot smoother than before, with less odd fps drops. As a result, it should be much more playable on a wider range of hardware. Earlier this month, Asobo, the Microsoft Flight Simulator developer, displayed the game working on an older PC with an Intel Core i7-9700K and an RTX 2060 Super. With the upgrade, Microsoft Flight Simulator went from roughly 30fps to nearly a solid 60fps on this PC, and CPU and memory usage went down dramatically.

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Asobo CEO Sebastian Wloch said earlier this month, “We have redesigned a lot of the pieces of the engine… in order to get the greatest performance out of the sim.” The team has mostly focused on CPU optimizations, which has certainly paid off.

All of this has been accomplished without the use of DirectX 12. While a DirectX 12 version of Microsoft Flight Simulator is out today for Xbox One X and Xbox One S, the PC edition will continue to run on DirectX 11. This opens the way for even more potential advancements in the future.

Asobo will be able to include ray tracing in the game thanks to the planned switch to DirectX 12. Better water, improved shadows, and the standard reflections found in ray-traced games should all be included. Asobo has yet to clarify when Microsoft Flight Simulator for PC will be updated to DirectX 12.

Wloch said earlier this month that “all of the performance improvements come from simply enhancing the simulator.” “PC has not yet made the switch to DirectX 12, but the team is working on it. It may or may not result in further improvements.”

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