Update! Flight Simulator 2020 Maximize Performance Guide

UPDATE: The value of TERRAIN LEVEL OF DETAIL has been lowered for more stutter-free flying. Enabling more Virtual Memory is recommended only if the system has less than 32GB RAM. This guide will be updated after every MSFS Patch if needed. Also, the graphics settings impact guide section is now added till the end.
This is a set-up guide for the best graphics without losing too much performance of the Microsoft Flight Simulator. My kinda solid frames-per-second value increased noticeably, and I still maintained very good-looking 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 by future MSFS patches and optimizations by Asobo Studio. Hardware used for this article is i7-9750, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.

Make sure your system is up-to-date, meaning Windows 10 is version 20H2 or higher. Open Start menu, select Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates. Also, ensure that all the apps are up-to-date in Microsoft Store. In the top right-hand side corner of the Microsoft Store, click on the three-dot menu > Downloads and updates, then click Get updates > Update all. I do recommend turning automatic updates OFF for both Windows 10 and Microsoft Store. Updates rolling on the background can interfere with the performance of MSFS.

Ensure your Graphics Processing Unit has the latest drivers installed. Outdated or corrupted graphics drivers can impact the performance of MSFS. I recommend you completely remove your old graphics drivers before installing the latest drivers. Go get the latest graphics card drivers for your GeForce or Radeon graphics card. It’s recommended to download the right graphics drivers manually and avoid using automatic update software. At least, the GeForce Experience app can sometimes change MSFS graphic settings without user notice.

Next, let’s tweak a couple of settings on Windows 10 before launching the MSFS. With the Game Mode enabled, which should usually prioritize games and minimize background tasks to improve performance, many games encounter poorer frame rates, stutters, and freezes. Therefore, open the Start menu, select Settings, for Find a setting field type Game Mode, and under its settings turn Game Mode OFF. On the same page under the Related settings title, click on Graphics settings and make sure Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is ON. Also, under Captures settings (found by Find a setting field), make sure Background recording is OFF.

Increasing the Virtual Memory can end unknown crash-to-desktop issues. In the Windows Search bar, type and open View advanced system settings. Under the Advanced tab, click the Settings for Performance. On the Performance Options, go to the Advanced tab, and click Change for Virtual memory. Uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. Click to select the drive on which Windows 10 is installed (by default C:). Select the Custom size and for both fields below, type the Pagefile in megabytes according to your physical memory present in your computer. Finally, click Set, then click OK, and restart your computer.

Finally, it’s time to tweak the Microsoft Flight Simulator graphics settings in-game under 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 HIGH and then set the options as described below.

V-Sync: OFF
Render Scaling: 100
Anti-Aliasing: TAA
Terrain Level of Detail: 100
Object Level of Detail: 200
Anisotropic Filtering: 16X
Texture Supersampling: 6X6
Motion Blur: OFF
Lens Flare: OFF
Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate: MEDIUM

  • Lens Correction: OFF 

If you are flying online as I do, on networks such as VATSIM, IVAO, and PilotEdge, note that under the TRAFFIC page, the Ground Aircraft Density controls the amount of static aircraft at the gates, this should be set to zero. The other values should not be more than 50 either. If your Internet connection is slower than 50 Mbps, I recommend disabling Photogrammetry at under the DATA page. Also, disabling Rolling Cache makes the performance more stutter-free. With graphics settings explained in this guide, my FPS is normally 45-55. When flying in a highly-populated autogen area such as west of Chicago, it’s 35-45.
  • 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.
  • Volumetric Clouds (4/5) – Level of cloud resolution and quality.
  • Texture Resolution (4/5) – Lower this setting if VRAM runs out on your GPU.
  • Anisotropic Filtering (4/5) – Quality of textures when viewed at oblique angles.
  • Texture Supersampling (4/5) – Ground textures at a distance becomes sharper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Glass Cockpit Refresh Rate (5/5) – Smoothness of the cockpit screens.

5/Post a Comment/Comments

  1. it depends on the persons PC specs as well, Not all people have a Core i9 with 34 or whatever cores and a 3090 Graphics card with 64+GB of RAM, alot of people have the bare minimum just to run it......ever think of that?

    1. Did you check the system used for this article? Not exactly the kind of system you mention.

  2. however this performance mode do not fits for VR headsets, only mess.. low fps.. only for Flat display/monitor

    1. So, i figured out recenetly how it works for VR headsets to Maximize Performance in my case with Rayzen 5 and RTX 2080Ti on HP Reverb G2, ive got boosted from 30 up to 40 Fps. on High-Ultra settings.

      1. Do everything what is written in this Guide - V. a part of one thing.

      2. That thing is Let Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling in OFF not ON.

      3. And most important thing: From graphipc setting in MSFS choose a WINDOWED mode for screen and minimize that screen manually from the corner with a mouse as small as it possible on the dekstop, it will dramatically increase your fps in a game.

      Thats it.


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