Microsoft Flight Simulator Gets A Critical Huge PC Performance Boost With Update 5

Microsoft Flight Simulator
Once the next Microsoft Flight Simulator update is cleared for takeoff, players on PC can expect a potentially gigantic performance improvement, depending on their setup. That's because developer Asobo Studio retooled the inner workings of the simulation so that it runs more efficiently and makes better use of a system's various resources.

Here's the thing—Microsoft Flight Simulator is a demanding game. Trying to run it at a 4K resolution at the Ultra image quality setting can be a serious strain on your PC, and even a relatively high end setup can suffer from stuttering when taking to the skies. But at least for some PCs, that will change with the upcoming Update 5.

During a livestream, Asobo CEO and co-founder Sebastian Wloch explained that his team rewrote parts of the engine in order to wring "the maximum performance out of the sim." To demonstrate the fruits of their labor, he showed the game running on his system with an Intel Core i7-9700K processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super, and 32GB of memory. It was running at 4K with Ultra settings, and the render scale at 40 percent.

That is a respectable PC for sure. However, there was noticeable stuttering during his demonstration. He also showed that the game was taxing the CPU at 100 percent while the GPU ran at around 75 percent (and sometimes as low as just 50 percent), to achieve between 30-40 frames per second.

With the update in place, however, things change for the better.

"Here you can see the GPU is [at] 100 percent and the CPU is [at] 75 percent only, so it is totally moved over the work and now the CPU is free, so you can even run other stuff in the background, which is not going to make your sim stutter anymore," Wloch said.

He also noted that the memory usage dropped from around 27GB to 14GB. The end result on his particular setup was a jump in performance of around 20-30 frames per second (it mostly hovered around 60 frames per second), with 25 percent the CPU being unused.

It is no coincidence that these improvements come as Microsoft Flight Simulator gets ready to land on the Xbox Series X/S, on July 27, 2021. The Xbox Series X supports running the game at 4K, while the Xbox Series S will run it at 1080p.

Update 5 will be available on PC at the same time. We can hardly wait.