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Microsoft Flight Simulator’s next sim update will massively boost performance

A major engine update could double framerates for some PC users


Microsoft Flight Simulator has already gotten significant upgrades to several of its major regions, including the US, the UK and Ireland, Japan, and most recently, the Nordics. While those have all been gorgeous, the next big sim update is going to tackle performance – potentially making everything in the simulation game nicer to look at.

In a livestream developer Asobo Studio held today, CEO Sebastian Wloch showed off some side-by-side footage of Sim Update 4 versus the upcoming Sim Update 5. Wloch was running Flight Simulator on his personal desktop PC, with his stats displayed in the video: he’s running an Intel Core i7-9700K with an RTX 2060 Super in the GPU slot. Running at 4K (with a renderscale of 40), Wloch was seeing framerates of just over 30 fps as he flew over Manhattan – one of busiest areas of the game in terms of raw geometry per acre.

Flipping to the same flight pattern in the Sim Update 5 build, his framerate was doubled – maxing out at around 60 fps (probably due to screen refresh rate) and dipping to just over 50 fps in the busiest areas. As Twinfinite notes, both versions shown during the livestream were without the upcoming DirectX 12 implementation enabled.

Here’s the video, or you can watch the full VOD of the livestream on Twitch.

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Notable is the fact that in the Update 4 footage, Wloch’s CPU is consistently at 100% usage, while Flight Simulator is using perhaps 75% of available GPU power. In update 5, those figures are flipped, which should mean that background apps and tasks won’t tank your framerate in Flight Simulator as badly once the patch arrives.

Sim Update 5 is expected to launch alongside the Xbox Series X|S version of Flight Simulator July 27. Asobo says it expects the engine update will provide a boost to VR performance as well, although the studio isn’t certain how big an improvement that will be.