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Recommended Systems for Flight Simulator X

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Slim

Purchase

High performance in a slim chassis

  • Intel Core i7 Quad-core CPUs
  • NVIDIA GeForce video cards
  • Slim Chassis - 4.2 Inches Wide

Tower

Purchase

Large tower with room to upgrade

  • Intel Core i7 Quad-core CPUs
  • NVIDIA GeForce video cards
  • Tower chassis with room to upgrade

Compact

Purchase

Overclocking and dual GPUs in a portable chassis

  • Intel Core i7 Quad-core CPUs with overclocking
  • NVIDIA GeForce video cards
  • Compact chassis with optional carrying case

Flight Simulator X is the last release in the well-known line of flight sims from Microsoft. Despite being released over a decade ago, and the team that developed it having been disbanded, it is one of the most popular flight sims of all time and still available for purchase these many years later. A lot of scenery packs and airplane models have been released for it as well, by various third party groups. The realistic flight physics and detailed terrain being rendered place a heavy load on both the CPU and video card in a computer.

Based on benchmark testing from online sources, our recommendation is to use an Intel quad-core processor with Hyperthreading at the highest possible clock speed - ideally the Core i7 6700K. We suggest pairing that with a NVIDIA GeForce video card based on what resolution and graphics quality settings you plan to run the game at. If your budget allows, the GeForce GTX 1080 will give the best experience - noticeably better than other cards if you have the quality settings turned up high, even at 1920x1080. If you need to save money, the GTX 1070 and 1060 are also reasonable options. Supporting the CPU and video card we always advise using a solid-state drive (SSD) - potentially a large one if you expect to install a lot of scenery. In terms of memory, 16GB of RAM should be plenty for current flight sims as well as general computer usage.

These systems all have the maxed-out specs described above, but as mentioned previously you may want a larger drive for scenery - or you can scale back if on a limited budget. These specs will also work well for other flight simulators like X-Plane and Prepar3D (often shortened to P3D, it is also heavily based on and backward compatible with FSX).

Any of the computers listed above will be great for flight sims - you really can't go wrong there. They all support the same core CPU, RAM, and video card options, just pick which size / form factor appeals to you the most. Our Recommended Hardware page has a lot more details if you want specific information about what is needed for smooth frame rates and a good gaming experience. If you want to know more about the differences between these three designs, or to see how they compare in size, continue to read below.



Slim

This slim profile system, based on the Echo Pro, is great for flight sims and gaming - and not much larger than a console system, but much more powerful! It features fast Intel quad-core processors and high performance NVIDIA GeForce video cards. Thanks to NVIDIA ShadowPlay, those cards can also be used for basic streaming or recording of gameplay and there is plenty of performance for virtual reality with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. The case can either stand up or lay on its side, and with its elegant looks would fit right into a home entertainment setup.



Tower

Based on our Spirit system, this larger tower-style system has a lot of room to expand and upgrade. It can fit a WiFi card or upgraded sound card internally while still having room for dual GeForce video cards. The front of the case is primarily made up of a stack of internal drive bays, so this system can house a lot more storage capacity than the other, more compact computers on this page. It isn't any faster than either of them, offering the same core component options, but if you like to tinker with your computer or plan to upgrade as time goes by this will be a much more user-friendly option.



Compact

A compact system that is great for flight sims, either from the comfort of home or on the go at LAN events or tech conferences. It is based on our high performance Deluge system which features fast Intel quad-core processors, with overclocking options, as well as both single and dual (SLI) NVIDIA GeForce video card combinations.

As an optional accessory for this system we have developed a hard-shell carrying case to help transport it safely. It is just the right size to qualify as carry-on luggage with most airlines, so that you never have to let it out of your sight, and has wheels so that you don't have to bear the weight of the system yourself. A must-have for anyone who needs to bring a full desktop computer with them wherever they go.

Looking for more details about why we selected the specifications above?View our list of Recommended Hardware!


Hardware Articles:

If you are configuring a system for professional gaming or similar applications, we have a number of other articles on related topics that you may be interested in:


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