The next update for Microsoft Flight Simulator promises to bring a massive uplift in game performance on PC, when Sim Update 5 is released alongside the Xbox Series X|S version of the game on 27th July. Asobo Studio has dug deep into the workings of the game to seriously optimise the CPU and RAM optimisation of the game, removing previous bottlenecks that could see even high-end PCs struggle.
“We have rewritten a lot of parts of the engine architecture to improve in order to get the maximum performance out of the sim and the minimum resources for memory and bandwidth footprint,” explained Asobo CEO Sebastian Wloch.
Hazarding that he “can’t say everybody’s going to get this much [extra] frame rate,” he then proceeded to demonstrate a huge increase in performance, going to 35-40FPS in Sim Update 4 while flying over a densely populated city to 60FPS while dipping into the high 50s when playing Sim Update 5. Essentially this was achieved by removing the CPU bottleneck, so that the GPU could run at 100% load throughout. Additionally, the simulation’s RAM footprint dropped from 16GB to 4.7GB. This also improves the ability to run other software in the background without impacting performance.
This was running on Wloch’s personal PC with the following specs:
- Intel Core i7-9700K
- Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Super
While the game’s visual settings were set to Ultra and he was running the game on a 4K display, the ‘renderscale’ was set to 40%, more than halving the native resolution. Clearly it was a demo intended to first put the load all on the CPU, and then lift it to let the GPU run.
Either way, this is a truly impressive uplift in performance, and it’s surely based off work that was done to get the game optimised for Xbox Series X|S. There the game will run at 4K on Xbox Series X and at 1080p on Xbox Series S, with both systems locked to 30FPS – if you have a VRR TV, you will be able to unlock the frame rate.
PC players might see further performance improvements in future as well. Flight Simulator will continue to run on DirectX 11, with work continuing to port the game to the more efficient DirectX 12 in future.
Microsoft Flight Simulator will release for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox Cloud Gaming on 27th July. The game is out now for Windows 10 PC via Steam, the Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass.