Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020's most impressive visuals will need heavyweight hardware

The minimal specs are fairly reasonable, but for the ideal graphics, you may need a more powerful setup.

Alexandra Garrett Associate Editor
Alexandra is an associate editor on CNET's Performance Optimization team. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, and interned with CNET's Tech and News teams while in school. Prior to joining CNET full time, Alexandra was a breaking news fellow at Newsweek, where she covered current events and politics.
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The new Microsoft Flight Simulator, originally announced at the company's E3 press conference in June 2019 with a teaser trailer, now has the required system specifications. Although you don't need a high-end PC rig and the minimum requirements are fairly reasonable, they don't guarantee the hyper-realistic graphics. 

The trailer shows impressive visuals with Microsoft Azure artificial intelligence and satellite imagery. To get these ideal results, the simulator requires a more recent Ryzen 7 Pro 2700X or Intel i7-9800X CPUs paired with high-end AMD Radeon VII and Nvidia RTX 2080 GPUs with at least 8GB of VRAM, 32GB of RAM, a 150GB SSD and a 50Mbps connection. 


At a minimum, the simulator requires at least an AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or Intel i5-4460 CPU along with a Radeon RX 570 or NVIDIA GTX 770 GPU, 2GB of VRAM, 8GB of RAM, a 150GB hard drive and a 5Mbps connection. 

Although these specs are fairly reasonable, there's a possibility that they won't give you the hyper-realistic graphics Microsoft advertised. You may not get the full effect with the minimum specs, but those with the older hardware will still be able to experience the 2020 version of the simulator.