First of all, WHAT A FLIGHT SIM! In terms of graphics, I don't think there's anything close to rival. Leveraging Azure's worldwide CDN to stream content is a brilliant feat, flight sim content being dynamic means improvements to the content will be delivered faster to us. Picture perfect graphics though comes with a hefty tax on our PC builds, this is next gen material.
Built for MSFS 2020
As much as I love the graphics, was not impressed with frame rates. I bought a new casing to house a PC built for this game. Expected to get decent 50-60 FPS but I wasn't getting it.
Strictly Air Cooled PC Build
- Intel Core i7 8700K overclocked to 5GHz
- MSI Z370 Gaming M5
- 32GB DDR4 3200 MHz
- Adata SX8200 512GB NVMe
- Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB SATA SSD
- Palit RTX 3080 GamingPro OC
- Corsair RM750 80+ Gold PSU
- Lots of Noctua fans, strictly air cooled build
- NZXT H710 Case
The other option was to pair the RTX 3080 with my Ryzen 3700X/X570 build but reviews strongly suggest to stick with CPU's with great single threaded performance. The venerable i7 8700K is also easy to overclock as long as cooling is not an issue. Ryzen 5000 series hasn't dropped yet, the Ryzen 7 5800X might be a great alternative later on.
Let me get my rants out in the open first before more beautiful graphics. I played with the RTX 3080 overclocked to core +100 MHz and memory +500 MHz. I know the GPU can go much higher but this should've been enough.
I have 2 comparisons, the first with Ultra Settings while the second is with High End Settings. Both played at 4k resolution.
As you can see, both CPU and GPU usages are not maxed out.
This time the GPU is maxed out but the CPU is still not being maxed.
Now the external camera view.
I think the game is still poorly optimized. A 6 Core/12 Threads CPU is not being maxed out and the GPU is only maxed out outside of the cockpit. I suspect DirectX 12 will fix this for the CPU part, as for the GPU I'm not sure what's going on. The latest and greatest GPU brought down to its knees, a new Crysis?
Maybe the prevailing assumption is to optimize for the visual beauty aspect of the game first which is much understandable. Still, people (me) spend big bucks on hardware to play the game, they must fix the cockpit.
Knots to Mach
This is a very annoying bug and from what I've gathered, it's also happening on other default airplanes. You start with a Knots unit indicator but mid way into a flight after going back to the cockpit, it automagically changes to Mach unit. You can't do anything to switch it back to Knots.
This will happen when you bring up both the ATC and the Camera window open. It doesn't happen all the time but when it does, you'd need to center the ATC window and close it. Afterwards everything will be functional like before. You'd hate this if this happens in the middle of an approach.
I really enjoyed flying the A320 NEO, fly-by-wire makes me think about how the on board computer thinks. It's a simulation game, mimics real life although I'm sure not 100% accurate. The default airplanes are not full featured airplanes meaning that Microsoft opted for quantity over quality. There will be plenty of
Inop instruments and buttons in the cockpit.
Luckily there's an open source project A32NX that aims to bring the default A320 NEO airplane more real. I tried it and really enjoyed its attention to detail. You should give it a try. It's still v0.4.0 but it's upgraded the default one in a more realistic way. Try from the
master branch for a bleeding edge airplane.
To wrap up, I love this game (Patrice Evra style).
During this pandemic, the game brings some traveling vibe to life. Nothing beats real life but then I can cherrypick beautiful places from the world and see it in this game. Also, it helps me passes time in between trades.
However, the rants I posted above mostly happens in the cockpit. I hope Microsoft and Asobo prioritize the small things that matters. This is a game that is played hours and hours, small glitches repeated over time will likely be a turn off after a while. Still, I can always activate the external camera to be entertained.
Congrats beta testers, your PC just blew up.