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Microsoft Flight November Update Discusses Performance

Posted on Thu, 17 Nov 2011 17:15:07 GMT

The November Update from the development team behind Microsoft Flight discuss a topic that many of us are very concerned about - performance.  The update includes information on what systems can run reasonably at both high and low settings and also a screenshot to demonstrate.

Microsoft also include a message at the bottom of their release, "check back in December for an exciting announcement."  Well, we should be expecting some big news in December - perhaps a release date.

Microsoft released the following new announcement discussing performance and hardware topics in relation to Microsoft Flight:

November 15th, 2011 – Performance & Hardware

Learn about how Microsoft Flight was developed with performance in mind

Amongst the most popular questions the Flight team has been asked via e-mails to are those about the release date and game performance. While we aren’t quite ready to talk about a release date, we did want to share a bit about our approach towards performance and hardware.

Performance optimization has been a core focus of our development from an early stage. To achieve this, we constantly monitored game performance metrics across a range of hardware configurations and reacted each time we saw a new feature or code change that caused a dip below the established thresholds. The end result is that Flight looks fantastic on a brand new PC, but because of the emphasis on performance throughout development, it also runs well on older desktops and budget laptops.

We’ve found the game runs well on low graphics settings with hardware meeting the following specifications:

  • CPU: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
  • GPU: 256 MB card capable of shader 3.0 (DX 9.0c compliant)
  • HD: 10 GB Hard Drive space
  • OS: WinXP SP3
  • RAM: 2.0GB

It was also one of our goals to ensure that the game can run well with high settings on hardware that is attainable today. Based on our testing of core scenarios, the game runs smoothly on high graphics settings with the following hardware specifications:

  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7 960 @ 3.20GHz, AMD® Phenom™ II X6 1100T 3.3 GHz or better
  • GPU: ATI Radeon™ HD 5870, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 or better
  • HD: 10 GB Hard Drive space
  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • RAM: 6GB

The graphic below illustrates the visual difference between the low and high settings. Please continue sharing your feedback with us and check back in December for an exciting announcement.

Image showing the difference between the low and high graphics settings in Microsoft Flight.

Image showing the difference between the low and high graphics settings in Microsoft Flight.

Thank you,

The Microsoft Flight Development Team

So, from what we can see - many of us that run FSX quite comfortably on our computers should also be able to run Flight too, without upgrading any of our hardware... hopefully.

Let's watch this space and see what happens on the release of Flight.  Only real testing from thousands of users will provide a definitive answer.

Download iconDon't forget... We have a huge selection (over 24,000 files) of free mods and add-ons for FSX, P3D & X-Plane in the file library.  Files include aircraft, scenery, and utilities  All are free-to-download and use - you don't even need to register.  Browse on down to the file library here.

Ian Stephens

About Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is a flight simulation enthusiast also with a keen interest in aviation and technology.  Ian spends a lot of his time experimenting with various simulator packages but has a love for Microsoft Flight Simulator X because of the huge selection of add-ons available.  However, Ian also has copies of Prepar3D and X-Plane installed. 

Ian has been writing for Fly Away Simulation for over 9 years.  Should you wish, you can contact Ian via email at


Leave a Response
Robin G HowardMon, 21 Nov 2011 16:53:45 GMT

I hope the new developers see the fantastic new aircraft that can be uploaded. I think the scenery should be more googlised so that what is below is real (even if it is limited to airports and surrounding scenery.) Please sort out the tower problem - in FS9 you could move the tower to different positions and also up and down. In FSX the tower does not move and when the scenery is complex it blots out the landing and take-off view with building structures.

PeterMon, 21 Nov 2011 20:44:15 GMT

Good initial info. Just need an approximate release time.

angelo j. lemmaMon, 21 Nov 2011 20:45:16 GMT

I like this site. I have Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 and FSX. Keep up the good work; hope the community grows. Thanks, Ang.

S D MartinMon, 21 Nov 2011 22:41:14 GMT

Was hoping to get a release date and perhaps an insight on the cost. All the promos look very appealing and being a retired aviator I can't wait for something new. Even being able to update the virtual airline you fly for with your own ATC commands from the tower would be outstanding.

georgehrothfuss2001@yahoo.comMon, 21 Nov 2011 23:30:14 GMT

Importing Aircraft into Microsoft Flight please, explain the nuts and bolts details of adding more aircraft to your virtual hangar and what Microsoft simobjects versions will work for example FS2004, FSX etc...

I have a huge investment in time and money in the Microsoft Flight Simulator Add Ons.

Murray AyataTue, 22 Nov 2011 00:35:57 GMT

Please take a look PMDG NGX do you have a plane like this?

Claude LacroixTue, 22 Nov 2011 01:30:51 GMT

I have all the flight simulators since 1998, you can be sure that I won't miss MS11. The best simulation I have ever played.

Joseph MateusTue, 22 Nov 2011 02:30:17 GMT

Thank-you so much for the performance and hardware requirements information for the new Flight Simulator 11, I feel a lot better now. I just bought this brand new most powerful computer a few months ago specifically to be able to run the FSX properly without any hustles, and now I find my new computer actually exceeds the MAXIMUM requirements to run the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 11. Great news!

This is a great in fact the very best website for us Flight Simulator aviators. Keep up with the excellent works!!

crim3Tue, 22 Nov 2011 12:25:50 GMT

I just hope it works in stereo-3D. I can't pass without it.

colperTue, 22 Nov 2011 13:21:47 GMT

I know this is a Microsoft thing, but I think it might be a smart decision to have this compatible on OS X, and maybe even Unix. I am a fan of all three, and It would be outstanding if I were able to play Flight on all three of my systems, for different reasons.

By doing this, I also believe this would help grow the community, and help fund what I think is one of Microsoft's best products (other than the Office suite).

GinoTue, 22 Nov 2011 13:58:04 GMT

Are there also Boeing's or Airbus aircraft in this flight simulator? In the screens and the trailers aren't there any planes like that.

Piotr TselyTue, 22 Nov 2011 15:07:24 GMT

Sorry, but I'm a little bit circumspect: as the owner of the FSX + Acceleration Pack version and of a myriad of addons (free/payware) and quite satisfied with my hardware (including Asus 27" 3D), why should I buy a so-called new version ? However, supposing I'm ready to do it, you MS guys should forward very solid arguments to convince future customers/users that there is a real gap between future MS Flight and well-running MSFSX versions...

Louis WillhauckTue, 22 Nov 2011 16:23:16 GMT

I will say 3-D sounds like a nice touch, and the more REAL the scenery can be - the better! I am a low and slow "Bushy" type (C185F Anphibian mostly) and villages (too many "dirtstrips" with nothing around them), terrain and vegetation are high on MY list, along with some other interesting things like vehicles (even on remote roads), people(?) and wildlife (a little more where one might expect to see them). I know the FSX has a couple types, but I have only ever seen ONE group of birds in months of flying in africa.

It is also irritating to have the terrain on the GPS not match what I see out the windows. One last thing, did they fix the plateaus and pits issues? I even bought TWO different add-ons that said they fixed that....NOT TRUE! My goal is to log a takeoff an landing at every airport in the world, and I know the plateaus and pits are still around in unacceptable numbers.

SamuelTue, 22 Nov 2011 17:39:06 GMT

No matter how much more awesome this will be, I wont buy it... I think what they have done to all the FS fans with things like no support and total ignorance towards things like the infamous bug error is about enough to convince me not to that this wont be any better.

charles prowseTue, 22 Nov 2011 20:11:29 GMT

Samuel, the reason why there was a support issue is that Microsoft's flight program was disbanded after FSX was released. Microsoft is trying to revive the legacy and is working very hard to make it better than ever in all aspects. They are being aggressive in talent and quality to get this right in order to turn around the long decline in interest of the genre. They very easily could have just left it to die. Spooling this up again is a large effort, rest assured they are not just dabbling in it. I would expect nothing short of a revolution since FSX was released. All of these add ons all patched together can be troublesome, some textures look great from the air and then it's just flat photo when you get to ground level. Different areas seem obvious where the boundaries are. Wouldn't it be nice to have a seemless world where everything fit and worked no matter where you flew or the altitude. I'm all for add ons, but there is something to be said for just having one scenery that worked... I'm looking forward to MSF.

Pro Memberedmund2Tue, 22 Nov 2011 22:17:08 GMT

I'm Ready...Release it!

Gary StrikerTue, 22 Nov 2011 23:46:31 GMT

We owe most everything in flight simulation to Bruce Artwick and the 80286 based IBM. The 27 core flight equations remain the mainstay of the simulator. All else is candy wrapper. As a real world pilot, the simulator is only as good as the current navigation database. What Microsoft did fairly well was Instrument ATC control. X-Plane is a miserable failure in that regard. I will wait for Microsoft's position on these two important issues. Redbird is fairly high dollar, but has it handled. I don't hold much esteem for scenery enhancements. I just want to know that the runway is where I expect it to be when I bust out of the clouds.

Richard ArcherWed, 23 Nov 2011 04:11:57 GMT

I happen to have from Flight Simulator 98 up to Flight Simulator X. I'm waiting for the next Flight Simulator to be released. I can't until the new Flight Simulator comes out. By the way any does anybody know the release date.(I'm so excited).

Stan CarpenterThu, 24 Nov 2011 11:51:29 GMT

This new flt/sim is I guess acceptable, but why O why can't we get to the interchangeability of programs from one generation to another. For example, PMGD have on just released their new 373, do you expect us all to drop everything and wait for upgrades? The bottom of your pockets might be deep, but most of us have ones full of holes and the cash that is saved is needed to keep the wolf from the door......May be your a wolf!! Stan.

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