If I go MS flight sim

I am on X plane now on an M1 Mac but I hear from most people that MSFS
is better…graphics etc and moving avionics around…I hate Windows but I might just get a PC and go for it. I was looking at the prices for sim PCs and I saw around 900$…is that about right for a basic rig…? Is there an aftermarket for used sim PCs…? Maybe I should go that route…
what other features do you like about MSFS…?

IMO, MSFS2020 is all eye candy. If you really like X-Plane, stick with it. It’s the better aerodynamics simulation. No need to get an expensive PC to be able to run MSFS2020 smoothly.


It’d all personal how much of graphics fidelity you are willing to forgo or if that’s important to you. I’d budget around 1500 for a sim rig (or even higher), especially for MSFS. Can you fly with a 900 dollar rig, definitely, but if you want something to wow you away from your comfort zone I’d think a bit higher end.

On the bright side, windows have come a long way and even a historic mac user as myself (started on a G4 tower editing on FCP 3) am pretty satisfied both gaming and working with media on the PC nowadays.

Everyone has preferences and opinions on this, and I agree with @Elby here.

And you’d need a pretty powerful PC to run it I (likely be more than $900) I think but I’ve not researched these conditions or know how you like to play.

If you want out-of-the box planet Earth scenery, the whole planet (?), then FS2020 has that. However the quality of coverage last time I checked was spotty, as the algorithm that does the guesswork, while cool and all, it still just that - they didn’t capture my backyard in very good detail at all, for instance :wink:

When I do do civilian-like simming (admittedly rare) I use XPlane. I have FS2020 but it left me wanting. XP just ‘feels’ better, to me. And it looks just fine, to me.

I forgot to mention that a PC has other advantages, such as allowing you to try DCS, though… :slight_smile:


I guess a lot comes down to what you are looking for as a sim experience. There is no right or wrong, one size fits all answer.

Currently I fly a Challenger 650 in the real world and I can say that the Hot Start’s Challenger 650 for X-Plane is shockingly good for systems fidelity… so good that I have learned a few things while using it that I was able to take into the real airplane - I know…for entertainment use only, but knowledge is knowledge and I don’t care where it comes from, as long as it is right.

Having said that…for the pure fun and experience of flight, MSFS is my go-to sim. Flying the Mach Loop in the Just Flight Hawk, in VR is something that just puts a huge grin on my face every time. I do 95% of my sim flying with MSFS in VR these days. The X-Plane flight modeling is better, but not by as much as some would have you believe. They both have their limitations and quirks. One of the things I like about MSFS is how easy it is to set up a flight…you just scroll around the globe until you find an area you are interested in, build the flight plan on the globe and off you go. With X-Plane, you have to know ahead of time where you want to fly.

Another thing I’d like to add is that I often see the eye-candy vs realism argument used to steer people towards X-Plane. They are forgetting that flying is at it’s essence, a visual experience for the most part. MSFS is the closest I have experienced in a sim to what I see from the cockpit. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal taste. Have you considered going the X-Box route? There are some limitations associated with the X-Box version, but the hardware is less expensive.


I’ll ditto @PaulRix and couldn’t have said it better. A nice thing about having a Windows gaming rig is that you can have both sims and jump between the two.


Also with a PC your x-plane will be more enabled to run more addons for it. All addons for xp11/12 runs on PC but sadly not all run on linux/osx…

So, as mentioned the PC have big advantages to the flight sim hobby, but its expensive machine and depending of your expectations, imho 900usd is very few, specially when the motive of the change is going to something more visually pretty. You should get a good GPU, minimum 24GB RAM, and a nice CPU, also recommend you a huge SSD disk, nowadays they got full very fast.

A GPU alone is 900$ these days.
The kind of GPU you’d want to run MSFS properly.

The alternative is an Xbox Series S! It’s 300$, runs MSFS and you even might be able to borrow one from a kid in your neighborhood for testing :slight_smile:

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For just MSFS, I’d go the XBOX route unless you’ve got solid peripherals you want to use - last I paid attention they were not backward compatible. $900 into a PC will probably get you off the ground and flying but, to really USE the value of what MSFS offers, you’ll want more. I spent $1300 on my gaming laptop in 2020 specifically for DCS and MSFS and can run MSFS in 2D with high settings and VR on mid-low.

I personally abhor the MSFS flight modeling for any outer-envelope or aerobatic flying, but for just going sightseeing and exploring it’s a masterpiece.

I fly fly-by-wire jets in DCS, and an occasional MSFS visual navigation cross country in a 152 is just the ticket to re-cage my brain to the basics of flying.

in time, just finished few flights in XP :slight_smile: XP is really good and can be on par with MSFS or even better in few areas. I can mention few if interested.

the only reason imo, to have more than one civi sim in a stable, is the availability of modules. there isnt single sim which usually has all the planes one is interested in. this is the case e.g. also for you @PaulRix , as there isnt any 650 for MSFS.

the only thing which is must-have for me in XP are orthos. I just cant fly without them anymore. these can be user generated for almost any part of the world. or there are pre-made areas like USA. it takes some time to make them, sure, but they are worth it especially in XP12 with its new lighting.

with orthos in place the graphics border between MSFS and XP can be shady :slight_smile:

somewhere in South America. XP12 + X-America (free) + orthos (free).

few more pics here
X-Plane 12 Screenshots 2022 - Screens & AARs - Mudspike Forums

and ‘globe’ for XP airports search
Gateway Scenery Map (cleverest.eu)

but agree with what was mentioned above, for a quick vfr ride it is really convenient to just open the MSFS, click the globe and off you go with all the satellite imagery just downloaded as you fly.


Quoted for emphasis.

I’ve been a loyal XP user since XP6 or 7, using a MAC in those earlier days. I could uninstall all entertainment PC, phone, tablet and XBOX apps and live contentedly with X-Plane alone. But if I were coming at this hobby fresh and felt the need to choose one over the other, I’d pick MSFS. Why?

  • Paul’s comments above
  • MSFS is too big to fail
  • Flight modeling is constantly improving
  • Works fine un-moded out of the box
  • Tight development constraints driven by XBOX.
  • A global scenery engine that is unmatched.

In aviation there are people who build, people who fly and plenty who do both. Most people just want to fly. That’s MSFS. But for those who want to constantly tweak and play in a sandbox, X-Plane is the way to go. Eventually, for those with whom the hobby has stuck, they get both.


The X-box argument is a great one. Get an Xbox and a basic stick setup. That plus would equate to a less than 400 dollar investment if you get gamepass and just download MSFS without buying a copy (Does MSFS run well on X-Box S I have no idea, but if it does it seems perfect). Get a feel for MSFS and decide. If you want to spend more, you can think of getting a high-end PC in the future, if not you can always sell it or give it as a Christmas gift to some family youth.

I have read (link below) that it runs ok in FHD resolution. X series can run in 4k.

MSFS on Xbox Series S - will this work? - Community Support / Hardware and Peripherals - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums

… and back to original question (as always we like to answer questions which were not asked :wink: )

PC around 900 could actually work for MSFS but depends on the actual components. here is one video showing MSFS with mid-low end GPU RTX3050, but with mid-high end CPU 5800X though.

there is chance that you can find video showing ingame fps for that particular CPU+GPU combination you saw, and check the performance in front.

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good info here…I will wait till mid recession and look for deals on a used AMD 5800-5900…
otherwise X is plenty good for now…thanks much for feedback…

I am not sure where the 3050 ranks performance wise, but I can say that I am running a 2070S and it is absolutely fine for MSFS if 1080p is an acceptable resolution.


Based on DF video Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox Series X|S - An Excellent Port Of An Ultra-Spec PC Experience - YouTube is port of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 on XSS and especially on XSX excellent. On XSX you will get ultra quality setting like is on high end PCs.

My personal experience is, even if I have a TIR4 Pro + HOTAS and gaming PC, that the best enjoyment is with Xbox Series controller in hands on cockpit on 55" 4K OLED TV. :slight_smile:
The autors incredibly well impemented control on controller, so trust me, you really don’t need to have HOTAS or joystick (also valid for PC!). On console and TV is MSFS 2020 incredible experience!

BTW as I wrote here New (civil) HOTAS for Xbox Series TM just released “new” HOTAS compatible with XSS/XSX for resonable price. Well in comparing with price of XSS is not the best price. :sweat_smile:

RXT 3050 isn’t good GPU - too many limitation in performance and price is too high as is typically for Nvidia GPUs. If you have a limited budget look for RTX 3060 12GB as minimum (performance like 3 years older RX 5700XT which is still slighty better) or better look for AMD RX 6600 XT or look for good price of RX 6700 XT 12GB (performance like RTX 3060 Ti but cheaper - of course if we will not count Ray Tracing games).

Back to console: I recommned XSX because is in general better option. Performance XSX is really good: CPU is in reality Ryzen 3700 (without X) - with lower frequency but still 8 cores and 16 threads + GPU like RX 6800/XT. In combination with AMD FSR 2.0 (later 3.0) will be MSFS 2020 smootless in any situation.

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Not trying to be the devil’s advocate here, but am curious. Is there a VR option for Xbox?