Best Graphics Cards for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

We demand a lot from our video games today. If it doesn’t check some important boxes, it might as well not be worth picking up. It seems like the developers behind the smash hit simulation extravaganza, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, were all up for the challenge. Not only does it check off every box on the list, but it goes overboard in ensuring maximum consumer satisfaction. Immersion? Check. Extensive roster? Check. Gameplay? Check. GRAPHICS? Check, check, and check. If there’s one thing we can say for sure about Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, the one thing the naysayers and the fanboys will agree upon is that the game is a total looker. I mean seriously, have you seen this thing? Drop dead gorgeous. Some locations in particular look just like the real deal, and that is no exaggeration, my friends. In fact, the game boasts over 340 photorealistic cities from all over the world, including Montreal, San Francisco, Barcelona, and Munich. To add to that, weather and environmental effects are absolutely top-notch. If you paired your gameplay experience with one of the yokes we mentioned in our Best Yokes for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 article, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were actually flying a plane in real life!

Of course, such visual quality comes at an inherent cost. And we’re not talking about the money you’ll be spending on the game to boot, you’ll actually need a very serious graphics card to take full advantage of these amazing visuals. Scratch that, you’ll need a decent graphics card to even make the game playable at all! If you were thinking of bamboozling your way to running Flight Simulator 2020 on your potato card, think again! A game that looks these good demands the right hardware to do so. Navigating the graphics card market can be a total hassle these days. What card should you buy? Where would you find a card to begin with? What card is going to give you the best experience? Leave it to us to answer these questions and more in this article about the Best Graphics Cards for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. But before we do that, why not go over some criteria to keep in mind while shopping for a new graphics card in this day and age. This will help you not only pick the right GPU for Flight Simulator 2020, but for most games in general. We hope we can help you make the best and most well-informed purchase about your graphics card needs!

7 Best Graphics Cards For Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Without further delays, the following are the best GPUs for MSFS2020 available in the market today:

1. ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition

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Best 4K Graphics Card for MSFS2020

  • Architecture: Ada Lovelace
  • Process Size: 5 nm
  • Transistors: 7.6 Billion
  • Shader Units: 16,384
  • Ray Accelerators/Cores: 128
  • Base Clock Speed: 2,235 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 2,610 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 24 GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Bus: 384-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 1,008 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 450 W

The ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 is the best graphics card that you can get your hands on in the market. Many forums have regarded it as the most powerful graphics card in the market at the moment. It is based on the Nvidia’s newest and latest Ada Lovelace architecture and boasts a massive 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM with around 7 billion transistors.

The ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 is capable of delivering stunning performance in games like MSFS2020, creative applications, and even scientific computing. In games, it can easily deliver 60+ frames per second at 4K resolution with ultra settings. It is also a great choice for creative professionals who need a powerful card for video editing, 3D rendering, and other demanding tasks.

Quality/Resolution Framerate Benchmarks1080p1440p4k


  • Impressive Performance
  • Excellent Cooling
  • Strong I/O


  • Might be costly for some
  • Power Draw

Overall, The ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition is the ultimate graphics card for gamers. It offers unmatched performance, a powerful cooling system, and a sleek and stylish design. If you are looking for the best possible graphics card, the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition is the one for you.

2. PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

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Best AMD (NVIDIA Alternate) 4K Graphics Card for MSFS2020

  • Architecture: RDNA 3.0
  • Process Size: 5 nm
  • Transistors: 57,700 million
  • Shader Units: 6,144
  • Ray Accelerators/Cores: 96
  • Base Clock Speed: 1,855 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 2,500 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 24 GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Bus: 384-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 960 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 355 W

The Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS2020) is a demanding game that requires a powerful graphics card to run smoothly. Luckily, for all the AMD enthusiasts, they were not disappointed by AMD as the PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is one of the best AMD cards for playing MSFS2020, offering excellent performance and features. The PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX can easily deliver 60+ frames per second at 4K resolution with ultra settings in MSFS2020.

It also offers excellent performance in other demanding games, such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Horizon Forbidden West. The PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX features a powerful cooling system that keeps it running cool and quiet, even under heavy load. The triple ringed-fan cooling solution and 8 x 6 heatpipes effectively dissipate heat away from the GPU.

Quality/Resolution Frame Rate Benchmarks1080p1440p4k


  • Exquisite VRM design
  • Excellent Cooling
  • Custom Stylish Backplate
  • Flashy aesthetics with lots of RGB


  • Might be costly for some folks
  • Does not have a USB-C Output

Overall, the PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is an AMD card that will not disappoint you while playing MSFS2020. It offers excellent performance, a powerful cooling system, and a sleek and stylish design. If you are looking for a high-end graphics card for MSFS2020, the PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is the one for you.

3. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition

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Best 4K NVIDIA Graphics Card for MSFS 2020

  • Architecture: Ampere
  • Process Size: 8 nm
  • Transistors: 28,300 million
  • Shader Units: 10,496
  • Ray Accelerators/Cores: 82
  • Base Clock Speed: 1,395 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1,695 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 24 GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Bus: 384-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 936.2 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 350 W

NVIDIA did a madness with the RTX 3090. It is simply the most badass mainstream, commercial graphics card to ever exist. It kicks butt and looks good while doing it. And with those specs, it’s easy to see how. Gamers will take full advantage of those sweet CUDA cores and the copious amounts of VRAM to power a full fledged 4K Gaming Experience better than any Xbox console out right now could ever do. We’re recommending this as a GPU to play Flight Simulator at 4K. You can enjoy the game on ultra-settings at 4K and still have the best 4K gameplay experience you can possibly get right now.

If you’re more concerned with performance, don’t worry, the 3090 totally has you covered. Drop down the settings a little and you’ll see that you can definitely still push 60fps at 4K. If you’re somewhat of a VR enthusiast, this is certainly the card to get. We’ve mentioned before how inconsistent or low framerates can be a huge hassle with VR. On paper, 60fps looks amazing. We’re all used to the buttery smoothness of 60fps on our 60Hz monitors or from our console days, but if you’ve never experienced VR you won’t know that 60fps simply does not cut it. The 3090 does a great job at keeping frames high if you tweak the settings just right, thus making it the ideal graphics card for a spectacular VR experience.

Here are some benchmarks showcasing the NVIDIA RTX 3090 Founder Edition’s Performance Capabilities for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

Quality / Resolution Framerate Benchmarks1080p1440p4K
Ultra70.3 fps61.7 fps48.8 fps
High117 fps104.7 fps85.6 fps
Medium163.6 fps147.6 fps122.5 fps
Low256.9 fps233.6 fps196.2 fps


  • Unbeatable Performance!
  • Comfortably handles 4K on Flight Simulator
  • Most VR Ready card for Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Incredibly futureproof


  • Outrageously Expensive!
  • Hard to get
  • Needs a solid CPU and other PC peripherals to truly complement it

4. PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon™ RX 6900 XT Gaming

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Best 4K AMD Graphics Card for MSFS

  • Architecture: RDNA 2.0
  • Process Size: 7 nm
  • Transistors: 26,800 million
  • Shader Units: 5,120
  • Ray Accelerators/Cores: 80
  • Base Clock Speed: 1,925 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 2,340 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 16 GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bus: 256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 512 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 300 W

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 FE might be the best gaming-oriented graphics card on the market, but the AMD RX 6900 XT is no slouch. In what is indubitably the RTX 3090’s closest competitor, there has to be something that both set’s the 6900 XT apart from the 3090 while at the same time being appealing enough to be a worthwhile purchase over it. And indeed, this AMD GPU does have a lot going for it.

For starters, the performance you get with the 6900 XT is quite similar to the 3090. Admittedly, you’ll notice that it’s just not as good at 4K as the 3090, but at lower resolutions, which is what a lot of folks might be playing at, this certainly shines through as a performance giant as much as the 3090 does. Enough about performance though, you can obviously tell that this card is pretty solid, so let’s get to some other plus points. It runs remarkably quite for a card this powerful, and combined with AMD’s world class power efficiency builds, the 6900 XT is a tech marvel in its own right. Overclocking this thing is also super simple. A couple things you need to watch out for are that the ray tracing is not nearly as good as RTX, and there are no DLSS equivalent solutions.

Here are some benchmarks showcasing the PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon™ RX 6900 XT’s  Performance Capabilities for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

Quality / Resolution Framerate Benchmarks1080p1440p4K
Ultra69.8 fps61.3 fps46.1 fps
High116.3 fps104.1 fps81.6 fps
Medium162.7 fps146.3 fps117 fps
Low255.6 fps232.4 fps187.9 fps


  • AMD’s top Graphics Card offering
  • Comparable performance to the RTX 3090 FE
  • 4K and VR ready
  • Power efficiency like no other card with these specs
  • Great for overclocking
  • Cheaper than the RTX 3090 FE


  • Lack of DLSS support (Common among all AMD cards)
  • RDNA Ray Tracing is inferior
  • Very expensive
  • Does not differ much from it’s (sometimes significantly cheaper) predecessor in the RX 6800 XT

5. EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti XC Gaming

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Best 1440p NVIDIA Graphics Card for Flight Simulator 2020

  • Architecture: Ampere
  • Process Size: 8 nm
  • Transistors: 17,400 million
  • Shader Units: 4,864
  • Ray Accelerators/Cores: 38
  • Base Clock Speed: 1,410 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1,750 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 8 GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bus: 256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 220 W

The 1440p spot is a little tough to navigate. People either like to go all out with their PC builds and throw money at 4K gear or stick to the modest yet reasonable standards of 1080p. But what if you’re somewhere in the middle? You want something that looks better than 1080p, but you either don’t want 4K or it isn’t practical to get the equipment needed to run Microsoft Flight Simulator at 4K. That leaves you here, in the 1440p space. If you ask me, this is both the sweet spot for visuals and performance. Still nearly perfect for enthusiasts and often good for starters who can manage building up from here or just build a setup that lasts them a very long time. The RTX 3060 Ti is here to service all your 1440p gaming needs.

While of course it’s a cut below the 3090 and the 6900 XT in terms of the highest levels of performance, it’s still remarkable how good it is even at High settings. Comfortably pushing 60fps on 1440p and High, you’ll have a great time as you navigate the many skies of MSFS 2020. Drop the settings even lower and you’ll find this just as usable for VR because the framerates it’s able to choke up are pretty impressive. It’s no biggie for Flight Simulator 2020, but in terms of futureproofing your rig, 8GB of VRAM might be a little offensive for some people. Also, if you’re looking to overclock it, it’s nowhere near as convenient as it was with the 6900 XT. The power limit of the card imposes an inherent difficulty with overclocking the GPU.

Here are some benchmarks showcasing the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti XC Gaming‘s Performance Capabilities for Flight Simulator 2020.

Quality / Resolution Framerate Benchmarks1080p1440p4K
Ultra46.9 fps40.8 fps32.6 fps
High82.8 fps73.4 fps60.5 fps
Medium118.7 fps106.1 fps88.4 fps
Low190.4 fps171.3 fps144.2 fps


  • Is able to outperform the RTX 2080 Super
  • Excellent, consistent performance at 1440p
  • Is a lot more energy efficient than it’s superior RTX 30 series siblings
  • Benefits from all the new RTX 30 series features including 8K, Reflex, Broadcast, G-SYNC 360, and RTX-IO


  • 8GB of VRAM is a little lackluster
  • Power limit makes overclocking difficult

6. EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 SC Ultra Gaming

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Best 1080p NVIDIA Graphics Card for Flight Simulator

  • Architecture: Turing
  • Process Size: 12 nm
  • Transistors: 6,600 million
  • Shader Units: 1,408
  • ROPs: 48
  • Base Clock Speed: 1,530 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1,830 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 6 GB GDDR5
  • Memory Bus: 192-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 192.1 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 120 W

The 1660 is one of the most iconic budget performance cards available right now. Especially given the state of the market, it brings performance and visuals to a more affordable price point. And that’s not to say that the price point makes running Microsoft Flight Simulator a bad experience. In fact, we were quite impressed with the numbers it put up in light of how demanding the title is. It can easily manage 60+fps at medium settings, and it can definitely push 50 at high on 1080p. We recommend that you don’t try to go any higher than that though, otherwise you’ll definitely get a subpar experience with jitters, stuttering and an inherent incapability to maintain reasonable framerates.

Aside from performance, it’s actually very efficient and quiet. It shouldn’t overheat or experience thermal throttling so long as you keep your expectations realistic. Once you do that, it’s a solid 1080p gaming experience.

Here are some benchmarks showcasing the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 SC Ultra Gaming’s Performance Capabilities for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

Quality / Resolution Framerate Benchmarks1080p1440p4K
Ultra27.9 fps23.7 fps18.7 fps
High51.4 fps45.9 fps37.3 fps
Medium75.8 fps68.0 fps55.9 fps
Low124.5 fps112.4 fps93.1 fps


  • Great budget option for 1080p on Flight Simulator
  • Commendable I/O offerings including DisplayPort 1.4 and 8K video output
  • Power and energy efficiency
  • Runs quiet


  • Will obviously struggle at higher resolutions and settings
  • Lack of memory overclock

7. PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT

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Best 1080p AMD Graphics Card for Microsoft Flight Simulator

  • Architecture: RDNA 1.0
  • Process Size: 7 nm
  • Transistors: 6,400 million
  • Shader Units: 1,408
  • ROPs: 32
  • Base Clock Speed: 1,685 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1,845 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 8 GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bus: 128-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 224 GB/s
  • Power Draw: 130 W

AMD had to have alternative options for the 16 prefix NVIDIA Cards, of course. You’ll find the 5500 XT to be one of those alternatives. We’re going to address the elephant in the room, you might find that the numbers don’t look as pretty compared to the 1660. And you’re right, they don’t. Performance is definitely a step down for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. There has to be some compromise when shopping for alternatives. Besides, the 5500 XT has enough going for it to warrant your attention and perhaps your money too.

You do get more memory, and faster memory at that. This card also has a solid cooling system too, so you won’t have to worry about some Hobbits trying to drop the one ring in it. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether the tradeoffs offset the pros or not, but you should definitely note that the card offers a very playable 1080p experience between medium and high settings.

Here are some benchmarks showcasing the PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB’s Performance Capabilities for MSFS.

Quality / Resolution Framerate Benchmarks1080p1440p4K
Ultra20.8 fps18.3 fps14.5 fps
High40.9 fps36.6 fps29.8 fps
Medium61.1 fps54.9 fps45.2 fps
Low101.4 fps91.5 fps75.9 fps


  • Superb thermal efficiency
  • Superior GDDR6 memory
  • Generous 8GB of VRAM


  • Sometimes struggles with demanding titles at even 1080p at higher settings
  • 14.9 Gbps Memory Cap

The Buyer’s Guide to the Best GPU for Flight Simulator 2020

There are several factors to consider before pulling the trigger on a graphics card. With games becoming more and more graphically intensive, and therefore inherently being more taxing on your GPU, it is imperative that you purchase a card well equipped to handle the latest titles coming out these days. So, what are those factors, exactly? Keep reading to find out.

VRAM (Memory)

A generous deposit of VRAM in a graphics card is pretty much a must these days. It’s crazy to think that there are plenty of incredible cards dating back to like 2013, that can still pack a punch when it comes to performance but are severely let down by VRAM. VRAM is incredibly important in the age of video games aiming for and gamers demanding higher resolutions. Try pushing 1080p on an underpowered card and see what happens (spoiler alert: nothing’s going to happen, you aren’t playing the game like that, friend). And this is just not just so you can play your game at a higher resolution, more VRAM also allows for better textures, shadows, lighting, all the good stuff. So, if you aim to have the sharpest image quality and high graphics quality, you can never go wrong with more VRAM. For MSFS 2020, we recommend the card you pick has at least 4GB of VRAM.


A texture mapping unit or TMU is one of the key components of a GPU and in turn a graphics card. A TMU performs transformation operations on bitmap images, otherwise known as texture mapping, to put said image on a 3D model as a texture. The more TMUs you have, the better the texture performance. Therefore, do not skimp on your TMUs!


A shader is a computer program used for shading in 3D or 2D images. Shaders do a whole lot for the overall graphics quality of your video game. For example, they’re able to produce the right amount of lighting and color in images, calculate rendering effects on your card quite flexibly, help in video post-processing, and a whole lot more. Shaders take a lot of burden off the CPU and instead utilize the processing power of your GPU. Thus, programs are able to run and operate a lot faster. Be sure you look out for shaders specifics on the spec sheet.

GPU Clock

No rocket science here, the higher the GPU clock the faster the processing. Sometimes you might notice that the more expensive cards might sometimes lag behind the cheaper cards in the Clock Speed department by a few hundred megahertz in frequency. That’s nothing to be alarmed by. A high GPU Clock alone will do little if it doesn’t have the help of the aforementioned elements in abundance. All of these work in tandem with each other to provide the user with an impeccable visual experience.

Graphical Requirements for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Here’s what you’ll need to run Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 with regards to your Graphic Card’s capabilities.

SpecificationMinimum ValueRecommended ValueIdeal Value
GPUAMD Radeon RX 570 or Nvidia GTX 700AMD Radeon RX 590 or Nvidia GTX 970AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT or Nvidia RTX 3090
VRAM2GB (you seriously might need to consider an upgrade at this point though)4GB8GB

That’s a few things to look out for at the very minimum. There are more terms like CUDA cores and Tensor cores that’ll be thrown around, but the thing is, they’re more specific to NVIDIA cards. Making a big deal out of them would not always good for the buyer, seeing how AMD have a significant place in the market and have earned their repute and the respect of gaming enthusiasts all around the world.

There’s more we want to say about the game with regards to its graphics and GPUs. These are important to know so you don’t go in expecting one thing and end up with something completely different. Uncomfortable truths? Harsh realities? “Good-to-know”s? Call it whatever but know this before you buy a graphics card to play Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Rocking a Near Minimum Level Card or Worse? Consider an Upgrade ASAP!

This game is really, really something else when it comes to being taxing on your GPU. There’s plenty of cards that will be able to give you a passable or playable experience, but most of them will struggle to keep up with 30 fps at decent settings, let alone 60fps! Even then, the cards in question would still be relatively powerful and could otherwise handle most AAA titles pretty well. Now don’t try and run this on something like a GT 1030 and expect a good experience.

There’s no Ray Tracing support….YET

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 launched without DirectX 12 compatibility. This already means no ray tracing for the game. In the game’s defense, if you’ve got the horsepower to run it well, you will almost certainly neither notice the need for nor question the lack of ray tracing. The game, at it’s best, is just THAT good looking. Also, there have been talks of an update coming soon that will add DirectX 12 support and possibly ray tracing with that (we bet that’s the point of this anyway).

Be Ready to Choke Up the Big Bucks for the Best Settings or VR

This game was so ridiculously hard to run at the best settings that even last gen’s flagship card in the RTX 2080 TI couldn’t crack 60fps on Ultra. It wasn’t until the RTX 30 series came along that we could cross that benchmark. If you want the best performance, know that it’ll cost you a pretty penny. Do you really even need to push 60fps on Ultra anyway? We don’t think so, honestly. Even on the Xbox you’re locked to a maximum of 30fps. Notice how we said “maximum” and not a consistent 30fps. And still, it’s one heck of an experience. Don’t be worried if you can’t hit the highest numbers cause the game can still be enjoyed if you hang around the 30fps mark.

With VR, you kind of don’t have a choice when it comes to framerate. A good VR demands a consistent, smooth framerate because of the experience. Like you need to be pushing 80fps at least, or you risk VR sickness cause the visuals would then look unnatural to your brain. Ideally, you’d stay north of a 100fps even, but since this is Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 we’re talking about, we don’t want to get your hopes up. A higher end card will be able to offer higher frame rates without sacrificing quality to the extent a mid-range card will.

Also Read: Best VR Headsets For Flight Simulator


Microsoft made one of the prettiest games on the market right now, and expectedly so made it a little harder than most to run. However, there’s plenty of viable options available to service your Flight Sim needs. Whether you’re geared towards incredible performance without compromise, or a little relaxed when it comes to visuals and fps numbers, we’ve got the card for you right up on that list. The 3090 blows everyone else out of the water, the 6700 XT is a superstar in 1440p gaming and the 1660 will offer a near unparalleled 1080p experience in its bracket. Which one are you going to go for? Well, whatever you do end up buying, we hope we’ve made your decision that much easier.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you run Flight Simulator 2020 with 2GB of VRAM?

Yes, you can. But it’s definitely not an experience we would ever recommend. Having only 2GB of VRAM sets a dangerous precedent with regards to running top titles in the future and indeed even prevents you playing a lot of AAA titles right now. Consider an upgrade.

Can I play MSFS 2020 without a Graphics Card?

No, you cannot. You’ll definitely need a dedicated graphics card to even consider the possibility of being able to run Flight Simulator.

What Graphics Card do I need for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?

You need at least an AMD Radeon RX 570 or NVIDIA GTX 700, but the ideal spec is an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT or NVIDIA RTX 3090. The recommended spec is at least an AMD Radeon RX 590 or NVIDIA GTX 970.

Is MSFS 2020 more CPU or GPU intensive?

It is definitely more taxing on your GPU. The reason is that a proper VR experience demands very high framerates, relatively speaking.