Best Gaming PC for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
When Microsoft Flight Simulator was released back in 2020, it blew away everyone with its graphics- simmers, critics, and most importantly, computers. The lack of optimization was evident and even the beefiest rigs boosting the best graphic cards found it overwhelming at the highest settings. Things have improved over time: the game has undergone hardware optimizations and chips are more powerful than they have ever been. What hasn’t changed, however, is that you will still need a powerful rig as evidenced by the system requirements featured below.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200||Intel Core i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or better|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB|
|Video Card||Radeon RX 570 or GeForce GTX 770||Radeon RX 590 or GeForce GTX 970|
|Video RAM||2 GB||4 GB|
|Storage||150 GB||150 GB|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit||Windows 10 64-bit|
If you intend to acquire one, you can opt for either pre-built or custom options. Traditionally pre-built PCs have had the advantage of convenience in contrast to custom PC’s flexibility and cost-effectiveness. The cost difference, however, has diluted over the last couple of years owing to the covid-induced chip shortage. So in 2023, the lack of technical savvy or patience aren’t the only reasons to opt for a pre-build PC; some pre-built PCs are actually cheaper than their custom-built counterparts.
Buying a pre-built PC may be more convenient than going DIY but it is hardly a trivial affair. With hundreds of models and thousands of configurations available, the process of scouring the internet for the right rig is like finding a needle in the haystack. We have got you covered though. With our expertise and experience, we have compiled a list of the best pre-built computers for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 so you don’t have to go through the trouble.
Note: The following guide covers up desktop computers for Microsoft Flight Simulator. If you are looking for a laptop then you may checkout another post we have covered: Best Gaming Laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
5 Best pre-built Computers for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
The best pre-built/assembled desktop computers for Microsoft Flight Simulator in five different price ranges are reviewed below. It is worth mentioning that the reviews pertain to specified configurations and not the model in general. It is also pertinent to mention that the listed configurations are only ballpark estimates of the devices you may need to run Microsoft Flight Simulator seamlessly across various screen resolutions. In case, you want to opt for a different product, just look out for a similar, albeit stable, configuration and you should be alright.
1. Corsair ONE i300 Compact: Best PC for Flight Simulator Enthusiasts
With some configurations well north of $5000, Corsair’s flagship gaming desktop is out of reach of most people. Yet, if you find yourself amongst the lucky few who can and are willing to splash a small fortune on a gaming PC, don’t look beyond the Corsair ONE i300; you get exactly what you pay for and maybe more.
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080|
|RAM||32 GB DDR5|
|Storage||2 TB SSD|
Corsair ONE i300 has a rather distinctive look. For starters, it is unbelievably compact. The 12-litre chassis measures 380 x 176 x 200 mm (14.96 x 6.93 x 7.87 inches), which is undeniably console territory. More conventional desktops, like the Omen 45L, are almost twice as big. Secondly, the Corsair ONE i300 isn’t as flashy as some of the other PCs going around; in fact, it is quite subtle. The chassis features a brushed metal design with an understated Corsair ONE logo just north of the center. The logo is flanked by a customizable RGB strip on either side which pair up to add just the right amount of snaz. All in all, the chassis is pretty eye-catching; I’d even throw in the word ‘classy’.
The minimalist design rubs off on buttons and ports, of which there are plentiful. While the power button, audio jack, a couple of USB-A ports, and a USB-C port find themselves on the front panel, others are located at the rear. They include, but are not limited to, a couple of Thunderbolt 4 ports, an additional six USB Type-A ports, 7.1 audio, a 2.5G Ethernet port, three DisplayPort inputs, and an HDMI port.
For airflow, the Corsair ONE i300 has triangular cutouts along the sides and a large fan on top. The fan is responsible for exhausting air out of the system and keeping it cool. The CPU and GPU are water-cooled so the fan does all the hard work.
To open the rig and access the innards, you will have to press the button on the rear, pull the top, gently remove the fan, unscrew the side panels, and then lift the side panels out of the housing. At the risk of stating the obvious, the process is quite frustrating and if you are looking to upgrade, often unyielding. Corsair’s ONE i300 swaps out upgradeability for compactness. You may be able to switch SSDs, but that’s often the full extent of your power.
With a 16-core Alder Lake processor, RTX 3080, and 32 GB of blazing-fast DDR5 memory, it is not hard to imagine a buttery-smooth frame rate on Microsoft Flight Simulator. We were tempted to opt for a beefier configuration of the system featuring 64 GB of RAM and a slightly more impressive RTX 3080 TI, but we figured the configuration was overkill. The recommended configuration churns out decent frame rates at all settings and outperforms some of the best PCs going around such as Alienware Aurora R13, HP Omen 45L, Origin PC Millennium, and iBuyPower’s 12th gen gaming PC.
The rig packs some of the most powerful and power-hungry components into one of the most compact chassis which, more often than not, is the perfect recipe for disaster. Corsair ONE i300, though, does surprisingly well. For the majority of our testing duration, both the CPU and the GPU remained cool. The GPU maxed out at 75oC. CPU, on the other hand, was a bit more toasty and spiked up to 100oC. That, however, was a one-time occurrence. It is worth noting that when internal temperatures spike, the fan kicks in. It isn’t too distracting, but you definitely notice.
- Sleek Design
- Features cutting-edge hardware
- Unmatched performance
- Expensive doesn’t even begin to cut it
- Limited upgrade options
2. Alienware Aurora R14: Best High-end PC for Flight Simulator 2020
What is it about these Alienware PCs that has everyone, users and reviewers alike, helplessly gushing over them? Why is any Top 10 PC list incomplete without one of the many ubiquitous products that the company makes? Is it the high-end specification, the irresistible curves, or the sheer ability to fire up any game without having to dial down the settings? Maybe, a mix of them all. If so, the company seems to have nailed down its target audience with Its latest offering, the Alienware Aurora R14. Big, beautiful, and beastly, the rig comes across as a love letter to the fans, and is consequently, our choice for the best high-end PC for MSFS 2020.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 5900|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080|
|RAM||32 GB DDR4 at 3466 MHz|
|Storage||1TB SDD + 2TB HDD|
Alienware Aurora R14 is housed in the new Legend 2.0 chassis giving it a tubular shape with an oblong face. The all-black tubular case is inclined towards the backside, making the chassis more capacious. Rather interestingly, the R14 is still lighter than its predecessors, standing at 36.4 pounds. For context, the R11 weighed 39 pounds.
Another major update to the cosmetics concerns side panels. The left-hand plastic panel has been swapped for a tapered glass one, revealing the innards. The glass panel along with customizable RGBs makes for a truly spectacular viewing that banks on a blend of subtlety and showmanship.
Aesthetics aside, the design changes have had numerous positive implications. For starters, the redesigned chassis offers a 50% boost in internal space, improving both airflow and upgradeability.
Increased internal space, in turn, allows for bigger components, future-proofing your investment. Improved airflow, on the other hand, combines with liquid cooling to keep temperatures in check.
Other positive design improvements include, but are not limited to, the introduction of an optional back cover for cable management and the return of the ‘toolless access’ mechanism. To be fair though, it is hardly toolless if you need a screwdriver.
The selected Aurora R14 configuration packs AMD Ryzen 9 5900, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, 32 GB of memory, 1TB SSD, and 2TB HDD. Microsoft Flight Simulator may be a hardware-intensive title, but that’s one beefy PC! Aurora R14 blows MSFS 2020 out of the water at 1080p and 1440p. There is a slight drop at 4K, but nothing that’s not manageable with a slight dial-down in settings.
I was particularly blown away by how cool the system stayed under intense workloads. During testing, the temperatures fluctuated in the 74-77oC range for the GPU and rarely went into the 80s or the dreaded 90s. There was this minor infraction with the CPU temperature spiking to 88oC, but that’s just about it.
The cooling, however, comes at a cost. Fans are loud, so much so that you may feel guilty about soaring the skies in the presence of other people. Nighttime is definitely worse, and while noise-canceling headphones work, Alienware should have done better.
- Absolute Powerhouse
- Spectacular design
- Plentiful ports
- Stays cool
- Noisy fans
3. MSI Aegis RS Gaming Desktop: Best Mid-tier rig for MSFS 2020
MSI’s mid-tier Aegis RS Gaming Desktop is the best pre-built PC for 1440p resolution in MSFS 2020 but more importantly your answer to how many MSI components can fit inside a case.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-12700KF|
|GPU||GeForce RTX 3060 Ti|
|RAM||16 GB DDR5|
|Storage||1TB NVMe SSD|
DesignHoused in MSI’s MPG Gungnir 110M mid-tower chassis, the Aegis RS Gaming Desktop is a stunning piece of hardware. The tapered slide glass panel and the uniquely-split front panel ensure full expression of RGB while the opaque residuals hide away the messy wiring that could potentially hinder aesthetics.
Stunning as it may be, the design is hardly unique when the rig is turned off. It’s when the PC is turned on that the rig is at its most magnificent. This could be credited to MSI’s superb lighting and more specifically to its use of fans with frosted blades of which there are plentiful-the gaming desktop has six fans split across the front, top, and rear.
Rigs with tapered glass side panels often experience problems with airflow. Fortunately, that’s not the case with MSI Aegis RS owing to the open front panel that allows the air to spill through. With as many as six fans, the outflow was never going to be an issue. The front panel can support a 420mm radiator or 3 fans, while the roof can take in a 280mm radiator or 2 fans.
The chassis is roomy and houses standard components, opening up a realm of possibilities for future enhancements. The process of opening the rig to access inner components is far from hideous. All you need to do is unscrew thumbscrews from either side. So, on the upgradeability spectrum, I would put it anywhere between Omen 45L and Alienware Aurora R14.
The only major problem I had with the design was the movement of the dust filter which created a subtle buzz whenever the machine was in action. The filter sits atop 3 fans with a very small gap in between, leading to a horrendously-annoying buzzing sound. To make do, I had to stuff a piece of paper in between and the noise went away, so it wasn’t as big a deal. MSI, though, should have done better.
The recommended configuration pairs Intel’s i7-12700KF with Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti which may not be the flagship products of their respective companies but aren’t far behind either. Intel’s i7-12700KF, for its part, is marginally behind i9-12900K and goes almost toe-to-toe with Ryzen 9 5900X. Similarly, the RTX 3060 Ti hits the sweet spot between performance and value, allowing you to soar in the sky without putting a dent in your bank account. To top it off, the recommended build is equipped with 16 GB of blazing-fast DDR5 memory, 1 TB NVMe SSD, and an MSI Pro Z690 motherboard that empowers you to overcome your chips’ performance barriers.
My only performance-related grievance is the noise. Six fans are one too many, especially when they are responsible for a persistent humming sound. To its credit, though, MSI’s build doesn’t get too loud under intense workloads.
- Powerful Hardware
- Cheaper than building it yourself
- Loud fans
- Poor cable management
4. SkyTech Shadow 3.0: Best Budget PC for Flight Simulator 2020
If you are looking for a reasonably-priced rig to immerse yourself in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 without having to cut a lot of corners, SkyTech’s offering is hard to miss.
|CPU||Ryzen 5 3600|
|GPU||NVIDIA RTX 3060|
|RAM||16 GB DDR4|
|Storage||1 TB SSD|
With a tapered glass side panel allowing you to see the innards and plentiful RGB lighting, the Skytech Shadow 3.0 supports a familiar look. It is sleek nonetheless, with accent lighting providing the much-needed oomph to a rather minimalistic front panel. It also helps that the RGB lighting is customizable, so you can switch between a host of lighting options ranging from static cyclic colors to full RGB.
SkyTech’s rig is housed in a standard black case with excellent airflow. This could be attributed to the 3 RGB-lit ring fans split across the top and rear. The former are protected from dust via an easy-to-access dust filter, so maintenance isn’t much of an issue.
SkyTech’s offering comes across as tidy and is exactly that for the most part, except for cable management which would have you lamenting your big hands. Once you get the hang of it, though, switching components shouldn’t be a hassle. The rig provides easy access to the innards, although I wouldn’t go as far as calling it toolless. All in all, no major issues as far as design is concerned.
With a 6-core AMD Ryzen 3600 and Nvidia’s RTX 3060, SkyTech’s rig offers stellar performance in Microsoft Flight Simulator across both 1080p and 1440p resolution. You will have to cut a few corners with the latter, but the rig is up to the challenge for the most part. In reference to memory and storage, I believe 16 GB and 1 TB are just about right. Sure ideally, I’d prefer 32 GB RAM and 2 TB storage, but the rig will get the job done unless you go berserk with add-ons.
- Stellar performance at 1080p and 1440p
- Reasonably priced
- Sleek design
- Excellent airflow keeps temperatures in check
- Messy cable management
- Includes only one storage device
5. CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC: Best Entry-level PC for MSFS 2020
If you are new to the world of simming and/or do not have the resources for a high-end build, only a few options would be better than CYBERPOWERPC’s Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC. Buy it today and upgrade at your convenience.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-11400F|
|GPU||GeForce RTX 3050|
|RAM||8 GB DDR4|
|Storage||500GB PCI-E NVMe SSD|
With regards to aesthetics, CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Extreme is hardly spectacular. Sure, it has a tapered glass side panel, a fair share of RGB, and checks all boxes of over-the-top gaming aesthetics, but it is borderline ugly. This could just be the opinion of one man, but that one man finds the front rectangular panel with meshwork absolutely hideous and nothing would convince him otherwise.
Fortunately for Gamer Extreme, however, aesthetics aren’t as important as performance and in that regard, the mesh design plays its part to perfection. Alongside the 4 fans (3 in the front and one in the rear), it manages airflow and helps keep the chips from frying.
The case is compact but spacious ensuring sufficient room for updates. I was particularly impressed by how neatly organized the interior was. There were no messy wiring or twist ties to hold it together. This sounds even more impressive when you take into consideration some of the costlier and messier builds on this list. So, full marks for upgradeability.
The CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Extreme is powered by Intel Core i5-11400F and GeForce RTX 3050 which may not make heads turn but are pretty decent components that would ensure a buttery-smooth 60+ fps on 1080p. The same, however, can not be said for 8 GB of memory which will inevitably become a bottleneck in your gaming experience. Over time, updates and add-ons will exhaust the 500 GB of disk space as well, so you will have to upgrade. That could be a deal-breaker, but the Gamer Extreme classifies as an entry-level PC. You buy it today and upgrade when you have the resources to do so.
- Compact and neatly organized
- Offers a good bang for the buck
- Highly configurable and upgradeable
- Memory and storage are inadequate in the long run
- Border-line ugly
Owing to the persistent ship shortage, buying a pre-built PC is the best option for most people. If you are one of those people and looking for a PC to soar the skies with Microsoft Flight Simulator, you should opt for one of Corsair ONE i300, Alienware R14, MSI Aegis RS, SkyTech Shadow 3.0, and CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme based on your budget and flight requirements. All the aforementioned desktops meet the minimum requirements of the hardware-intensive AAA title and offer stellar performance during gameplay.
Last update on 2023-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API