PC gaming has always been a hobby of mine, I've never really found that game that, for me, ticks all the boxes. I enjoy Battlefield, Call of Duty and other FPS (First person shooter) titles to a point but they have started to become a bit ‘samey’ over the last few years so its time to try something a little different.
Over the years, I have enjoyed simulation type 'games' up until a couple of years ago have played Elite:Dangerous for hours. Since this lost its attraction I've not ventured into the flight simulators - that is until a couple of weeks ago when I was asked to design and build a machine capable of running the all new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 to the max. Here's how it went:
The recommended system specifications for the flight simulator are, well, demanding to say the least. At the time of writing this page (30/9/20), the recommended system requirements are:
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 10
Processor: Intel i5-8400 | AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 970 | AMD Radeon RX 590
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 150 GB available space
Now from experience, the above specs seem really achievable for a lot of systems but in reality to get the most out of the simulator, a far more beefier spec is required.
The first thing to do is make sure you have a sufficiently large NVME M.2 SSD drive to store the files necessary to run the sim. You can install to a standard drive, but the Sim accesses an enormous amount of data to set up a flight path and having a M.2 really helps with the loading. I recommend a minimum of 500gb but preferably 1Tb as the Sim itself is a 108Gb download - that's without the add ons that are available and will start to come thick and fast now its been fully released. We've just had the first 'World Update' which focused on Japan and added tons of new content including points of view, places of interest and several high quality airports to fly to and out of.
So with the drive all done, now its time for the rest of the system. I've gone with a Ryzen 7 3700X which will be run from a AsRock Phantom Gaming 4 motherboard. This is a B550 chipset which gives us PCIe v4 for future expansion and has proven reliability. The Ryzen 7 is a beast in its own right - 8 cores, 16 threads with 4.4Ghz boost should give us the gaming headroom we need. We've also gone with 32Gb of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 RAM. The 16Gb on the recommendation I found to be a little too small given the amount of data the Sim uses, so we've update that.
The power of the graphics comes from a GeForce RTX 2080 super - we've gone for an EVGA branded model as their follow-up support is excellent. This provides the BHP to really push Sim along. It offers Realtime ray tracing and good cooling for long term use. To power this, we need a reliable power supply, so I've turned to my supplier of choice - Corsair. They do an RM850 with 80 plus Gold certification so I know well get a reliable power delivery at great efficiency. To combat heat, again a Corsair solution was employed - h100i iCue supported AIO water cooler was mounted which keeps the temperatures as low as possible. All this was mounted inside a Gamemax Black Diamond gaming case with some nice RGB lighting for that 'wow' factor. Of course Windows 10 Home 64bit was used as the operating system.
A flight simulator would not be the same without the means to see and 'feel' it. The build is topped off with a Iiyama 27 inch Black Hawk gaming monitor and a Saitek/Logitech Flight Simulator Yoke and throttle kit. With the system built, tested and delivered the proud owner can now take to the skies in arguably the best flight simulator currently on the market.
This is an in game shot taken form the new flight sim. The visuals are stunning and you can see the need for a powerful system to make it shine.
The Simulator not only excels in the visual department but in the technical department too. It uses real life live weather and ATC traffic information. This means if there is a storm in Sweden, you can fly to these coordinates and experience the effects this has on the aircraft and teach yourself to over come them - whether this is in a small 2 seat Cessna or a 787 Dreamliner!
With Realtime traffic and multiplayer capability you get to fly with the real life planes that are on their own flight path and also with other pilots within the simulator environment - a truly remarkable achievement.
New owner Richard taking the Cessna 152 for spin
Flight Sim is much more of an experience with a suitable Yoke and throttle control system
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a remarkable piece of software with hours and hours or playability. Whether its a quick trip from Shobden to Birmingham (as is underway in the images above) or a long haul trip from New York to Dubai taking in all the vistas along the way, there is so much for anyone. Its suitable for a beginner (me!) or an experienced pilot and is available now on Steam, Microsoft Store or via the link below direct from Amazon digital
Pictures of Richard and his new system used with his kind permission
Adding the flight control Yoke makes a huge difference to the immersiveness of the Simulator and in actual fact, its an absolute must to get the best out of it. The one used in the pictures above is the Logitech G945 flight control and throttle and is a great piece of kit and well worth the money. Its designed to look like the controls from a Cessna of which there are several versions in the Sim. To get your hands on one, please click the link to purchase from Amazon.
If you are interested in a system like the one showcased here, please contact us for more details and a personalised quotation. All our Sabre systems come with a 2 year warranty and backed up with excellent support and are customisable and upgradable for future compatibility.