Best pre-built PCs for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024

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Microsoft's Flight Simulator is an impressive game that allows you to fly all over the world with real-time satellite data streamed in from the cloud. System requirements to get you started aren't particularly demanding, but the better PC you have, the better the game will run. This is especially true if you're looking to raise framerates and screen resolution.

Getting the best pre-built PC for Flight Simulator can help you take on one of the most realistic virtual worlds out there. While building your own PC is usually cheaper than picking up a pre-built desktop, not everyone has the time or confidence to undertake the process. That's OK.

We've tested and reviewed a bunch of pre-built desktop PCs aimed at gaming, and we can confidently offer some clear buying advice for anyone who wants to get into Microsoft's Flight Simulator. 

There are high-end gaming PCs with truly impressive performance, boutique custom PCs that feel like you built them yourself, and very affordable PCs for those shopping on a tighter budget. Here are the best pre-built PCs for Flight Simulator that we've tested so far in 2024.

The quick list

Check out this quick roundup of our favorite pre-built PCs for Microsoft Flight Simulator, as it might have the info needed to inform your final decision. But be sure to click through for more information, including pros and cons, and review highlights for all options.

Best PCs for Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2024

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Let's now take a deeper look at each pre-built desktop PC for Flight Simulator. We've used, reviewed, and/or tested each PC to get a good idea of what it's all about, which should help you make the right decision.

Best overall

Windows Central Best Award

Lenovo's Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8) with RGB in full view. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)
Best overall

Specifications

CPU: Up to 13th Gen Intel Core i9-14900KF
GPU: Up to NVIDIA RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5-5200MHz
Storage: Up to 1,200W

Reasons to buy

+
Well-built, understated design with customizable RGB lighting, lots of ports
+
Fantastic performance from high-end Intel and NVIDIA parts
+
Efficient cooling with quiet fans
+
Roomy interior for easy tinkering

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB-C on the front
-
Gets expensive in a hurry
-
Uses some proprietary parts that get in the way of future upgrades

Lenovo's Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8) is a powerful and stylish desktop PC that can be configured with a ton of hardware options. It might not be the best for enthusiasts who plan on DIY upgrades in the future — Lenovo still uses some proprietary parts that get in the way of major hardware overhauls — but for anyone who wants a premium PC that just works, it should be a great choice.

In our Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8) review, Windows Central's Zachary Boddy remarked, "This desktop hasn't let me down once, and it's perfect for those who don't want to worry about building their own PC."

Lenovo offers up to a 14th Gen Intel Core i9-14900KF processor (CPU), NVIDIA RTX 4090 graphics card (GPU), 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 2TB of M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe solid-state-drive (SSD) storage. That's a lot of power, but there are plenty of stops along the way for anyone who wants a more affordable build. Liquid and air cooling are available, and the 34L case is quite stylish (although it lacks USB-C on the front).

Read our in-depth Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8) review

Best value

Windows Central Recommended Award

The LOQ Tower is compact and subtle. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)
Best value

Specifications

CPU: Up to 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700F
GPU: Up to NVIDIA RTX 3060 (12GB)
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4
Storage: Up to 512GB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
PSU: Up to 500W 80+ Platinum

Reasons to buy

+
Compact chassis takes up less space
+
Well-balanced configs for 1080p gaming
+
Performance and thermal management surprisingly competent at this price
+
Toolless access and some free slots for upgrades

Reasons to avoid

-
Cramped interior isn't great for upgrades
-
Port selection is limited
-
Can still spend less by building your own PC

If you're in search of a pre-built gaming PC that can run Microsoft's Flight Simulator for less than $1,000, Lenovo's LOQ Tower (Gen 8) should be the right choice. While you can configure your own PC at Lenovo, Best Buy has been offering a discounted build that never seems to go off sale.

For about $650, you can land a LOQ Tower with 13th Gen Intel Core i5-13400F CPU, 16GB of RAM, NVIDIA RTX 3050 GPU, and 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. It will run Flight Simulator with ease, and you might even have some dough left over for a gaming monitor upgrade.

In our Lenovo LOQ Tower (Gen 8) review, Zachary Boddy noted that it's "a modest gaming PC with affordable hardware perfect for playing all the latest and greatest PC games at medium-to-high settings at 1080p."

Its compact design makes for a cramped interior that's not easily upgradeable, but for those just dipping their toes into PC gaming, that shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Read our in-depth Lenovo LOQ Tower (Gen 8) review

Best custom PC

Maingear's MG-1 offers deep customization with standard parts. (Image credit: Maingear)

3. Maingear MG-1

Best custom PC

Specifications

CPU: Up to 14th Gen Intel Core i9-14900K
GPU: Up to Nvidia RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5-6000MHz
Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD (2x2TB)
PSU: Up to FSP 1,200W 80+ Platinum

Reasons to buy

+
Clean build with cable management that feels like I built it myself
+
Chassis offers easy upgrades and repairability
+
Strong customer support and warranty
+
Deep customization options using standard parts

Reasons to avoid

-
Case lacks dust screens
-
Configs get expensive quickly, but not unreasonable

Although we haven't reviewed the Maingear MG-1 on Windows Central, I received a model to test out recently and absolutely loved it. Maingear is a "boutique" builder that puts its PCs together by hand and with great care. One of the only drawbacks to the MG-1 is the lack of a dust screen for the case's air intake.

Cable management is stellar, Maingear uses non-proprietary motherboards and other performance hardware for easy future upgrades, and it offers an impressive range of configuration options. You can build the PC you want, and it can all be visualized within a 3D building tool on Maingear's website.

Maingear MG-1 models range from about $1,200 to $4,000 and beyond, depending on how much performance you need. Looking at Flight Simulator alone, the base model will do a great job. Customer support is stellar, and you get a decent warranty where Maingear handles practically everything, no matter the piece of hardware that gives you trouble. 

Best compact

Windows Central Recommended Award

The ROG G22CH is a console-sized gaming PC. (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)
Best compact

Specifications

CPU: Up to 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900KF
GPU: Up to NVIDIA RTX 4070
RAM: Up to 32GB DDR5-4800MHz
Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance for more games than just Flight Simulator
+
Small chassis fits into more places
+
Doesn't overheat despite the compact design
+
Customizable RGB lighting

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans do get loud
-
Upgrades aren't easy due to the size

The ASUS ROG G22CH is sort of a gaming PC masquerading as a console. Its stylized case measures just 4.5 (W) x 12.7 (H) x 11.3 (D) inches, with large vents and even some RGB lighting included. If you lack the space for a full-size tower, this is a solid (if expensive) option.

ASUS offers up to a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU, NVIDIA RTX 4070 GPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD in the ROG G22CH, altogether far more than enough for a smooth Flight Simulator experience. 

The system's fans can get loud under load, but performance remains solid despite the compact design. In her ASUS ROG G22CH review, Windows Central Editor Rebecca Spear said, "Its powerful CPU and GPU can handle any intensive gaming tasks you throw at it while producing high FPS and smooth gameplay."

Read our in-depth ASUS ROG G22CH (DB978) review

Best for work and play

Windows Central Best Award

The XPS design is subtle, but it's a premium build. (Image credit: Windows Central)
Best for work and play

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-14900K
GPU: Up to NVIDIA RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5-5600MHz
Storage: Up to 8TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
PSU: Up to 1,000W

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, minimalist design with great build quality
+
Plenty of ports on the front and back
+
Latest and greatest internals with solid thermal performance
+
Lots of configuration options

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans can get very loud under load
-
You can do better for dedicated gaming
-
Proprietary internal layout

Dell's latest XPS Desktop (8960) shouldn't be considered a dedicated gaming PC, but Dell's wide range of hardware allows users to customize performance to their liking. I'd still recommend that anyone who plans on gaming full-time check out the other options in this list, but those shopping for a family PC with a bit more juice to handle Flight Simulator might be able to get what they want.

Prices generally start at less than $1,000 for introductory models with integrated graphics, but you'll no doubt want a discrete GPU for Flight Simulator. In that case, adding an RTX 3050 costs about $250. 

There are many other GPU options, and at the time of writing, a mid-range config with Core i7-14700 CPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA RTX 4060 Ti GPU is down to $1,400.

In our Dell XPS Desktop (8960) review, Zachary Boddy called it a "gentle evolution of its predecessor, pairing an understated design with the latest internals from Intel and NVIDIA." As long as you go into it with low expectations for future upgrades (Dell uses a lot of proprietary hardware here), it should make for a great PC for hybrid family use.

Read our in-depth Dell XPS Desktop (8960) review

How to choose the best PC for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator is an ambitious game, yet its system requirements aren't particularly demanding. That means it can run on a wide range of desktop PCs, including any of the options we've included in this roundup.

But cooking up the best Microsoft Flight Simulator experience isn't solely about processing power. We also recommend finding room in the budget for extra gear for Flight Simulator, with accessories like yokes and joysticks adding that missing piece of the puzzle for virtual pilots.

Out of all the desktop PCs we've recently tested, the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8) comes out on top. It's a high-end PC with impressive performance hardware, all in a stylized case with RGB lighting.

Our top pick doesn't come cheap, and Lenovo's LOQ Tower (Gen 8) might be a better option. At the time of writing, you can pick up a $650 model at Best Buy that will handle Flight Simulator and plenty of other games.

And if you're an enthusiast who wants a PC that feels like you built it yourself, Maingear is the way to go. Its MG-1 can be configured right down to the cabling, and it's built by people who are clearly PC gamers.

What are the system requirements for Flight Simulator?

Microsoft's Flight Simulator is an expansive game with gorgeous, lifelike visuals that can transport you practically anywhere in the world (as long as you're willing to fly). 

While the minimum and recommended system requirements aren't exactly out of reach for most gamers, having more power in your PC will result in higher framerates, the ability to play at higher resolutions, and, ultimately, better-looking graphics.

According to Steam, you'll want at least a 4th Gen Intel Core i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200 CPU, as well as either a NVIDIA GTX 770 or AMD Radeon RX 570 GPU. At least 8GB of RAM is also required.

Steam lists the recommended specs as an Intel Core i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU and NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 590. It also says that 16GB of RAM is required, but having more will no doubt help with all of the streaming textures.

All of the PCs listed above are far ahead of what's required to get the game off the ground (see what I did there?), and they're even well ahead of the recommended specs.

Cale Hunt
Contributor

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it. 

With contributions from