Microsoft Flight Simulator is a big hit for simulator games. The title uses satellite data streamed from the cloud to create one of the most realistic virtual worlds in gaming. It's demanding on PCs, and while you don't need the best GPU, having a capable gaming rig will take the game to new heights.
Choosing the suitable PC for Flight Simulator can make or break the experience, which is where these pre-built desktop PCs come into play. Here are our top choices for the best pre-built computer for Microsoft Flight Simulator and what each entails.
Ideal spec (NVIDIA)
Microsoft initially recommended an Intel i7-9800X CPU and RTX 2080 GPU for the ideal specs, updated here with an i5-12600K and RTX 3070 as a pre-build from Skytech. 32GB RAM still matches, and the 1TB SSD helps loading times.
Ideal spec (AMD)
The original ideal Flight Sim AMD specs were a Ryzen 7 2700X and a Radeon VII. Skytech offers modern replacements with a Ryzen 7 5800X and Radeon 6900 XT with 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD.
If you're aiming for Microsoft's recommended ideal specs but want to play anywhere, this ultra-capable Alienware M15 R6 laptop is a perfect fit with an Intel i7-11800H CPU, RTX 3070 GPU, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD.
Recommended NVIDIA specs originally called for an Intel i5-8400 CPU and GTX 970 GPU alongside 16GB RAM. Pick up a modern alternative from Skytech with an i5-12400F, RTX 3060, plus a sizeable 1TB SSD and the appropriate 16GB RAM.
AMD recommended specs were a Ryzen 5 1500X and Radeon RX 590 paired with 16GB RAM. Allied Gaming's Patriot model features a Ryzen 5 5600X CPU, RX 6700 XT GPU, 16GB RAM, and a 500GB SSD as modern replacements.
The Razer Blade 15 is a slim laptop available in various configurations, ranging from a decent Intel i7-11800H CPU with an RTX 3060 GPU to a beefy i9-12900H with an RTX 3080 Ti. Any option will easily handle Flight Simulator without issue.
Budget spec (NVIDIA)
This modern pre-build from AVGPC will hit the minimum recommended NVIDIA specs if you're aiming for entry-level on a budget. A 12th Gen Intel i5-1200F pairs with an RTX 3050 and 16GB of RAM, double Microsoft's original suggestion.
Budget spec (AMD)
This CyberPowerPC budget option includes a decent AMD RX 6500 XT GPU, a 12th Gen Intel Core i3-12100F CPU, and 8GB of RAM. Its 500GB SSD will soon need upgrading, but this affordable PC still covers the Flight Sim minimum requirements.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i 15 offers a respectable 11th Gen Core i5-11300H and GeForce GTX 1650 paired with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for running Flight Sim on lower settings in a portable fashion. No ray-traced fancy lighting here, but it'll play just fine.
Choosing a PC for Microsoft Flight Simulator
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Microsoft Flight Simulator is an ambitious game. Still, it doesn't have seriously high system requirements for playing on anything but the best gaming desktop PC. All you needed for the original minimum specs at launch was an AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or Intel i5-4460 CPU, Radeon RX 570 or NVIDIA GTX 700 GPU, and 8GB. All of our recommended PCs in this collection meet these requirements with refreshed modern counterparts.
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, if you can stretch.
If we were to offer a single recommendation for PCs, we'd go with the CyberPowerPC Skytech Chronos. Not only does it look sleek with loads of RGB, but it's also got everything packed inside that you'll need, including an RTX 3070 NVIDIA GPU and Core i5-12600K Intel CPU at a reasonable price to enjoy some RTX features like DLSS.
Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.