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MS Flight Simulator 2020


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Welcome to some thoughts, tips and pics for Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2020...Performance tips, real world system requirements for 4K Ultra / dense objects settings and SLI - CFR for 2x Nvidia RTS 208x  and 2x Titan RTX...

 

MSFS2020title.thumb.jpg.b18ad92eee5fde027cad3432ea4dc47b.jpg

 

The moment this sim was officially released, I purchased the Premium Deluxe edition --- and then endured 2.5 days of incredible frustration as there was this 95GB 'patch' to download...MS Azure cloud servers were apparently not up to the task of matching this gorgeous' game and graphics...But that frustration turned into 'wow' as Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 ('MSFS 2020') has become my absolute favorite app... That said, Microsoft can still drive you crazy with 'patch updates NOW' in the multi-GB range, even if you you would rather do that later, at your own time. 

  

 

MSFS2020patch.thumb.jpg.203b5dd79b313894a79dfa2715e26c80.jpg

 

A few other negatives relate to maps. The one in the general menu where your choose your location becomes an inaccurate grey blob lacking identifying detail, while in the in-flight map (activated via the 'v' key) can sometimes drop the whole thing to the desktop.

 

But no matter what,  MS FS 2020 is a fantastic piece of enjoyment - I even find it quite practical, not just because I can actually see my kitchen 😉 ... I reside in BC with lots of mountains, lakes, fjords and so forth and I can now explore beyond what I experienced on the ground in a 4x4 during many trips....I always wanted to know what was beyond the next ridge. And with the screen grab option (the 'windows' key + 'PrtSq' pushed simultaneously), it saves as many shots as you like automatically in your Windows 10  'pictures' folder...I am at over 2,400 pics now, each around 11 -12 MB .png...

  

 

General Performance

 

For a single 2080 Ti at 4K Ultra, you can expect 'decent' performance as long as you stay relatively high in the MSFS 2020 realm - typically around 40-45 fps or so. But while I like flying high over the mountains and through the clouds, I also have a thing for flying low over large metro areas with their photogrammetry. Further, I love taking the Icon A5 amphibious plane and land on remote mountain lakes, fjords, rivers and in harbours. All that can be taxing and also is the reason why I started to explore SLI options, specifically the undocumented CFR setting, that I discuss in more detail below for 2x 2080 Ti

 

For the purposes of the technical part of this discussion, I have MSFS 2020 on my workstation...a X399 / 2950X, usually at 4.3 all-core, 64 GB of 3466 14/14/14 RAM and 2x Gigabyte Aorus 2080 Ti WB - all cooled by a dual-loop w-cooling system...

 

Orca64BLueWhite.thumb.jpg.3a323a42f757dee08c3ac44544a94ccf.jpg

 

 

Re. general performance, MSFS 2020 tends to only stress a few cores very heavily, so 2950X is not an ideal setup -  even a 4.8 GHz 14nm  Skylake 6700K would probably be better suited..still, the 2950X can more than hold its own at  4.2 GHz - 4.3 GHz, not least because of its fast HEDT dual channel memory, which also seems to matter for MSFS 2020. I am also currently trying out 'Process Lasso' a software app designed to assist with high core loads, among other things. I haven't concluded my testing on that yet but on a preliminary basis, it seems to help a bit. 

 

In my opinion, 'overclocking'  the GPU helps most on the VRAM (typically, I like to be around 700 GB/s for VRAM), but with MSFS 2020, it all comes down to 'overall' system performance - at the same time, be aware that at least at 4K / Ultra + 2x 2080 Ti on full song , it is a "pig on gas watts' . With my initial settings, I saw a sustained 1150 W system draw at the wall for 2x 2080 Ti 😞...so for the rest of this thread and related pics, I dialed the CPU down to 4250 and the two 2080 Ti cards down to 2130 +- or so - about 950 W (total system)...

 

Internet Connection Speed

 

The faster your internet connection speed, the better the experience with MS FS 2020 as Microsoft's Azure servers 'pump' large amounts of visual information over to your setup.  Microsoft lists 5 Mbps as the minimum, 20 Mbps as recommended and 50 Mbps as ideal. I am on a 100 Mbps (up & down) line and that seems more than enough even for 4K Ultra and 55 - 65 fps.  Left to its own devices on 4K Ultra etc, the highest usage by MS FS 2020 I have seen is in the mid-70 Mbps range.

 

The importance of Cache

 

MS FS 2020 comes with two types of cache - a rolling cache and a manual cache. I am still testing out the manual one as at least with earlier MS FS 2020 versions, it had some issues with manual cache. The rolling cache (appears to be first-in, first out) is a great performance tool, though. In a nutshell, when you fly over a complex area for the first time, it may be a bit jerky, even with high overall fps. However, if you revisit the area, it appears smoother - as long as your rolling cache has a decent size, it will draw from the rolling 'cache' on your system for much of the information it otherwise would have to get from the server. 

 

I set my rolling cache to 200 GBs on a secondary M.2 SSD (meaning NOT the drive with the OS and the MSFS 2020 program on it). A generous cache can do wonders, IMO.

 

Developer Mode

 

MS FS 2020 has a developer mode (accessed via the main menu). That will add a small bar on the top left. It has some fun options (who doesn't like to 'teleport'?), but there also is is 'Display FPS' which is a handy little feature...apart from fps, it has all kinds of other info, including on whether your Main Thread (CPU) or GPU(s) are the limiting factor. IMO, when both culprits alternate rapidly is when your system is set up right - instead of one or the other always being the drag on performance...

 

DevModeCounter.jpg.bbb71cbe37692869bcd91be69518c199.jpg 

 

 

133235364_LimitGPU1Screenshot(1602).thumb.jpg.cfc1c2813862a66c963a8dcfc09aebea.jpg

 

 

Traffic / Object Density

 

In addition to the 4K Ultra settings, MS FS 2020 also offers a multitude of additional settings, including ground detail density for things like boats and road vehicles...setting those on high adds even more realism, but does impact performance a bit. Also, per below, too much of a good thing ? Or did the captain have an 'off day' ? 😉

 

VanCoalHB_ship_issue.thumb.jpg.6bc341f952b21af5d4cd5caa8925e94d.jpg

 

 

Overclocking & VRAM

 

As already mentioned, I just use a mild 'oc' now for the CPU and the GPUs because of the immense and sustained power draw with dual GPUs (at full PL and sustainable oc, each card can draw 380 W...). So the GPUs are typically around 2115 - 2130 MHz, PL at 110% while VRAM is around 700 GB/s...VRAM seems to be important for MS FS 2020, IMO.

 

With 4K Ultra / Dense, VRAM usage can also go quite high...there obviously is a difference between allocated' VRAM and actual VRAM usage, but the next pic tells an interesting story...all three shots were taken in a single session, but with varying degrees of complexity. The fact that the VRAM allocation increased to well over 10 GB is telling...

 

VramMSFS2020_4K_CFR.thumb.jpg.33df31a5518e5dc96329b3c6b62333c8.jpg 

 

 

MSFS 2020 and SLI-CFR

 

As suggested, a regular single 2080 Ti is just fine for MSFS 2020, as long as you stay high enough above the scenery, i.e. above metro areas. But s soon as you go 'low', especially over one of MSFS 2020s 341 or so photogrammetry cities, a single 2080 Ti starts to show its limitations along with a GHz-limited CPU, dropping into the high 20s FPS. Now, MSFS 2020 is not a FPS game - instead a (steady) 30 FPS is ok for this sim...but 'more is better', so what about SLI ?

 

Regular SLI in MSFS 2020  - i.e. REGULAR NVl-SLI AFR or AFR 2 (AFR = Alternate Frame Rate) is basically useless in MSFS 2020 - but NVL -SLI CFR is a different beast and adds a lot of additional performance for 2x RTX 2080x or 2x RTX Titan cards.

 

SLI-CFR

 

So what exactly is CFR, and why does it matter ? CFR is sometimes called 'tile' or ' checkerboard' frame rendering (and related to yet another mGPU rendering method called SFR or split-frame rendering). Instead of alternate frames, CFR divides a scene into multiple boxes each handled by one of the GPUs. The good part about CFR is that it doesn't really do micro-stutter...

 

While good old 'regular' SLI AFR seems to be on the way out, future GPU gens that go 'multi-chiplet', 'tile' etc will need some form of CFR-type driver. Intel btw has already shown a multi-tile version of their upcoming Xe GPU, and NVidia (and likely AMD) are also rumoured  to be working on this mGPU approach.

 

Still, the app must have some support for NVL-SLI-CFR, and there are a few examples such as several Crytek games, Metro Exodus -and MS FS 2020. The latter's support is certainly not perfect, but it works  well enough to be worth the extra trouble for setup.

 

Now, NVidia quietly enabled NVL-SLI-CFR in its drivers from late November 2019 to the end of May 2020, and you need one of those drivers, as well as a recent version of NVdia Inspector. That said,  NVL-SLI-CFR was never officially documented and for some strange reason, NVidia disabled the (hidden) CFR option shorty before their Ampere release...this does mean that here's a big drawback with NVL-SLI-CFR as you won't be able to use the latest NVidia drivers but instead have to rely on those a few months old (unless Nvidia changes its mind again and reintroduces the CFR option). 

 

Speaking of Ampere, there are just a few 3090 MSFS 2020 vids out there, never mind that any kind of performance evaluation with MSFS 2020 depends heavily on not only all the 4K eye candy being enabled, but also how high you fly...  But judging what I have seen re. MS FS 2020 and a 3090, 2x 2080 Tis / CFR are 'very competitive' with a single 3090... 2x 2080 Ti even with just a mild oc can exceed 70 FPS high up in 4K / Ultra and still hit high 40s to low 50s when low over complex scenes...

 

...then again, if NVidia and/or Microsoft decide to offer an update with NVL-SLI enabled, TWO 3090s might just be the thing you need for MS FS 2020 8K / Ultra 😉

 

In any case, here are the NVidia Inspector settings you need once you installed one of the aforementioned drivers

  

nvl2sizedU.thumb.jpg.f1da97d63399921017fc59f8d9971200.jpg 

 

Valley70fps.thumb.jpg.f9f15cfb3617ca3f2779ca2c7fe85be2.jpg

 

 

If you have correctly enabled NVL-SLI-CFR on your RTX 208x or RTX Titan, you will have a bit of a surprise when the first splash screens for MS FS 2020 appear while loading the sim...

 

352210419_CFRScreenScreenshot(118).thumb.jpg.149a53b003593a7b10596ece3e1e937b.jpg 

 

 

Now you know why CFR is sometimes called 'checkerboard' rendering...but no worries - by the time you get to the main menu after all the splash screens, everything will be as it should be. Then the fun can begin...

 

Happy landings !

 

1370788637_BlackTusk1Screenshot(225).thumb.jpg.bd7ff8e6e8151caa8164b11cf20daec4.jpg

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by J7SC_Orion
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  • J7SC_Orion changed the title to MS Flight Simulator 2020

...a quick pic quality test of 4K PNG converted to 4K JPG...if it doesn't enlarge by double-clicking on the image, please choose 'open link in new tab'

 

Screenshot (1740).jpg

  
 

..also found this YouTube vid by SPECTRE_01...hold on to your lunch ;-)

 

https://youtu.be/iptZ6S_SKeY?t=192 (sorry, still trying to figure out how to link a YouTube here 😬 )

Edited by J7SC_Orion
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Posted (edited)

...you won't regret it...other than you'll spend way too much time on it, and then want to buy even faster hardware for 8K MS FS 2020, because the graphics are out of this world 🙂

 

source

  

MSFS2020_8k_TweakTown.jpg.91747d455e43a004007665cfcb2c4b66.jpg

Edited by J7SC_Orion
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16 hours ago, J7SC_Orion said:

...you won't regret it...other than you'll spend way too much time on it, and then want to buy even faster hardware for 8K MS FS 2020, because the graphics are out of this world 🙂

 

source

  

MSFS2020_8k_TweakTown.jpg.91747d455e43a004007665cfcb2c4b66.jpg

Yowzer !

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VR for this has just entered beta which is neat. It is closed beta and you do have to sign an NDA though. It's also just available for Windows Mixed Reality headsets for now. Availability to other headsets is coming soon™.

 

Minimum requirements are pretty high which is expected.

  • Windows 10 update 1909
  • DX11
  • i5 4460/R3 1200
  • GTX 1080 or AMD equivalent with 8GB VRAM
  • 16GB system memory
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5 hours ago, Andrew said:

VR for this has just entered beta which is neat. It is closed beta and you do have to sign an NDA though. It's also just available for Windows Mixed Reality headsets for now. Availability to other headsets is coming soon™.

 

Minimum requirements are pretty high which is expected.

  • Windows 10 update 1909
  • DX11
  • i5 4460/R3 1200
  • GTX 1080 or AMD equivalent with 8GB VRAM
  • 16GB system memory

I actually think those minimum specs are below what I was expecting for minimum, good to see that initially it looks like this will allow a larger crowd to enjoy this in VR.

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40 minutes ago, ENTERPRISE said:

I actually think those minimum specs are below what I was expecting for minimum, good to see that initially it looks like this will allow a larger crowd to enjoy this in VR.

The main issue is the GPU requirement. I think AMD still don't have a mainstream card that can compete with a 1080 and the 2070 performance outside of real time ray tracing are very close according to benchmarks on Anandtech.

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Considering VR usually requires at least 90FPS+, I wonder how it will work with flight simulator 2020. I get about 30-40FPS in at 80% 4K on high. 

Edited by UltraMega
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29 minutes ago, Andrew said:

The main issue is the GPU requirement. I think AMD still don't have a mainstream card that can compete with a 1080 and the 2070 performance outside of real time ray tracing are very close according to benchmarks on Anandtech.

True, assuming you are on the green team, you may well have a smoother ride of it.

22 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Considering VR usually requires at least 90FPS+, I wonder how it will work with flight simulator 2020. I get about 30-40FPS in at 80% 4K on high. 

Out of interest what system do you have ? Just wondering with respect to the performance you are getting :)

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45 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Considering VR usually requires at least 90FPS+, I wonder how it will work with flight simulator 2020. I get about 30-40FPS in at 80% 4K on high. 

I don't know about non-SteamVR headsets, or even the Vive, but the Index does a very good job at smoothing out frame rates and simulating 90fps to make the games playable without making you retaste your breakfast. I play ETS2 and ATS in VR at 30fps in cities, 50fps on highways in VR. For me, it only gets really bad in some areas of some cities where the FPS drops below 30. I imagine it's going to be the same thing with FS2020. The real test would be Chicago o'Hare. That airport will cripple even the best computers.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Andrew said:

I don't know about non-SteamVR headsets, or even the Vive, but the Index does a very good job at smoothing out frame rates and simulating 90fps to make the games playable without making you retaste your breakfast. I play ETS2 and ATS in VR at 30fps in cities, 50fps on highways in VR. For me, it only gets really bad in some areas of some cities where the FPS drops below 30. I imagine it's going to be the same thing with FS2020. The real test would be Chicago o'Hare. That airport will cripple even the best computers.

 

That's the whole reason why I got into NVL-CFR for 2x 2080 Tis...I tend to fly really low over major metro areas (if not land with the amphibious Icon A5 on a river or bay), and the extra card works to keep fps up.

 

Re. the aforementioned hitches in maps, that just seems to have become an issue (at least on my system) since the latest patch; worked just fine before.

 

Anyway, a few Tokyo screenies for you to enjoy:

 

858704854_TokyoringScreenshot(1962).thumb.jpg.74e9dc0a12eea205fb514188d8d5fea9.jpg

 

25550948_TokyoSKTrScreenshot(1947).thumb.jpg.b7e66cf8e38fe02272674b926b454a9d.jpg

 

1541232059_TokyoNightScreenshot(1108).thumb.jpg.d27335b417390554aa4fa5a05294bbaf.jpg

Edited by J7SC_Orion
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...testing out 'Process Lasso' which is supposed to help with smoothing out MSFS 2020 'main thread limitation' issues 

 

below...back to Canada, this time to a little place on the Lake Superior N.Coast...checking out the planes at the airport (right by the main highway), then flying into a Storm, and finally, getting some real N.Canadian weather going...

 

1068835530_MaratAirportHiWyScreenshot(1968).thumb.jpg.9d57d025811eff74ffa6607bb01a905b.jpg

 

   1722397444_MaratStormScreenshot(1983).thumb.jpg.d3f1d0130a8c0dc9c64de75e7cf6bef1.jpg

 

  386877613_MaraSnow1Screenshot(1985).thumb.jpg.b0f1ab212dc2255c957915e475f4794e.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

More 4K Ultra pics

 

Some night flying in Alaska...

 

481286765_Denali2UScreenshot(1191).thumb.jpg.f8074a97b8b3975aa1cf2185d9a92c90.jpg

 

 

Over to New York...

 

1536845602_NYBrooklynBridgeScreenshot(1288).thumb.jpg.a62482868747b06ed7cb78138bc9690c.jpg

 

1955038109_NYboat1Screenshot(1257).thumb.jpg.9e7edc54b3d7fe28b9130429e449b83f.jpg

 

1182885531_NYChryslerScreenshot(1295).thumb.jpg.74283f2a7039bc505cd8a9da4999eb49.jpg

 

511906524_NY1Screenshot(1236).thumb.jpg.5e4fe77f144cd59763c60d503a59ff88.jpg

 

 

Back home to Canada...

 

Northern Lake Superior (still snowing 😉 )

 

1863823596_MaraThonSnowBScreenshot(1988).thumb.jpg.86b3a0f6371b6d490c13398755bf6f61.jpg

 

 

Back home in BC...entering the Lower Mainland at Hope 

 

1725261693_Hope1Screenshot(1680).thumb.jpg.677b15420859211590e54899ad9e44ff.jpg

 

Vancouver again... 

 

1177070436_VancouverEScreenshot(1722).thumb.jpg.57bb1dc0ced6e433a53e453a3f62cab1.jpg

 

1692999548_VancouverLKDWNScreenshot(1739).thumb.jpg.c0cd53282c500396bcf01a342c20fa06.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by J7SC_Orion
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1 minute ago, ENTERPRISE said:

Waiting on Rig Creator :p but Fyi im on a temp Nvidia 1070 lol

My spare pc is a 2600k oced and a 1070ti, game runs fine on that. Pretty sure I set it to high @ 1440p and the performance is fine. You should be able to play it just fine with a 1070, just not in 4k.

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1 hour ago, UltraMega said:

My spare pc is a 2600k oced and a 1070ti, game runs fine on that. Pretty sure I set it to high @ 1440p and the performance is fine. You should be able to play it just fine with a 1070, just not in 4k.

Maybe I should give it a go then and stop putting it off haha

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On 10/14/2020 at 2:49 PM, ENTERPRISE said:

Maybe I should give it a go then and stop putting it off haha

 

Yeah, instead of putting it off, take off (into the skies !) Also, you can play 'you sank my battle cruise ship' with it

(BTW, I completely redid the 1st post in this thread and added some techie info)

 

VanCoalHB_ship_issue.thumb.jpg.a865e623f98dba50bc65cfeaa896c27c.jpg

Edited by J7SC_Orion
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I played a little today and it looks like they added a few new landing challenges and a bush trip mode. Nice additions, though the bush trips seem to be pretty long so you will need a good chunk of time to finish one. 

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