System Requirements for MSFS, X-Plane 11/12, and Prepar3D v6

Why care about minimum specs?

Before you buy a flight simulator computer or the latest simulator software, you must ensure your system will meet the minimum specifications for good performance.

Otherwise, your investment could be a waste if you buy an incompatible PC.

How will these tech details affect your experience? First, for an enjoyable sim experience, you want your simulator to have smooth frame rates and overall operation (dictated by your CPU, GPU, and RAM capabilities). Additionally, adequate storage space is crucial to ensure you can install the software and scenery. Some simulators may require adequate bandwidth to stream scenery over the internet.

The level of desired performance varies based on individual preferences and budget constraints. Whether you seek a visually stunning experience or prioritize functional training scenarios will influence your hardware choices.

Are you brand new to flight sims and want to understand how to put together your first setup? Check out our sim setup guide for a detailed walkthrough.

Or need personalized assistance? We offer 1:1 support sessions to guide you through the process.

Flight Sim Hardware Terminology

While you don’t need to become an expert, understanding a bit of computer terminology is a great idea before diving in. These concepts relate directly to the performance and realism of your simulator.

Here are the important ones to know:

  • GPU or Video (Graphics) Card: This renders the graphics that show up on your computer’s displays. A high-quality graphics card is crucial in flight sim for making detailed landscapes, aircraft models, or virtual reality (VR) graphics data smoothly.
  • CPU: Think of the Central Processing Unit as the pilot of your computer. It’s responsible for calculating the flight model (the math behind how your plane behaves in the air). AMD and Intel are the leading CPU manufacturers.
  • RAM: Random Access Memory is where your computer stores data temporarily for quick access. More RAM allows for more complex simulations and better multitasking, essential for a smooth flight sim experience.
  • HDD: Hard Disk Drive is the storage device for your files. Flight sims often require significant storage space for software, aircraft, and scenery files, so a larger HDD is beneficial.
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted over an internet connection. For flight sims that stream live data or scenery, higher bandwidth ensures a smoother, lag-free experience.

Ready to get into the technical details?

Here’s our combined table which allows you to compare the system requirements for the popular simulators on the market.

Minimum Requirements – Quick Reference Table

X-Plane Supported Video Cards

X-Plane 12

  • NVIDIA: Nvidia 900 series Desktop GPU or newer, or GeForce 965M, 970M, 980M and 980MX or newer (Second generation Maxwell or newer); driver version 510 or newer
  • AMD: AMD Radeon RX 500 or newer, driver version Adrenaline 22.2.1or newer
  • Apple Silicon

X-Plane 11

  • NVIDIA: GeForce 600 or newer
  • AMD: HD7000 with GCN core or newer
  • Intel: HD4000 or newer
Get Help
Free Guides
Get expert help from real-life flight instructors and sim experts.
Join our mailing list to immediately receive:
  • Printable keyboard shortcuts for MSFS & X-Plane
  • The world's easiest G1000 tutorial (full flight)
  • Our MSFS and X-Plane Quick Reference Guides
Later we will also send our landing tips guide, realism tips, and more.