Welcome to the ultimate guide for finding the best laptop for Microsoft Flight Simulator. As an avid aviation enthusiast and laptop expert, I understand the unique challenges and requirements that come with running this highly demanding simulation on a portable machine. For a seamless and immersive flying experience, it is essential to have a laptop that can handle the complex graphics and intricate details that Microsoft Flight Simulator offers.
My selection process for the best laptop for this flight simulation game involved reviewing an extensive spreadsheet of recent laptop releases, comparing specs, and analyzing both professional and user-generated reviews. To ensure an optimal gaming experience, I've focused on laptops that can handle high-quality settings and maintain steady frame rates, making your virtual piloting adventures as realistic and enjoyable as possible.
As a Microsoft Flight Simulator enthusiast, you'll appreciate the importance of a powerful GPU, a high-resolution display, and ample storage for the ever-expanding scenery and aircraft add-ons. In this guide, we'll explore the top laptops that meet these requirements while also considering factors like portability, build quality, and price ranges. By the end of this guide, you'll have a clear understanding of which laptop is the perfect co-pilot for your Microsoft Flight Simulator journey.
Choosing the right processor for Microsoft Flight Simulator
We're talking about the second most important component in your gaming rig. Second only to your graphics card, but often overlooked by gamers looking for an excellent performance. To put it bluntly, if you want to take full advantage of your computer's capabilities, the processor is what you need to pay attention to.
Microsoft Flight Simulator can be quite CPU-intensive – so I recommend at least a Intel i3-1005G1 or an Intel Core i5-10300H. The game will not work well on low-end processors. I'd also suggest upgrading to Intel i5-10500H for smoother gameplay and higher FPS in multiplayer mode.
That's not enough information! I hear you, reader. Let me list my suggestions for choosing the best laptop processors for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator:
- Intel i3-1005G1 – minimum required CPU
- i5-10300H – perfect mid-range CPU for gaming; reasonably priced; no additional considerations needed;
- Intel i5-10500H – high-end CPU
The right graphics card
Choosing the best graphics card for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator is an easy task. That's because all you need is a decent integrated graphics chip, or better yet, a dedicated GPU in the form of GTX 1660 Ti. It doesn't matter what the price bracket is.
Minimum graphics (under $1000)
I can't think of any sensible scenario in which integrated graphics would be good enough for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator. Maybe that's just me? If you're working with $1000 or less, I advise you to go for a GTX 1650 and pray for the best.
Recommended graphics ($1600 – $2500)
If you're in this price range, my suggestion is to go for GTX 1660 Ti or RX 5600M. Both cards should be able to provide enough horsepower to handle Microsoft Flight Simulator on high settings without breaking a sweat. Just keep in mind that if your budget goes over $2000, there are better alternatives out there like RTX 2070 Super.
Best graphics ($2500 and up)
To get the best possible experience with Microsoft Flight Simulator, I recommend RTX 2070 Super or one of its slightly more expensive brothers – RTX 3070 and RTX 3080. You'll have no problem reaching 50 FPS on high settings.
- integrated graphics are not good enough for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator
- GTX 1650 is the minimum for $1000 or less
- GTX 1660 Ti or RX 5600M are the recommended GPUs for $1600 – $2500
- RTX 2070 Super or one of its slightly more expensive brothers are the best GPUs for $2500 and up
Choosing the right memory for Microsoft Flight Simulator
For Flight Simulator, there are two specific scenarios in which the minimum amount of RAM will suffice. One is if you are using it as a supplement to an offline simulator and have no intention of connecting to the Internet. The other is if you want to use Flight Simulator solely for its photo-realistic scenery, since the game itself is not demanding on the system.
Minimum (8 GB)
If you are just looking for an offline simulator, then 8GB should be enough. There are two situations in which this will be enough. One is if you only plan on using it for its scenery, which doesn't demand much of your system. The other is if you plan on using it as a supplement to another offline simulator and don't intend to connect to the Internet. If you plan on doing anything else with it, or plan on playing online multiplayer, then 16GB should be your bare minimum.
Recommended (16 GB)
I would recommend 16GB RAM for all games that require more than just scenery, like Microsoft Flight Simulator. These games will not only demand more from your system, but also use more RAM for their own purposes. You can also play these games online with other people, so they'll need even more RAM than single player games do. I would recommend at least 16GB so that you don't have any issues with getting stuttering or other lagging during gameplay sessions or multiplayer sessions with friends.
Best (32 GB)
You might also want to consider 32GB RAM for your computer if you're looking for something that will last through multiple generations of Flight Simulator updates and will still be able to handle modern demands for graphics cards and CPUs by 2020 or 2030. The more memory your computer has available now, the less likely it will need upgrades in the future.
- Flight Simulator is not demanding on system resources
- you can play it offline with 8 GB RAM
- you can play it online with 16 GB RAM
- you can play it online with 32 GB RAM
The best storage for Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2021
Playing Microsoft Flight Simulator? It's not like we're playing, like, anything else. But you know, this ain't easy and we can't be messing around with storage space – we need plenty of it. We don't want to make the wrong decision and regret it later. I'm here to help.
Is HDD an option?
I'll be frank with you – HDDs are out of the question. You might want to consider buying a laptop with an HDD if you're on a tight budget, but that's just about it. We can do without HDDs in our high-end gaming laptops – SSDs are a lot more expensive but a much better choice in terms of performance and longevity. That's why I recommend you to stay away from them if you have a higher budget, and only buy one as a backup measure for less pricey laptops where other specs are crucial.
Picking an SSD
I'll get straight to the point – get yourself a laptop with an NVMe PCI-e SSD over one with SATA connection. If you've got some cash left after that, get one with a lot of RAM for smoother gameplay and less stuttering when loading larger textures. That's pretty much it for choosing your laptop storage capacity for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator!
- get an NVMe PCI-e SSD over a SATA connection
- get a laptop with a lot of RAM for smoother gameplay and less stuttering when loading larger textures
What's the best display for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator?
A gamer's display needs are as diverse as their interests. A few parameters that need to be addressed: resolution, refresh rate, and panel type. It's best to ask yourself what is most important to you.
If you're not an avid player – 1080p should suffice. I would go with 1440p if you're looking for a richer color palette. And 4k if you want an immersive, gorgeous experience. For competitive gamers – 1080p or 1440p should do nicely, but for casual players or flight simmers – 4k is overkill.
For flight simmers, I wouldn't worry about it too much. But I'll say this: IPS displays typically offer higher refresh rates than TN panels. And, of course, they come with many other benefits too. If you want the best experience in Microsoft Flight Simulator – IPS is your best bet for a display type.
Panel and image quality
As always, there are three panel types in modern laptops: TN, IPS, and OLED/AMOLED. TN panels are the cheapest option, but have lower quality displays with slower response times and poorer color accuracy than IPS panels. TN screens are primarily used in budget laptops because they cost less to manufacture – so while it might be tempting to go for a cheaper laptop – I'd recommend against it if your intention is to play flight sims on the highest setting possible without compromising the graphics' fidelity at all costs (e.g., low framerate). TN panels will do just fine if that's not your goal though; it's more about preference than performance in this case (TN panels provide lower input latency).
- go with 1080p if you're not an avid gamer or flight simmer
- 1440p is ideal for color fidelity and richness in flight sims
- 4k is only necessary for competitive players and people who are really into flight sims
- TN panels are fine for casual players and people who are not into flight sims
Flight Simulator FAQs
Q: What are the recommended laptop specs for Microsoft Flight Simulator?
To have an optimal experience playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop, we recommend the following specifications:
- Display: FHD (Full HD) with IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology for better color accuracy and wider viewing angles.
- Processor: At least an Intel Core i5-10300H or equivalent AMD Ryzen processor.
- Memory: A minimum of 16 GB RAM to ensure smooth gameplay and multitasking.
- Graphics: For medium settings, a GTX 1660 Ti or an equivalent GPU is recommended.
- Storage: It is advisable to have a minimum of 512 GB SSD for quick loading times and ample storage for the game files.
Can I play Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop?
Yes, you can definitely play Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop. However, it's essential to have a laptop with the recommended specifications mentioned above to ensure a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience.
What is the best laptop for Microsoft Flight Simulator?
The best laptop for Microsoft Flight Simulator would depend on your budget and requirements. Here are a few options to consider:
- Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 16 ($700): This laptop offers a good balance between performance and price, making it an excellent choice for gamers on a budget.
- HP Victus ($850): With its powerful processor and graphics card, the HP Victus provides a solid gaming experience for flight simulator enthusiasts.
- Dell G15 (RECOMMENDATIONS_ALL,230): The Dell G15 is highly recommended for its exceptional performance and reliability.
- ASUS ROG Strix G15 (RECOMMENDATIONS_ALL,860): This laptop is designed with gaming in mind and offers excellent performance for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
- HP Omen 17 ($3,470): If you're looking for a high-end gaming experience, the HP Omen 17 provides top-of-the-line specifications and features.
How much RAM do I need to run Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop?
To run Microsoft Flight Simulator smoothly on a laptop, we recommend having a minimum of 16 GB of RAM. This amount of memory allows for seamless gameplay and efficient multitasking while running the simulator.
Is an i5 processor enough for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop?
An i5 processor, such as the i5-10300H, is sufficient for playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop. However, if you want a better gaming experience with higher graphics settings, consider opting for an i7 or higher-end processor.
What graphics card do I need for Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop?
For Microsoft Flight Simulator on a laptop, the recommended graphics card depends on the desired graphics settings:
- For medium settings, a GTX 1660 Ti or an equivalent GPU is recommended, which should provide around 40 FPS.
- For high settings, an RTX 2070 Super or a similar high-end graphics card is suggested, which should offer around 50 FPS.
Can a gaming laptop run Microsoft Flight Simulator?
Yes, a gaming laptop is well-suited for running Microsoft Flight Simulator. Gaming laptops are equipped with powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, and ample memory, making them capable of handling the demanding requirements of the flight simulator.
How to optimize my laptop for Microsoft Flight Simulator?
To optimize your laptop for Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can follow these steps:
Keep your graphics drivers up to date. Visit the manufacturer's website or use a third-party software tool to ensure you have the latest drivers installed.
Close unnecessary background applications to free up system resources.
Adjust the in-game graphics settings according to your laptop's capabilities. Lowering some settings, such as texture quality or shadow detail, can improve performance.
Ensure your laptop is adequately cooled to prevent thermal throttling. Consider using a cooling pad or elevating the laptop to improve airflow.
Regularly update the game itself to benefit from performance optimizations and bug fixes released by the developers.
Are there any laptops specifically designed for Microsoft Flight Simulator?
While there are no laptops specifically designed for Microsoft Flight Simulator, gaming laptops with the recommended specifications mentioned above are well-suited for running the game. These laptops are designed to handle demanding games and provide a smooth gaming experience, making them suitable for Microsoft Flight Simulator as well.
Is a 512GB SSD enough for installing and running Microsoft Flight Simulator?
A 512GB SSD is sufficient for installing and running Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, considering the large size of the game files (approximately 100 GB), it is advisable to have additional storage space to accommodate future updates and expansions. If possible, opting for a 1 TB SSD would provide more room for the game and other files without the need for constant storage management.
5 Best Laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Strong entry-level gaming performance
- Solid productivity performance
- Inexpensive for a gaming laptop
- Subpar display and webcam quality
- Excessive pre-installed software
- Single-channel RAM in the review unit
The HP Victus 15 provides solid gaming performance at a budget-friendly price, making it a good entry-level gaming laptop. However, sacrifices in display quality, webcam, and excessive pre-installed software are notable downsides.
- Strong entry-level gaming performance
- Solid productivity performance
- Subpar display and webcam
- Excessive pre-installed software
- Excellent price
- Good gaming performance
- Can double as a work laptop
- Three color choices
- Bad battery life
- Rather plain design
- Weak GPU yields unsatisfactory frame rates
- Screen only so-so despite 144Hz refresh rate
The HP Victus 15 is a budget gaming laptop that offers good gaming performance at an excellent price. It can also double as a work laptop. However, it falls short in terms of battery life and has a rather plain design.
- Delivers smooth gameplay at 1080p.
- Fast SSD.
- No variable refresh rate (VRR) to reduce screen tearing.
- Slow response time on the display causing ghosting.
- Superb 1080p gaming
- Strong productivity capabilities
- Great price
- Poor webcam, touchpad, and speakers
- Some games appear washed out on display
The ASUS TUF F15 FX507VU-ES53 is a powerful budget gaming laptop that delivers superb 1080p gaming performance and strong productivity capabilities at a great price. However, it does have some drawbacks, including a poor webcam, touchpad, and speakers, as well as some games appearing washed out on the display.
- Solid processor (i9-12900HX)
- Great graphics card (RTX 3080 Ti)
- Middle-of-the-road memory amount (32GB)
- Sturdy construction
- Fast Wi-Fi 6E
- Excellent gaming performance with Core i9-12900H and RTX 3070 Ti
- Wide color gamut coverage with Dolby Vision support
- Limited display angle
- No biometric login
- Heavy SSD throttling during continuous reads
- High heat and noise emissions under load
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 G533 offers a solid construction, fast Wi-Fi, and excellent gaming performance with its Core i9-12900H and RTX 3070 Ti. However, it falls short in areas such as limited display angle, lack of biometric login, SSD throttling, high heat and noise emissions, and below-average battery life.
- Fantastic value
- Top-tier gaming performance
- Middling screen
- A bit heavy
- QHD display with 165 Hz
- Expandable working memory
- Thunderbolt 4 with Power Delivery
- Individual key illumination
- Slightly below-average performance for a RTX 4080
- High noise level
- Clattery case
- Meager battery life
The HP Omen 17 is a powerful gaming laptop that offers a QHD display with a high refresh rate, expandable memory, and Thunderbolt 4 support. It also has individual key illumination and under-volting capabilities. However, it falls slightly short in terms of performance compared to other laptops with similar graphics cards, and it has a high noise level and below-average battery life.
- QHD display with 165 Hz
- Advanced Optimus
- Slightly below
Table of the Best Laptops for Microsoft Flight Simulator
|HP Victus 15||$710|
|HP Victus 15||$880|
|ASUS TUF F15 FX507VU-ES53||$1,100|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar||$2,050|
|HP Omen 17||$4,290|