Best Laptop for X-Plane 11 – Requirements & Reviews (2022)

X-Plane 11 gameplay I can hear the geeks cheering from here. Flying a plane is fun! Or, at least, it should be. But let’s be honest – it’s not a particularly friendly hobby. Buying a full-size plane is a million dollar affair, maintenance is a pain in the ass, and learning to fly one of those requires hundreds of hours of studying from textbooks and from mentors. Is there anything out there that allows you to have the same experience as the pros without all that? Well, there is X-Plane 11.

Unfortunately, this wonderful simulator isn’t quite as popular as some other games on this list. This leads to less reviews and sales data, making it somewhat harder to tell if you’re getting your money’s worth. However, the game is highly praised among flight enthusiasts and I’ve made it my goal to find you the best laptops for X-Plane 11 right now. We’ll see if I manage to accomplish that or not by the end of this article. As for our requirements section – I’m keeping it short and sweet (pardon the pun).

TL;DR
  • X-Plane 11 is a good alternative to expensive real life flying lessons
  • any laptop can run X-Plane 11 just fine, but some are better than others

Requirements for a X-Plane 11 laptop

Major Graphics card

Minimum graphics (under $1000)

Graphics card

As the minimum graphics card for playing X-Plane 11, we should ideally aim for a DirectX 11-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with 4 GB VRAM.

Recommended graphics ($1000 – $2000)

For a recommended GPU, we’re looking at the DirectX 12-capable GPUs from NVIDIA or AMD with 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD).

Best graphics ($2000 and up)

Finally, for the best possible video card, we’ll need to reach for Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti and AMD Radeon VII. Both these cards come with 8 GB VRAM and should be more than enough to run X-Plane 11 on its highest settings.

TL;DR
  • if you’re playing X-Plane 11, aim for a 4 GB GPU from NVIDIA or AMD with DirectX 11 support
  • a GeForce GTX 1070 or better is a good start for a GPU, and Radeon VII or RTX 2080 Ti is best

Major Memory for X-Plane 11

Minimum (8-16 GB)

Memory ram

First of all, I should mention that you could get away buying an 8GB RAM laptop. Though that’s acceptable in a single situation – you’re on an uncomfortably tight budget, and you could upgrade the 8GB laptop with an extra RAM stick.

Recommended (16 GB)

If you aren’t in this situation – stick with 16 GB. That’s the sweet spot for gaming, work, and everything in-between. I might consider 32 GB to be more future-oriented than 16 GB, but if you don’t particularly care whether you’re ahead of the pack or not – 16 GB is still a considerable amount of memory for most.

Best (32 GB)

Let me ask you a couple of questions. Do you care about streaming your gameplay, keeping multiple games open, or using Chrome 100 tabs open? If that sounds like you – consider paying a premium for a 32GB model. Is there a benefit going beyond that? Sure, the more, the merrier, but it’s not necessary by any standard, and I’d instead invest in other components, such as CPU or GPU.

Major My processor recommendations for playing X-Plane 11

Processor

One of the biggest factors for a smooth gameplay is your CPU. But how do you pick the best one? It all depends on your laptop’s budget and performance needs. That’s why I’m outlining all the options to help you choose the best CPU for X-Plane 11.

Requirements

The game doesn’t specify any particular processor, but that doesn’t mean you should take any risks. I recommend an Intel Core i5 CPU or AMD Ryzen 3, both with an option for high performance – it’s worth the extra money.

Recommendations

Choosing the best CPU for X-Plane 11 is tough given so many different options. But I’ll give you my suggestions for picking up a new processor:

  • Intel Core i5-10310U – minimum required to play X-Plane 11; powerful enough to enjoy the game on high graphics settings without noticing any slowdowns; perfect for 1080p resolution screens; good for VR; not well optimized for AMD processors; pricey.
  • AMD Ryzen 3 2200U – less expensive than Intel’s counterparts, but still powerful enough to enjoy X-Plane 11 on high graphics settings; well optimized for AMD processors; subpar VR performance; subpar at higher resolutions (above 1080p).
TL;DR
  • any processor will do, but Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 3 are the best choices
  • Intel Core i5-10310U is the minimum required to play X-Plane 11
  • AMD Ryzen 3 2200U is cheaper than Intel’s counterparts, but still powerful enough to enjoy X-Plane 11 on high graphics settings

Optional requirements for a X-Plane 11 laptop

Optional Choosing a display

selecting display for gamming

What should you look for in a laptop display for playing X-Plane 11? Honestly, I can’t say. The game is visually unimpressive, and the quality of the display is not what makes it worth playing. There are other factors that you might be more interested in – framerate, response time, adaptive sync. But if you’re an aviation fanatic who wants to fly this game at homeanything will do.

TL;DR

X-Plane 11 is not particularly demanding, so any laptop display will do. If you’re an aviation fanatic who wants to fly this game at home, you can use anything. I can’t say.

2 images:

Optional How to choose the right storage for playing X-Plane 11?

Is HDD an option?

ssd hdd inside pc

SSDs are best, but if you’re on a budget, HDDs are the way to go. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on laptops with SSDs.

Picking an SSD

We’ve sorted through specs and picked out our favorite SSDs for X-Plane 11. But don’t worry – it’s not as hard as it sounds. We’ve checked for NVMe support and made sure that there is an expansion slot for upgrades. On top of that, some benchmarks just for kicks – read/write speeds, data rates, IOPS – all that good stuff. If you’re still unsure about what to get – check out our shortlist below:

  • A 256 GB SSD is entry-level and will fill up quickly
  • 512 GB is a lot more (yes, I know, twice as more) and a good starting point
  • 1 TB SSD is plenty for most people
  • 2 TB SSD and more is perfect for comprehensive collection of games, movies, and what have you.
TL;DR
  • don’t get a HDD – get an SSD instead
  • get a 256 GB SSD if you’re on a budget and you’ll need plenty of space
  • get a 512 GB SSD if you need a lot of space and/or you don’t want to upgrade in the future
  • get a 1 TB SSD if you need even more space and/or you want to store all your games on one drive (in case your other drives fail)

5 Best Laptops for X-Plane 11

MSI GF63035

1
Plenty of features for the money
Price
$650
i5-10200H | RTX 3050 | 8 GB RAM | 256 GB SSD | 15.6″ IPS Touch; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Competent processor (i5-10200H)
  • Splendid graphics card (RTX 3050)
Cons
  • Run-of-the-mill memory amount (8GB)
  • Heavy (4.1 lbs)
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Dell XPS 9710

2
Laptop with insane price and performance ratio
Price
$1140
Ryzen 7 5800H | RTX 3050 Ti | 64 GB RAM | 4000 GB SSD; 8000 GB HDD | 15.6″ 120Hz Touch; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Awesome processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
  • Competent graphics card (RTX 3050 Ti)
Cons
  • No IPS Panel (worse contrast)
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Acer Predator Helios 300

3
Great value
Price
$1840
i7-11800H | RTX 3060 | 64 GB RAM | 2000 GB SSD; 1000 GB HDD | 15.6″ 144Hz IPS G-Sync; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Awesome processor (i7-11800H)
  • Good graphics card (RTX 3060)
Cons
  • Weighty (5.1 lbs)
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ASUS ROG 16

4
X-Plane 11 laptop under $5000
Price
$3570
i9-11900H | RTX 3060 | 40 GB RAM | 8000 GB SSD | 16″ 165Hz IPS; 2560×1600
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Solid processor (i9-11900H)
  • Decent memory amount (40GB)
Cons
  • Not the best graphics card (RTX 3060)
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Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen

5
X-Plane 11 laptop under $5000
Price
$3650
i9-11950H | RTX 3080 | 64 GB RAM | 1000 GB SSD | 16″ IPS HDR; 3840×2400
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Solid processor (i9-11950H)
  • Very good graphics card (RTX 3080)
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Table of Best Laptops for X-Plane 11

LaptopPrice (approx)
MSI GF63035$650
Dell XPS 9710$1140
Acer Predator Helios 300$1840
ASUS ROG 16$3570
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen$3650

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