Best Pre-Built Computer for Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2023
Unprecedented Critical Acclaim ✔️
Fan Fanaticism ✔️
Revolutionary Graphics ✔️
Runs on your average PC ❌
Ever since its release, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has been the rage across the globe, and why not? The title features mega-realistic scenery and life-like plane controls. The SIM even recreates real-time climatic conditions and lets you emulate cinematic flights. And if that wasn’t all, in case you feel lonely, you can turn on ‘live skies’ and fly with wingmen of your choice.
Microsoft’s revolutionary flight simulator fetches digitally distilled images from the cloud server. It generates a 3D representation of World features including but not limited to trees, terrain, grass, buildings, and water. It has been dubbed “the best looking game ever”, Yes! I agree. All of this sounds very appealing if you are obsessed with gaming, but it comes at a cost- it will burn your average desktop down.
You need a powerful PC!
And while custom designing your PC for MSFS 2020 may save you a couple of hundred bucks, it often helps to go with pre-built models. They have some perks:
- Suits the layman
- Customer Service
Pre-built PCs are often assembled by well-known manufacturers using stable software and hardware configurations. Hence, ordering one takes away the hassle of purchasing individual components and putting them together, which by the way requires uncannily technical expertise and persistence. That being said, the process of scouring the internet for the right pre-built rig is no walk in the park either. With thousands of choices at one’s disposal, it’s difficult to settle for one.
We can’t make the decision for you, but we can certainly help. This guide features a list of the best pre-built PCs for Microsoft Simulator in 2023. Before we proceed to the list, however, it is pertinent that we discuss the minimum system requirements for the AAA title.
Note: While technically inaccurate, the words ‘computer’, ‘PC’, and ‘desktop’ would be used interchangeably in this guide. Similarly, laptops, which also classify as pre-built computers, won’t be featured owing to structural reasons. So if you prefer gaming on the go, check out our guide on the best laptops for MSFS2020 instead.
System Requirements for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
With the game posting a digital replica of the globe, it is easy to assume that you need a super-computer to run the game. That’s not the case, however, as any decent rig with modern hardware can manage the game’s computational requirements. Cloud storage handles the backdrop of the game, so all your computer needs to do is load the map in real-time. Sounds excruciating, but it’s just another AAA title with manageable hardware and software requirements.
To run Microsoft Flight Simulator on your PC, you need to match the minimum system requirements of the AAA title specified in the table below. It’s worth mentioning, however, that a PC built using the minimum specifications won’t be able to deliver a seamless flight experience. For that, you will have to beef your PC up to the recommended combination. This would help you balance visuals and performance and, in turn, enjoy smoother gameplay.
|Memory||8 GB||16 GB||32 GB|
|Free Disk Space||150 GB||150 GB||150 GB|
|CPU||Intel i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200||Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X||Intel i7-9800X or Ryzen 7 Pro 2700X|
|GPU||Radeon RX 570 or Nvidia GTX 700||Radeon RX 590 Nvidia GTX 970||Nvidia RTX 2080 or Radeon VII|
|Video Ram||2 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|Operating System||Windows 10||Windows 10||Windows 10|
The 5 Best Computers for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Here are the best pre-built gaming computers for MSFS2020 with respect to performance, upgradeability, and value of money. All of these PCs can comfortably run the game and have been classified based on the financial commitment required.
Note: Most computer models come out in multiple configurations. In the ‘Specifications’ heading under the products below, we would be mentioning the specs of the configuration tested by our team and linked to the article, and not the specs of all available configurations of the model.
1. Dell Alienware Aurora R11: Best High-end Gaming PC
|Memory||16 GB DDR4 XMP|
|Storage||512GB SSD + 1TB SATA HDD|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super|
And we have an UNDISPUTED CHAMPION! Dell Alienware Aurora R11 is undoubtedly the best computer for Flight Simulator 2020. You could make do with a much cheaper/ less powerful rig, but if you like to splash the cash for the best product on the market, you need to buy this one. Microsoft Simulator 2020 may be an ambitious game, but this machine eats it for breakfast!
Aurora 11 has everything working for it: sleek design, upgradeability, and unmatched performance. We will get to each of them one by one.
Aurora R11 features a sleek design that’s neither too loud nor too flashy. It’s neither too dull, so you definitely feel part of the clout without overkilling it. In that regard, it has subtle lightening strips alongside oblong chassis. You get to choose from two colors of chassis: lunar light chassis and the dark side of moon chassis. Most importantly, you don’t need tools to open up the chassis. The only slight downside (to some people) is that it measures 17 x 8.8 x 18.9 inches, so it does cover up significant space.
And while you won’t need any further upgrades for a while, you can easily keep Aurora R11 up to date. The motherboard uses an Intel Z490 Chipset with a bus speed of 8 GTs, hence fully supporting overclocking. There is room for additional disks. During our testing process, we found that one could adjust two additional 2.5-inch hard-drives. Opting for a liquid-cooled version could limit your options, though, solely because of compatibility concerns. If you do, your upgrade options would be limited.
When I said, “Aurora 11 eats Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 for breakfast”, I was hardly exaggerating. The PC has been engineered with 10th generation Intel Processors. You get to choose from i5-i9, with the choice of individual components affecting the price. Most versions are acquainted with 16 GB HyperX™ FURY DDR4 XMP (at 2933MHz), but you get to choose between 8 GB and 64 GB. The higher this number, the better the performance (and multi-tasking capabilities).
As far as graphics are concerned, the PC supports GPUs ranging from Nvidia GTX 1650 to Nvidia RTX 2080 Super. The former isn’t capable of ray tracing or 4K resolution, but will still easily handle Microsoft Simulator 2020.
Alienware Aurora R11 offers superior ventilation, ensuring an 8% reduction in temperatures at the voltage regulator heat sink. In case you opt for a liquid-cooled graphics option, this percentage can rise as high as 19.5% percent. When you are playing as memory intensive as Flight Simulator, keeping components at optimum temperature comes in handy.
With all that being said, you can expect a buttery 50 to 60 Frames per second in maxed-out settings.
|Sleek Design||Cheaper Alternatives Available|
|10th generation Processors|
|Liquid Cooled GPUs|
|Alien Command Center|
2. Omen by HP Obelisk: Best Mid-Tier Gaming Computer
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700F|
|Memory||HyperX 16 GB|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060|
Omen has everything you need in a PC-upgradeability, solid performance, and an exquisite look. What it doesn’t have, however, are the unnecessary frills that pad up the price. And that’s one of the many reasons why Omen by HP Obelisk is the best mid-range gaming rig on the planet.
By now, you must have a rough idea about the aptness of Omen Obelisk for a game as intensive as Microsoft Flight Simulator. So, let’s drill into details.
HP Omen has a clean, classist design. It’s a handsome tower, with a glass side panel (optional) that lets you show off the innards. The HP logo is etched to the upper section and is backlit by customizable RGB lighting. To another hard-core gamer, the design may be a bit underwhelming, but I find it classy! The ventilation is in a criss-cross pattern. With only 5 mm of space between the bottom of the case and the vents at the bottom and only one 120 mm case fan, airflow is an issue. The GPU has a blower-style cooler. This means that although the GPU doesn’t rely on the single case fan, although it may not be cooled as well as other video cards.
While the more expensive versions are future-proof, cheaper ones may not stand the test of time. Thankfully, the PC is highly upgradeable with a spacious interior and tool-less access. There may be a couple of limitations, though. The motherboard has only 2 DIMMs. That means that you can’t expand beyond the 32GB threshold on memory. Similarly, it only has one additional memory bay. Regardless, if you want to buy a prebuilt desktop computer for MSFS2020, 32 GB memory, a 2 TB HDD, and a 512 MB SSD are pretty much all you need and much more.
Like all other PCs on this list, HP Omen features very powerful components. It is highly customizable too so that you can choose all the way from GTX 1660 Super and Ryzen 5 3500 to an RTX 2080 and 9th generation i9-9900 Processor. More expensive configurations are also compatible with ray tracing. Regardless, almost all configurations could guarantee you a silky Flight Simulator stream.
|Unmatched Power||Some configurations can be really expensive|
|Tool-less Access||Messy Internal Wiring|
|Easy to Upgrade||Needs better Air-flow|
|Sophisticated Design||Limited Memory Expansion Options|
|Reduces needless frills to reduce cost||The motherboard has 2 DIMMs only|
|Solid Build||The motherboard has 1 additional Storage Bay|
3. SkyTech Archangel Gaming Computer: Best Value Desktop
|Processor||Ryzen 5 3600|
|Chipset||AMD B450 chipset|
|Memory||16 GB DDR4|
|Storage||500 GB SSD|
|Graphics Card||GTX 1660 Super|
Unless you want to soar the skies at 4K, there is no reason for you to look past SkyTech Archangel. Be it performance or price, this Desktop has everything going for it.
Design and Upgradeability
SkyTech Archangel has aesthetics that are more than easy on one’s eyes. It features a sturdy metal chassis with tempered glass front and left panels. This way, you can look into the roomy interior that includes but is not limited to 3 RGB RING Fans. With their extreme patterns, the fans create a modernesque texture that bodes so well with the metallic chassis.
The case is roomy, measuring 17.9 X 8.3 X 16.4 inches, so you can accommodate most Graphics Cards.
SkyTech Archangel is no slouch! Indeed, it is a power-house. By combining 6-core and 12-thread AMD Ryzen 5 3600 with Nvidia GeForce 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 Graphics Card, SkyTech Archangel has some gaming muscle. Yes, 16 GB of DDR4 memory is a bit underwhelming, but it will not create a bottleneck in your gaming experience at 1080p.
All in all, at its price point, this one is a bargain!
|Best Value per Dollar||Isn’t made for 4K gaming|
|Solid 1080p Performance|
4. Cyberpower PC Gamer Extreme VR: Best Budget Gaming Desktop Computer
|Processor||Intel Core i5-9400F|
|Memory||8 GB DDR4|
|Storage||240 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660|
Given the graphical requirements of the game, your options are pretty limited if you are short on the stack. Regardless, there are a few PCs that may just suffice you in your desires. Cyberpower PC Gamer Extreme is one such PC and is arguably the best budget gaming PC.
Given its relatively low-price tag, the PC packs a punch. This is, by all means, a “killer deal”.
Design and Upgradeability
On the offset, Cyberpower Gamer Extreme is a tad bit too bulky. It weighs around 27.3 pounds, and measures around 18.5 x 7.9 x 17.9 inches. It isn’t ugly-not by a long shot, featuring tempered glass panels on the front and side. The PC also provides tool-less access to its innards for any future updates.
Packed with an Intel Core i5 processor, and Nvidia GTX 1660, this PC can handle mainstream games at maxed-out settings. Yes, 8 GB Ram and 120 GB SSD (costlier configurations come with 256 GB), are a bit underwhelming, but Gamer Extreme is by far the best PC in its price range. It meets Flight Simulator’s requirements and performs admirably well. We tested it out and were overwhelmed by the frame rate. Unless you expect to sail at 4K**, this PC won’t disappoint**.
|Uncanny performance per Dollar||Limited SSD Storage|
5. CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC: Best Desktop for Enthusiasts
|Memory||64 GB DDR4|
|Storage||1 TB NVMe SSD & 3 TB HDD|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090|
CUK Continuum Micro will set you back a pretty penny, but God will it run everything you throw at it. You can enjoy a seamless flight experience at 4K and more. The only caveat is the astronomic price tag. At its price, you can actually take real flying lessons.
When you spend so much on a PC, you don’t expect many hiccups and CUK Continuum doesn’t disappoint. Its RGB lit (featuring 6 RGB fans) tampered glass case is irresistible. The front panel features an infinity mirror, hence creating a symphony of fancy light effects. These include fading, strobe, solid, breathing, and marquee. All in all, the PC strikes a perfect balance between funky and classy.
The build-quality is mesmerizing. For instance, the tempered glass is 3-5 times stronger than normal glass. You expect that given that each desktop is hand-built to perfection, and passes through 40 rigorous quality tests before arriving on the market.
And while the aesthetics are exquisite, CUK Continuum Micro steps up a gear in the domain of performance. Its performance is literally unmatched, and you have no reason to believe otherwise! When you pack Intel Core i9-12900K, Nvidia RTX 3090, and 64 GB DDR4 memory inside a case, you mean business. Leave alone Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, this one can handle the most demanding games. Using the PC, you should be able to “crush” the 60-fps barrier on Ultra 4K resolution, which for context, is no mean feat.
PS: Do buy a Monitor that complements the performance of CUK Continuum Micro, because otherwise you’d be just wasting its nearly limitless potential.
Upgradeability and Cooling
The PC features Intel Core i9-12900K, Nvidia RTX 3090, and 64 GB of memory. So, what really are you looking to upgrade? (!!!) Nevertheless, the case is compact but spacious, so there is room for improvements (if they arrive anytime soon).
My prime concern was cooling. When you pack so much power in a case, it is bound to heat up. With its 6 RGB lit, high airflow fans, the PC suffices in maintaining temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.
|Uncanny Gaming Power||Expensive|
|Sleek Design including a tempered glass case||Very Expensive|
|Exquisite Cooling||Literally Costs a Fortune|
|Plenty of RGB Lighting||Help me! I am running out of superlatives to describe how expensive this thing is|
|Supports 4K gaming|
|Handles absolutely everything you throw at it|
Buying Guide for Best PC for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
So, we have already discussed minimum and ideal system requirements for FS 2020 and listed down the best computers for flight simulator 2020, but you don’t want to play that way. Do you?
Or do you just need to know what to look for in a PC?
Well, in that case, I have assembled a list of things to consider before buying PC for MSFS2020. Just make sure that your selection ticks all these boxes.
“CPU is the brain of the computer” ~ literally every book ever!
I may have my reservations with the aforementioned statement, but there is no denying the fact that the CPU determines how swiftly your computer completes tasks. When looking for a processor, one of the key features to look out for is the number of cores and threads. Cores and threads play a part in parallelism, ensuring multiple tasks can be carried out together. By this logic, having multiple cores ensures smoother gameplay in Flight Simulator. After rigorous testing, we concluded that Flight Simulator 2020 uses 4 threads and can still max out 8 CPUs at a time. So, steer clear of quad-core processors!
Processor speeds play an important part too. Indeed, they are the single most important factor in determining FS performance. Intel i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200 are the minimum requirements for FS 2020, and these have a clock speed of 3.2 and 3.1 GHz respectively. So, anything close to that and you are good to go. I would suggest raising that to 3.5 to prevent lag and to boast higher frames per second.
Random Access Memory (RAM) stores temporary data when your computer is performing tasks. So, the more RAM you have on your computer, the greater the number of processes that your computer will be able to perform simultaneously. While the minimum requirement for Flight Simulator 2020 is 8 GB, I would strictly recommend avoiding pre-built PCs with 8 GB RAM. It will create a bottleneck in your gaming. Even if you want to enjoy half a decent game, the very least you should be looking forward to is 16 GB. The very best PCs for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, on the other hand, can range anywhere from 32 GB to 64 GB.
The SIM needs 150 GB of dedicated storage capacity. If you are setting up a gaming PC, that shouldn’t be a problem. Also, look out for SSDs. SSDs are costlier than HDDs, but make up for the difference with their superior performance. These are faster than traditional Hard Drives, aren’t subject to wear and tear, and don’t produce as much noise or heat.
Flight Simulator simulates a 3-D representation of the Earth’s terrain by retrieving data from a cloud server. This equates to some serious graphical power. The official minimum requirements mention 2 GB of VRAM, but based on our testing you will want to have at least 4-6 GB for a buttery smooth experience. This game tests your GPU like no other, so you may want one of the newer ones.
Microsoft’s Flight Simulator will punish your GPU and CPU like no other AAA title. With the GPU and the CPUs maxing out, your rig is bound to heat up. Hence, in order to keep computer components within permitting operating temperatures, you will need to remove waste heat via an efficient cooling system. This can be achieved by overall case fans, dedicated CPU fans, or an advanced liquid cooling system. All the best gaming PCs for Microsoft Flight Simulator employ more than one means of cooling.
Desktop vs Laptop
Let not its position in the list fool you, the first thing that you should consider before buying a PC for FS2020, or in that regard, any game whatsoever, is whether you want a Desktop or a Laptop. CPU, GPU, and other hardware/software configurations are an after-thought.
If you haven’t made up your mind by now, the comparison below can help.
|Characteristic||Gaming Desktop||Gaming Laptop|
|Upgradeability||Yes||Limited or Not at all|
*A desktop is cheaper than a laptop, but that’s before you add the cost of peripherals and displays.
Performance-wise a desktop edges out a laptop by the barest of margins, but if you prefer gaming on the go, you should get a Laptop.
I do realize this is one of the grey areas- to each, his own. So, we are not going to get our hands any dirtier in this unending debate. This guide deals with desktops, but if you are interested in laptops instead, I would recommend reading our guide on the best gaming laptops for MSFS2020.
Which of these Pre-Built PCs should I buy for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?
Each of the above-mentioned PCs is a winner in its own right. While some are inexpensive, others are exceptionally powerful. All of these eclipse Flight Simulator’s minimum requirements, will conveniently handle the game (some won’t even break a sweat doing that), and are the best available product option in their price range. Hence, your choice comes down to the amount of money you are willing to spend.
For entry-level simmers, I would recommend Omen by HP Obelisk. As a mid-tier rig, the desktop strikes the right balance between performance and cost. Not to forget, you can opt for an upgrade anytime you want.