Goodbye, “Can it run Crysis” and hello, “Can it run Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020” — it’s not a secret that MSFS 2020 is an intensive game that seemingly has been unable to run smoothly on high-end hardware since its late August 2020 release.
The game released and while it ran okay, it wasn’t smooth at higher settings and resolutions, the Nvidia 2080 ti owners were dismayed their powerhouse card couldn’t achieve what we now know is impossible.
As the RTX 3080 benchmarks and reviews roll in, some of the reviewers are throwing MSFS 2020 at the 3080 to see how it handles. The Guru3d benchmarks are some of the first that I saw.
Now, the interesting thing about the RTX 3080, is that for most of the benchmarked resolutions, the frame rates were essentially the same as the RTX 2080 Ti. For 1920×1080, the 3080 achieves 50fps and the 2080 Ti achieves the same. Similarly, for the 2560×1440, the 3080 achieves 48fps and the 2080 Ti achieves 47 fps.
It is not until we get into ultrawide territory where we see the 3080 pull ahead. For 3840×2160, we see the 3080 achieve 42 fps and the 2080 Ti achieve 35 fps. A noticeable difference, but not as dramatic as the hype surrounding the 3080 would have led you to believe.
There are some things that stand out for the 3080, looking at other benchmarks and games. The RTX 3080 is only worth upgrading too if you own a much older card (ie, not a 2080 or 2080 Ti) and you’re playing at a 4k (or more) resolution.
YouTuber JayZTwoCents also did some benchmarking of his own and the results are somewhat similar.
In this comparison video, we see some of the problems with MSFS 2020 are highlighted.
One thing that is quite clear, if you own the 2080 (non-Ti variant) or something older, the 3080 is a worthy upgrade based on price and performance alone. But, if you already own the 2080 Ti, it is clear that you’re not going to gain much from upgrading and you should wait (not that you can get a card at the moment anyway).
Let’s be honest, most of us are still gaming at 1080p, 4k gaming is still in its infancy, even though Nvidia seems to be thinking forward to 8k gaming (evident by those 3090 benchmarks) it’ll be a few more years before consumer 8k gaming is a thing anyway.
One of the most known issues with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is that it is CPU bottlenecked. Those of you who have more than four cores have probably already noticed that this game won’t use more than four of them. Furthermore, only supporting DirectX 11, means that the game cannot take advantage of new DirectX 12 features which could help for multi-core processors. Although, the jury is out on whether or not DirectX 12 would fix MSFS 2020 issues or not.
While the latest patch #2 certainly helped fix some of the performance issues, it didn’t exactly solve the bottlenecking problems that plague this game and honestly, I think it’ll be a few more patches and possibly upwards of a year before they can solve them. MSFS 2020 was released probably 6-8 months too early (evident by some of the things fixed in patch #2).
If you’re thinking of buying a 3080 to play MSFS 2020 at ultra 4k, you should wait. I do believe this card is capable of 60fps on ultra in the game evident by the frame rates in other benchmarks for 4k games, but the optimisations and Dx12 support will be needed to achieve that.