Thank you, Asobo. Since the launch of MSFS 2020, the game has been plagued with some teething issues. Many of which have centred around excessive CPU usage, bottlenecking graphics cards and poor frame rates (especially in cities). I have been playing the game and it’s largely a success, but there have been some issues.
We all knew they would eventually fix them and in patch 18.104.22.168, we finally have one of the first meaningful patches that take a step towards fixing the issues. The patch download initially in the Microsoft Store is 676mb, but in the game, you’ll see it’s an additional 13.4gb.
Performance improvements include:
- Tweaked CPU thread priorities to reduce interruption of frame critical threads.
- Optimized loading system to reduce overall loading times.
- Optimized heavy airport scenes impact on CPU.
- Reduced the amount of GPU overdraw to improve GPU performance.
- Memory optimizations to reduce software memory footprint and improve performance on memory limited computers.
- Overall performance optimizations.
And one of the most requested fixes is the wind bug fixed in, “Fixed 225°/3kt issue with the inconsistent wind in-game.” — the patch itself carries a lot of other updates from visuals, cockpit fixes for various hardware and a lot of fixes for avionics in the planes.
One thing that immediately stood out for me is even before downloading the additional 13gb patch assets, the game itself already felt faster. The patch installation process also appears to be a lot smoother.
As you can see, CPU usage through the installer has come down quite a lot. When I originally went through the installation process, my CPU was being bashed into the wall by the installer. However, the installer appears to still be hammering the GPU quite substantially, which is surprising given it’s a static image in the background of the installer.
The real proof in the pudding is how the game handles after installing the 22.214.171.124 patch. Is there a noticeable performance improvement or was it mostly just aesthetic changes?
But, before we fly, just navigating the menus feels really nice. For settings, I’ve chosen high-end which for my hardware the RTX 2060 and Ryzen 3900x, isn’t the best setting, but let’s roll with it anyway and see what happens on my widescreen monitor.
For my first post-patch flight, I decided to take off from Heathrow, London, UK.
The loading times are definitely a lot quicker in comparison to what they were. I don’t have any detailed statistics on how much faster, but speed is partly perception and I perceive a much larger increase. The reason for choosing Heathrow is that it one of the more taxing airports in MSFS 2020 from the airport itself to the scenery of the surrounding area (London is quite dense).
The frame rate whilst taxied at the airport is quite dysmal, but I am running on the high-end setting on a relatively entry-level RTX card. If this were a 2080ti, I would imagine I would be getting substantially more frames then I am here.
But, here is an interesting thing I noticed. I wasn’t getting 30fps, but the game didn’t feel stuttery or laggy, it felt smoother. Now, I’ve attempted this route before prior to the patch and it was definitely laggy. It appears that Asobo have optimised the game for instances where the frames dip below 30fps.
However, once I lifted off the runway, I was constantly staying above 30 frames per second. And 30 frames is more than enough for a flight simulator game.
I know the frame rate purists out there will roll their eyes seeing these frame rates, but once again, remember my GPU is anything but high-end or current-gen. These frames on my RTX 2060 rendering at 3400 x 1440 resolution are impressive for me.
Looking in the resource panel, it appears once again, MSFS 2020 isn’t overly CPU intensive, but GPU intensive.
One thing that is immediately obvious, they have optimised MSFS 2020 for lower-end hardware. I mean, my CPU is decent, but MSFS 2020 does not take advantage of more than 4 cores (hopefully a future update does), but it’s clear that my graphics is the limiting factor here.
I let the co-pilot drive the plane while testing and look what happened?
It dropped me in a park somewhere, the coolest thing is I noticed there are cars driving on a road behind me (you can kind of see to the right hand of the above photo). The attention to detail in this game is amazing.