Recommended PC Specs for Running MSFS: Can I Use a Mini-PC?

Guido Deleide Guest

I'd like to buy MSFS but I have an old HP PC. Could you suggest me a commercial-suitable pc?
It is possible to use mini-PC?

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Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

From the perspective of a flight simulation enthusiast who has been around this fascinating world for quite a while, I'm more than glad to guide you in your quest for an optimal Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS 2020) experience.

Main PC requirements:

First off, let's dissect the minimum and recommended specs that will offer an enjoyable flight simulation environment. Minimum requirements allow you to run the software, but for a seamless, immersive, and realistic flight experience, I would suggest adhering to the recommended or even the ideal specifications.

Minimum Requirements:

  • CPU: Ryzen 3 1200 / Intel i5-4460
  • GPU: Radeon RX 570 / NVIDIA GTX 770
  • VRAM: 2 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HDD: 150 GB

Recommended Requirements:

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 1500X / Intel i5-8400
  • GPU: Radeon RX 590 / NVIDIA GTX 970
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • HDD: 150 GB

Can a mini-PC deliver?

The potential of a mini-PC truly depends on the model in question. Some mini-PCs might be capable of running MSFS 2020 at lower settings. However, they generally suffer from thermal issues due to the compact form factor, and often don't have the necessary horsepower to handle resource-intensive software like MSFS 2020. If flight realism and high frame rates are your ultimate goals, I'd advise against a mini-PC.

Now, let's consider your existing old HP PC. If it meets or exceeds the minimum requirements, it should be capable of running MSFS 2020, albeit with potential compromises on visual quality and smoothness. A hardware upgrade might breathe new life into your old rig. A worthy investment could be a more powerful GPU, additional RAM, or a faster CPU, depending on your current specifications.

Commercially Available Suitable PC:

When looking for a commercially suitable PC, my advice would be to seek a balance between cost-effectiveness and longevity. Consider systems that not only meet the recommended requirements but also offer a degree of future-proofing, as flight simulators continue to evolve and demand more from hardware.

A PC with specs like the following should offer a fantastic MSFS 2020 experience:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X / Intel i7-9700K
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • SSD: 500GB NVMe SSD for speedy load times
  • HDD: 2TB for ample storage

To sum up, a mini-PC, while compact and convenient, may not provide the desired experience for MSFS 2020. On the other hand, a purpose-built or well-equipped commercial PC could offer the performance and immersion that flight simulation enthusiasts cherish.

I hope you find this information helpful! Happy flying!

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