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How to build the ultimate Windows Flight Simulator setup

Taking a leisurely flight is now easier than ever — even in the midst of a pandemic. You’ll just need to dig up the right equipment to make it happen. No, we’re not talking about masks and luggage. While you need both of those things to fly on a commercial flight, you won’t need them where we’re going.

You will need other flight-appropriate gear to help you take flight, though. We want you to be able to soar with the birds from the safety of your own home, not an airline seat. Microsoft has made that possible with the newest update to its Flight Simulator. Tap or click here to check it out.

You can use Microsoft’s Flight Simulator with the basic computer components you have, but if you really want to take your journey across the jungles and cities of the world, you may want to invest in some new equipment instead.

The basic requirements for Flight Simulator

You’re going to need some basic computer equipment to immerse yourself in flight simulator.

The minimum system requirements for Flight Simulator 2020 include:

  • 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Radeon RX 570 or GeForce GTX 770 
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Available storage: 150 GB

Those basic system requirements will let you get off the ground, but if you really want to take flight, you’re probably going to need to upgrade at least a few of those components.

How to build the perfect Flight Simulator setup

Graphics card

One of the most important factors in creating the ultimate Flight Simulator setup is your graphics card. You want to have the right graphics card to provide the immersive experience you’re looking for. Microsoft recommends the Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card, but these cards are a bit older and aren’t readily available.

We recommend the GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G Graphics Card as a smart alternative to the Nvidia GTX 970 to upgrade your graphics and truly create the ultimate flight simulator setup. This graphics card offers NVIDIA Turing architecture with advanced graphics and the GeForce Experience, which lets you livestream, capture and share high-quality videos and screenshots.

It’s integrated with a 6GB GDDR5 192-bit memory interface and the WINDFORCE 2X Cooling System with alternate spinning fans keeps your system at the right temp to speed up your gaming.

Multiple monitors

The best setup for playing Flight Simulator uses three monitors so that you can really immerse yourself in the flight experience. Before you start loading your Amazon cart with new monitors, you’ll need to invest in a three-monitor mount.

We recommend this triple-stand monitor mount, which can fit three flat or curved computer monitors ranging in size from 17- to 32-inches. Each arm can hold up to 17.6 lbs, and it won’t take up a ton of desk space.

For your two extra monitors, we recommend investing in this frameless monitor, which has the thinnest bezel and 144Hz refresh rate. It’s also Gsync compatible, which means there will be no screen tearing, as the frames displayed on the monitor are synced with the output of the graphics card.

If you don’t have room for a three-monitor setup, you can always opt for an ultra-widescreen monitor instead. We recommend the mSi 2560 x 1080 UltraWide Curved Gaming monitor for gamers with limited desk space. This monitor has a curved gaming display and FHD high resolution that allows you to truly immerse yourself in Flight Simulator.

You’ll feel like you’re truly preparing for liftoff with the FHD resolution, and the 1 millisecond response time eliminates screen tearing and choppy frame rates while the AMD FreeSync prevents screen tearing.

Related: Check out this blast from the past and play thousands of archived computer games

Flight Yoke system

If you want to get the feel of being a pilot, you need a realistic flight yoke system. We recommend the Logitech G Pro Flight Yoke System, which offers realistic flight yoke controls and a stainless steel yoke shaft. This flight yoke system also offers a POV Hat, 14 button controls, and 3-position mode switch to give you the option of at least 54 programmable controls to make the most of your virtual aircraft.

As a bonus, it also has a two-position desk clamp to keep your flight yoke in the cockpit, and not on the ground from hitting it with your forearm.

Flight rudder pedals

You’re also going to want to invest in some flight rudder peddles before taking flight. We like the Logitech G PRO Flight Rudder Pedals, which are self-centering, nonslip pedals with adjustable damping and footrests that adjust to fit all sizes.

These offer precise rudder and braking control and tension adjustment to suit the way you fly. Plus, these pedals use Saitek Smart Technology programming software, which allows you to configure the controls to suit your flight and space simulation gaming style.

Instruments for the enthusiast

If you’re really into flight simulation, you may also want to invest in the RealSimGear G1000 Suite for X-Plane and P3D. The RealSimGear G1000 Suite is a high quality, ultra-realistic hardware interface for your flight sim.

This suite includes the G1000 PFD, MFD and GMA audio panel, and the system connects to your PC via a USB cable — no configuration necessary. Plus, it comes pre-loaded with the RealSimGear drivers for easy plug and play operation. It can be mounted into an existing panel or used with the optional desktop stand — though you’ll have to purchase that separately.

IR tracker

If you want to fully dip your head into the game, you may want to consider investing in an IR tracker. We recommend the Tracklr 5 Premium Head Tracking for Gaming, which you wear on a hat to control your point of view by moving your head in any direction.

This IR tracker will make it feel like you’re looking down on the planet from the windows of your cockpit, and lets you know exactly where you are sitting, leaning, and looking in true 3d space. This particular IR tracker gives you a field of view that’s 51.7 degrees and has a super-fast response time of 9 milliseconds.

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