How to Configure MSFS for VR

This guide will help you to configure and optimise a Windows PC for use with the Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) in VR. The screenshot below came from a VR flight using a GTX 1070. It is possible to get good results with the right settings.

The correct settings provide great VR textures, weather effects and recording capability.

Test Notes

To exit MSFS instantly press ALT+F4 – during testing this will be very useful! The only way to be sure that any of these settings will be of any value to you is to test them methodically on your own system.

This article is based on my own system containing a GTX 1070 graphics card supported by an ASUS Prime X570-P motherboard and an AMD 3950X 16-core CPU. Right now its impossible to buy a new graphics card so I’m doing all I can to make the best use of what I have.

Latest Changes

  • 30 Mar: Graphics Performance setting sets a power plan and a thread priority independently from the power plan chosen for the whole computer.
  • 28 Mar:
    • Benchmark Software
    • Power Plan considerations & benchmarks
  • 13 Mar:
    • Add settings options comparison video
    • Improve selected screenshots
    • Add conclusion of 64Gb memory upgrade (see Page File)
  • 19 Feb: Page File modification
  • 18 Feb: MSFS Option Settings > Rolling Cache
  • 17 Feb: Background Downloading > Delivery Optimisation

How to Get VR Up & Running

For those that are just about to configure MSFS for VR and want some confirmation that they are heading in the right direction, check the section in this article.

Feedback Tools

Use the Built In FPS Analyser

You can access the FPS display from the Dev Mode menu bar after making it visible using General Options > Developers > Developer Mode = ON

MSFS has a built in FPS analyser

With proper tweaking of all the available settings you will get to the position whereby the FPS is limited by the main thread rather than the GPU. It will then be a question of getting hardware upgrades and waiting for Asobo to apply optimisations and unpack the work of the main thread into multiple cores. They are doing a stellar job and I ha e no doubt these things will happen.

Windows Task Manager

I find it useful to see how much of the CPU, GPU and GPU RAM are being utilised by MSFS over time. The GPU load used to be over 90%, but improved significantly after I had expanded my Page File. The maximum GPU readout may be under the ‘3D’ or ‘Graphics_1’ heading, and hasn’t been consistent.

It is also useful to see how many cores are active, and how much of the CPU is being used by other processes. There are 16 cores in my system which is why the overall value appears to be low.

Benchmarking Software

Windows Environment Settings

Oculus App

If you use Oculus you should enable the Public Test Channel to get the latest changes as they are available.

MSFS VR oculus rift s public test channel
set the Oculus software to allow the use of test releases

Mixed Reality Settings

Non-oculus users may find an ‘Mixed Reality’ app in the Windows 10 settings dialogue (refer to Sim Hanger’s video here).

The Microsoft WMR App

The WMR App is a mandatory installation from the Microsoft Store that will offer a software interface to MSFS VR for SteamVR or the Oculus App etc. In my system, the WMR App does not recognise my headset but MSFS VR works anyway, and won’t work without it.

The Microsoft OpenXR Developer Tools

OpenXR is the companion app for WMR available from the Microsoft Store. Download it and enable “Use latest preview OpenXR runtime” to be up to date with the latest alterations to WMR as they are released. The other settings in OpenXR do not seem to affect Oculus users, who should use the Oculus Tray Tool to switch on Reprojection (the feature that Oculus calls ASW).

Windows Game Mode (off)

I no longer use game mode, however, its worth testing for yourself since MSFS recommends it in the ZenDesk support site. Use the search function in the Windows task bar to find ‘Game Mode’.

Windows Game Mode itself says it will prioritise the game you are using and prevent background downloading from occurring at the same time. Having said that, there are many hardcore simmers out there that insist this should be turned off.

Windows Power Plan

You should check to see what your power options are set to currently. Type Power Plan in the taskbar search box to open your Power Options dialogue.

High Performance is the safer option if you aren’t sure what to do but is not necessarily the best setting overall: as you can see in the Graphics Performance Preference section, you can set the power plan and thread priority to high performance just for MSFS.

Note: High Performance might not be good idea for laptops since this will degrade the battery faster than the savings modes.

Ideally you will benchmark your GPU using both the high performance and balanced options to see if there is a practical difference between the two. It makes sense that MSFS will be given all the power needed once loaded, so I hoped that I could switch my computer to a lower power mode.

The 3DMark benchmark for my Balanced Performance power plan
has a better score than the High Performance plan.
The 3DMark benchmark for my High Performance power plan
is less than the score for the balanced plan.

The surprise result was that the balanced power mode scored better than the performance mode, so I will have no need to keep everything on high when not needed. Note that this benchmark result is not affected by my Graphics Settings power plan which is set specifically to support MSFS, not the benchmark software.

Windows Graphics Settings

Use the search function in the Windows task bar and search for Graphics Settings. Each of its settings are discussed below.

GPU-assisted scheduling (off)

When ‘on’, this setting will move the time-slicing from a high-priority thread to the GPU hardware. It is intended to decrease latency and overhead in thread scheduling for work executed within the GPU. Overall I found this option to be a little harsh compared to the software equivalent.

The biggest difference between GPU scheduling or not is how the system reacts to overload. The GPU scheduled version is strict and tends to stutter more noticeably and more often than the non-GPU version. The non-GPU version has a softer response, which is a plus, but the mouse became inactive fairly often when in Windowed mode which I was using to help the testing. No doubt, this effect came and went as the GPU usage exceeded 90% capacity but moving the sim from windowed mode to full screen mode cleared that problem up.

Variable Refresh Rate (on)

When ‘on’, this setting will support adaptive rates in DX11 games. Adaptive rates will allow increased frame rates when possible. The extra frames will aid ASW/Reprojection which uses the most recent frame to generate a new frame when required. Younger frames will require less reprojection than older ones, so the end result is more accurate and should cause less smearing.

Graphics Performance Preference (on)

Add MSFS to the list in order to control its power mode when it is run, then click on the options panel to select High performance. By using the Graphics Performance Preference there will be no need to set a high performance plan for the whole computer, and no need to manually raise the thread priority of the flight sim executable each time you run the sim – this will happen automatically.

The Power Plan can be changed to high performance for just the selected application. This appears to raise the thread priority.

Processes started by a user or administrator will have a root thread priority of 8 (‘normal’). When the MSFS executable is set to High Performance mode it’s root thread priority is set to 10 (‘above normal’).

The properties display of Process Explorer showing that the root thread of MSFS is running at an elevated priority.

Task Manager’s thread priority ‘set’ command has a pre-selected option that doesn’t necessarily represent the current value displayed in other applications. I assume that Task Manager does not read the current state of the thread in order to build its settings menu although it does remember its own state.

The Windows Page File

A Page File is a block of memory on a hard drive that is used as an extension of the RAM. The location of the Page File is significant since an M.2 drive can be up to 10 times faster than an SSD, although much slower than system RAM. Preferably you will have enough RAM available for MSFS, but if not, you can get the most out a Page File of it by knowing and setting its optimum size.

Page File Calculation Source

Mark Russinovich can help us with the Page File size. He was head hunted by Microsoft years ago and I recently found an official equivalent article by Microsoft which says the same thing in a different way. We are interested in the Peak Commit value.

The Peak Commit Value

The Peak Commit value is the maximum amount of memory your system needs to operate in the way you are using it. What you should do is maximise this number by taking MSFS through its worst-case flying scenario and add video recording and anything else you might want to use at the same time.

Current value / limit GB

You can find the current usage in the task manager, memory usage tab, where the smaller number is currently the ‘in use’ value and the larger is the total limiting value. To find the maximum usage in an entire session you will need to download and use Process Explorer then look for the Peak Commit Charge on display at:

Process Explorer > Menu > View > System Information

Look in the Commit Charge (K) group box and find Peak. Unlike the task manager, the peak value shown here is a record of the maximum value.

The peak value in the current session

The Page File Calculation

  • The Page File Minimum size = Peak Commit Charge – system RAM size
  • If the number is negative, instead choose the size of your crash dump file. If you don’t use a crash dump file a few gigabytes will do.
  • The Page File Maximum size can be set to any reasonable higher number and I suggest a factor of 1.5 to 2.0 bigger than the minimum size.

For example: my fully loaded system gave me a Peak value of 47Gb. My Page File minimum value will then be 47Gb – 32Gb RAM = 15Gb. After adjusting the page file I obtained a new peak figure of 27Gb in MSFS which is within my 32Gb RAM capability.

How to Modify the Page File Size

To change the page file size, type Performance in the taskbar search box to locate the performance options dialogue box. On the Advanced tab locate the Virtual Memory group box and select Change. I eventually settled on 15-25Gb which has helped decrease the load on the GPU.

Increased Memory Demand?

After the UK update I had a new peak usage over London of 37.7Gb even when using the above Page File figures. This is 5.7 Gb larger than my 32Gb of available system RAM, so I have added the difference to the maximum size of the page file. However, with such excessive memory demand that will probably increase in future, I’ve decided to double the size of the system RAM to 64 Gb.

Results of 64Gb RAM and 2TB M.2 Boot Drive

I increased my RAM from 32Gb to 64Gb and replaced my SSD boot drive with a 2TB m.2 drive about 11 times faster. I can now fly stutter-free over New York even when my overclock settings are not applied. However, London is still too much for my graphics card. The extra RAM I added means my system will no longer need to use the Page File, and that will reduce stuttering. It also provides plenty of space to generate increased texture resolutions and similar, so the quality can increase at less computational cost.

The large, fast m.2 boot drive now holds the MSFS program as well as the cache and packages folders. The MSFS quick-start loading time is unchanged at 00:02:14 on its first run of the day. It is probably limited by the transfer rate into the graphics card at a guess. I would expect the fast drive to help with loading textures whilst in-fight and is probably another reason I no longer get stutters over New York.

Conclusion: It was a fairly expensive upgrade providing fairly moderate results so if you don’t want to spend the extra money here, it would be more cost-effective to put the money towards a graphics card with plenty of onboard RAM. Since I’ve been stuck indoors for a year and I can’t buy a graphics card (both due to COVID-19), I thought it would be worth a shot and would add in some longevity to the computer’s lifespan.

Useful nVidia Control Panel Settings

If you have an nVidia card you will see results from changing these settings.

Right-click the desktop and open the ‘nVidia Control Panel’. On the left hand pane select Manage 3D Settings and in the right hand pane choose the Program Settings tab. If you don’t have it already, press the Add button to include the Microsoft Flight Simulator and make all your settings in that pane.

The nVidia Control Panel

There are many settings available and many opinions about how useful they are. A lot of it is contradictory and has been changing as games evolve. Here are my most significant settings in order of appearance:

  • Image sharpening = Use global setting (off)
    I noticed an unwanted halo around buildings and landmarks and turning this setting off prevents it for better realism.
  • Power Management Mode = Prefer Maximum Performance
    This is one setting that most people agree on.
  • Texture filtering – Anisotropic sample optimisation = On
    Anisotropic filtering is supposed to create a better perspective view of a texture such as the lines on a runway. Refer to MSFS setting for more information on that.
  • Texture filtering – Quality = High performance
    This is the other setting that most people agree on.
  • Texture filtering – Trilinear optimisation = On
    This is a chance to use a less demanding filtering method when possible.
  • Virtual reality pre-rendered frames = Use the 3D application setting
    It seems to help, and anyway MSFS will decide so it should be ok. It sounds like it’s referring to ASW / Reprojection frames.

In general, all the other settings were either disabled or deferred to application control.

ASW/Reprojection Tools

This is one of the most important elements that allows MSFS to run smoothly on a GTX 1070 graphics card. It is converting 15 frames/sec into a more acceptable number of frames by creating new frames from existing ones. It does this by using a well established technique that is faster than rendering from the world camera. The cost is an inaccuracy in the predicted movement that shows up as a smear around parts of the image where the depth contrast is high, for example propeller blades and wing struts. In those locations the background is significantly further away and the edges reveal the reprojection at work.

Oculus provides the Oculus Debug Tool for its own brand of Reprojection named Asynchronous Time Warp (ASW). Other headsets can use the OpenXR tool to achieve Reprojection. ASW/Reprojection is explained in the settings section of this article if you want a quick overview of what it is doing.

The Oculus Debug Tool

This can be found in your installation folders and it provides an interface to the Oculus service.

The Oculus Tray Tool

The Oculus Tray Tool provides a friendly user interface to the Oculus Debug Tool and extends its functionality by remembering your preferences etc.

Although the OTT will apply your ASW/Reprojection setting when MSFS starts up, it doesn’t guard against them being altered afterwards. The Oculus app and MSFS may reset ASW to Auto when they begin.

Auto is the default state of MSFS, I use Clock18 permanently.

Turn Off XBox Background Processing

I don’t see any difference if I turn the XBox capture facilities off, but it’s the safest thing to do if you aren’t sure. You should disable audio recording if you aren’t using it.

XBox capture settings

I can report that I am able to capture video using XBox capture of the stereo image without stutter, which is great for 2D. I can also use the Oculus Mirror tool at medium size and get a good VR recording on OBS Studio as well. This is quite surprising bearing in mind l’m using a GTX 1070.

Disable Fullscreen Optimisations

The full screen optimisations control is accessed from the properties dialogue of the FlightSimulator.exe runtime executable. I haven’t noticed any change for the better or worse, however YouTube’s Overkill and his followers are adamant that this is of benefit.

To locate the FlightSimulator.exe program, enable the ‘hidden items’ view in file explorer and go to this address (Windows Store default location):

C:\ Program Files\ WindowsApps\ Microsoft.FlightSimulator_1.12.13.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe

Disable the fullscreen optimisations

If you are barred from looking into the folder you must add yourself to the user group to gain access. You can do this on the security tab of the property pages for the folder. Open the properties page add a tick to ‘Disable Fullscreen Optimizations’, then click on ‘Change high DPI settings’ to add a tick to ‘Override high DPI scaling behaviour. Scaling performed by: Application’.

Background Downloading & Sharing

You should be aware of your downloading policies regarding things like Windows Updates and Steam game downloads. It’s easy to forget the background activity that can silently degrade the work you have put into balancing the settings.

Search in the task bar for ‘allow downloads from other PCs’

Be aware that if you have the Delivery Optimisation switched on you may also be feeding information to other computers too. It’s not harmful but it may be affecting your sim if you leave it switched on.

MSFS Option Settings

Here are a few notes for the in-game settings at MSFS > Options > General > Graphics. Be aware that you might want to apply changes to both the VR and the PC settings.

Display Mode

When you are trying out all of the settings available in Windows you will find it easier to switch away from MSFS if it is running in Windowed Mode. Unfortunately that also makes it easier to accidentally launch programs while you are clicking on the VR mouse pointer. That’s one way that you can lose the mouse pointer control in VR.

V-Sync (off)

V-Sync will ensure that only fully rendered frames are displayed. If your GPU isn’t keeping up with the output then enabling V-Sync will reduce the number of images per second that will be generated even more.

Anti-Aliasing (taa)

Use the TAA setting unless you have a good reason not to, it is by far the best looking result. TAA means Temporal Anti Aliasing and is used to reduce the effects of strobing caused by sampling moving objects at a less than optimal level (i.e. the framerate).

Anisotropic Filtering (off)

This setting doesn’t seem to make any difference. All the textures you look at in a 3D environment will be seen in perspective view and this setting is supposed to define how good the translation from face-on to oblique will be. The higher the value, the steeper the angle that can be reworked using this filter.

Texture Resolution (< vram)

The place to find out whether the texture resolution might be causing problems is in the Dedicated GPU Memory Usage chart in the task manager. You will gain stability by ensuring there is spare capacity in your VRAM. In this screenshot the memory is nearly full even after switching the texture resolution from Ultra to High, but the VR flight was smoother as a result of making this change.

I changed the texture resolution to medium and saw 10% free space in the dedicated GPU memory and no discernible loss of quality to the textures. I think the medium setting matches the state of MSFS at the moment so for me at least there is no gain by putting the setting higher.

Texture Super Sampling (on)

Super sampling means that textures are made larger than required and scaled down to fit their required size. This provides:

  • Higher resolution image tiles
  • Anti-aliasing for the closest texture tiles
  • Better runway lines at a distance

Depending on how this has been coded, the extra resolution scaling need not mean that a lot of memory is required – the extra space can be discarded after the downscaling is complete.

Texture Synthesis (on)

This is used to improve source data that is considered to be of low resolution, for example low quality terrain surface image tiles. An additional texture is superimposed on the tile to give it the appearance of having detail. I think this is worth doing.

Terrain Vector Data

Vector data is responsible for terrain modelling including tree placement. It can remove as well as add data. I have set mine to ultra to capture as much fidelity as is available, but at the moment the satellite imagery leaves mountains looking soft and rounded so I doubt that the data set is larger than medium size anyway, however I don’t know.

Bing Data (on)

If you have low res / blurred textures it might be to do with your network or options.

Be aware that if your internet connection drops out, MSFS may turn off Bing map enhancement and leave it off from then on. Enable photogrammetry data as well. Check that you still have the settings you want especially, if you experience broadband issues. Without extra data the landscapes will become bland looking.

MSFS switches off Bing data when your broadband disconnects

If this condition persists, you might find that your connection to the data is blocked. You should check this by typing Xbox Networking into the taskbar search box. It will tell you if your connection to the server is blocked . If you are having trouble, follow this YouTube video by Crispeay who links to a number of other contributors.

Rolling Cache

YouTube: OverKillSims has found that turning off the option: General > Data > Rolling Cache can reduce stutter. It will depend on the speed of your connection to some degree and its something you won’t want to do long-term. It’s possible that the extra load due to filing the incoming terrain data could be transferred to a spare CPU core in when DX12 changes have been implemented.

I saw some benefit from this when flying over the newly updated version of London which is now immensely detailed. Although it didn’t solve all my graphical issues it certainly made the flight noticeably smoother.

Render Scaling Issues

Note: I use an oculus Rift S with a panel size of (2560 x 1440) split between each eye and this may affect the absolute numbers I see in my tests. Yours may differ.

The Render Scale setting will provide a scaling ratio for the source image size shown in the brackets on the same line. I have no information about why this particular image size has been picked. With my configuration settings fixed and a value of 100% on the Render Scale slider the source image size will change unexpectedly for my system like this:

  • When going into VR without the Oculus Mirror running the source image size is set to (1648 x 1776) which I have optimised all my settings for.
  • If I start the Oculus Mirror before I start MSFS then go into VR the source image size is set to (1824 x 1952) and this can causes problems.
  • If I lower the scaling resolution so the source image size is closer to the non-mirror value, the quality of the image in VR is reduced by the same amount. This doesn’t make sense.
  • Once the source image size is defined for VR, it doesn’t change until you quit MSFS to the desktop and start again.
  • Tests on two different monitor sizes do not affect the VR source image size (just as they say).
  • The number in the brackets does not relate to the display size in the VR headset in a meaningful way. I would expect that when the scaling ratio is set to 100% the source image size per eye would match the VR headset display resolution per eye.

The summary and conclusion of this is:

  • In order to preserve normal operation, do not launch the Oculus Mirror (or similar) until after you have entered VR and the source image size has been set.
  • The source image size is set by MSFS to values that are not defined.
  • The scale value you select is changing not only the size of the source image but also the size of the image that is transmitted to the headset as if there were an intermediary stage. These two operations need to be decoupled.
  • The scaling value is not the true ratio between the source image and the VR display.

Contact Shadows (low)

This creates shading that is specific to places where one object intersects with another. Low is 100% better than none, but I’m not seeing image improvement at higher settings.

Ambient Occlusion (low)

This setting calculates the amount of ambient light that is available to illuminating parts of the scene in relation to the objects within it. It should cause the lighting to vary realistically, but I haven’t been able to see a difference as yet. Low is 100% better than none.

Bloom (on)

Bloom is a realistic visual affect that mimics the way the eye adjusts to the brightest part of a scene. For example a darkened room can be visible as long a the bright sunshine outside can’t be seen. I like the realism so I have this switched on.

ASW/Reprojection (on)

ASW and Reprojection are doing the same thing according to the brand of software you are using. ASW is short for Asynchronous Time Warp.

ASW/Reprojection sits outside of the main render loop and just before the display refresh time is due, it takes a copy of the most recent frame and converts it into the next frame. It does this by taking into account the pixels, the depth position of the pixels (using the z-buffer), and the current headset orientation. It also predicts where the headset will be looking by the time the frame manipulation is complete. The smaller the difference in time and space, the more accurate the prediction will be. The pixels in the image are shifted by a value derived from their position in the z-buffer. This operation is much faster than generating a frame from the 3D models.

In my case the 15 fps input stream is converted to an output stream of 45 fps containing 30 synthetic frames and it works very well.

Stuttering will only occur when the main thread is blocked as it loads files such as textures or ATC speech data, and Asobo will be offloading those duties to other cores and threads in the near future so things will only get better.

Video: Settings Compared

Here is a very useful video from VR Flight World showing all the MSFS options at different settings. Below the video are the time offsets at which a particular will be shown.

0:00​ – Building Quality
3:36​ – Tree Quality
4:31​ – Grass and Bushes
7:27​ – Anti-Aliasing
10:23​ – Terrain Level of Detail
12:48​ – Objects Level of Detail
14:06​ – Volumetric Clouds
19:48​ – Volumetric Clouds (Thunderstorm)
22:00​ – Water Waves
28:29​ – Ambient Occlusion
29:45​ – Anisotropic with Texture Super sampling
31:00​ – Texture Synthesis
31:47​ – Shadow Maps
32:50​ – Terrain Shadows
34:29​ – Lens Flare
35:06​ – Bloom
35:27​ – Light Shafts
37:53​ – Windshield Effects
40:00​ – Contact Shadows
41:11​ – Reflections
44:23​ – Depth of Field
45:45​ – Lens Correction
46:09​ – Texture Resolution

My Own System & Settings

Be aware that your optimum system settings may differ from mine. You will need to experiment.

I have a overclocked GTX 1070 graphics card with an AMD 3950X CPU and 32Gb of memory which I have since increased to 64Gb. The increased RAM size means my system no longer needs to use the Page File. Its a March-2020 computer apart from the graphics card, and the bus speeds are good. I am using an Oculus Rift S which offers a medium resolution with an excellent image and ASW (Reprojection) stabilisation. The Rift-S is less demanding of the graphics card and I am very close to the optimal settings for the current hardware. The graphics card is the only weak link now.

Significant Settings for My Rig

These are all the things I did to make VR look good using a new computer with an AMD 3950X CPU, 32Gb RAM and a last gen GTX 1070 nVidia graphics card. I have arranged them in priority order, but in reality I didn’t consider ASW/Reprojection until late in my tinkering. However, when I finally did add it, my system was nicely tuned and the extra support from the ASW/Reprojection worked like magic.

  • I overclocked both the GPU and the graphics memory as shown below with the MSI Afterburner software, adding 600MHz to the memory clock and 100MHz to the core GPU clock. That hasn’t been good with all games, but it does work with MSFS which is all I care about right now.
  • I set the Oculus software (ASW/Reprojection) to use Clock18 rather than the default ‘auto’ setting. To do this you can use the Oculus Tray Tool. Reprojection converts my 15 frames/sec into a usable value. Be aware that switching ASW/Reprojection on may mask the results you get from changing the other settings.
  • I increased the page file size significantly as explained elsewhere. This made a noticeable improvement to the system. The GPU had to do a a lot less work from then on.
  • I turned off Game Mode and GPU scheduling. That doesn’t mean it will be the best option for you necessarily.
  • I added MSFS to the graphics performance list and selected high performance. This would be similar to selecting the MSFS process and setting its thread priority higher in the task manager or Process Lasso. I prefer this method because it is provided officially and looks after itself.
  • I took care to understand and set the nVidia control panel settings, each of which are explained when you mouse over them. I have listed my settings and explanations in that section. There are two must-have performance settings there.
  • I tuned the texture resolutions and terrain data to fill my available VRAM and allow some spare capacity. In normal locations the VRAM is running at 75% and in complex scenery will hover around 90%.
  • I increased all the MSFS graphics settings as far as I could go without tipping the bottleneck into GPU limiting. I used the MSFS FPS counter as a guide but to see it I had to take off the headset and put my thumb over the proximity sensor and point the headset at the most complex part of the scene. I found that the FPS is limited by the main thread and the GPU is running between 80% and 90%. Asobo Studios will most likely move some of the main thread workload onto more cores soon, and that’s what I will be looking forward to next.

A Task Manger Measurement

This measurement was made flying over the Alps without recording video.

  • GPU – Since the alps are less demanding than a big city I have 20% spare capacity on the GPU that would otherwise be used.
  • VRAM – I tuned the texture resolution to allow some spare capacity, which is running at about 10% in this screenshot.
  • CPU – Don’t be fooled by the CPU, I have 16 cores available and the idle cores push the percentage down. A few of them are taking all the load.

A VR Video Recording

This video is an example of VR video recording from an Oculus mirror.

How to Overclock an nVidia Graphics Card

MSI Afterburner is a free and safe utility to use for simple overclocking. Its safe because it’s electrical limits are defined and protected by the manufacturer and these are adhered to by Afterburner. You will get a boost without risking your hardware and you can switch the configuration on and off at will after you have created it.

Since I am using a GTX 1070, overclocking it has made a much bigger difference than many of the other alterations that are available. I actually found that the fewer processing options I allowed (externally to MSFS) the better the overclocked card worked for me.

MSFS VR overclocking
The MSI Afterburner displayed with the skin used in the instructions
  • The instructions for the MSI Afterburner are in a blog post on the MSI site and can be found here. The skin shown in the instructions is called MSI Cyborg Afterburner Skin White.
  • MSI Afterburner can be used to:
    • Create and maintain a fan speed profile
    • Create a one-click GPU overclocking profile
    • Overclock your graphics memory
  • The Apply button is shown as a tick icon and you must press that button to confirm that you are saving or using a profile each time you make a change.
  • The storage areas marked 1 to 5 are accompanied by a padlock icon. You must open the padlock in order to save a profile to one of the storage areas.
  • In order for MSI Afterburner to be able to do its job it must be configured to start with Windows and left running. You can hide it away in the taskbar system tray area by selecting the appropriate options.


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