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Best CPU for Flight Simulator 2020 in 2024

No need for turbulence with one of the best CPUs for Flight Simulator

Updated: Feb 19, 2024 2:10 pm
Best CPU for Flight Simulator 2020 in 2024

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Flight Simulator is a fairly demanding title that requires a solid CPU to run smoothly. If you’re building a new gaming PC or upgrading your current system, you may be wondering what is the best CPU for Flight Simulator. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the best CPUs for running Flight Simulator: including the Intel Core i7 13700K and Intel Core i5 13600K. These processors can easily run the game at high settings and a high refresh rate with the right support. We also have a Ryzen option for you AMD fans.

It’s worth noting that you’ll also want to invest in a decent GPU for Flight Simulator. The game is more GPU-bound at higher resolutions, so you’ll want to ensure you have a graphics card that can keep up with your CPU. These are our best two picks in terms of performance and value right now, though we make sure to regularly update our guides to ensure you get the very best.

What is the best CPU for Flight Simulator in 2024

The best CPU for Flight Simulator is one that has a high single-core performance, as gaming is usually limited to a couple of CPU cores. Flight Simulator is very demanding, especially on the CPU. An up-to-date CPU is highly recommended for tackling the Microsoft flight simulator. however, we just don’t think the 14th generation brings enough of a performance increase over the 13th gen to justify the price.

As we mentioned, Flight Simulator can be a pretty demanding game, even though it’s been out for a few years now. If you didn’t realize that initially, then no need to worry. Our top picks will easily handle the game, and just about anything else you throw at them really.

Intel Core i7 13700K

Intel Core i7-13700K

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Base speed

P-cores 3.4 GHz / E-cores 2.5 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.4 GHz / E-cores 4.2 GHz




125 W / 253 W boost.

  • 16 cores/24 threads fantastic for CPU-intensive tasks
  • Up to 5.4 GHz boost clock speed
  • Future-proof LGA 1700 socket
  • More expensive


  • Boost Clock: 5.4GHz
  • Total Cores/Threads: 16/24
  • Socket: LGA1700
  • TDP: 125W

The Intel Core i7 13700K is an excellent choice for running Flight Simulator. Its high boost clock and strong single-threaded performance ensure smooth gameplay, even on high settings. While Flight Simulator is a highly CPU-bound game, the Intel Core i7 13700K can handle it with ease.

This is simply because it boasts 16 cores, 24 threads, and more importantly, excellent single-threaded performance. It has a boost clock of up to 5.4GHz, making it one of the best processors around in terms of raw gaming performance. It’s also a great choice for productivity and production workloads. The 13700K performs well in programs such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, AutoDesk Maya, Blender, and more. Right now, it’s also a more practical choice than the expensive and power-hungry Core i9 13900K.

The 13700K is easily one of the best processors money can buy right now.

Intel Core i5 13600K

Intel Core i5-13600K

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Base speed

P-cores 3.5 GHz / E-cores 2.6 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.1 GHz / E-cores 3.9 GHz




125 W / 181 W boost.

  • Good value for money overall
  • 14 cores/20 threads enough for gaming & more
  • Also on LGA 1700 socket
  • Great 5.1 GHz max boost speed
  • 125 TDP, can run quite hot


  • Speed: 5.1GHz (Boost Clock)
  • Cores/Threads: 14/20
  • Socket: LGA1700
  • TDP: 125W

Our second choice is the Intel Core i5 13600K. This is a mid-range/budget processor that punches well above its weight. It can easily handle modern titles with relative ease, and the performance is on par with the previous gen’s Core i9 12900K.

Usually, an i5 processor would struggle to run Flight Simulator at 1080p, where the game is more CPU-bound. However, the 13600K has no issues thanks to the 14 cores and excellent single-threaded performance.

Ryzen 7 5800X

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 1


3.8GHz/ 4.7GHz

Core (Threads)






  • Excellent 8-core performance
  • AM4 socket is still highly popular
  • Up to 4.6 GHz boost clock
  • Excellent choice for gaming in particular
  • Less cores than Intel


  • Boost Clock: 4.7GHz
  • Total Cores/Threads: 8/16
  • Socket: AM4
  • TDP: 105W

We had to throw in an option for those of you on an AMD rig. Specifically, anyone working with (or in the market for) an AM4 motherboard. The highly popular Ryzen 5000 series is the last series of desktop CPUs before AMD moved on to AM5 with the 7000 series. Even still, they remain a fantastic choice, especially as prices have dropped and remain lower than ever.

The 5800X is a powerhouse of a gaming CPU, or you could even go for the 5800X3D if you want to boost that further. Although these Ryzen CPUs don’t have as many cores as our Intel picks, they are excellent for all kinds of gaming tasks and offer even better value for money if gaming is your main focus.

Is MSFS more CPU or GPU intensive?

While flying in-game, Flight Simulator is more GPU intensive, however, the game requires a strong balance of components to work optimally. That’s why we also recommend using a strong CPU to ensure smooth performance throughout your time playing the game. Plus, these CPUs will do you well for several other CPU-intensive games or tasks.

Why is a good CPU important for simulator games?

A good CPU is important for simulator games and here’s why:

  • Complex Calculations: Simulator games often require a large number of calculations to be performed in real time, such as physics simulations, AI behavior, and environmental rendering. A powerful CPU ensures that these calculations are performed quickly and efficiently.
  • Multitasking: Simulator games often have many complex systems running simultaneously, such as audio, physics, AI, and graphics. A fast CPU is essential for managing and executing these tasks efficiently, allowing the game to run smoothly.
  • High Frame Rates: A good CPU is crucial for maintaining high frame rates and avoiding slowdowns or stuttering. Simulator games often require fast and smooth performance to provide a realistic experience.
  • Overhead: Simulator games often have a large amount of overhead, meaning that the CPU has to manage many tasks simultaneously, such as communicating with peripherals and maintaining system stability. A fast CPU is essential for managing this overhead efficiently.

A good CPU is important for simulator games as it ensures that complex calculations are performed quickly, multitasking is handled efficiently, frame rates are high, and overhead is managed effectively. A powerful CPU is essential for delivering a smooth and immersive experience in simulator games.

Best CPU for Flight Simulator FAQs

Is Flight Simulator hard to run?

The recommended CPU spec for Flight Simulator 2020 (the latest title) is the Intel i5-8400. This is quite a few generations old now, so you could say that Flight Sim isn’t too difficult to run on modern hardware, though we’d aim for better performance than that.

We have a couple more up-to-date options which make running Flight Simulator a breeze.

Is a good CPU for Flight Simulator expensive?

Simulator games are known for their array of complicated calculations to help fully immerse you in a realistic world, so you expect them to be fairly demanding on the CPU. Despite that, we’ve picked out a great budget option which means you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy Flight Simulator 2020.

Final word

In conclusion, the Intel Core i7 13700K is the best CPU for Flight Simulators right now. It’s the best gaming processor for the money, and a more practical choice than the Intel Core i9 13900K. On the other hand, the i5 13600K is also a great choice for mid-range and budget systems.

As a Junior Staff Writer, Jack is involved in writing and maintaining a bunch of hardware guides & reviews. With an interest in PC gaming, he now focuses on writing about monitors, headsets, and more.

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