• Tutorial: X-Plane 11 And Low End Systems

    X-Plane 11 And Low End Sytems

    By Dominic Smith

    There's no denying it, X-Plane 11 is simply gorgeous to look at!

    With the right hardware, it looks simply stunning, and even if you're a hardened MSFS fan, it's extremely difficult to ignore the incredible visuals scattered around the internet.

    However, as mentioned, that's with the right hardware! What about those with less capable systems? For many simmers out there (especially those with slightly older FS2004 and FSX setups), the jump to X-Plane 11 can often lead to a huge disappointment.

    The reason being, is that MSFS is predominately CPU dependent, and as such, you can get away with a good/high frequency CPU and a relatively weak GPU (by today's standards). Unfortunately, this way of thinking doesn't really carry over to Laminar Research's latest offering, as the GPU takes a much more important role in how the simulator performs.

    With X-Plane 11, you need quite a bit of power from both your CPU and GPU, which from a monetary perspective, is less than ideal for many simmers, as high end graphics cards can turn out to be pretty expensive.

    However, all is not lost, as even with low end hardware, there is quite a lot you can do to turn things in your favor.

    Now, before I get into the nitty gritty, I must point out that I am far from being an X-Plane expert; I am what you would call a passionate enthusiast, and the tips below are what I have used when using my MacBook Pro away from home.

    So...if you're not already an X-Plane 11 user, why not download the demo from the link below, and see if the following article helps improve your enjoyment:


    Once installed and loaded up, you'll find all of the options below, in the 'Graphics' tab in the X-Plane menu.

    Rendering options

    Visual Effects

    This is GPU focused and requires a fair amount of processing power from your graphics card. HDR and above looks great, but comes at a price. If you have integrated graphics (Intel or AMD) or a low end dedicated GPU, use this option with caution.

    Visual effects low

    Visual effects high

    1. Poloboxers's Avatar
      Poloboxers -
      Very nice article and to the point Dom. I will check and see if I haven't done most of your options on my XP 11. I have a iMac 2011 and it dies on XP 11. But on a brighter note I think I will use your suggestions on my XP 10.5. I could really use taking the strain of the Old Sim and increasing the speed. At present my XP 10 freezes at a fairly long time as it loads "upcoming" scenery in flight, very annoying!

      Your advise is very helpful no matter what the XP version.
      Thank You,
    1. flightsimfred's Avatar
      flightsimfred -
      Excellent article. A must read by all X-Plane flight simmers. Please save this article for posterity, maybe get Laminar Research to include it with their online manual as a read before you fly event.
    1. zangg's Avatar
      zangg -
      Quote Originally Posted by Poloboxers View Post
      ... At present my XP 10 freezes at a fairly long time as it loads "upcoming" scenery in flight, very annoying!
      Perhaps your sim will load faster with the help of the "turbo acceleration" option of the utility "Advanced System Care" (by IOBit). At least it helps for me and some others. Good luck.
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