My Top MSFS Add-ons for 2023

It’s hard to believe the end of year is just days away.  The year really went fast, but I guess that is also part of getting older.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about some of the MSFS add-ons which released this year and also wondering how it compares with 2022.  During 2022 we had some really amazing and much needed add-ons appear on the scene.  Most notably the Fenix A320, PMDG 737-800 and GSX Pro.  To be brutally honest, 2023 hasn’t really been as exciting as 2022 and much of that has to do with developer delays. 

Most of us speculated that PMDG might be able to get their Boeing 777 out before the end of the year and Fenix had also hoped to release their Airbus A319 and A321 airliners.  But unless something changes in the next few days, we’ll have to wait until 2024 for these.  I recently wrote about “What’s in store for us in the new year”?  Have a peek at that article and see if you agree on some of my non-scientific speculation. 

I’ve come up with a short list of the add-ons that I added to the sim in 2023 that truly impressed me. 

Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9

Anyone who publishes their top add-ons for 2023 and does not list this one at the very top or very near the top needs their head examined.  In my opinion, prior to the release of the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 we were absolutely starving for a truly capable long-haul, widebody aircraft.  Naturally, the Horizon Sim 787-9 wouldn’t have been possible without the AAU2 Aircraft & Avionics Update released back in June.  This revolutionized both the default Dreamliner and 747 in MSFS and of course the developers at Horizon Simulations capitalized on that and released their aircraft.  The truly awesome thing about the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 is it’s freeware.  Pending you own the Premium Deluxe version of MSFS, this aircraft is 100% free.  In addition to the bit about it being free, in my opinion it is just as good as the QualityWings 787 from P3D which we most likely will never see in MSFS. 

Kuro Boeing 787-8

Directly behind the above mentioned Horizon Simulations 787-9 is the Kuro 787-8.  These two could be interchangeable as for what might go into the #1 spot or the #2 spot.  I’m ranking the Kuro behind the Horizon simply because the Horizon Sim 787-9 was released about a month before the Kuro.  But they are both grade A representations of the Boeing Dreamliner and both (again in my opinion) exceed the QW Dreamliner which again, I must say we’ll never see in MSFS. 

Headwind Simulations Airbus A330-900

While I believe this aircraft may have actually released back in 2021, it really didn’t catch my attention until earlier this year after it had had plenty of time to get all the kinks worked out.  This was my first Airbus widebody to ever fly and I’ve had pretty good luck with it.  While I’m mostly a Boeing sim guy, this has been a fun aircraft to fly and I highly recommend checking out the Headwind Simulations Airbus A339X.

Various Airport Sceneries

I’ve added some really awesome airport to MSFS over the past year.  While I can’t be 100% certain that every one of these are new to 2023, they are new to me in the past year.  FlyTampa EHAM, iniBuilds KPSP, Flightbeam KMSP, MKStudios EIDW, Dominic Design KPHL and KIND (along with a few others that I am pretty sure were released in late 2022) all are excellent representations of their real world counterparts. 

Looking ahead to 2024

With regards to all the aircraft I mentioned in this recently blog post titled “What’s in store for us in the new year?” I failed to mention the FBW A380X.  Based on some of the screenshots and updated information which was released around the middle of December, the project is coming along and hopefully we may see this aircraft sometime in the new year.  Also, iniBuilds also just announced their plans to release an Airbus A350.  I’m not sure if we’ll see that in 2024, so time will tell.

I’m also really hopeful that someone will someday, someday really soon release a quality Dallas/Ft. Worth KDFW airport.  The Asobo version is ok, but it really doesn’t do this awesome airport justice.  FSDreamTeam has always been the developer to make DFW, so hopefully it is on their list for the new year. 

Of course, I’m really excited to see what Microsoft/Asobo releases with MSFS 2024.  I know this is a sore subject among the flight simulation community.  I provided some of my thoughts and opinions way back in June which you can read about if you so desire.  But I’m really excited about MSFS 2024 as I believe this new sim will be a truly amazing upgrade to what we have now. 

Well….that’s about all I can think of at the moment.  Yes, I do believe perhaps 2022 was a much bigger year for add-ons….but while 2023 might have been a bit of a sleeper, I think 2024 will really blow our socks off. 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I look forward to all that the new year has in store for us.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

P.S. I started writing this blog post in very early December.  The teasers from PMDG regarding their 777 and the assumed 737 MAX began gaining serious traction around the middle of the month.  As I’ve always released my “Top Add-ons” blog post just before Christmas, I did have hopes that I might need to edit it and slot in a new PMDG release.  After all, if PMDG had released either the 777 or the 737 MAX in the calendar year 2023, that release would have been my #1 add-on of the year.  However, as the 777 only went into beta testing around the 17th, I don’t anticipate it releasing until sometime in the first quarter of 2024. 

PMDG 777 and 737 MAX News

In the past 24-48 hours we’ve had more teasers from PMDG regarding the current projects under development.  As we’ve known for sometime, the next expected release from PMDG AFTER the 737 series was to be the Boeing 777.  Earlier this month PMDG teased us with a customary landing gear screenshot from the 777 which I discussed in my article “PMDG Egg Nog”.  Since then, many have assumed (and you know what it means to assume right?) that Robert’s comment about “looking forward to welcoming you into the hangar with a glass of egg-nog in hand” meant that we might see something new from PMDG before the end of the year.  Is this still possible? 

Then on the 17th, Robert provided an additional update on the various projects along with another screenshot from the forward cabin of the Boeing 777.

PMDG_777_cabin-1024x576

In this update from the 17th, Robert mentions that the PMDG 777 has officially entered the beta testing stage.  If memory serves, the 737 spent a couple of months in beta testing.  So would the 777 beta testing period be similar?  Could be, but Robert mentioned in this recent update that his PMDG team have learned a lot about the development process from the 737 series and that could mean the amount of time needed to thoroughly test the 777 could be shorter. 

Even more speculation

There’s been some recent details about a PMDG tester being spotted flying a B38M.  These details came from a screenshot of the testers Discord profile which showed him flying the type in MSFS around Seattle Paine Field.  See below.

Discord MAX

Once again Robert teases with how he closes out the update from the 17th by the following:  “(Only 6 more shopping days until Christmas)”.  Of course many are speculating that PMDG will release something new to us before or on Christmas. 

My Own Opinions

As the 777 only went into beta testing on the 17th, I really doubt we’ll see that aircraft released in 2023.  While I certainly believe the amount of time PMDG spent testing the 737 before release could certainly be due to the fact that MSFS was a brand new sim for them to develop for.  The fact that they’ve had more than a year to come to terms with how MSFS works and what they have to do to develop add-on aircraft could certainly mean a short testing cycle for the 777.  But I don’t think they will rush this just to try to get it to us before Christmas or even before the end of the year.  In all likelihood, we’ll see the 777 release sometime in early Q1 of 2024. 

As for the 737 MAX.  Well…..I go back to what I’ve said before where we’ve heard Robert mention that PMDG has no plans to communicate a release date for the 737 MAX.  That one day we’ll wake up and find it’s available to purchase.  Could we actually wake up on Christmas morning and find the 737 MAX available?  I suppose time will tell.

Until next time…

Only 5 more shopping days until Christmas!!

Jerry

Most Overlooked Simulator Hardware Item

In most flight simulator forums, Discord communities etc. you’ll often see questions from fellow simulation enthusiasts inquiring on what is the best CPU or GPU to install into their PC.  Others might ponder on which flight yoke, sidestick/joystick or rudder pedals to spend their hard earned money on.  Still others might inquire about which headset/microphone combination will work best for VATSIM.  While all these are extremely important questions to ask, especially when you are relatively new to the hobby of flight simulation, there is often one very key item left out which can be an absolute life saver.  In my opinion, the most overlooked simulator hardware item is…..

The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

Yes, a UPS is often completely overlooked when designing a home flight sim hardware setup.  Oh sure, many people will realize this after they’ve experienced power failures which ruin a multi-hour flight.  While there are many options for auto-saving a flights progress….these do nothing to prevent or protect your flight progress during an intermittent or longer power failure.  

I personally live in a nice neighborhood in Denver where all our power lines are buried underground.  So we typically don’t experience the sort of power outages that some neighborhoods/communities would experience due to downed power lines from storm, ice or the occasional car crashing into a nearby power pole.  However, we do occasionally experience the brief interruption of power that is enough to certainly cause the PC to switch off and this has even happened when I’m enjoying (or trying to enjoy) a flight in the sim. 

Several years ago when I designed my home office/man cave I wanted to ensure that not only my gaming PC, but other PC’s and also my internet router would be protected from any short-term power outage we might experience and I purchased the APC 1500VA Smart UPS from Amazon.  This UPS is powerful enough to operate my gaming PC, multiple monitors along with my internet router for more than an hour.  This particular unit is probably overkill for most sim setups and there are certainly less expensive options that will work just as well. 

When choosing a UPS, I recommend a name brand such as APC or Tripp Lite.  I’d personally stay away from any of the knockoff brands.  If you are just running a single PC, monitor etc. most likely a 600VA unit will do the job.  Most quality units will include both the power backup feature, but also just as importantly, protection against electrical surges.  Something like this from APC can be purchased on Amazon for less than $80.  While I think a user replaceable battery pack is standard on most units sold today, I would make sure you can replace the battery yourself.  Most of these SLA or sealed lead acid battery packs will need to be replaced every 3-5 years. 

While a UPS isn’t as sexy as a brand new yoke or a set of rudder pedals, I certainly believe it serves a very important role in any home simulator or gaming setup.  It’s probably not too late to ask Santa for one of these. 

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

JT

PMDG Egg Nog

If you routinely visit the PMDG forums to catch up on all the development news regarding the 737 and other projects, then yesterday (Friday, 8 December) you may have noticed the tease which Robert Randazzo gave us in the “Other Stuff” section of his update.  Here’s that comment….

RSR

What does this mean?  Well…if we think back to some of the communications which PMDG released some time ago, we know that the first order of business regarding PMDG and MSFS was the release of the 737 product line.  This of course included first the 737-700 followed by the 737-600, 737-800 and finally the 737-900.  PMDG had stated that sometime after the 737 series the next order of business would be the Boeing 777, the Boeing 747 Queen of the Skies and finally the long awaited Boeing 737 MAX.

With regards to the Boeing 737 MAX, Robert Randazzo  has also stated several times that PMDG had no plans of communicating any such release date for the 737 MAX.  Meaning, that more or less one day we would all wake up to find the 737 MAX had been stealthily released with no pre-release hype.  So back to Robert’s forum post from Friday, what could it possibly mean?

Within the Virtual Airline I belong to, some are speculating that PMDG could release BOTH the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 737 MAX on Christmas Day.  I personally don’t believe this and here’s why.  First, while PMDG might feel a bit of pressure since iFly recently teased their 737 MAX for MSFS.  But PMDG has been in business for a very long time and I don’t believe they really pay much attention to those things.  I really don’t think the iFly news would cause PMDG to rush the MAX, especially if the MAX just isn’t ready yet.  Plus, I personally believe that we won’t see the iFly version of the Boeing 737 MAX anytime in the very near future.  Plus, I don’t think PMDG would want to release two brand new aircraft into the market at the same time and especially do it on Christmas day.

So what do I think?  Well….remember, you can’t take my opinions to the bank as they really don’t account for much.  I think we’ll see the PMDG Boeing 777 before Christmas.  It won’t release on Christmas Day as I don’t believe Robert would expect any of his employees to work and provide support on a major holiday such as Christmas. In addition, the time period between Christmas and New Year is often a time when people take time off from work to travel and visit family.  So actually releasing the 777 a week or so before Christmas is almost ideal.

Finally, PMDG released the following teaser image today showcasing the aircraft’s recognizable six-wheel main landing gear.  I’m sure over the next few days we’ll see even more preview images.

IMG_0040

So, could we see the PMDG Boeing 777 sometime before Christmas?  Could we see it before the New Year?  Either way, I certainly don’t think we very far away from having this incredibly awesome aircraft in our virtual hangars.

As for the 737 MAX.  I still believe we’ll just wake up one morning to find that it’s been released
and is available for all of us to enjoy.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

What’s in store for us in the new year?

We’re in the final weeks of 2023 and it has me wondering that we have to look forward to in the new year.  Of course the biggest possible thing could be the next iteration of Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you know that a brand new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator is being released sometime in 2024.  While many do not see this as a good thing, I certainly do.  I believe Microsoft/Asobo have hit certainly roadblocks in MSFS 2020 and the only way to carry it forward is to release a brand new sim which hopefully will have everything we love about MSFS 2020, will have fixed everything we dislike about it and lay the ground work for an even better simulator for decades to come.  While MSFS 2024 is certainly something to look forward to, many of us are still very much in love with 2020 and looking forward to a few new goodies.

PMDG 777

Yes, one of my favorite simulator aircraft should be available to us in the first half of 2024.  While there is no date and it is only my speculation, but I think we will see this in the first quarter of 2024.  But don’t hate on me if that doesn’t work out.  Thankfully we’ve had a really good Boeing 787 Dreamliner to keep us busy the past few months.  But the void created by not having the 777 is a really big one.  Let’s hope I’m right and we’ll see it sooner rather than later in the new year.

Fenix Airbus A319 and A321

In a very much unexpected announcement a few months ago, the devs at Fenix announced that we would soon have their version of the Airbus A319 and A321 before the end of 2023.  I don’t believe they’ll make that deadline since they also had to delay the block 2 of their Airbus A320 which was originally planned to be released at the end of October.  With the delay for the A320 block 2, I would expect the A319/A321 to be delayed until sometime in the first half of the year.  While I would like to be as optimistic about the A319/A321 as I am with the PMDG 777, we’ll just have to see when block 2 comes out and how successful that is to then determine just how much longer it will be before the A319/A321 arrives.

Bluebird Simulations Boeing 757

Bluebird have been teasing us with status updates on their Boeing 757 throughout the last quarter of this year.  While it was originally believed that the 757 would release before the end of the year, Bluebird announced several months ago that would not be possible and they would not rush the product just to get it out to us.  I also believe we’ll see the 757 release in the first half of the year. 

PMDG 737 MAX

Could we have the PMDG 737 MAX before Microsoft 2024 arrives?  Of course we don’t know when MSFS 2024 will drop.  If history repeats itself, then it might happen in the late summer timeframe.  But who really knows.  Robert Randazzo, the CEO of PMDG has stated several times that PMDG have no plans to announce any release date for the MAX.  We’ll just wake up one day and there it will be.  But could this happen in the first or second half of 2024? 

iFly 737 MAX

In the past 24 hours, iFly have teased a few screenshots of their Boeing 737 MAX for MSFS 2020.  To be honest, I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to this product and don’t know just how far along they are in the process.  From what I’ve heard the iFly 737 MAX was successful in P3D and I would imagine we can expect nothing less for MSFS.  I did own the iFly 737 when it released for FSX many, many years ago.  iFly managed to release their 737 before PMDG by just a month or so (if memory serves).  But just as soon as PMDG released their 737, I bought it and never looked back.  So with this said, regardless of what iFly does, I believe I’m going to hold out for the PMDG MAX. 

Bottom Line

We must all practice patience and understand that these are all highly detailed and complex add-on aircraft.  None of these above mentioned developers are known to rush a product out the door just for the sake of releasing it.  They will release when they are ready and as a consumer, this truly is the very best policy. 

I truly believe 2024 will be another really great year for flight simulation.  What a great time to be involved. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS Dreamliner Fulfilled

I’ve written a lot about my thoughts on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for MSFS over the past year or so.  I’ve speculated on whether QualityWings would be bringing their Dreamliner to MSFS and I’ve shared my own thoughts and comments about the wild rumor that perhaps PMDG was working with QualityWings in some capacity to finally bring the product to MSFS. I’m happy to say that none of that no longer matters to me.  The wait is finally over, the almost near perfect replacement for the QualityWings 787 Dreamliner is here, and it’s available right now!

Before I ramble on.  From what I’ve heard around the flight sim community. QualityWings is all but dead.  A few months ago the word was that most of the developers have left and not only were their customers left in the dark about any future plans, so were the beta testers.  While I suppose QualityWings could at some point get their act together and finally bring their products to MSFS, I’m sorry to say that they are a day late and many dollars short.  Let’s face it.  QualityWings only has three products in their current portfolio for FSX/P3D.  That being the British Aerospace 146, the Boeing 757 and the Boeing 787.  JustFlight has their 146 Professional, BlueBird Simulations is doing a fantastic job with the Boeing 757 and hopefully will release in early 2024.  As for the Dreamliner….again, what is available right now as 100% complete freeware rivals anything QW could bring to market. 

Yes, if you own the Premium Deluxe version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 you too could be flying in an almost near perfect version of the awesome Boeing 787 Dreamliner is available today in the 787-9 variant via the Flightsim.to website.  I’ve been enjoying the 787-9 developed by Horizon Simulations since it released just over a week ago.  While I describe this add-on as “almost near perfect”, there are a few small issues that I’m sure will be addressed over the next few weeks that will bring it to absolute perfection.  The biggest issue that most flight sim enthusiasts have with this aircraft has to do with the rotation.  The aircraft seems to be very nose heavy and is somewhat slow to respond when pulling back on the yoke.  But as I said, this is being addressed and I expect to be fully resolved in the next few weeks. 

FlightSimulator_OGeyXAQoTp

Of course, the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 has only been made possible by the AAU2 or Aircraft & Avionics Update which released back in June and the addition of the more recent changes allowing Simbrief integration into the CDU as it fully capitalizes on these now default systems into the base Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. 

In addition to the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 which is available today, the Kuro 787-8 is also expected to be updated with the same Simbrief integration and hopefully will be available soon. 

So if you’ve been longing for a quality long-haul Boeing aircraft, then look no further than the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9.  Make sure you grab the livery pack which also includes dozens of high quality liveries for both the 787-9 GE and the 787-9 RR engine variants.  I truly don’t believe you’ll be disappointed.

If you do not own the Premium Deluxe version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, I believe you can upgrade via the Microsoft Store (not sure how it works if you purchased via Steam).  But the cost to upgrade, in my opinion is well worth it to gain access to this awesome aircraft. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS 2024 and all those Elephants

Like many of you, I was enjoying a nice, relaxing and peaceful Sunday afternoon.  I was flying from TAPA (V.C. Bird International Airport) to KMIA (Miami International Airport) in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and thoroughly enjoying all the awesome visuals and sheer smoothness of my brand new gaming machine I recently built and very much like how we all learned that Microsoft was developing a new simulator way back in 2019, the news broke that Microsoft/Asobo were planning to release yet ANOTHER brand new simulator next year titled Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.

Since retiring back in 2020, I will admit that some days I question just what day of the week it is and even find myself thinking to myself that “I can’t believe it’s already June”.  But after watching the 2 minute and 14 second teaser video, I was wondering if I had some how stepped into some alternate universe and found that it was actually April 1st?  Or has June 11th somehow now become the new “Fool” day?  You can view the teaser video below.

Unfortunately, the content of the short two minute video sent the flight simulation community into a tailspin.  Forums and Discord channels quickly became a buzz of comments, questions and rightfully… concerns regarding what exactly we were watching.  Is this an expansion to the existing MSFS 2020?  Is this a brand new sim?  If this is a brand new sim, then WHY?  What happens to all my prior MSFS 2020 purchases?  Will this cause 3rd party developers to abandon projects for MSFS 2020?  What was Microsoft thinking?  Is this just a money grab by Micro$oft?  Will this become another Train Simulator like platform?  etc. etc. etc.

The somewhat startling thing was this news came out of the middle of nowhere.  Third party developers such as Aerosoft, Fenix, PMDG etc. were all finding out about this new simulator at the same time as the community.  The entire flight sim community was simply left scratching their heads over what seemed like a pre-mature announcement by Microsoft/Asobo.

Before retirement in July of 2020, I had spent the better part of three decades in IT Management.  In my various roles within the realm IT it was always our goal to ensure any sort of announcement didn’t create panic and uncertainty within the userbase.   Any sort of surprise announcement would always include a detailed FAQ which for the most part helped to prevent the sort of panic, frustration and thousands of questions something like this could generate.  Unfortunately, Microsoft/Asobo failed in this department with this announcement.

As the sun rose and a new day unfolded, Microsoft/Asobo did provide a short FAQ which addresses a few of the large elephants in the room.  Yes, MSFS 2024 will be a completely new standalone sequel.  Yes, MS/Asobo will continue to support MSFS 2020 based on the current roadmap.  Finally, with very few exceptions, virtually all add-ons that work in MSFS 2020 will function in the new MSFS 2024.

My Thoughts

I’ve been a computer based flight simulation enthusiast for over 40 years and have truly enjoyed every version of Microsoft Flight Simulator ever produced and of course Prepar3D during the time between FSX and MSFS 2020, a very big part of me is extremely excited about the MSFS 2024 news.   Of course, I’m also concerned with the fact that in its current state, MSFS 2020 still has many bugs and limitations.  Of course, Microsoft has stated in the FAQ that MSFS 2020 will continue to be supported post the MSFS 2024 launch. So time will tell.

When I first learned about MSFS 2020 and certainly after the initial launch of the new sim, I have quietly had some concerns regarding how Microsoft/Asobo could sustain not only the base product, but also all the future development, expansion and of course the cost of the infrastructure that is required for MSFS to function.  While I’m sure the initial sales of MSFS 2020 certainly went a long way to helping achieve that important ROI (Return on Investment), I did question how things would work in the future.  After all, while Microsoft has introduced a few extra add-on DLC’s to the MSFS 2020 platform, I personally have not purchased them.  Likewise, I also don’t purchase any of my 3rd party add-ons via the Microsoft Marketplace.  Every third party add-on I’ve purchased, I’ve purchased direct from the developer.

With all that said, and again for me personally…I’m not sure why Microsoft/Asobo just didn’t create a DLC add-on that incorporated all the new features mentioned in that trailer to be added into MSFS 2020.  But of course, I’m not in charge of MS/Asobo so what I think matters very little.

I’m sure over the coming weeks/months we’ll certainly learn a lot more about Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 and I’m also confident we’ll also soon begin hearing from 3rd party developers on just what we can expect from them both in products yet to be released into MSFS 2020 and beyond to MSFS 2024.

It’s too early for me to commit to words whether MSFS 2024 would be something I would upgrade to on day one.  I think at this point in time I would need to better understand what the differences between the two sims are based on my style of flying.  While the new features showcased in the trailer look cool.  I’m just an old commercial and GA flying enthusiast.

Final Thoughts

Based on all that we know (and don’t know) today, I do applaud Microsoft/Asobo for all that they have done for the flight simulation community.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Microsoft 2020 is the absolute best flight simulation platform available to the home sim enthusiast.  I’m confident that MSFS 2024 will raise that bar even higher and in my opinion, no other developer of a sim platform can or will exceed the current MSFS 2020 or the future MSFS 2024 in the next year.

I’ll certainly relay any new information as it becomes available and will of course share any personal thoughts regarding that new info in future blog postings.  Thank you for taking the time to read.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

New Gaming PC

In my last blog post where I discussed the upcoming MSFS AAU2 (Aircraft & Avionics Update) which is due to release on 23 June, I briefly mentioned some issues I had been having with my gaming PC.  The PC in question, I called GBS Beast Mark V (which was the 5th gaming machine I had built in recent years).  I built the machine in May of 2018 (5 years ago) and at the time it was pretty much top of the line with an Intel i7 8700K CPU, Nvidia 1080Ti GPU and 32GB of RAM.  It performed well with the games of that time period including American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Prepar3D Flight Simulator.  It performed OK with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.  However, sacrifices had to be made with some graphic settings in an effort to keep the FPS above the 30 FPS mark.

However, over the past month or so I had been experiencing several issues which caused concern for the overall health and longevity of the machine. I’m pretty good about keeping backups, so about two weeks ago I made a backup of everything I needed and a few days later the machine finally rolled over and said no more.  I quickly put a plan in place to start looking at the costs of building a new machine which would obviously be more powerful and hopefully future proof for at least another 5 years.

GBS Beast Mark VI

Obviously technology has taken a huge leap forward over the past several years and certainly so since 2018.  As previously stated, I wanted to try to future proof any new build everywhere possible.  As with previous builds, the most intensive gaming I play is flight sim.  To truly maximize the total immersion possible, any new build would need to have the very best CPU and GPU available and that’s what I’ve done with this new build.

GBS Beast Mark VI features an Intel i9 13900KF CPU on a Z790 motherboard and cooled with a liquid CPU cooler.  In addition, I’m going with  the top of the line Nvidia 4090 24GB GPU.  In addition, I’m adding three Samsung 990 Pro NVME SSD’s and reusing three Samsung 870 Evo SSD’s from the old machine.  Total storage capacity will be 8 TB.  In addition, I’m adding 32 GB RAM (DDR5) which is more than enough for the games I play and all this will be housed in a massive (largest case I’ve ever used due to the massive Nvidia 4090 GPU) Corsair 5000D Airflow ATX Case.

Testing Benchmarks

As I have stated many, many times over the years.  I tweak my system for smoothness and typically don’t concern myself too much with how many FPS I can get from the hardware.  As stated above, my old gaming machine was still capable of giving me a fairly smooth experience around the 30 FPS mark in Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Of course, I had to dialed down some of the graphics settings in order to achieve this, but nonetheless I was able to enjoy the sim just the same.

Of course, the beauty of having this extremely beefy system now with the i9 13900 KF CPU and the truly awesome Nvidia 4090 GPU, I’m pretty much able to run my graphics settings to the full extreme and still enjoy a smooth, buttery visual experience at 60+ FPS with both the Fenix Airbus A320 and the PMDG Boeing 737-800.

The WOW Factor

I’m literally blown away at the huge leap forward I’m experiencing with this new PC and it very much reminds me of how I felt 5 years ago when GBS Beast Mark V came to life.  But of course MSFS wasn’t around at that time and has completely changed the flight simulation landscape.  Over the next few weeks I’ll continue tweaking the new machine and will post my settings once they are all dialed in the way I want them.  While I’m not saying one cannot enjoy MSFS without a 4090 GPU, I will just say that it is absolute joy to see the virtual skies in all their glory without sacrificing performance.

It’s great to have a gaming machine once again and I look forward to many years of what I believe will be truly awesome experiences in all the simulation games I enjoy.  Obviously, Farming Simulator and American Truck/Euro Truck will certainly enjoy the benefits of the updated hardware, but of course not to the same level as MSFS since that is both a CPU and GPU extensive simulation.

Until next time…

Happy Gaming!

Jerry

MSFS AAU2 Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Over the past few days I’ve been watching different streamers showcasing the AAU2 (Aircraft & Avionics Update) beta for Microsoft Flight Simulator.  This update which is scheduled to release to all users on 23 June and is a partnership between Asobo and Working Title and will bring a major overhaul for both the Boeing 747-8i and the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. 

I’m particularly interested in the Dreamliner as I believe this will be our best chance of seeing this aircraft in the sim at any point in the near future.  From what I’ve seen, and while the beta still has some challenges to overcome, it’s going to make for a very nice addition to the virtual hangar.  Upon release I would expect the default MSFS Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be just as flyable/enjoyable as the QualityWings 787 in P3D. 

Speaking of QualityWings and MSFS.  Last month I posted my thoughts on the “PMDG 787 Dreamliner Rumors” which was making the rounds on social media.  While we’ve not heard anything further on this possibility, (and it’s possible Robert Randazzo was just trolling the flight sim community) I just don’t see any sort of partnership between PMDG and QualityWings ever coming to fruition.  While the development team at QualityWings remains silent on the subject of MSFS….it’s certainly not something I think we’ll see this year and actually may never see happen. 

While we’ve had the ability to enhance the default MSFS 787 with the HeavyDivision Mod for over two years, I believe this update for both the default 787 and 747 is fantastic news for the flight sim community. In addition, I could see where the HeavyDivision mod could (once it is reworked after the AAU2 changes are implemented to further enhance the experience.

While I’ve not had the opportunity to install the AAU2 beta (experiencing major hardware issues at the moment), I trust the few individuals who have spent time with the beta and shared their opinions.  I’m looking forward to the official release on 23 June and truly believe this update to the default Boeing 787 will help bridge the gap until PMDG releases their 777 later this year. 

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

PMDG 787 Dreamliner Rumors

About two months ago, there was a Community Q&A livestream between a YouTube Content Creator named FilbertFlies and PMDG’s Robert Randazzo.  During this 3 hour, 32 minute and 48 second event a question was asked by FilbertFlies regarding whether or not PMDG would be interested in developing a Boeing 787?  The response from Robert is somewhat vague, but his response nonetheless has lead some to believe that PMDG and QualityWings could be planning to work together to finally bring the much loved Dreamliner into MSFS.  But is this true?  Is this really what Robert Randazzo said?

Let’s break down the conversation which took place at the 2:17:00 mark of the video (see video below).

FilbertFlies:  Might you make a 787?

Robert Randazzo:  (long pause), Hmmmm, Would I like to?  Yea…Sure…Hmmm…So we’re having some conversations about that with someone else.

FilbertFlies:  Woooo, that’s interesting!

Robert Randazzo:  Yea, hmmmm, yea it is.  The people we’re having that conversation with actually make 787’s.  So it’s an interesting conversation.  But yea, sure….why not.

Of course, Robert didn’t mention QualityWings  by name, only that “The people we’re having that conversation with actually make 787’s”.  While this could be QualityWings, it could also be the team behind the HeavyDivision mod as they are developing a stand alone 787.  But….it could also mean that PMDG is talking with Boeing.  After all, PMDG has a longstanding relationship with Boeing and all of the PMDG add-ons are officially licensed Boeing products.

In my opinion, everyone that has jumped to the conclusion that somehow, someway PMDG and QualityWings will join forces to bring the 787 Dreamliner to MSFS is putting the cart way ahead of the horse.

But don’t get me wrong….I understand why a PMDG/QW partnership makes sense.  After all, the team at QW has all but gone dark with any new news regarding their plan to bring the 787 into MSFS.  While we’ve known for some time that QW is working on it, we haven’t heard from them in a really long time.  The last comment I’ve found on the QW forums was back in March 2022 where they mentioned “the Q2 2021 estimate for the 787 was way off.  We’ve decided that for now being quiet is better than giving wildly inaccurate deliver estimates”. While I can appreciate QualityWing’s does not want to set a release date, I certainly believe they could and should provide some news on at least a quarterly basis just to let us know things are progressing.  But I suppose at the end of the day, QW can run their company as they please.

The bottom line is, we just simply don’t know precisely what Robert meant with his comment.  For now, I’m optimistically hopeful we’ll see the PMDG Boeing 777 release sometime this year and I’m sure a study-level, high fidelity Dreamliner will eventually make its way into MSFS at some point in time.  Until then….we just have to wait and see.

 

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