FLIGHT SIMULATOR X (FSX)
FSX + Acceleration (includes SP2)
FSX GOLD (includes Acceleration + SDK)
► GameSpy server multiplayer service discontinued.
FSX Steam Edition (includes Acceleration)
► Steam server multiplayer service active.
Operating System: Windows XP SP2 - 32bit
Processor: 2.0Ghz (single core)
Hard Disk: 15Gb free space
Memory: 4Gb DDR
Graphic Card: Nvidia GeForce 4 or ATI Radeon
Graphic Memory: 128Mb
Operating System: Windows 7 - 64bit
Processor: 4.0Ghz (8 cores)
Hard Disk: 120Gb free space
Memory: 16Gb DDR3
Graphic Card: Nvidia GeForce or AMD/ATI Radeon
Graphic Memory: 4Gb
DirectX: 9.0c or 10*
* DirectX 10 (preview mode) is not currently working properly by default. Third party software such as Steve's FX DX10 Scenery Fixer would be required in order to render in DX10 mode.
FSX (all editions) is very hardware demanding and will run better on bigger hardware configurations, but we must remember that FSX is only a 32bit software
Technologies such as Nvidia SLI can still help improving the frame rate but the software will eventually reach its limits.
A lot of performance improvements can be achieved by editing properly the "fsx.cfg" file and by optimising some default textures like "water", "sky", "trees" and "taxiways and runways".
There are a lot of mods available on various websites offering texture replacements. Always backup first before replacing default files!
... I will try to publish an optimisation guide at a later date.
FSX was released back in 2006 and still is the reference in the world of civil aviation computer simulations.
Yes it is a 32bit software and yes the graphics are a bit dated, but it was well designed and it is the most user friendly. The number of mods and add-ons is also colossal, so even after all these years, it is still a joy to fly in FSX. Alternatives do exist of course, like P3D (Prepar3D) and XPlane. They both are DirectX 11 compatible and have overall better graphics but they can also be expensive.