FlightGear 1.0 hardware recommendations

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These hardware recommendations are based on informal user experience, be sure to consult other sources before making serious decisions regarding computer hardware.

Flightgear requires a hardware accelerated 3D video card with OpenGL drivers to run at reasonable frame-rates. Using a video card without hardware acceleration might produce frame-rates around several seconds per frame. On the other hand, a 3-Ghz CPU with a GeForce video card should produce frame-rates near 60 fps in most situations. The frame-rate will vary with the complexity of the scene, which is constantly changing, depending on the number of models and surfaces within view at each moment. See 3D Video Introduction for more information why FlightGear requires an OpenGL-capable video card.

Most modern PCs have hardware accelerated 3D cards. If you are having trouble running FlightGear, visit your card manufacturer's web site and download and install the latest drivers for your card. Appendix C of The FlightGear Manual has some further information on configuring your machine.

If you are interested in running FlightGear on a notebook, you may also want to check out Notebooks known to run FlightGear. There's also a list of notebooks that are known to have issues running FlightGear: Notebooks to avoid.

Recommended hardware specs - for FlightGear 1.9.1b

  • 1-2 GHZ (multi-core benefits may be employed by threaded FlightGear components such as for example the tile loader)
  • at least 512-1024 MB free RAM (more is better: as of 01/2008 FlightGear will often easily eat up >= 500 MB RAM by default, thus if less free RAM is available the FlightGear process would be significantly slowed down due to OS swapping)
  • 3D hardware accelerator, with preferably at least 128-256 MB dedicated RAM, OpenGL 1.2 capable (2.0 even better!) (You may want to check out Supported Video Cards) Note that cards with working shader support will enable FlightGear to run with more visual effects.
  • 500 MB free HD space needed for minimum installation (>=2 GB for compilations recommended,note that the full base package checkout is ~2.5GB as of 1/2008), in addition: approximately ~100-150MB per installed scenery tile (terrain: non-ocean)
  • Soundblaster compatible soundcard (optional?) - preferably with EAX support
  • 3 button mouse or 2 button mouse with scroll wheel
  • Gameport or USB (HID compatible) joystick/yoke and/or pedals (optional) - please check out Supported Peripherals for a list of input hardware known to work with FlightGear.

Hardware Incompatibilities

A list of video cards that may not properly run FlightGear can be found at Problematic Video Cards.

See Also

FlighGear Hardware Requirements