We posted the system requirements for X-Plane 11 today. Here’re a few notes on the requirements for X-Plane 11.
This should be a surprise to no one: X-Plane 11 will be 64-bit only. Add-ons have already gone 64-bit only, over 90% of our user base is already running 64-bit operating systems, and we need 64-bit to be able to utilize the RAM that we need and everyone already has.
Windows: No More XP or Vista
For Windows, we are dropping XP and Vista support and requiring Windows 7 or newer. XP has been end-of-lifed by Microsoft for a while and is therefore not safe to use (due to a lack of security updates).
OS X: Yosemite and Newer
For OS X, we are dropping a number of OS X versions and requiring Yosemite (10.10) or higher. Apple has increased the tempo for OS releases in the last few years, and they don’t provide new drivers to old operating systems, so we are pre-emptively cutting down the set of supported operating systems to cut down the number of different 3-d drivers we have to test.
Linux: Proprietary Drivers Required
On Linux, we will continue to support only the proprietary 3-d drivers from AMD and NVidia; these drivers use the same OpenGL stack, so they let us support Linux without the cost of additional 3-d driver testing. We don’t officially support the Mesa/Gallium stack for Intel GPUs, but X-Plane Linux users have done a bunch of work to make this unofficially work, and we do our best to not undo their work.
We’re setting the minimum graphics card at the AMD HD 5000-series line for the red team and the GeForce 400-series for the green team. This ensures that we only support cards with reasonably current drivers, DX11-class capabilities, etc. For Intel, you’ll need at least an HD2000 series or newer; figuring out your Intel motherboard graphics is really tricky because their numbering scheme is crazy, but if you don’t have at least some kind of “HD” graphics, you definitely can’t run.
We recommend a newer graphics card, e.g. at least from the DX12 or newer generations. When it comes to graphics, basically more is more, so whether you need a Titan or Fury or similarly monstrous card depends on things like how big your monitor is.
CPU requirements are the messiest part of the spec and the source of most of our internal discussion. Simply put, there really aren’t good ways for us to simply state what CPU is going to work well or not with X-Plane. X-Plane itself has a huge range of CPU uses based on configuration, and CPUs have a huge range of actual performance that can be hard to predict from some of the simple headline numbers. Clock rate is absolutely not indicative of performance, nor is core count.
A recommended system is pretty simple: we recommend the Intel i5 6600K, which is the current top-speed gamer targeted i5. You can go lower or older and lose significant performance, or you can go faster and really start to pay a lot more money. If you want to invest in 8 Xeon cores, it may help… but we aren’t going to go tell you to spend that kind of money for a little more performance.
Here are my practical recommendations for X-Plane 11:
- If your machine is just barely getting by with X-Plane 10 at the lowest settings, and those hardware requirements seem high because your machine was built several years ago, you may need to upgrade for X-Plane 11. In this case, it could be a good time to upgrade OS and multiple components.
- If your machine runs X-Plane 10 well, it will almost certainly run X-Plane 11 in some form, with the exception of the very oldest graphics cards. (If you have one of those, I would say your definition for ‘run well’ is a lot lower than mine is.)
- If you need to purchase new hardware, I strongly recommend running X-Plane 11 on your existing hardware first and examining performance of the demo (when available) to see where you’ll need to upgrade.
Real hardware performance is hugely varied by what you are doing and your particular system components, so trying the demo will tell you more than we can hope to figure out from specs.