New PC advice (with Zwift in mind)

neeb
neeb Posts: 4,470
Apologies if this is a topic that's been done to death, but it's one of those things that's constantly evolving so if someone who knows about this kind of stuff feels like chipping in that would be great..

I've been running Zwift perfectly succesfully on my 7-8 year old laptop:
https://www.asus.com/Laptops/U33Jc/specifications/

I can't use the top-end graphics options and the frame rate is not very good, although I can't say that's ever been an issue. It works fine. The laptop is getting elderly though, and I never use it as a mobile laptop (it sits in my livingroom full time attached to a big TV / Sonos speakers and is my main home computer). At some point I'll need to get a new home PC. Mostly I'm just doing standard home PC stuff (browsing, MS Word, multimedia), but I'd like to get something that would let me run Zwift and other VR cycling aps with the graphics cranked up for maximum immersive effect. I don't currently do any other gaming.

I'm thinking that what I probably need is a basic level gaming PC or something like that.. Ideally I'd like a reasonably compact box that can sit anonymously on the shelf behind my sofa (as my laptop currently does).

Years ago (20 years ago..) I was more into IT and used to buy my own PCBs and peripherals and assemble them myself, so I'm not completely non-literate in that respect. But I know it's pointless to get into all of that sort of stuff without doing a lot of research on the current states-of-the-art and I currently have neither the time nor the enthusiasm for that..

What would be good would be if someone who knew their stuff (maybe a PC gamer?) just said "buy this, it's good value and will do the job".. ;-)

Comments

  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I followed the advice on here and bought a refurbished office tower pc and then added a kick ass graphics card but that needed a power source so I had to update the power supply and also get a WiFi antenna thing. Works really well for me and gives great quality graphics.

    Next in the turbo dungeon is a 4k screen when I see a bargain.
  • Flâneur
    Flâneur Posts: 3,081
    budget, and what other uses?
    Need a new monitor? (additional cost)
    Stevo 666 wrote: Come on you Scousers! 20/12/2014
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  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    edited January 2018
    Flâneur wrote:
    budget, and what other uses?
    Need a new monitor? (additional cost)
    Other uses - normal home computing (browsing, streaming, music, word processing etc). Although I might sometimes want to do some work stuff on it, in which case half-decent number crunching ability might be useful (not a priority though).

    Don't need a monitor, happy connecting to the widescreen smart TV. Tell me if that puts a limit on the graphics capability it's worth going for..

    Budget dependent on trade-offs, i.e. what I'd be getting for paying more and whether I felt that was worth it.

    P.S. Current TV is a 47" Full HD (1920 x 1080), not 4K.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    cougie wrote:
    I followed the advice on here and bought a refurbished office tower pc and then added a kick ass graphics card but that needed a power source so I had to update the power supply and also get a WiFi antenna thing. Works really well for me and gives great quality graphics.

    Next in the turbo dungeon is a 4k screen when I see a bargain.
    Sounds good - but would require some research I suppose?
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    How often will you Zwift ? If I had to do it in the living room there is no way I'd get on it unless the wife was out for the day.
    A dedicated space is much better. Keep a bike on it ready to go and even in a cold garage I have multiple fans.
  • cougie wrote:
    How often will you Zwift ? If I had to do it in the living room there is no way I'd get on it unless the wife was out for the day.
    A dedicated space is much better. Keep a bike on it ready to go and even in a cold garage I have multiple fans.

    I have a dedicated space in the garage, spare bike bolted to the trainer. Then I just take the laptop down with me. No way I could take up the TV in the lounge room and have to set up the trainer, bike, fans, etc each time. I just wouldn't bother with that sort of faff. I need bang on ready to roll.

    Oh and back on topic, I bought a low end gaming laptop as my old one was getting single digit frame rates in any group rides or races! A good quality dedicated graphics card is the most important feature for high definition Zwift.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    cougie wrote:
    How often will you Zwift ? If I had to do it in the living room there is no way I'd get on it unless the wife was out for the day.
    A dedicated space is much better. Keep a bike on it ready to go and even in a cold garage I have multiple fans.

    I have a dedicated space in the garage, spare bike bolted to the trainer. Then I just take the laptop down with me. No way I could take up the TV in the lounge room and have to set up the trainer, bike, fans, etc each time. I just wouldn't bother with that sort of faff. I need bang on ready to roll.

    Oh and back on topic, I bought a low end gaming laptop as my old one was getting single digit frame rates in any group rides or races! A good quality dedicated graphics card is the most important feature for high definition Zwift.
    Just me in my flat most of the time so the best bike spends much of the winter in the livingroom attached to the trainer.. :)

    What's the minimum level of graphics card to guarantee high def & high frame rates?
  • phil485
    phil485 Posts: 364
    Watching with interest as my current zwift P.C. doesn't work since the latest updates.

    Similar situation, dedicated tv in my garage with trainer set up constantly. Just need the minimum spec machine to run zwift and trainer road with a bit of you tube/ internet browsing for the next couple of years.....
  • Have a trawl through some of the different PC specs on this page:

    https://zwiftalizer.com/benchmarks

    It outlines different machines running at each Zwift quality level.

    I get 50-60fps on 1080 ultra. Laptop runs a Core i7-6700 @ 2.6GHz, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 960M.
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    I use three different machines for zwift.

    Acer ES1-531 - Intel Celeron, 4Gb ram & HD graphics 4000 - Runs at 576p @ 60fps and was £200 from Tesco (Old general use laptop)

    Acer F5-573G - i5 7200, 8Gb ram & GTX950m (4GB) - Runs at 1080p High @ 60fps and cost £650 (new general use laptop)

    HP Elitedesk 800 G1 - i5 4590, 8Gb Ram & GTX650 (2GB) - Runs at 1080p Medium @ 60fps and cost me £100 for PC, £20 for RAM and £60 for the GPU (Dedicated Zwift PC)

    For me, my dedicated PC is perfect. With SSD so it boots superfast and at medium detail if perfectly adequate for zwifting. I don't notice the difference between 1080p medium and high.
  • Apple TV is about as unintrusive as you can get.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
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  • Your best bet is probably to get a PC built with the likes of CCLonline. In terms of specification Zwift doesn't require a fast processor so an i3 is all that you're going to need. It needs a little bit more in terms of graphics - a GTX1060 will run Ultra mode in 1080p at a very high frame rate. A GTX 1050Ti would work too.

    If you're getting something just for Zwift then the AppleTV makes sense but if you are going to use it for other things then the PC is worth the investment especially as the graphics are better.
  • Flâneur
    Flâneur Posts: 3,081
    Given what has been said above I would reiterate the apple tv for zwift and then you can lower the budget on a terminal for the limited work use.

    Other option with no need for PC, iPad pro (good to work on imo, but still not a PC and has additional costs mirroring to the TV)

    PC tower cost with the system approx £500 - 600 depending if self built/who you buy from.
    Stevo 666 wrote: Come on you Scousers! 20/12/2014
    Crudder
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  • The other good thing about ATV is that it will mirror cast whatever else you're doing. So if you have an iPad you can mirror sufferfest, trainer road, fulgaz etc.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • The other good thing about ATV is that it will mirror cast whatever else you're doing. So if you have an iPad you can mirror sufferfest, trainer road, fulgaz etc.

    Yup. It really comes down to what other uses you can put it to. If the answer is 'nothing' then ATV will win on cost alone unless you really want to up the graphics quality or go 4K then the PC is the only option.
  • birdie23
    birdie23 Posts: 457
    https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/guide/8sfrx ... ming-build

    This would be more than enough for Zwift
    2012 Cube Agree GTC
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    birdie23 wrote:

    and you could make that miles cheaper too using parts from eBay and CEX etc (I got corsair vengance RAM (2x 4GB) from CEX for about £20
  • frisbee
    frisbee Posts: 691
    I use an ipad, Zwift full screen and Netflix in a window. It runs far better than on my 9(?) year old gaming laptop and there are no dropouts.

    If using an Apple TV you'll have to use the mobile link on a phone as well, the Apple TV is limited to only 2 Bluetooth connections for sensors.
  • birdie23
    birdie23 Posts: 457
    Dannbodge wrote:
    birdie23 wrote:

    and you could make that miles cheaper too using parts from eBay and CEX etc (I got corsair vengance RAM (2x 4GB) from CEX for about £20

    Yep, shop around and that can be built for relative peanuts and can play decent games as well as Zwift if wanted.
    2012 Cube Agree GTC
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Dannbodge wrote:
    I use three different machines for zwift.

    Acer ES1-531 - Intel Celeron, 4Gb ram & HD graphics 4000 - Runs at 576p @ 60fps and was £200 from Tesco (Old general use laptop)

    Acer F5-573G - i5 7200, 8Gb ram & GTX950m (4GB) - Runs at 1080p High @ 60fps and cost £650 (new general use laptop)

    HP Elitedesk 800 G1 - i5 4590, 8Gb Ram & GTX650 (2GB) - Runs at 1080p Medium @ 60fps and cost me £100 for PC, £20 for RAM and £60 for the GPU (Dedicated Zwift PC)

    For me, my dedicated PC is perfect. With SSD so it boots superfast and at medium detail if perfectly adequate for zwifting. I don't notice the difference between 1080p medium and high.

    How come you use three machines for Zwift ?
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    cougie wrote:
    Dannbodge wrote:
    I use three different machines for zwift.

    Acer ES1-531 - Intel Celeron, 4Gb ram & HD graphics 4000 - Runs at 576p @ 60fps and was £200 from Tesco (Old general use laptop)

    Acer F5-573G - i5 7200, 8Gb ram & GTX950m (4GB) - Runs at 1080p High @ 60fps and cost £650 (new general use laptop)

    HP Elitedesk 800 G1 - i5 4590, 8Gb Ram & GTX650 (2GB) - Runs at 1080p Medium @ 60fps and cost me £100 for PC, £20 for RAM and £60 for the GPU (Dedicated Zwift PC)

    For me, my dedicated PC is perfect. With SSD so it boots superfast and at medium detail if perfectly adequate for zwifting. I don't notice the difference between 1080p medium and high.

    How come you use three machines for Zwift ?

    Started with the original laptop, which we replaced with the second laptop (So depending on what the OH was doing dictated which one I would use), then I moved it into a spare room and got the dedicated PC.

    I should have put "I've used" rather than use.