Desktop Computer

What sort of desktop computer should I buy to run Zwift?
It seems that Zwift was written on a Mac and then fiddled around with to suit Windows PC, therefore I was going to buy an iPad to mount on my bike, my phone is an iPhone 5SE so too small to use. I was also going for an Apple monitor, which would be best though Apple TV or Apple cinema?

Hi @Simon_Head1,
https://blog.zwiftalizer.com/post/buyersguide-2019/ could be a starting point.
Personally I run it on a (decent) Desktop PC connected to a Television via HDMI. No problems. I also have it on my Macbook as I sometimes want to check a Badge or Achievement when I am not in my ‘pain cave’. I know that it also runs well on Apple TV and iOS devices.

Frank

If it’s just for zwifting, I would lool for a used gaming PC.
A Haswell based i5/i7 with a GTX970 or 1060 should be enough for zwift.

3 Likes

Buying a brand new pre-built PC for Zwift is tricky. You risk either getting something unsuitable or overpaying for power you can’t use, because whilst Zwift will run on almost anything, if you want to run it well the requirements are a bit weird. Best options are building your own or looking for a used i5/i7 machine with a GTX 1060 as suggested above. Have a read of this: https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-pc-guide/

1 Like

Zwift uses OpenGL, so a used Workstation PC for CAD/CAM with a Nvidia Quadro GPU should also work very good.

Have a PC built just for Zwift - and i recently installed a SSD - OMG ! regret not using an SSD earlier - loading of the OS is near immediate. And Zwift now loads like a proper 21 century software. Withouth the SSD - there’ll be times i wondered whether Zwift had stalled while loading.

1 Like

Quadro is over kill for Zwift and you would likely see a higher price for a used “workstation” grade computer vs standard desktop, standard desktop card has more than enough umph to run Zwift with OpenGL.

I am using a older Lenovo M93p
https://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/desktops/thinkcentre/m-series-tiny/m93-m93p/
with integrated Intel HD4000 graphics, and 4th gen i7 and 8G with a 120G SSD, so far it has run butter smooth even with events starts with 150 people at the start line.

Dave site he listed covers things pretty good in detail, but unless you plan to do rides with hundreds or thousands of people at the start, you may not need to spend much

Depends.
I zwift since Nov 2018 on a i5-3470 with AMD HD7850 for little money.
Lately I got a Xeon 1230v5 with a Quadro K1200 for free.
OpenGL Test on Cinebench R15 says 77fps vs 150fps.
Will try that next season if I don’t sell it by then.
Zwift season for me is over. Spring is finally here and I can ride outside :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

That totally depends on your definition of smooth. Zwift to its credit will run on virtually anything, including the 20-30fps with basic details almost any computer with integrated graphics can get at the 720p or 1080p resolution settings. Performance is already so low that big group rides may not cause a noticeable impact. If you want to see the highest detail at 60fps and/or use the 1440p or 4K resolution settings then integrated graphics aren’t suitable, and if you want to maintain a good frame rate in big group rides then CPU becomes important. OP is talking about buying a new PC, so there’s probably an expectation of a much better experience versus his phone.

1 Like

Not fast enough yet to be with any fast group rides, usually they pass me!

I use a 5 year old MacBook laptop at the moment but I want to replace this with a computer, big screen, compatible tablet too mount on my bars, all in my Pain Cave.

Trouble is I am can’t speak the same computer tech language as you lot, I dont understand Xeon 1230v5, Quadro K1200, 4th gen i7, 8G, 120G SSD but I WAS a reasonably intelligent Design Engineer with a job that was actually good fun and rewarding, not financially but it was very good at times, until I had a life changing motorbike accident, off road.

Any chance that someone could please spec a PC, Display, and tablet.

Mr Simon Head

I just followed the guide in the link from DaveH. I didn’t want to order all the bits and do it myself as I am too impatient. To have a new pc built would cost over £600, so I bought one on eBay, reconditioned and built to the right spec. There was a choice of about 4 sellers offering such, all around the £330-380 delivered mark. This was two weeks ago. The pc arrived within a couple of days and didn’t need any setting up! Connected the cables, downloaded Zwift and away! I then tuned the config files as directed on the link in DaveH’s link, which was also super simple and now I have fantastic graphics and fast start up etc!

2 Likes

Would be good to get a link from @Neil_McGurk but if you fancy building your own: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/Gjshx6 (ask CCL to update the motherboard BIOS before sending it out). About £400 if you add a cheap USB wireless stick.

If you don’t want to do that: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/saved-configurations/intel-home-office-pc-II/N!3SWpjbyY/ Comes to £462 so about £60 more all things considered.

Monitor: https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/electriq-27-qhd-1440p-95hz-freesync-hdr-monitor-eiq-27mq95fshdru/version.asp It’s quite expensive at the moment, about £170-180 is the normal price. Basically the perfect spec for Zwift. Otherwise if you want bigger then a 4K TV but you’ll lose adaptive sync.

PS: don’t worry about a Windows 10 licence, it runs perfectly fine unactivated.

Any old tablet will do for the Companion app as long as it’s on Android 5.0 or newer.

Thanks guys, I’ll try to write out a good computer spec to send you then I’ll see if I can get one.

I’ll do that later, got to Zwift now!

Mr Simon Head

Remover personal information

What advantage does a desktop PC dedicated to Zwift have over an Apple TV? It seems to me that the simplicity of an Apple TV setup is hard to beat.

Would also like to know the answer to this question.

I believe it is the detail level from Zwift HQ. I’m not sure if apple tv gets the ultra profile?

I would say the major difference is that PC can use ANT+ and more Bluetooth devices. PC has a keyboard (this is a a big factor for me), high end pc’s has better graphics. With a PC you can run multiple screens with multiple different applications like streaming and discord.

3 Likes

Thanks for the clarification.

Apple TV definitely does NOT get the Ultra profile! The ATV graphics are reasonable, I suppose, but no rider shadows (just a sort of gray patch that moves along under the riders) and the background is not anywhere near as detailed as the screenshots I see from those using decent PCs. Is this a dealbreaker? Hardly. The simplicity (and price) are hard to beat. Still, though, I would love it if Apple would put in a processor (and whatever other hardware necessary) powerful enough to do the Ultra graphics.

2 Likes

All platforms have their pros and cons but for me a properly specced Zwift PC offers:

  • Vastly superior input method(s)
  • No restrictions on device connections
  • Higher detail including lighting, shadows and environmental effects such as foliage, water, wildlife etc
  • Much higher frame rate
  • Unique features such as drone camera
  • Gets latest update immediately after release (and cannot be mistakenly avoided)
  • Much easier to recover FIT files and manage custom workouts
  • Can obviously use it for many other tasks

Most of the drawbacks commonly cited against using a PC are down to bad experiences with less than ideal components (usually a slow mechanical hard drive) and/or poor system maintenance (user not keeping on top of Windows updates). For example people say Apple TV is faster to get going, but my Zwift PC takes about a minute to boot, log in and get to the pairing screen. A few seconds later it’s picked up my trainer and HRM and I’m at the route selection screen. It’s fast enough for me. Apple TV is mostly rock solid but there are loads of technical problems cited on here and Facebook. Ironically most recommend that you should open Zwift from the App Store, force close the app every time to clear the cache and otherwise regularly check for TVOS and game updates manually. All of which partly defeats the speed/simplicity argument in my opinion because that’s no different to me checking for Windows updates.

The single biggest issues with using a PC for Zwift are the weird spec requirements to run it really well, and the inconsistent frame rates. It’s not like buying or building a PC for any other modern game, so it’s very easy to waste money for no substantial further benefit. People often think you need to spend a small fortune to get a better experience than Apple TV which isn’t true. But obviously it completely depends on how much value you place on the things I’ve listed above.

To each their own. :+1:

5 Likes