Is 4K (Extreme graphics) worth it?

Further to my question about building a machine capable of running Zwift in 4K, a few friends have asked if it is even a noticeable enough difference from smooth 1080p to bother getting the extra spec.
At the moment my machine at home copes, but its not great. So is it actually worth spending the extra cash to get it in 4K, or is 1080p more than enough when running smoothly?

This is a hard question to answer. It is very important to have a system that run smooth in big group rides. you can take your log file from a big group ride and plug it into zwiftalizer.com and look at your Frames per second (FPS).
Your average should be above 30FPS and P5 not less than 10FPS (This is what I found to be working for me but it may differ depending on your system)

What screen are you using, if you screen/monitor is not 4k then you won’t see the difference.

I do like the extra graphics. Does it make me train more, I don’t think so.

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Cheers Gerrie, the final line really sums it up for me I think.
At the moment I am just using a Dell all in one I bought about 6 years ago. So not great spec at all.
I think I have just gotten caught up in the whole “for just a bit more” cycle, and gone from wanting to just get an Apple TV 4K to run smoothly, to wanting a dedicated PC for it, and then started looking 4K too.

In reality, I think all I need is something to run 1080p on, smoothly.

Is your current Dell a desktop (model #) or laptop.

If it is a desktop you may be able to get better GPU and that will improve your graphics.

Sadly it is an all in one style desktop, so pretty much as limited as a laptop when it comes to upgrading it.
It has been years since I looked at computer specs, so to say I am out of touch and confused by it all is an understatement lol.

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o no, what model desktop is it.

I would say if your current system is running fine then keep it, save up so when there is a good deal on a used pc you can upgrade.

I started with a 10old pentium 4 core2, upgraded the GPU to a GTX960 then got the 3rd gen I5 on Ebay. And last year i found the GTX1060 on Ebay.

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I think that is the route I will end up on too. We have 2 old machines at home, desktop tower style ones, so going to see what is in those tonight. Who knows, might be a workable starting point to go with .

As for the current running fine, in reality I am just being picky. It runs OK, not great detail, but keeps me ticking over I guess. In the meantime I will keep my eyes peeled for some deals and see what I can build up over the winter. Cheers for taking the time to reply :slight_smile:

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No problem, keep us up to date with your findings.

Have fun Zwifting.

Ride On!!

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The 4K graphics are way better than 1080 but as Gerrie said, doesn’t change training at all.
I used a gaming PC from Micro Center. A US computer store than has a house brand that they build. I have a great processor and graphics card that came at an unbelievable price and was even on sale.

Its worth mentioning the correlation of screen size, resolution and viewing distance.


I use a 32inch screen at 1080p from between 1 or 2 meters. I have never once thought to myself “I wish this was sharper, more detailed, less pixelated and more beautiful.” I got the pc from a friend for £200. The gtx 970 is perfect but the 860 in it struggles sometimes to keep up.

Thanks for that Robert, I am slowly starting to be a bit more realistic about things lol .
Hunting around the house I have found a couple of machines I can smash together which would just leave me needing a graphics card to run things smoothly.
Any suggestions on a card to run silky smooth 1080p are appreciated.

Theoretical set up would be
Intel i5 - 3340 @ 3.10GHz
8GB RAM
500w PSU
Output to a 32" LG 1080p TV

AMD 590 would be a good choice, but without knowing your budget and the model of the PSU (the 590 needs addition power connection) it would be difficult to make an educated suggestion.

No problem Michael. Thats a nice place to start if you are on a budget. The 3340 benchmarks slower than my 860 so try it and see how you go. If you get short freezes very occasionally you might just want to live with them like i do. You can upgrade up to 3370k on an Ivy Bridge (LGA 1155) motherboard. I don’t know where the 1080p@60 fps avg sweet spot is with price at the moment like i said you’d be fine with a gtx 970 which is getting real old now so may be cheaper second hand. Your PSU is more than capable to power a card that needs 145watts as long as it has the right plugs so go into the card. For reference see the benchmarks on Zwiftaliser for processor graphics card combos and their average framerates. I wouldn’t be too bothered about the occasional drop in frame rate I never noticed it.

Noooooooooo…not AMD… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: LOL

Get a GTX970 atleast. Altho I had no issues with the GTX960.

Is that what you found hunting around the house, wow.

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If you are going to suggest Nvidia, at least make it a 1050ti 4GB.

I have had no issues with the 580 in my Zwift PC for a year now.

No the 1050ti is not bad, I think the 970 is better bang for your buck.

https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-970-vs-Nvidia-GTX-1050-Ti/2577vs3649

I’m just pulling your leg a bit.

I figured.

The 1060 needs an addition power connection, but the the 1050 does not, so for some that would be the best option depending on the PSU they have installed. The 580 also needs an addition power connection.

The 970 is getting a little long in the tooth.

It really is going to boil down to budget and the PSU that he has.

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Sure it Gerrie, is that a good wow? lol

So Nvidia 960/970 or 1050ti ? I am lost on all these things. For 1080p

The PSU is a 500w, not sure what other info I can give on it that will help.

All these card numbers, my brain is melting now. Just want to find what will work best with what I have there.

The other option for processor is an AMD A6-6400K 4GHz
That one is also running 8GB of RAM

If that changes any opinions or options

Thanks for all the advice so far, its been a learning experience and much appreciated.

That is a good wow.
That system you listed sound very nice.

Anyone of those GPU’s will give you good 1080p with nice smooth performance. Look around and see what you can find used. Depending on your budget.

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Budget is as much as it needs to be to get it running smoothly, without going over the top. I noticed mention of some needing other power supplies for some cards. Any thoughts? Does it need specific leads that I need to look for in the case?