Late 2021 PC build for Zwift

My 7 year old Devil’s Canyon is having trouble keeping up in group rides, but I think my 3 year old GeForce 1060 is still up to the task. I run Zwift in 4K, but my big screen TV is only capable of 30fps.

I assume that a Zen 3 is as good as a Rocket Lake for Zwift, and that 16GiB of DDR4 is adequate. I suppose I should upgrade my SSD to PCIe 4.0.

Any other considerations?

@Dave_ZPCMR - This seems to fall into your wheelhouse.

So a few things, most of which depends on whether you’re using this build for anything other than Zwift:

  1. Your TV is almost certainly not limiting you to 30fps, I’d be staggered if it’s not 60Hz. The default Nvidia settings mean that if you’re not holding close to 60fps then Zwift will drop all the way to 30fps to prevent tearing. That’s classic vsync behaviour, but unfortunately in Zwift you can be pegged there even if the frame rate could be 60fps again. This can be corrected by enabling triple buffering (leaving vsync unchanged), which allows the frame rate to be anything whilst still not introducing tearing.
  2. The 1060 is generally fine for Zwift in 4K, with the exception of a few spots with dense foliage and much of Makuri Islands where the GPU demands are ludicrously high (think 3070 tier) to maintain 60fps… that’s when you’re not CPU bottlenecked.
  3. Zen 3 is a good choice for mitigating busy group rides etc, but the price is too high IMO, particularly if this is a dedicated Zwift build. I’d go i3-10105F if it is, or i5-11600K/5600X if other gaming/production is needed or the price isn’t an issue. Or you can save a bit of brass and go with 10th gen.
  4. 8GB RAM is all you need for Zwift. In fact 6GB is all you need, because it’s only to avoid low quality textures. In terms of performance, it’s no worse on as little as 2GB. 16GB is only worthwhile if you’re going to be streaming, or doing other stuff as mentioned. For Zwift it’s bonkers.
  5. PCIe 4.0 is only of benefit in benchmarks. Save your money.
  6. Don’t expect a revolution. You’re already on the best value for money platform (Haswell). The brass would be better spent on an adaptive sync display IMO.

Well, TIL that my frame rate has been sitting at 30 fps all this time because someone at nVidia appears to think it’s a good idea. As I was in the options menu enabling triple buffering, I also bumped the refresh rate up to 60 Hz. Thanks!

I did the Absa Cape Serpentine 8 this morning, and my average frame rate was 52 fps, which seems pretty good for the Jungle.

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Usually Zwift in its wisdom overrides that Nvidia refresh rate setting and uses your display’s maximum, but yeah if it was sat on 30Hz (usually a safe compatibility thing) and was capping you at 30fps then you’ve done the right thing correcting it. :+1:

Yup, 52fps isn’t bad for the jungle. It’s hard on a graphics card. But don’t forget that if it was a busy group ride then you may have been CPU bottlenecked anyway - in which case a 3090 wouldn’t have been any better.