I would appreciate anyone’s response who has had experience with these computers. I’ve seen the Alienware Alpha recommended, but does it allow Zwift to run in Ultra mode? What about the Alienware 15 laptops? I’m trying to balance cost against performance, at least to some degree, and want to avoid a desktop, if possible.
Swift is GPU power hungry so you will need a computer that is pretty robust in graphical processing tasks (graphic card) while the CPU could be average.
My advice is to look for an i5 (or AMD equivalent) for the CPU so you will be fine for years to come but invest as much as you can in the graphic card especially if you want to run it at Ultra Settings. Potentially you can even use an old Core 2 Duo 2Ghz coupled with a modern graphic card (Nvidia 970 or AMD R9 series) and you’ll be able to run Swift really well.
I’ve been using an Nvidia GTX 780 and had no problems at max settings (with an i7 quad core) but the results won’t be much different by using an i3 or i5 so save money on the processor and get the best graphic card you can afford, my 2 cents!
Here’s an video that shows the difference between a low-end graphics card and one between the Recommended and Extreme specs for Zwift.
The GPU makes all the difference.
I put together a custom PC for ~$600 and I am able to run Zwift at 1080p with frame rates between 30-60 FPS. Even in large groups.