Pre-built (mostly) computer for zwift

Hi, I lost my house in the colorado marshall wildfire - gone. I am going to get a wahoo bike - unless anyone says otherwise, as I am a bit light on bikes at the moment. I had a dell computer with a graphics card used GTX 970 - that was pretty sweet - dropped a few frames but I was used to it, but no more. I will be replacing my 40 inch 4K TV and looking for suggestions for a mostly pre-built computer that will drive a 4K tv and full res and highest detail that zwift provides - and preferably not drop frames… I am in IT and I literally had a whole closet full of computers and computer bits, but no more so I need something nearing plug and play - and readily available - are GPUs in better supply now? Sorry, I’m still in a state of shock at what I have lost, but getting myself a zwift setup replacement would definitely help on the road to recovery! thanks for any advice!

Sorry for your loss bro, I live less than a mile from the 2020 Rogue Valley Alameda fire that took out 2,000 residences. Have many friends that lost everything. It sucks!

Two things to consider, a Stages Bike SB20 and a Mac M1 mini. The stages bike is rock solid, between my wife and I we have over 15,000 km on one. They are tanks built to their studio spin bike grade. The M1 mini is dirt cheap and handles even Makuri Islands capably. Graphics cards are still very hard to come by and expensive.

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M1 Mini costs an absolute fortune for how it presently performs in Zwift, and it doesn’t run the game anywhere near as well as his 970 did.


Dave you have never seen how well the M1 runs the game. I ride Makuri Neon Flats several times a week in big groups and it runs flawlessly.

It literally doesn’t have rider shadows. That’s worse than a GT 1030.


Haha, rider shadows.

Integrated graphics on a 4th gen i3 runs flawlessly. What’s your point. :rofl:

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The OP specifically asked for the highest res experience. The M1 mini is not the best graphic experience.


gpus are thru the roof still but if you can get an office desktop that can take a Ti then you should be able to just plug it in and go


The way Zwift assigns graphics profiles is extremely straightforward, and known. The M1 devices are supposed to get High profile at up to 1440p resolution, which is the same as a GTX 950 (a midrange GPU from 2015). Both can hold 60fps most places when it’s quiet. The frame rate tanks on both when it’s busy, because this is when the game becomes CPU limited and the GPU is starved.

The M1 isn’t special at all when it comes to Zwift - in fact it’s very poor for the price - and the facts are it reacts just like any other PC does. To make matters worse, High profile is supposed to get rider/complex shadows, something that actually makes a massive difference to the game’s appearance and can be obtained on Medium profile (hence the mention of the GT 1030, which gets Medium). There’s been a bug on M1 devices for nearly a year preventing those shadows showing up. So it actually looks closer to Basic, same as an Apple TV.

All this may change if a dedicated M1 version of the game is released, but if that’s your definition of flawless, then I have some magic beans you may be interested in.

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Hi @bill_dossett_RUSA_WM

Since you are in IT I would suggest reading some of @Dave_ZPCMR 's documents on fb.

Get a used 4th gen i5 and a gtx 1060 with a SSD. Cheap and easy.

Rumor has it the RTX3050 will be out soon for $350.00 combine that with a $100 i5. What do you think Dave?


Anyway to answer the OP; firstly sorry to hear about your situation. Terrible stuff. :confused:

Graphics card supply is kind of better, but pricing is still ridiculous at anywhere easy to order from. I believe Microcenter in the US has some reasonable prices in-store though, if you can get to one. If you’re not minded to building a system from scratch, I would recommend seeking out a prebuilt based on the 12th gen Intel CPUs. Even the i3-12100 is fine. Ideally something that either already has, or can easily take a standard ATX power supply as a straight swap (many big brand prebuilts are full of proprietary parts). Then try to get to a Microcenter and buy the cheapest graphics card you can get from either the 16xx, 20xx or 30xx series of Nvidia cards (apart from the 1650 which isn’t strong enough for Zwift in 4K - the 1650 Super is though). Then as long as you have 8GB of RAM and an SSD you’ll be sorted. This is all assuming you don’t want anything used of course.

Alternatively look for these specs in a complete prebuilt. But 12th gen Intel is definitely the way to go right now if buying new, particularly at the low end. Hope this helps, feel free to drop me a PM if you like.


I think you have a throw away machine destined for the dustbin. Versus a Mac mini M1 for as little as $579 that will last 5-7 years. The machines Dave recommends have more footnotes than the typical Pharma ad on TV. As Dave has said repeatedly the missing shadows are just a low priority mistake on ZHQ.

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You can’t be serious. :rofl:

That pc ran Zwift on ultra while streaming obs. The only reason I upgraded to a i5 10th gen was because I couldn’t use obs and discord. Still using the gtx1060.

The 10th gen i5 + mb + ssd + cooler and case was less than $300.


Hey Dave, you helped me out with my last setup :slight_smile: loved it… though it did drop some frames, so was trying to avoid that this time around… I am happy to pick up a used computer off ebay… my insurance is kicking in and I had like 50K worth of bikes and I’m not going to replace them all, so I can spend some money… So 12th Gen Intel is best… seems like I have been seeing GPUs becoming available - what would be the dream card to get? and do I need to upgrade power supply for all graphics cards pretty much? The situation sucks, but is is a 1st world problem, I have insurance, its a huge inconvenience. Not quite sure how to PM on this forum as I don’t use it that much… but thanks as well to everyone that replied. I don’t think an M1 would do for me, I want the highest res and detail possible, I used to be a gamer :wink:

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no message

ok so prebuilt gamer pcs seem to expensive to me, any chance you could point me to something reasonably priced, used, on ebay that could start as my base? assuming I don’t go down the 12th gen route as that seems to the newest, i.e. the most expensive - my last system was a 6 year old dell optiplex 9020 I7 and after hacking it to put the power supply in it - worked fine… so something between and a 2 grand gamer pc? and then I upgrade the power supply and try and get my dream graphics card?

actually, this doesn’t seem too bad… what do you think?
[Mid/High end Gaming PC (2070 super) | Mercari]

grump, can’t put a link in the post?? well this is the spec from Mercari

us item m15190751492

Intel Core 15-9600k
Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070S FE
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16gb (2x8) 3000mhz RAM
MSI Z390-A PRO LGA1151 Motherboard
Fractal Design Meshify C Dark TG Mid Tower
Corsair h100x 240mm CPU Cooler
CX 650M Full-Modular ATX PSU


thanks again.


I am serious. The M1 machines are currently running in emulation and running Zwift outstandingly that’s shocking. It’s just a matter of time till they run Zwift natively. When they do… The M1 is low power, no/minimal fan noise and transportable between the pain cave and your desk where they take up zero space. They are a year old and haven’t even come into their true power. That is why they are a solid deal.

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“…4K tv and full res and highest detail that zwift provides - and preferably not drop frames”

That’s what Bill wants.
I bet will never be possible with M1 mini.