Why is Zwift on PC so terrible?

couple other things to try:

  • make sure your windows updates are all applied
  • make sure your trainer firmware is up to date (and possibly your cadence/HRM, too)
  • laptops tend to go into powersave mode and might not use the 1650 to run zwift. you shoudl be able to force it in the nvidia settings – basically, make sure zwift is using your GPU
  • make sure your laptop is plugged into power, don’t run it on just battery

In general it seems crazy how CPU intensive Zwift is and this all comes down to it only using a single core.

Specific to the OP -I know that laptops aren’t really the best tool for the job, but yours really should be fine I’ve heard of some issues around Zwift and Onedrive - I’d take a look at the recommendations on the ZPCMR Facebook group - hopefully something there will help.

Thanks I’ve requested access to the FB group, so I’ll look in there for some improvement options.

Interesting it is only using one core. Zwift always seems to struggle more than it should. But I guess the programmers have a pretty high standard of equipment they are expecting.

Like someone else said it is a game and a gaming PC/Laptop is the expectation it seems.

My thinking is Zwift is already reasonably expensive to get into given the price of the trainers. I would have thought the Zwift team would want more subscribers and to reduce the barriers to entry. Requiring a powerful gaming PC seems like just another barrier to me. I’d rather a less “immersive” experience and a lighter programme personally, but I guess that isn’t the goal of the Zwift team - at least not on PC.

This is probably why they support Cell phones and Apple TV.

But you can build a PC for cheap as well, Zwift does not need a gaming PC, only something with a dedicated GPU to get descent performance.

Laptops are just stupid expensive, you pay a lot for the convenience to carry it around.

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@Gerrie_Delport_ODZ is right. You don’t need much of a PC.
I am running Zwift on an I7 4th Gen CPU, 32GB RAM, SSD, and a RTX 2070 graphics card, I get 60 fps fairly consistently.

Rarely does a company get into the cycling world with the thought that their target customers aren’t ready to spend a lot of money. Not saying it’s true for everyone. But cycling is an expensive sport, so everyone tends to default to thinking cyclists will be able to afford spending a lot of money for whatever their product is.

it would be interesting to see if you found any obvious issues / improvements and to let us all know

I don’t have too much to share that hasn’t at least been suggested. Event viewer didn’t reveal anything, certainly no temp spikes. The main things I have found is just to ensure EVERYTHING else is shut down, including anything that might run in the background, check the system tray for anything that may have closed, but not exited. Ensuring the laptop is restarted every couple of days seems to help too. But the final big one I have found it not to use the laptop in tablet mode. It seems that Windows uses even more resources when it is flipped to tablet mode.

I was originally using tablet mode as I have a home made stand that I got when I bought my trainer second hand that was designed for a tablet and it meant the screen was closer to me and made it easier. Tomorrow I am removing the parts to hold a tablet and making it a laptop stand!

Can’t you just disable tablet mode in windows? you should still be able to flip it and use the touchscreen, just without windows applying the other underlying software changes.

Zwiftalyser might give you a bit more insight

Good point!. I should have thought of that. I’ll play with that and see if I prefer that over just using it as a laptop - which is fine to be honest and gives me access to the keyboard.

I’ll check out Zwiftalyser if I have more issues - seems more stable now that I have eliminated anything else taking resources.

i let zwift run on three different win11 laptops/tablets. on all the same … its just awful. draining battery like hell - 1 hour max (on every different laptop model).
takes ages to start
sometimes difficult to connect
crashes regularly (on all)
heats up massively - graphic cards running almost 100%
… on the other hand… on android runs fine, long, reliable…

Hi @Stephan_Stieglair

Welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear about your issues.

Laptops are not good for gaming, sounds like you need better cooling.

What are the laptop specs?

Also might need to set a lower refresh rate if it’s super high (eg, 144Hz on a gaming laptop, set it to more like 60)

I run Zwift on a laptop with no problem, sounds as though the OP is running on battery rather than plugged in which means everything will run at reduced power

Just to give a you an additional data point for low end hardware.
I use a laptop.
i3-7100u CPU @ 2.4 GHz, 12 GB RAM, running Windows 10 and connect Zwift related peripherals via Ant+.
I have a HDD no SSD and I have no issues with long downloads.
Start ups can be lengthy if I have to start my computer because Windows does go thru a scanning process but its’s less than 5 min.
Zwift loads pretty quick but not fast like the others report with a SSD.
The only issue I’ve had was slowing connection speeds and Ant+ issues that I fixed by setting my laptop on a cooling pad.
My display graphics are , of course, Basic but I’m ok with that.
Try to shut off as much bloatware as possible.

i got an asus rog flow z13 (2023 model) top specs…
in zwift settings all is set down to save energy… this program just sucks the system down…
Bytheway, i can watch youtube videos for around 4 hours… and zwift can only run around 1hour

What’s the refresh rate set to in the Nvidia control panel?

YouTube don’t render graphics like a 3D game.

Did you try to run in with the power cable connected.

Can you put your log file in zwiftalizer.com and share the link that may help us to get more info.

I always Zwift with my laptop plugged in.
Never tested the battery time.

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The Z13 is a tablet, not a laptop (regardless of what ASUS says), because the components that generate heat (CPU and GPU) are behind the screen, not under the keyboard. A 13 inch tablet cannot cool those components as efficiently as a big laptop, so less power can be provided to each component.

Companies are intentionally misleading about “gaming” computers. So (for example) a 3050ti performed worse than a 1650ti in independent testing because of lower power draw. Portability comes at a cost.


This is normal. Video playback is much less demanding on components than gaming. Also, the Z13 has a 56w battery. Gaming laptops often have the max size (99.9w) possible, and still don’t last very long.


This is not normal and should not happen if everything is properly updated (both system drivers and game).

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