Zwift Running at 2 FPS on $1800 Laptop

Zwift is a great app and when I first started using it in late November of last year I was getting a consistent 40+ FPS from it on my HP Envy 17 running Windows 10 with 16GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7-8550U @ 1.80GHz, and a dedicated Nvidia MX150 GPU. After a few updates, however, Zwift version 1.0.61590 is unable to run at more than 15 FPS on the menu screen and when I start biking the app drops to fewer than 2 FPS or freezes entirely. I was using Zwift in Peoria Illinois with great internet access via a GPON fibrous connection followed by a gigabit ethernet connection and a CAT 5e cable running from the router to my PC. Here in Albuquerque New Mexico, I have an ethernet connection running at 748.5 Mbps down and 130.0 Mbps up so I don’t think it’s an internet issue. The issue started in IL about 4 weeks ago so the change of internet setup isn’t likely to be the cause either.

What I have done so far to debug the issue:

  • Uninstall the app and delete all files and then restart PC and reinstall Zwift
  • Ensure that Windows, Zwift, Nvidia drivers are all fully up to date
  • Remove Windows updates dating back to the start of the issue
  • Configure Windows to use the MX150 dedicated GPU for Zwift
  • Verified that Zwift is using the GPU
  • Kill other apps to give Zwift greater access to resources
  • Downgrade resolution to 720p (Zwift is using medium config file)
  • Set PhysX to use MX150
  • Downgrade Nvidia’s settings for the GPU
  • Disable Windows Subsystem for Linux as well as the Hypervisor feature

Please let me know if you can think of anything else. I can bike here on the weekends but during the week I really miss using Zwift. Thank you!

It might be helpful if you could try running Zwift on another device, even a borrowed one, just to try it out.
Then you could take your device to another network setup and try that.
I know it might be a bit of work but it could help you narrow down the cause.

I agree with Bob, maybe try it via your smart phone on the same network to eliminate the network as the cause. If you are on a VPN, disable. They tend to throttle bandwidth but not enough you’d see what you are seeing. I tried to run Zwift recently on a 10yo laptop running Win7 and integrated AMD graphics as a test, it actually worked. Not great but better than 2fps. So something is definitely wrong on yours. Good luck.

(If all else fails, change the flux capacitor. I installed a new one on my Commadore 64 since the previous one was from 1984. Now I run Zwift on it using a stack of 5.5” floppies and 8kb of graphics memory. I’m getting true 4k on my tv, though the background music in Zwift is now a loop of Huey Lewis singing “Back in Time” and the only bike I have in the game is a Schwinn Varsity with stem mounted shifters and the bars flipped around.)

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Most everything you have is (in my opinion…) way over-spced for Zwift.

The only item I would say problematic is the MX150.

Others have suggested, and would join their recommendation: get an old desktop (not too old…) and equip it with a semi-decent graphics card.

As for why would your setting deteriorate in speed, this is between Zwift and the universe.

You are running Zwift on a C64? This deserves kudos, surely? Inspired to see whether I can run it on a spectrum 48k via cassette.

A PC to perform better than this laptop in Zwift would cost under $200 to put together, so the cost of it is irrelevant.

That said, 2fps is clearly nonsense. I would consider a clean install of Windows, because something is going very wrong.

Zwift runs fine on my Note20 Ultra, smooth graphics and good responsiveness. When I get 2 FPS, my player disappears from the screen, textures pixelate, objects freeze and blur, geometries aren’t correct, it’s clearly a software issue and not an issue with the networking. When my network gets slow, my frame rate stays about the same as with high internet but the positions of the players begin to studder. This issue I am currently experiencing involves the entire game world collapsing.

I am reluctant to invest in a new machine when, for the first month of use, I had no issues using my existing machine to play Zwift at 40+ FPS. That said, a desktop would perform better than this laptop, guaranteed, but “throw money at it” is just not my mentality with these student loans (I’m in the US). I will probably proceed with a clean install of Windows because I know that the issue occurred after a few updates on Zwift and perhaps even Windows.

No Commadore 64 but I tried running Zwift on my Toshiba T3100 but I needed space and I was reluctant to uninstall my vintage copy of Tetris because I lost the original installation floppy disk.

The eighth generation i7 processors alone still retail for ~$250, not including memory, graphics, power supply, chassis, motherboard, etc. At this point, yes, any computer could render more than my laptop is currently rendering. That’s beside the point though because I don’t want 3 FPS I want 40 FPS and I know that my current hardware is capable of rendering it so I agree that I will have to go for a clean reinstall.

To confirm, I absolutely wasn’t saying you should buy anything else. Just pointing out that the fact it cost $1800 doesn’t mean anything. Zwift is a 3D game, most laptops are very poorly suited to it. Back up anything you want, grab the 20H2 Media Creation Tool, create a bootable USB and start from scratch. You’ll probably find it makes the whole thing run better anyway without all the bloatware.