1. Walmart - $300 off MSI GL65 15.6” Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 8GB, 512GB NVMe SSD
MSI GL65 15.6” Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 8GB, 512GB NVMe SSD
This is a great deal for an MSI gaming laptop with a current 9th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD and NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics.
When buying a laptop to run Zwift there are several technical specs to consider and a bewildering number of machines to choose from. Based on data collected by zwiftalizer.com here’s a short list of best buys for 2019 - 2020.
The Zwift game engine is a 3D world with 100+ players rendered in real-time. Therefore, a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU) will make the biggest difference to the system’s ability to display smooth animation with high detail.
Nvidia dominates the top 10 in the GPU performance charts at 4K Ultra for Zwift. Using the Zwiftalizer data, Jupyer notebook, Pandas and Matplotlib, this post shows how to get the top 10 GPUs from the 4K Ultra category that have a minimum frame rate of 60 FPS, then rank them to get the top performers. Nvidia takes the lead. AMD Vega 64 and RX 580 can do 4K Ultra but did not make the top 10 because they did not meet the high bar of a 60 FPS minimum.
In response to a question about the Zwift graphics engine choices on Reddit, October 30th 2019, game creator John Mayfield had this to say:
Zwift is tailored to lower end hardware, and we’re not shooting for Crysis 3 level graphics because almost none of our users a) care and b) have a machine that can render 100+ riders ontop of a very detailed world.
We optimize for the 90% rather than the 10%.
A great question that often comes up is, what FPS should I expect to get with a GPU that can do 1080 resolution with the High profile? Unlike resolution, profile is the level of detail and effects in the scene and can not be chosen by the user.
45 FPS is the answer, according to the data.
For 1080 resolution with the basic profile, the answer is 35
For 1080 resolution with the ultra profile, the answer is 60
Zwift runs on a wide range of computer hardware from smart phones to gaming PCs. In 2019, Android support officially launched and tablet graphics now rival mid-range Intel Core i7 laptops. At the high end, ultra 4K is now possible on a budget gaming PC, but would you really want to buy a bulky tower PC in 2020? And do you even need a computer to run Zwift when Android smart phones can Chromecast to a TV?
Update November 2019 None of the config file changes below will increase or decrease the polygon count or detail level in textures. The level of detail is set by the game engine based on your system’s graphics capabilities and can not be overridden.
Watch Ep 47- Zwiftcast Special: How The Alpe du Zwift Was Made on YouTube to learn more about the graphics engine and the adaptive level of detail works.
Looking to get max ROI on the LHF by COB? I’ve got your 6. GPU - Graphics Processor Unit - the most important resource for real-time 3D rendering. CPU - Central Processor Unit - the second most important resource. Graphics Profile - the level of detail, shadows, and lighting effects in the scene. You can not choose this. Resolution - the size of the picture. Options are Basic (720), High (1080), Ultra (1440), 4K (2610).
In May 2019 I removed the log collection feature on zwiftalizer.com. I removed aging features that would have required a lot of maintenance to bring up to date - namely the benchmarks data collection. The main constraint is my limited free time, not hosting costs (but more on that later). My time is dedicated to my family, then career, then fitness. Hobby projects are frozen. It is unlikely that the benchmarks or the power sources reports will ever come back.