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Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
12/4/19 8:47 a.m.

So my race team wants to start doing some iRacing.  Sounds like a E36 M3 load of fun.  I tried iRacing many years ago using a crummy laptop.  Did a 30 day trial and never went back for various reasons. 

My kids have a steering wheel they use for their xBox, forget what it is but it's a good one.  Beyond that, I've got nothing.  Not even a PC.  Help!  To clarify, help me on a budget.

I'm not a computer guy, so talk to me like I were a child.  If I wanted to browse CL for a used computer, desktop or laptop, what are the very minimum specs I need to run basic iRacing with at least somewhat respectable graphics?  Give me some basics that I can plug into a search engine.

I asked a similar question about xBox years back when my boys wanted one, so I know I'll get good info here.  I've just been out of the video game loop since roughly 1989, so it's been a bit.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
12/4/19 9:04 a.m.

Minimum System Requirements

***These are our minimum requirements, just meeting these will produce graphics at our minimum in test mode***

PC Computers:

  • Windows 7 SP1 64-Bit*, Windows 8.1 64-Bit, Windows 10 64-Bit
  • 64-bit Windows
  • 4 core CPU or better – Some examples (but not limited to): AMD FX-6300, Intel Core i5-4430, Intel Core i5-2320, AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • A gaming graphics card with at least 2GB of DEDICATED memory – Some examples (but not limited to):  Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 @ 2 GB / GTX 1050 or ATI Radeon HD 7850 @ 2GB / AMD RX 550 or better
  • 10 GB of free disk space (40 GB for all cars and tracks)

I'll give my comments line by line.

1)  You want windows 10, period.  Windows 7 support is about to end.

2) CPU.  iracing is fairly CPU intensive, but single threaded, so bigger is not necessarily better here.   All of the CPUs listed in the min requirements benchmark around the 7k mark here:  https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

The FX processor line is ~4/5 generations old.  After that is Ryzen.  Ryzen 1200 is a low end first gen.  2000 series is 2nd gen, 3000 series is 3rd gen.  Higher on this list is better.

Intel is kind of the same situation.  the first number in the series is the generation.  In general a i5-6xxx is going to be better than a i5-3xxx

3)  8gb of ram is fine. I don't think more will make any appreciable difference for iracing, and its an east fix if you need to later.

4)  GPU - this is a great heirarchy.  https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html  Scroll down to the legacy hierarchy and you can see an approximate ranking of any card.  A 660/1050 are down quite a ways... if you find something higher on the list, its better.

 

I'm not an Iracing expert, but I would go well above the min requirements.  Tier 3 GPUs on that list are probably a sweet spot for bang for the buck.  CPUs I would make sure I am within the past few generations.  Avoid an AMD FX - I'm about to tear apart my FX-6350 machine.

 

You can also compare suggested 'tiers' of computers here and see if the CPU and GPU are kinda matched and see if the price is reasonable:  https://www.logicalincrements.com/

 

For your search engine, I would plug in the following:  1060 or 1070.  Then check what CPUs those cards are paired with.

 

What is your budget, what is your local CL?

 

Sorry not a 5 year old explanation.  PCs have complicated specs :(

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
12/4/19 9:30 a.m.

Thanks!  I don't really "understand" that stuff, but it gives me something to look at and start going by.  I'm in Atlanta.  Budget?  Uh, does free count?  Seriously, as little as possible.  I very much want to try this, but there's a distinct possibility it will sit and collect dust.  Reality of my life is I have zero, zilch free time.  However, I want to at least take a crack at squeezing this in as it seems like fun.  I just don't want to invest a fortune and have it go to utter waste.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
12/4/19 10:11 a.m.
Klayfish said:

Thanks!  I don't really "understand" that stuff, but it gives me something to look at and start going by.  I'm in Atlanta.  Budget?  Uh, does free count?  Seriously, as little as possible.  I very much want to try this, but there's a distinct possibility it will sit and collect dust.  Reality of my life is I have zero, zilch free time.  However, I want to at least take a crack at squeezing this in as it seems like fun.  I just don't want to invest a fortune and have it go to utter waste.

Out of curiosity, do you think it will sit because you dont have time to use it?  Or because in fact you won't enjoy it that much?  If the latter, I'm sure there are plenty of people in Atlanta that would let you give their setup a shot.

 

$550, solid performer:  https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/sys/d/atlanta-custom-built-computer-with-gtx/7027747027.html

$475, also quite solid:  https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/sys/d/atlanta-gaming-computer/7016397259.html

$300 minimum spec box:  https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/sys/d/marietta-custom-gaming-pc-4-core-i5rx/7015616461.html

 

Also, are you shooting specifically for iracing?  You can test the waters with a *much* lower spec game to see if it fits into your time before you splurge on a great setup.  LFS and RFactor can run on pretty much anything.

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/4/19 10:22 a.m.

Looking at this cliff as well I bought a $900 random Gaming PC from best buy.  Now I've learned to run iRacing I need a surprising amount of money to get the rest.   Monthly membership, $ to buy car packs and tracks.  

I bought Assetto Corsa on Steam sale for $11.99 instead for now.  

I have a 3 months free iRacing coupon so I will likely try it some time but for now I'll just use AC

jde
jde HalfDork
12/4/19 12:04 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

As ProDarwin mentioned, pick up Live For Speed.  Really fun sim that can be had for ~$20-$30, and there's a demo version.  Road racing, rallycross, and autocross.

https://www.lfs.net/

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
12/4/19 12:24 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
Klayfish said:

Thanks!  I don't really "understand" that stuff, but it gives me something to look at and start going by.  I'm in Atlanta.  Budget?  Uh, does free count?  Seriously, as little as possible.  I very much want to try this, but there's a distinct possibility it will sit and collect dust.  Reality of my life is I have zero, zilch free time.  However, I want to at least take a crack at squeezing this in as it seems like fun.  I just don't want to invest a fortune and have it go to utter waste.

Out of curiosity, do you think it will sit because you dont have time to use it?  Or because in fact you won't enjoy it that much?  If the latter, I'm sure there are plenty of people in Atlanta that would let you give their setup a shot.

 

$550, solid performer:  https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/sys/d/atlanta-custom-built-computer-with-gtx/7027747027.html

$475, also quite solid:  https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/sys/d/atlanta-gaming-computer/7016397259.html

$300 minimum spec box:  https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/sys/d/marietta-custom-gaming-pc-4-core-i5rx/7015616461.html

 

Also, are you shooting specifically for iracing?  You can test the waters with a *much* lower spec game to see if it fits into your time before you splurge on a great setup.  LFS and RFactor can run on pretty much anything.

 

I'd be concerned due to lack of time.  I'm sure I'll enjoy it, at least to some level.  My "for me" money gets spent on LeMons, so I'm sure I'd like this.  It's purely a time thing.  I am busy almost non-stop, get very little free time.  My kids are very active in sports and it goes year round.  So there's a decent chance this will collect dust due to not having time to get to it.

Interested in iRacing because my race team is going to start getting together to do it.  I'd like to join if I can.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
12/4/19 12:36 p.m.

Understandable.  The community/social aspect is very important, so if you know people doing iRacing that will make your experience 10x better than alone playing <insert game>.

If you were closer I'd lend you my G29 which is collecting dust right now.

I feel like for a low spec setup that offers a reasonable experience you are looking at $1K all in.  Wheel/Pedals, monitor, computer, gaming chair/cockpit, etc.

Mike924
Mike924 Reader
12/4/19 12:51 p.m.

For what its worth.  I will echo ProDarwin here.  If you are running the game with people then it makes it much more enjoyable.  Its like driving alone on a race track, fun for a lap or two, and then gets a bit dull.  

I am an avid rFactor guy.  I race weekly with people from all over the US and Canada, with some interlopers from Australia and Brazil every now and then.  I have looked at IRacing a few times, but cannot bring myself to pay for a game, and then pay to play it online and pay for the updates.  It just doesn't compute in my budget.  

If time is going to be a factor, I would suggest to test the waters but opt for another game.  Asseto Corsa is supposedly really good graphics and feel wise.  rFactor has lots of mods out there and can be modded (which is what my group does) so that we don't need to use passwords to keep people out.  If they don't have our mod they get the boot.  

As for a system there are good ones at Best Buy that should do the job.  I would go in and look for one of the younger Computer sales guys (they are going to be gamers) and they can get you in to the right system at the right price.  

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/4/19 2:29 p.m.

My biggest issue with I racing is that you almost need 3 monitors.  It is VERY tough to see the apex of corners on 1 small screen.  

 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
12/4/19 2:34 p.m.

Many people are moving to VR setups for that reason.  I have tried most of them and IMO they have a ways to go, but I won't clutter this thread with that discussion.

The cheap alternative is a 21:9 ultrawide.  Its not perfect, but much better than a 16x9, and still reasonable system requirements.  

Obviously being OK with a distorted FOV helps more.  I cut my teeth playing quake competitively at FOV 130 on a 4:3 screen so I'm totally used to distorted FOV setups laugh

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
12/4/19 3:42 p.m.

Iracing itself is expensive. If you are looking for a free or nearly free computer, have you looked at the ongoing expenses of iracing?

I’d love to get into it, but will never pay that much for it. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/6/19 7:32 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

Also, are you shooting specifically for iracing?  You can test the waters with a *much* lower spec game to see if it fits into your time before you splurge on a great setup.  LFS and RFactor can run on pretty much anything.

I thought iRacing was one of the LEAST graphically instense racing games on the market. At least it was when I was still doing it in mid-'14 through early '16. Can't wait to build another rig. Although a quick guess for what I want to do this time is going to be like $4k.

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
12/6/19 7:57 a.m.

I have iRacing, Assetto Corsa, and Project Cars 2 and use iRacing the least. For no particular reason other than a lot of times I want to drive production cars and not race cars. What I'm looking for for any of the three is a time trial type group where there are weekly challenges but I don't have to go on line and race at a set time. My schedule makes it difficult to accommodate that. 
 

Is it possible you have a co worker, friend, etc that could build you a system? You could build a budget system with a generation old type hardware for a relatively low price that would perform really well especially with a single monitor. My system is aging so I just dropped from a triple monitor setup to a larger curved single monitor, added a new graphics card, and the most powerful cpu my older mother board could handle and it will be good for a while again. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
12/6/19 12:38 p.m.
z31maniac said:
ProDarwin said:

Also, are you shooting specifically for iracing?  You can test the waters with a *much* lower spec game to see if it fits into your time before you splurge on a great setup.  LFS and RFactor can run on pretty much anything.

I thought iRacing was one of the LEAST graphically instense racing games on the market. At least it was when I was still doing it in mid-'14 through early '16. Can't wait to build another rig. Although a quick guess for what I want to do this time is going to be like $4k.

As far as currently active development/latest gen/etc. games, yes.

Rfactor and LFS are OLD, but still very good racing games.

chada75
chada75 Reader
7/22/20 11:36 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin 

 

I'm looking at building my own pc. What would it cost in parts on your recommendation? Thanks.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/23/20 6:52 a.m.
chada75 said:

In reply to ProDarwin 

 

I'm looking at building my own pc. What would it cost in parts on your recommendation? Thanks.

Why type of performance are you after?  Will you be running single monitor?  UW?  VR?  Triples?  A great way to ballpark cost/performance is logicalincrements.com

In general, a really solid race sim PC is going to run about $900-1200.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/23/20 10:14 a.m.

For gaming (and this is a generalization) you need CPU speed and less CPU cores.  So a 4 core at 4.8GHZ is going to be better than a 6 or 8 core at 3.9GHZ. So that being said a I7 8700K (you can overclock it up to around 5GHZ and some can go further)  is still a really good middle of the road gaming CPU.  Not the latest but a solid performer.  If you can find one a I7 8086K would be a very nice starting place but you will pay a premium for it as it is a binned 8700K that runs all core at 5ghz out of the box.  I got one when they came out as I knew it was going to be a one off kind of special CPU.  They are still commanding $500 so really not worth it.

GPU-it is simple more is better for the most part.  If I was purchasing today and was on a strict budget I would be looking at a 2060 or if the budget allows a 2070.   I use a 2060 super on my gaming PC and it has been absolutely fine.  My son games on a 1070TI and it is also fine.  It also works well for VR it just does not have ray tracing like the 20 series cards. 

Cooling.  This is an area where people seem to get cheep.  For a gaming rig spend the time and research cases there are some really good ones out there and some really bad ones.  Do your home work here. Forget about RGB and what he case looks like.  It is all about air flow.   

Get a good CPU air cooler (Nactua is where I would go) and get additional case fans to enhance air flow through the case.  I have seen some really great systems by the numbers but after a bit of gaming they are thermally throttling and the performance drops off fast. This is a place that most people neglect and there systems suffer.  AND more fans are better as you can run them slower so the system will be much quieter versus a system that only has 2 case fans running at full bore.   For all the systems I get for the office we add fans and then remap the fan curves in teh bios.  IT is amazing how much ambient noise is eliminated in an office environment by doing this.

RAM  8GB is ok 16 GB is where you really want to be.  Get the type and speed recommended for the CPU you use.

Storage.  Get either a SSD or again if you have that little bit of extra $$$ get and M.2  250-500GB as a boot drive and a place to put games that you most often play then put a 4TB spinning drive for long term stuff that you don't use often.

Mother board:  IF you want overclocking make sure the board supports it.  Pay attention to the boards VRM's.  Again RGB will not a better computer.  You don't need the best here but pay attention as a bad one will cause everything in your system to not perform to there maximum. Think of it as teh backbone of teh system.  Also be aware of future proofing.  IF you go AMD for the CPU adn you are getting a lower level CPU make sure that the mother board will alow you to upgrade later especially if you know now that you intend to do this.  Intel is allot less friendly in this regard but you can still plan for this to some degree.

Power supply.  Take your total power consumption of all the parts and add 30-40 percent adn that is a good place to be.  Gold is where I like to be but bronze is acceptable especially since the at the moment power supplies prices have gone up and availability has gone down.  You will get what you can get.   If you are looking at a gold 550 or a bronze 650 I would probably got with the Bronze 650.  

 

There are more things to consider but these are the basics tha I tell people when they are looking at computers to either purchase or to build there own. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/23/20 10:29 a.m.

chada75 - give us a target usage and a budget, and we can recommend some stuff.  

All of the above info is great.  The only thing I would change is that for a CPU cooler, the Hyper212 evo is kind of the industry standard.  Its cheap, proven (I think its >10 years old now) and works. very. well.

 

 

chada75
chada75 Reader
7/23/20 3:53 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Definitely running VR. Try Screens but way too many distractions. The budget you mention is what I was figuring for a tower. Would like to build my own if cheaper though.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/23/20 4:36 p.m.

Here is a starting point:

PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/LBhxwh

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz 6-Core Processor  ($209.99 @ Amazon) 
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler  ($34.99 @ Amazon) 
Motherboard: ASRock B450M PRO4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard  ($82.99 @ Newegg) 
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL16 Memory  ($58.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: Samsung 970 Evo 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive  ($89.99 @ Amazon) 
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB WINDFORCE OC 3X Video Card  ($499.99 @ Best Buy) 
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($159.99 @ Amazon) 
Power Supply: EVGA BQ 600 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit  ($108.78 @ Other World Computing) 
Total: $1245.71
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-07-23 17:35 EDT-0400

 

Can probably shave some $ out of that.  Especially the case.

 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/23/20 6:02 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

You could shave another 150 or so of that if they can live with a 2060.  A 2070Ti is a dam good GPU!!!  That will last a good long time.

Another place to save 20-30 clams is a SSD instead of the M.2 OR spend a bout $20 more and jump to a 1 tb ssd.

 

 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/23/20 6:09 p.m.

If something is going to be used for gaming I have a hard time recommending dropping the video card down a notch.

Actually, a 3300x might be a better choice for processor also, depending on gaming.  Less cores, but still high clock and great performer.  Almost $100 cheaper than the 3600x listed.  I'd do that before backing off on video card I think, but I'm not 100% sure.

3300x/2060Super might be a great budget-er combo.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/23/20 6:11 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

I have had bad luck with the hyper 212.  Poor CPU contact and or the thermal heat past it comes with seemed to be very poor.  I replaced the thermal past with some Arctic Silver and that helped allot.  At that point I went to Noctua and yes it adds anywhere from $50-80 to the cost compared to the 212.  The funny part is my sone has used Hyper 212 on two builds both Intel based and they worked perfectly for him. I suspect I am either just not installing them right or I got a couple with a bad batch of thermal past. 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/23/20 6:12 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

If something is going to be used for gaming I have a hard time recommending dropping the video card down a notch.

Actually, a 3300x might be a better choice for processor also, depending on gaming.  Less cores, but still high clock and great performer.  Almost $100 cheaper than the 3600x listed.  I'd do that before backing off on video card I think, but I'm not 100% sure.

3300x/2060Super might be a great budget-er combo.

I agree.  I think the 3300x is hard to get at the moment.  Not sure on that though.  

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