Getting into the Motorsports scene is expensive, however, gaming much less so. Being able to race cars in the comfort of your own home is an attractive hobby for many people and the set-up can look impressive. So what PC specs do you actually need to play games like Forza, Assetto Corsa, or iRacing? Let’s look at some of the PC requirements for sim racing.
The graphics card (also called the GPU) is one of the most important components of a PC meant for sim racing as it determines how well it performs while you are gaming. Sim racing games aren’t the most intensive of games, but they can still strain your PC. Having a decent graphics card will help avoid this and give you a more smooth experience.
Also Read: The Beginner’s Guide to PC Gaming
One of the key things to look at when buying a GPU is the frame rate, which is set by the clock speed and VRAM. The latter sets the minimum frame rate, while the former set the maximum frame rate. Bear in mind there is a possibility that if you increase the clock speed but not the VRAM, you may lose frames per second (fps). The minimum clock speed is 1400MHz, the minimum VRAM is 2GB, but ideally, you will have more than that.
Playing sim racing games with less than 60fps wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience, and 60fps is the bare minimum you want for these games. If you’re playing in virtual reality (VR), the bare minimum goes up to 90fps.
If you have a strong GPU, like an Nvidia RTX 2060 or 2070, not only will you be able to run most sim racing games, but you will be able to play them with a triple monitor set-up or in VR. This can make the gaming experience even more immersive and enjoyable.
When it comes to choosing your processor, you need a minimum of four cores, but eight is desirable with a clock speed of 3.5GHz-4GHz. In terms of potential CPUs to look at, an Intel i3 8100 or a Ryzen 3 1200 are the bare minimum, but a more mid-range processor would be an Intel i5 or a Ryzen 5 or 7.
You can get away with only having 4GB of RAM for a PC that will run sim racing games, but it is far better to have 8GB or even 16GB. The more RAM you have, the better your experience will be. The RAM’s speed is less important than its capacity, so you should only need memory in the 2400-3600MHz range. If you want to plan for the future, more RAM is the solution, so get at least 16GB, but you can go up to 32GB if you can afford it.
Sim racing games can be very large, some can be over 100GB, so the more storage you have, the better. In comparison with the older, cheaper hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs) give you a faster loading time, thanks to their lack of moving parts. They are also quieter, more durable, and less likely to take physical damage. However, they are more expensive and probably won’t outlive your PC, which HDDs can do.
Whichever option you choose (or even if you decide to mix the two), you need at least one terabyte (TB) of storage, preferably two. HDDs can store anything from 500GB to 8TB, while SSDs can store 120GB to 4TB. If you mix the two, ensure that you have an SSD as internal storage. Whether you have HDDs as external storage is a different matter, as they are more prone to becoming damaged but are much cheaper. Again, what matters is that you pick the option that is best for you.
Computers can get very warm, especially when they’re being used for gaming. Having the right cooling system is vital. There are two main types of cooling: air cooling and liquid cooling. Liquid cooling is more expensive but more effective and quieter than air cooling. However, as air cooling is cheaper and there is a lot of variety in the options available to you, you can still ensure that your PC has an effective cooling system without spending too much. What matters is that whatever cooler you do get is high quality – you want it to cool your computer effectively, and the more intensely you game, the higher quality cooling you’ll need.
You’ll need multiple USB 3.0 ports (currently the fastest type of USB port) for your mouse, keyboard, steering wheel, pedals, and gear shifter. You’ll also need at least one HDMI port to connect your monitor to your computer, and you may need a mixture of HDMI and VGA ports if you’re using a three monitor set-up.
A PC that will primarily be used for sim racing games doesn’t need to be the best of the best, but you do need to ensure you have a decent graphics card with good clock speed and VRAM, especially if you plan on playing in VR. Ideally, your processor should have eight cores, you’ll have at least 8GB of memory, at least 1TB of storage, an excellent cooling system, and enough USB 3.0, HDMI, and VGA ports for all your peripherals, depending on your desired set-up.