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John’s New Sim Racing PC Build

The time has come for a new PC here at Inside Sim Racing.  While my six year-old PC (specs below) does a pretty good job of pushing pixels on the triple 2560 x 1080 setup, it falls behind in a few other categories, notably VR, streaming and editing.  And with us wanting to offer you the viewer a better experience, now seemed like a good time to upgrade.

Current PC

CPUIntel i7 2600k 4.0GHz

CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

MotherboardMSI P67A-G45 (B3)

MemoryCorsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600MHz

GPUMSI GTX 1070 Sea Hawk

Power SupplyCorsair RMx 650W

SSDSamsung 850 EVO 250GB

HDD4TB, 1TB, 1TB, 500GB

CaseCooler Master HAF 932

New PC

CPU – AMD Ryzen 7 1800x 3.6GHz

The Ryzen 7 1800x was purely selected for streaming and editing.  You do not need anything near as powerful as an 1800x for sim racing as the majority of the stress is placed on the graphics card (GPU).

Now, that’s not to say that you don’t need a decent processor (CPU).  Sim racing does seem to utilize the CPU more than other gaming genres, and if you race in VR, that also requires more CPU power.  Thus it is a good idea to look for a mid-range CPU for sim racing.

But again for us, the Ryzen 7 1800x purchase is about quality streaming – which the Ryzen 7 platform has shown better than Intel i7 with its 8 cores versus 4 – and speeding up video processing which is currently excruciatingly slow.

CPU Cooler – Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler joined the build simply because we already had it.  We did have to order the AM4 adapter for the Ryzen platform since the cooler came out before Ryzen existed.  It was free from Cooler Master but the $7 shipping wasn’t…

Motherboard – Asus Prime X370-Pro

Motherboards are always difficult to choose.  If you look at user reviews at websites like Amazon and Newegg, there are few-to-none that score 4-stars or above.  Most are between 3 and 3.5 and made up of comments such as, “it works great, 5 stars!” and “it died, I would give it 0 stars if I could.”

The Asus Prime X370-Pro is no exception.  It – like pretty much all the other AM4 motherboards – had mix reviews.  But with enough positive reviews, decent price ($140), and features (high bandwidth SLI included, USB 3.1, RGB), we decided to give it a chance with our fingers and toes crossed.

Memory – Corsair Vengeance RGB 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 2666MHz

Memory isn’t too hard of a choice.  The most important thing is making sure it is compatible with your motherboard, so doing research on your motherboard manufacturer’s website is key.  We went with two 8GB sticks of Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR4 2666MHz.  Hopefully the 2666MHz clock speed helps out a bit compared to the bargain basement 1600MHz in the old PC.

Is 16GB needed for sim racing?  Probably not, but could come in handy for streaming and editing.  Is the RGB lighting needed too?  Of course not, but for another $10, why not!

GPU – MSI GTX 1070 Sea Hawk & Gigabyte GTX 1070 Windforce OC in SLI

We have some explaining to do with the GPU choice…or choices.  The plan for this computer was to always use the MSI GTX 1070 from the old PC.  But since we already have two 1070’s (which includes the Gigabyte we got last year), and now a high bandwidth SLI bridge, might as well SLI them and see how they do.

Historically SLI hasn’t worked in sim racing.  But, there have been some changes in sim racing recently – most notably titles going to DX11 – so we figured we might as well test it out and do a video on it to see if any progress has been made in this area.  If not, we’ll pull the Gigabyte 1070 out and put it back into the old PC which we are still planning on using.

Power Supply – Corsair RMx 650W

The Corsair 650W power supply was an emergency purchase last year so it makes its way into the new build.  It’s a quality PSU with enough pop to power the system, and has modular cable design which is really nice.

SSD – Samsung 850 EVO 250GB

The old PC had a Samsung 850 Evo 250GB SSD in it and the new PC gets the same thing.  We thought about just taking the SSD from the old PC, but again, we want to keep that PC operational (once we put a different PSU in it).

We did almost spend a little more money and get a faster M.2 SSD but they tend to give off a lot of heat right by the GPU’s on the motherboard and there’s already going to be enough heat in this build.

HDD – 4TB, 1TB, 1TB

Three of the four HDD make there way to the new system.  With the NZXT case only having three 3.5″ drive slots, that’s all it can fit, which is okay thanks to the recently purchased 4TB HDD.

Case – NZXT s340 Elite

We have used the NZXT s340 case before and loved it, so stepping up to the tempered glass s340 Elite matte black case was a no brainer.  It’s a quality case for not that much money, looks great, is easy to work in and has good cable management.  Plus it’s only a mid tower case, which should make moving it onto the shelf behind the rig much easier compared to the full tower it replaces.

If there is one concern, it is air flow compared to the roomy and fan-loaded HAF 932.  With only two fans, one at the top and one at the back, we may need to put another 120 mm fan in one of the two fan positions at the front of the case (the radiator from the Corsair water cooler on the MSI GTX 1070 is already taking up the other position).