You may find that your PC simply can’t handle all your peripherals at the same time. This may become especially true if you also play in high resolution, or play with a VR headset. For this reason, we’ve decided to create a list for a very powerful and versatile gaming computer specially built for your racing sim needs.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K
The Intel Core i7-10700K may not be much faster than the i5, but it brings with it a myriad of improvements that make this our top pick for your custom-built racing sim computer. It’s performance when running games is excellent, closely matching that of the superior i9 model. It has high overclocking headroom and is cooled easily. The main selling points, however, can’t but be the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 tech coupled with a good quality-price ratio. The aforementioned technology is Intel’s proprietary system designed to deliver up to 15% better single-threaded performance by identifying heavy workload and sending it to the fastest cores available. When you couple this with a price that’s essentially four-fifths of what it should be, and you’ve found yourself a great CPU even for VR.
Alternatives: Intel Core i9-10900K, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, AMD RYZEN 7 3700X
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4
The name should be a dead giveaway as to why this is an excellent product. The be quiet! Dark Rock 4 boasts noise levels that nigh imperceptible, oftentimes you’ll forget it’s even there. This air cooler is also very solid and should be more than enough for the Intel Core i7-10700K. If you’re considering purchasing a different CPU (read: a CPU that doesn’t cool as well as the aforementioned Intel i7) then perhaps consider one of the bulkier (and slightly more expensive) alternatives below:
Alternatives: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, Noctua NH-D15
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super is one of the best GPUs for sim racing or any game there is. It performs excellently both at 1440p and 4k, it has dedicated ray tracing and DLSS cores, and will be able to handle everything you throw at it with relative ease. The main drawback of this GPU is that it’s quite expensive. By large and far this will be the product that will cost you the most in this entire list, as it alone makes up roughly a third of the budget of this PC build.
Alternatives: AMD Radeon VII, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super
MOBO: Gigabyte Z490 UD AC
Life is all about making concessions, about giving and taking and deciding what you’re willing to sacrifice. That is with the exception of this pick. The Gigabyte Z490 UD ACT offers you everything you should ever want from a motherboard. It’s not as flashy as some of the motherboards that come with RGB lights included, but other than that it hits all the other nails on the head. It’ll keep your computer running at a lower temperature, it supports DDR4 XMP Up to 4500MHz, it’s incredibly durable, and a myriad other functions that make it a fantastic pick. Better still, it’s not even overly expensive!
Alternatives: ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus, MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk
RAM: G.SKILL Aegis 16GB
There’s a very good chance that 16GB is already overkill for what you’re planning to achieve with this sim racing computer. That being said, the G.SKILL Aegis 16GB is specially designed for gamers and is built with cutting-edge hardware which will allow you to use the biggest data bandwidth for stunning visuals and racing performance.
Alternatives: G.SKILL Aegis 32GB (2 x 16GB)
PSU: CORSAIR RM Series RM850
We don’t think you’ll ever need this much power. Like ever. Still, it’s much better to have a power supply unit that can handle everything rather than one which sometimes gives way. The CORSAIR RM Series RM850 has been flooded with great reviews and recommendations and it’s very easy to see why! It’s fully modular, has an 80+ Gold rating for efficiency, it’s tuned for low noises and the fans completely turn off when they don’t need to be in operation (making it completely silent), and should anything at all happen, it’s covered by a 10-year warranty. This PSU will likely not only be overkill for this system, but last you years and multiple builds should you decide to make any changes in the future.
Alternatives: EVGA 850G5, SeaSonic FOCUS 850PX
HDD: WD Blue 2TB PC Hard Drive
Generally speaking, it’s harder to offer advice on a hard drive, because it’s very much dependant on what exactly you’re looking to put on your computer. Having said that, the WD Blue 2TB PC Hard Drive should be able to hold 40 high-performance games (including racing simulators). If you cut that in half, you’ll still be able to fit around 200,000 MP3 songs (or 4,000 TV show episodes) before you fill up all the space. Another advantage it has is that it tends to be relatively quiet, allowing you to soak up the sounds of the racing simulator without being distracted by your machine. Having said that, if you feel like that’s not enough space (first of all you have a lot of stuff on your PC!) second of all, feel free to up the space with one of the alternatives suggested below:
Alternatives: Toshiba X300 4TB, Toshiba X300 6TB
Solid Disk Drive: Intel 660p 1TB
This is a typical purchase that we recommend not only for the hard stats the unit possesses but for the price too. The Intel 660p 1TB will ensure you have short loading times, it’s easy to install, and it’s quite powerful. Especially considering the price. Quad-level-cells can sometimes be problematic for the long term health of the SSD, but Intel does a stellar job at helping you keep it under control and make it last as long as possible. All in all, the bang for your buck you’ll get from an Intel 660p 1TB is fantastic, making this an almost sure-fire choice for all racing sim computers.
Alternatives: Intel 660p 512GB, Adata XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB
Case: NZXT H710i (CA-H710i-W1)
Yes yes, we know, the case isn’t integral to building your perfect racing PC, but there are still some factors to consider. First and foremost, that all your parts fit. Purchasing a case that won’t allow you to slot some of your hardware will make you feel like a fool. Secondly, cable management. Keeping a clean interior will cause less frequent problems and, when/if they do, make it easier to troubleshoot. Finally, the aesthetics. The NZXT H710i (CA-H710i-W1) looks amazing, and sometimes in life, you have to have some consideration for what is pretty. We should note that it is a bit expensive for a case, but that doesn’t detract from its many other qualities.
Alternatives: Corsair Graphite 760T V2, Thermaltake View 71 RGB
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the PC Requirements for Sim Racing?
Obviously, the requirements needed to run each racing game vary, both from title to title, as well as from graphics setting to graphics setting. We’ve compiled a sort of broad strokes list below, but we still recommend you look at the specific racing sim(s) you want to run to see what their specific requirements are. As a last piece of advice, always look at least at the recommended stats, rather than the minimum ones, as you’ll want to be sure your sim runs smoothly and beautifully.
- A Quad-Core CPU (usually Intel)
- 10-16GB of RAM
- A graphics card equal to or better than an NVIDIA GTX 1050
- 30-80GB of disk space
All of the components listed in our best 2020 racing sim PC build article you are currently reading will more than satisfy these criteria. We’ve strived to bring you a powerful computer that will do more than just the basics so that you can make the sim experience as smooth as possible at whatever graphical level you want (including VR).
Do You Need a Dedicated PC for Sim Racing?
Chances are that, if you want to make use of racing simulators for fun or as an occasional hobby, you will likely not need to make a PC especially for this. Your normal computer should do you just fine. Building a sim racing PC has the advantage that you’ll know for certain that you’re getting the most out of your game. No dropped frames, no lag, no lowering the quality. You’ll be able to take advantage and play it in HD or even VR! Plus this computer can still function as a work computer, it’ll just have very powerful stats.
What Are the Most Important Parts?
Much like building a car, all components needed to make a PC are integral to its functioning. Taking one out could cause small problems just like it could cause the entire machine to simply fail to start up. It’s thus important that you take care in choosing the best components you can for the job you’re trying to accomplish. Parts like the CPU and GPU obviously disproportionately affect how well your machine will function when compared to the CPU cooling fan and the case; but thinking you can cut corners on these sorts of items (or worse yet, not purchase them) is a catastrophic error.
Last Updated on May 2, 2021