Last week, Zwift announced via a forum post that certain older integrated graphics processing units (GPUs) will no longer be supported for PC or Mac users starting in March 2022.
This deprecation announcement comes soon after Zwift ended support for old operating systems in December 2021 and January 2022, including Windows 7/8, macOSX 10.11, iOS 11, and Android 6.
Starting March 2022, Zwift will no longer run on computers using the following integrated GPUs:
- Intel HD 2xxx series
- Intel HD 3xxx series
Anyone Zwifting on a computer using these GPUs will begin to see messaging in-game with the February game release v 1.22, and should also receive notification via email. Starting with the March release of game version 1.23, the Zwift game app will no longer function on affected computers.
Integrated vs Dedicated
An “integrated” GPU is one built into the CPU, which is your computer’s main processor. An integrated GPU shares some of your main system memory. The other option for a GPU is a dedicated GPU, which is a standalone card that plugs into your motherboard and contains its own processor, memory, and cooling system.
Computers with integrated GPUs will typically cost less and consume less power than those with dedicated GPUs, but dedicated GPUs offer better graphics performance. That’s why computers called “gaming systems” tend to have dedicated GPUs, while budget laptops tend to have integrated GPUs.
What GPU Do I Have?
If you’re unsure which GPU your Mac or PC is using, follow these links for instructions on how to find out:
Two GPU Situations
It’s possible that you’re using a computer with multiple GPUs. Sometimes a PC is sold with integrated graphics, then an aftermarket dedicated GPU is added. And sometimes PCs are sold with integrated graphics, and a dedicated GPU installed.
If your PC has both integrated and dedicated GPUs, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the dedicated GPU for Zwift. Here’s an article explaining how to force Windows 10 to use your higher-performing dedicated GPU >
While Zwift has historically supported a wide range of devices, they cannot support aging hardware forever. Deprecation decisions like this are standard practice in the gaming industry, as supporting old hardware requires additional development time and can hamstring the implementation of new features.
Intel ended customer service support for HD 2000 and 3000 GPUs on June 24, 2016, having ceased manufacturing them years earlier. As we said about Zwift’s recent OS deprecations, software companies have to eventually stop supporting hardware when it is no longer supported by the manufacturer themselves.
Integrated HD 2000 and 3000 graphics power many of the computers Zwifters affectionately call “potatoes”. These are the computers many people have around the house that work just fine for web browsing and word processing, but really have no business running a 3D, real-time video game.
Most Zwifters probably have a device in their home which will run Zwift after the deprecations kick in: a newer iPhone or Android phone, a tablet, AppleTV, or a decent desktop or laptop computer.
If you need to purchase an upgraded device for your Zwifting, here are two recommendations at different budget levels:
- Most affordable: 2021 Apple TV (32GB, 5th Gen): only $144USD on Amazon, the latest AppleTV is the most affordable Zwift device on the market today. It’s not perfect – the remote can be a bit of a pain. But it’s dead simple to use, and quite stable. There’s a good reason why a huge number of Zwifters use AppleTV!
- Best gaming experience: Windows PC with a strong graphics card, fast single-core CPU performance, and an SSD drive. Zwift will run on just about any PC that can run Windows 10, but for premium Zwift performance (ideally connected to a big screen TV) you’ll want a dedicated Nvidia graphics card (1060 or higher), an Intel CPU, and a solid state drive. Here’s one tower on Amazon that would deliver great Zwift performance without costing an arm and a leg. (For more info on Zwifting on a PC, read “Zwift on PC: The Ultimate Guide to Running Zwift at Its Very Best“.)
Questions or Comments
Share below, and/or comment directly on Zwift’s forum post.
Eric, it may be worthwhile to point out the GPU shortages and the incredible gouging/scalping taking place in the retail GPU space due to scarcity. Devices currently have a markup of 50% or more from many big box and trusted online retailers, but the individual sellers using Newegg or Amazon are selling their products at stratospheric prices…$2000 for a $1000 GPU card is not uncommon. Through our needs are much lower a xx60 series NVIDIA GPU is going for double in many cases as well…they should cost ~$350-400…not $600-700. Even old GPUs are like the 1660 od 2060 are marked… Read more »
Or, hear me out – crazy idea, i know – Zwift could hire a software engineer to optimize their game to 21st century standards. Then maybe it would look better than a 2008 sports title and deliver stable high FPS. At this point the graphics and performance are almost laughable compared to mainstream videogames.
Zwift went with their own graphics engine instead of using something readily available like Unity; they probably have entirely too many software engineers on staff. I’m still not sure why they did it this way.
Speaking with AAA game devs, a few assert that a proprietary game engine is appropriate for Zwift’s unique requirements.
Would take a bit of money though, do you think Zwift is some billion dollar valued company with big monthly profits from a large number of subscribers………….oh hang on.
Last time i heard something in that regard is that they are not profitable yet.
The GPUs that they’ll no longer be supporting, are: Intel HD 2000: Came out in 2011 and run on the Intel 2nd Gen CPUs Intel HD 2500: Came out in 2013 and run on the Intel 3rd Gen CPUs Intel HD 3000: Came out in 2013 and run on the Intel 2nd Gen CPUs All of these have been unsupported by Intel for years now (2016). For reference, Intel is on their 12th Gen CPUs now. Windows 11 won’t even install, let alone run on these CPUs. There’s no way that Zwift can continue to move forward, while still supporting… Read more »
Moving forward, they want to be able to use more CPU cores instead of the current ONE core.
All modern devices and Pc’s have multiple cores, this is , IMHO, one of the reasons why they are removing these older CPU’s with iGPU’s as they are mostly single or dual core and also lack full DX12 support.
Those CPUs were multi-core. The i3 version of the 2nd Gen was a 2C/4T CPU.
But Intel hasn’t supported it in over 5 years. It’s dead.
Zwift doesn’t need to look like the latest high end games to be good. What is important is the functionality of it and how well it integrates with your trainer. Also, for it to be compatible with more affordable devices, it shouldn’t be high end graphics that require powerful gaming computers.
The graphics are pretty good and fall into the good enough category for it to be a great platform for cyclists.
They won’t gear specifically to high end GPUs. That would be a dealbreaker
However, hardware and OSes have a life span, and they can’t continue to run on things that even the vendors no longer support.
For example, Intel just recently crippled one of the DXs on some older GPUs because of a bug found in the DX (and Microsoft isn’t going to patch it).
So Zwift needs to stick to things that are still support and possibly by the vendors.
“the remote can be a bit of a pain”
This is an understatement. The Apple TV Remote + Zwift is the most infuriating user interface interaction of the last 20 years.
We went AppleTV in December to save some dough vs a gaming PC and make it easy for everyone to use. It’s been great. Well, besides the remote.
I bought an AppleTV 4K specifically for Zwift. I lasted maybe 2 weeks on it. Sold it and switched over to PC a based setup. The remote was the reason behind the switch.
Like you I bought a 2021 AppleTV 4k to use Zwift on and avoid having to use a Windows laptop. I had spin down issues and weird resistance feel on the few rides I tried the AppleTV. The two Bluetooth device limitation sealed my decision to go back to a Windows PC using Ant+ and send the AppleTV back.
Yes. It was less convenient to use the trainer where my PC was, and I got a good deal on an ATV 4K (not the 2021 version). I regretted the decision. I couldn’t care less about the graphics, but the remote… Good, it was horrible.
How much longer do you think they’ll support my integrated Intel UHD 620?
Well, it was released in 2018… 7 years after the 2000/3000. So maybe they’ll support it for about 7 more years? I’d say you’ve got at least a few more years, easily…
Thank you! I was afraid I’d need to invest in a new laptop, although the current one does exactly what I need it to do. I have Intel HD 520, so likely good for another few years.
I’m running the same, and generally get at least one freeze a week with a Core i5 10th gen. Do you have similar problems?
I have an i7-8550U, and no, haven’t experienced freezing problems. My frame rate is fine at 1080p. I’d kinda like to know how it would run with “Ultra” graphics settings, but we can’t test that. I do find it gets occasionally choppy when I ride past a big group, especially if there’s dust, but it goes away pretty quick.
Thanks for your reply, I run at 576p and things run pretty smoothly, but then I just suddenly get random freezes (which can get pretty annoying mid race). I have a long running dialogue with Zwift, and they have told me it’s because they cannot get the game to run properly with intel integrated graphics chips. When I saw this announcement I thought they had given up, but judging by your reply it looks like it is still possible.
I have the same issue and after sending Zwift the files they requested I was told that they’re aware of the issue with these processors and the game freezing. They told me they’re working on it. That was a month ago.
For the PC recommendation I would go for something small form-factor (SFF) like the HP Z stations – very small, quiet and inconspicuous with more than enough power to drive Zwift for years and is totally affordable. You can attach it to your TV or display as well – https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/mdp/desktops/hp-z2-mini-workstation-451004–1#!&tab=features Recent innovations (last 12 months) with AMD and nVidia graphics chips do a great job in performance. Don’t forget Intel is coming on board (pun intended) this year with their own of discreet graphics boards for mobile and desktop systems. It’s way past time Zwift update their engine – still… Read more »
The bread and butter is in the apple tv user base. I highly doubt you’re going to need graphics horsepower. This is a business that wants to make bank. To do that you need subs.
Would it be a fair comment that Zwifters are not gamers, and if they ask for big GPU power they will scare off Zwifters, i have a power PC got it handy but they are hard to get, so the Zwift company i dont believe will make massive changes. In order to keep the money rolling in
Good thing they still support my MB Air from 2012. Will probably replace it the coming year regardless, but as it struggles with running youtube-vids with higher res than 720p, i would not be surprised if Zwift discontinued support for it…
during 2 years, i’ve use Zwift with a very old laptop (block in W7 due processor limitation).
I’ve change in january for one other (second hand) and :.. it’s a Intel graphic HD 3000
There a way to know the evolutions more than one month in advance?
Because i cant change one more time in april if “you must use a ssd” or a biggest screen …
Buy an apple tv if you want something cheap! Or buy a computer that’s not 15 years old if you want better graphics
Does it seem reasonable that a 2021 M1 Mac Mini ($600ish, price will fall when M2 comes out) is a good way for upgraders to future-proof your Zwift rig?
So all Apple TVs are still supported?
Zwift hasn’t announced changes to its AppleTV support.
I am a retired soon to be 73 year old on fixed income. Zwift is choosing to discriminate against financially handicaped people. Unfortunately I recently upgraded my trainer to a smart trainer, if I knew this was going to happen I would have invested in a new PC instead. Fortunately there are alternatives such as RGT which will even run on a Chromebook, and they even have a FREE option!
William, Zwift will run just fine on 6 year old phone – I use a Pixel 2 regularly to run Zwift. Zwift supports a wide variety of economical devices. It’s hardly a game that requires high-end hardware. This is absolute minimum-spec graphics processors from 8-10 years ago that aren’t being supported any longer. Their OEM stopped supporting them 6 years ago.
One month’s notice to buy a new PC!
Zwift’s graphics are at least 15 years behind the current state of the art, but I’ve made my peace with that. It’s an engaging experience that encourages me to keep going and improve my fitness, and that’s all I need it to be. They need to support the broadest array of hardware that people have already (if you want to play bleeding-edge video games you’ll need hardware with bleeding-edge prices). At the same time, if they want to make improvements, they eventually have to stop supporting potatoes. The Apple TV remote is annoying and klunky but I’ve gotten used to… Read more »
So if I was to add a graphics card to my i5 2400 then zwift would still run as long as the graphics card was supported?
good article nice