Best PCs for sim racing 2024: Pre-built desktops for Forza, iRacing, Assetto Corsa, and more

Realistic sim racing games have an enormous following on PC, thanks to the extra layer of customization and flexibility for spending budgets. Consoles have their fair share of driving titles, with some serious simulators on offer, but a desktop computer opens up a whole new world of possibilities for race fans. Not everyone has the knowledge or patience to build their rig, so what are your options for the best gaming PCs for sim racing?

A pre-built gaming PC for sim racing will cut down on the effort needed to enter the sim racing scene, skipping the component shopping list and checking for compatibility. Almost any competent desktop aimed at gamers should be able to play racing games at varying levels of quality.

Still, some of my favorite ready-made PC vendors like Lenovo, iBuyPower, and Dell will get you onto the virtual racetrack as fast as possible, so here are my top picks for the best PCs for sim racing, which you can pair with the best racing wheels and get you racing with a guide on how to set them up on PC.

Profile picture for Zachary Boddy, Staff Writer at Windows Central.
Zachary Boddy

Zachary Boddy is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, and has provided years of expertise on all things Microsoft, with a special focus on Xbox, Minecraft, and the Forza series of racing games.

The quick list

The best overall PC for sim racing

The Legion Tower 7i is big and imposing, but it can also play any PC sim racing game with utter ease. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

1. Lenovo Legion Tower 7i

Best overall pre-built PC for sim racing

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-13900KF
GPU: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (24GB)
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5-5,600MHz
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 4x4 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of configuration options, with Intel 14th Gen on the way
+
Easy to upgrade
+
Lots of front and rear-facing USB ports
+
Stylish design with excellent performance and thermal management

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be expensive
-
RAM speed is lowered by default

My recommended configuration:

Core i9-13900KF | NVIDIA RTX 4080 | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

Core i9-13900KF | NVIDIA RTX 4080 | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

Lenovo is gearing up to upgrade the Legion Tower with Intel 14th Gen, but the current gen is still an excellent gaming desktop. This is my personal configuration with well-balanced, powerful components that run like a dream.

Lenovo is a surprisingly excellent source for fantastic, balanced gaming hardware, and the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i sits at the top of the company's pre-built desktop lineup. It's unapologetically large, but that sizeable chassis means plenty of room for the latest and greatest internals from Intel and NVIDIA, as well as plenty of fans and cooling solutions to keep things running smoothly. It also makes the PC extremely easy to access and upgrade, a boon for any PC gamer.

Gen 8 of the Legion Tower 7i currently available for sale boasts up to an Intel 13th Gen, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs, and plenty of the fastest RAM and SSD storage. There's also a respectable number of ports on the front and rear of the desktop, including lots of USB ports for all your accessories and peripherals. Performance is top-notch, and the Legion Tower 7i does an excellent job keeping itself cool for long, intense gaming sessions.

In my Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Gen 8) review, I praised this pre-built gaming desktop for its design, performance, and features. Just make sure you raise the RAM speed in BIOS when you're setting up the computer, as it's lowered by default for some reason. Also, while there is plenty of RGB lighting to make your gaming PC stand out, the RGB lighting on the GPU isn't customizable through Lenovo's built-in Vantage software. Small complaints in an otherwise amazing computer.

The Lenovo Legion Tower 7i starts at around $2,400 with an RTX 4070 Ti, and can be configured with the most powerful components from Intel and NVIDIA. Lenovo is also gearing up to upgrade this PC to Gen 9 with Intel 14th Gen CPUs.

The best style PC for sim racing

The XPS Desktop looks like it'd belong in any executive office, but it's certainly no slouch. (Image credit: Windows Central)

2. Dell XPS Desktop

Stylish performance for sim racing

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-13900K
GPU: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (24GB)
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5-4,800MHz
Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Wide array of different configuration options
+
Compact chassis with impeccable build quality
+
Top-notch performance and solid thermal management
+
Lots of ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Not as upgradeable as other pre-built PCs

My recommend configuration:

Core i9-13900 | NVIDIA RTX 4070 | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

Core i9-13900 | NVIDIA RTX 4070 | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

You're paying extra for the premium and compact design, but you're also getting a huge amount of power with the cooling solution to keep things running smoothly. No sim racing game will give this configuration trouble.

The Dell XPS Desktop isn't like most other gaming PCs, because it's not actually designed to be a gaming PC. This is Dell's most premium pre-built desktop for enterprise environments, with a compact, high-quality chassis. However, you can configure it with some truly beastly components from Intel and NVIDIA, including up to a Core i9 and RTX 4090. It's just as powerful as some of the best gaming PCs, but takes up less space and is a whole lot more subtle.

Peak performance isn't quite at the very top and the fans can get loud, but the XPS Desktop is still a very strong performer that stays cool during long sessions. It has all the features and ports you need in a gaming PC, and there are practically endless configuration options to make sure you get exactly what you need. The XPS Desktop isn't as upgradeable as other pre-built PCs, though, thanks to the compact chassis and Dell's use of non-standard parts. You're also paying a premium for that stylish design.

Fortunately, there are lots of different configurations. The Dell XPS Desktop technically starts at around $900, but that's without a discrete GPU, so I don't recommend opting for that. XPS Desktops with proper power start at around the $1,500 mark with a Core i7 and RTX 4060. If you want a PC that can handle work and play without standing out, the Dell XPS Desktop is an excellent desktop that's sure to stand the test of time (and help you dominate in your races). You can read my Dell XPS Desktop (8960) review for more information.

The best alternative PC for sim racing

The HP OMEN 45L is another fantastic pre-built gaming PC with lots of options. (Image credit: Future)

3. HP OMEN 45L

The best alternative to the best

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-13900K
GPU: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (24GB)
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5-5,200MHz
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 4x4 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
User upgradeable
+
Powerful
+
Innovative Cryo Chamber cooling
+
AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA all options

Reasons to avoid

-
MicroATX motherboard limits expansion
-
No Thunderbolt

My recommended configuration

Core i7-13700K | NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

Core i7-13700K | NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

You can customize your own OMEN 45L with Intel or AMD CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs, and the price will vary wildly depending on what you choose. This configuration is well-balanced and will set you up to enjoy all the best sim racing games.

The HP OMEN 45L is larger than its predecessor, but that's mostly down to an innovative new "Cryo Chamber" cooling solution. In an era where building your PC is so common, many manufacturers try to think outside the box with their desktop rigs, and HP certainly did that. The chamber is separated from other components so that internal temperatures can be up to 6 degrees lower, thanks to the lack of heated air inside the machine.

Some might think the design is a little plain, but dedicated sim racers will likely care more about function over form, especially for ease of access to ports. Removing the glass side panel gives you access to the standard internals, which can be upgraded in the future if you choose. It supports ATX motherboards, though out of the box, HP chose a microATX alternative, which limits both built-in functions a little and how much you can expand.

The OMEN 45L boasts the latest high-end NVIDIA RTX GPU lineup with the RTX 4090 as the top-end solution or AMD Radeon graphics, CPUs from Intel's 13th Gen desktop lineup, or AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series, DDR5 RAM from Kingston, SSD storage — it ticks all the boxes. Absolutely everything is replaceable, including the radiator in the Cryo Chamber, and the bottom line is that this is a PC any enthusiast would be happy to use. HP did the hard work for you, though. You can read our HP OMEN 45L review for more information.

The best mid-range PC for sim racing

It looks very similar to the Legion Tower 7i, but with some smart cuts to save money. (Image credit: Lenovo)

4. Lenovo Legion Tower 5i

The best mid-range PC for sim racing

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-13700F
GPU: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 (16GB)
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR5-5,600MHz
Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great price-to-performance ratio
+
Fantastic design with awesome air flow
+
Easy to access and upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
Port selection is a little limited

My recommended configuration:

Ryzen 7 7700X | RTX 4060 Ti | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD

Ryzen 7 7700X | RTX 4060 Ti | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD

AMD CPUs offer brilliant power for the price, and this configuration uses that to its advantage to be one of the best value mid-range gaming PCs you can buy. For well under $1,500 you can get a solid, well-rounded PC perfect for 1080p sim racing.

Lenovo makes another appearance on this list with its Legion Tower 5i. It looks very similar to the more expensive Legion Tower 7i above, but trades some features and a fair bit of power to save you as much money as possible. This desktop caps out where the Legion Tower 7i begins, but that doesn't mean it's a slouch. A combination of Intel and AMD CPUs gives you plenty of power without breaking the bank.

You're still getting a premium, well-designed chassis with attractive RGB lighting and easy, toolless access. That means it's easy to upgrade the Legion Tower 5i after you buy it, although you'll be a little more limited out-of-the-box than the Legion Tower 7i. Thermal management is also great, ensuring that even hours-long gaming sessions go off without a hitch. This desktop ranges from $1,300 to $2,000, with plenty of options to get the perfect desktop for you.

One of its only real cons is the relatively limited ports selection, so you'll want to consider if you'll have enough USB ports for all your accessories and peripherals. Other than that, the Legion Tower 5i ticks every box without breaking the bank. It's solidly a 1080-1440p gaming machine, perfect for the best sim racing games you can play. It also helps that you're saving a lot of cash over the more expensive desktops on this list.

The best budget PC for sim racing

HP Pavilion (Image credit: HP)

5. HP Pavilion gaming desktop (GTX 1650 SUPER)

Entry-level racing

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3-10100
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB
RAM: 8GB DDR4-2666MHz
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Entry-level 1080p gaming
+
Easy to upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacking storage space
-
No ultra graphics settings here

An entry-level machine can be capable enough for an absolute beginner to get you up and running (or driving) with simulation racing. This HP Pavilion is about as low as you want for a starter computer. Easy to upgrade, this tower comes with the capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card that'll sit you somewhere between the minimum and recommended specs for iRacing. You can upgrade any component you like since it uses all standard parts, but this plucky GPU is a great starting place.

The 10th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM will handle basic simulation racing, but if you're planning to join giant races with more players, you will need to upgrade. 256GB of storage will be acceptable if you stick to a handful of games, but venturing into games like Forza Horizon 5 will require much more since they take up a hefty amount of space. HP generously includes a mouse and keyboard with the Pavilion gaming desktop, so the setup is ready to go straight out of the box.

It won't provide you with a hyper-realistic 4K gaming experience, but the HP Pavilion gaming desktop is a decent way to enter PC gaming. You'll either have to stick with low-to-mid graphics settings or play more basic titles at first, but upgrades are easy enough with a bit of research. It's a decent way to test the waters of sim racing on PC if you're unsure.

The best laptop for sim racing

HP Omen 15 (Image credit: Future)

6. HP Omen 15 gaming laptop

Awesome redesign

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB
RAM: 32GB DDR5-4800MHz
Storage: 2 TB PCIe NVMe TLC M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
AMD and Intel hardware available
+
Competitive price
+
Up to a 300Hz FHD display
+
NVIDIA RTX GPU options
+
Great connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite chunky
-
AMD models more limited

My favorite Omen laptop config:

Intel Core i9-12900H | RTX 3080 Ti 16GB | 32GB DDR5-4800MHz

Intel Core i9-12900H | RTX 3080 Ti 16GB | 32GB DDR5-4800MHz
It's from the previous 12th Gen of the Intel Core i9 processor family, but the RTX 3080 Ti GPU pairs with 32GB of modern DDR5 RAM to provide plenty of horsepower for sim racing on the go. Keep an eye out for discounts.

HP offers the Omen 15 as a laptop variant of its desktop range as a portable option for simulation racing or something more compact to attach to a cockpit rig with pedals and a wheel. Up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7 CPU can be paired with a mobile version of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. 32GB of DDR5 SDRAM clocked at 4,800MHz will handle most racing games just fine, even with plenty of cars on screen, AI-controlled or otherwise.

You can choose up to a 2TB M.2 solid-state drive, which might be a little overkill if you're planning to use this laptop solely for racing games, but the extra space is handy should you consider user-made modifications to add extra tracks and cars, etc. Onboard Wi-Fi 6E tech supports high-speed wireless networking, which is ideal if you want to keep your setup as cable-free as possible and still play online.

Display options include up to a 17.3-inch QHD display at a 165Hz refresh rate and 300 nits brightness. The display is arguably less important if you're looking at powering a sim racing rig, but it's still good to have a quality panel. You also get all the connectivity you need with multiple ports, including USB, HDMI, and Thunderbolt, for attaching all your racing hardware.

Read the full review: HP Omen 15 (2020) review: A generational refresh turns this gaming laptop into one of the best values around.

How we test PCs and laptops for sim racing

Getting started in sim racing is pretty straightforward, and though you can't engage without a decent PC and racing setup, it's easy enough to get going. You need a solid PC at the heart of your setup, and all of the PCs here can handle all the virtual racing you can throw at them with multiple monitors or even VR for high-spec models.

As a sim racing enthusiast, I can attest that the demands of each title can vary wildly depending on your tastes. For enthusiasts, more focus will be on accurate simulation, which generally requires a stronger CPU, as in the best overall and enthusiast picks. Anyone craving realistic visuals will want a more powerful graphics card, like in the enthusiast HP Omen 45L.

After building several custom gaming PCs and testing laptops, I generally test games like Forza to push visuals and iRacing to test physics simulation. Other titles focused on realism, like Euro Truck Simulator 2, usually don't push PCs to their limits and would run fine on lower-end hardware like my budget pick. As with all PC gaming, you should check the required specifications for your favorite game and compare it against a choice in this that fits your budget.

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @trzomb@mastodon.online to ask questions or share opinions.

With contributions from