Question Help me pick out of my existing rigs what to use for my budget iRacing setup

Nitrousbird

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Sep 29, 2012
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I want to start doing some iRacing, as I have a couple of friends into it. As I'm not sure how much I will use it yet, I'm not willing to dump thousands into a dedicated setup. Here comes my budget idea but struggling with the execution.

My main desktop, which also runs my Plex server and a few other things, is in our office. The problem is my wife works from home most of the time and I do all of the time so we can't share the office, therefore I made a 2nd office in some dead space in my finished basement.

In the basement, I have a triple 1080p monitor setup. It is hooked to my work laptop via a Dell WD19 Thunderbolt 3 hub. My goal is to simply move the single USB-C connection from my laptop to the dedicated desktop, therefore making a very easy switch between work and iRacing (no, I can't use my work laptop for iRacing...and the 8th Gen i7 integrated graphics probably aren't up to the challenge anyway).

Here are my choices - all have SSD's, 16GB ram, and will have a GTX 1060 graphics card:
#1 - my very rarely used HTPC. ITX motherboard, near-silent HTPC setup in a very nice case, running a 5th Gen i3. The problem is it only has a single PCIe 3.0 connection and the video card eats that up. I assume that idea is dead as there is no way to get a Thunderbolt connection for this other than a PCIe card, right?

#2 - my wife is getting ready to upgrade from my former OLD desktop to an HP Sabre X360 and will just use a Thunderbolt hub for her new setup. This leaves a 1st Gen i7 920 with one of the last Asus motherboards ever sold for that chip (they sold those motherboards for many years). Overclocked, ATX board but only PCIe 2.0. Will 2.0 have the bandwidth I need for three 1080p monitors @ 60Hz?

#3 - I do have a 3rd, less desirable choice. I have my old 70" 4k "HDR" (if you want to call it that) TV in the basement as well. I could get a cheap iRacing seat and just do a single monitor setup, but after racing on a proper 3-screen rig, it won't be as good, even at a higher resolution and up close. This choice forgoes the need for a PCIe card, as it will simply be an HDMI connection off of the video card.

#4 - A possible choice but one I probably won't, is taking my main desktop, which is much newer, and move it to my basement. The crappy part about that is I don't have a wired Ethernet connection in the basement where my desk is, and even though my wireless network is solid, I prefer Ethernet connections - especially when everything ties into that specific unit.

Which option would you pick...any why?
 

Eximo

Titan
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Most boards do not support adding thunderbolt at all. You must have a thunderbolt capable motherboard and THEN you can install SPECIFIC thunderbolt cards, usually offered by the board manufacturer. Thunderbolt add-in cards will come with a compatibility list.

In a few years, USB4 will solve this for the most part. But for now, your best bet is moving your desktop (assuming it supports Thunderbolt, anyway)

Now is the time to run an ethernet drop to your basement.
 

Nitrousbird

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Sep 29, 2012
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Most boards do not support adding thunderbolt at all. You must have a thunderbolt capable motherboard and THEN you can install SPECIFIC thunderbolt cards, usually offered by the board manufacturer. Thunderbolt add-in cards will come with a compatibility list.

In a few years, USB4 will solve this for the most part. But for now, your best bet is moving your desktop (assuming it supports Thunderbolt, anyway)

Now is the time to run an ethernet drop to your basement.
Running Ethernet is a no-go. I ran it to where I needed it for my home theater setup...when I finished it, I didn't envision the need for Ethernet where I have my desk (I never would have thought I would need a desk here).

I wasn't aware the motherboard had to be specifically "Thunderbolt capable." That may change things. What about a display port hub? Perhaps I can run the cable from the hub to a single input on the Thunderbolt hub, then just switch that one cable between the Thunderbolt hub and directly to my desktop. If that will work...
 

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