Virtual existence (VR) is slated to be a large new tech in 2016: you’ll indeed be means to buy an Oculus Rift and play VR games during home. But while we competence be prepared for a high cost of a headset, we competence not realize we need a mightily absolute PC to use one.
(For those wanting to try VR on a budget, see a guide on creation your possess smartphone VR headset with Google Cardboard.)
Best PCs for VR – endorsed specifications
Until unequivocally recently, even PC builders didn’t know accurately what a smallest mandate were for VR gaming. But now that Nvidia has announced a ‘VR Ready’ program, buyers will be means to demeanour out for a tag to be reassured that a laptop, graphics label or PC they’re shopping will be means to cope with a final of VR gaming.
Most people don’t realize that VR games need 7 times a graphics energy of normal 3D games. This is since a graphics label has to broach dual opposite high-resolution images to both eyes during 90 per second.
If your PC struggles to play games during 1920×1080 – a smallest is deliberate 30 frames per second – afterwards it’s not going to cope with using an Oculus Rift that has dual 1680×1512 screens, generally if we wish 90fps.
The HTC Vive’s specs aren’t confirmed, though it’s pronounced to have 1080×1200 pixels for any eye.
So what hardware do we need?
If you’re articulate about a PC, it will need to have a following specifications (or better) to expostulate an Oculus Rift and furnish a ‘great experience’:
- Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 graphics card
- HDMI 1.3 output
- 2x USB 3.0
- Intel Core i5-4590 (or equivalent)
- 8GB of RAM
- Windows 7 SP1 or later
These are not smallest requirements, though endorsed specs. You competence be means to get divided with a reduction absolute CPU, for example, though it’s imprudent to do so as developers are also operative with these specifications to safeguard games run well. And if you’re going to spend a lot on a VR headset, we unequivocally need to have a mechanism that’s absolute adequate to run it.
(See also a comparison: GTX 970 vs Radeon R9 290X)
If you’re shopping a laptop, afterwards Nvidia says you’ll need a GTX 980 or better. Again, note that this is not a GTX 980M, though a full-fat 980. Few laptops have this desktop-class GPU yet, and you’re doubtful to find one for reduction than £2000.
Also, bear in mind that many laptops’ HDMI outputs are connected to a on-board Intel graphics and not a dissimilar Nvidia or AMD GPU. So if we are shopping a laptop for VR use, make certain it has a concordant HDMI 1.3 outlay that’s indeed entrance from a apart graphics chip.
How most does a VR PC cost?
If you’re shopping a new PC, it’s going to set we behind around £1500 and that’s though a monitor. However, that’s with top-end components. You can get a PC (also though a monitor) that meets a endorsed Nvidia / Oculus mandate for around £800. But when we start adding SSDs, additional tough drives, improved sound cards and other components you’re expected to want, design to compensate £1000.
But if you’re upgrading your stream PC, we competence usually need a new graphics label if your other components are those on a endorsed list, or are already aloft in spec.
A GTX 970 will set we behind around £270, though it’s most harder to find a comparison Radeon 290 that is now superseded by a 390, that costs around a same.
If we wish to go for something some-more future-proof, a GTX 980 costs around £410 while a even some-more absolute 980 Ti costs during slightest £500, rising to around £650 for overclocked versions.
AMD’s Radeon R9 380X is roughly as absolute as a GTX 980, though we can find these a small cheaper during around £350.
RAM is now cheap, so 8GB can cost as small as £30, that means it’s essential to go for 16GB if we can. That’s DDR3 pricing of course. DDR4 is a bit some-more expensive, during around £45 for 8GB.
The CPU isn’t cheap: an i5-4590 will set we behind £160, though you’ll need a motherboard and cooler if your stream components won’t accept an LGA1150 processor.
The bottom line is that a VR-ready PC or laptop isn’t cheap, though a PC is positively a best option: it’s cheaper and upgradeable. Laptops, or some-more precisely laptop graphics, aren’t upgradeable, so unless we privately need a unstable VR gaming setup, buy a PC.