Virtual Reality: What You Need And Why You Need It.

Virtual Reality is the hot new thing on the market. With the Oculus and Vive for the PC, PSVR for the PlayStation, and gearVR or third party viewers for mobile, it seems like VR is everywhere you go. With more and more applications and games popping up for VR everyday, it’s important to know what your system needs to have before you invest in an expensive VR headset. This article will cover the system requirements for the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, why they are what they are, and what your best options are despite the system requirements.

Oculus Req’s
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
Memory: 8GB+ RAM
Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
USB: Ports 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

Vive Req’s
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better.
CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better.
Memory: 4 GB RAM or more.
Video Output:1x HDMI 1.4 port, or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer.
USB: 1x USB 2.0 port or newer.
OS: Windows™ 7 SP1, Windows™ 8.1 or later or Windows™ 10

The only noteworthy difference between the requirements is the amount of RAM needed.
This article will not be covering Video Output.

So why are these requirements what they are and what are my options?

Simply put, these requirements are what the manufacturers recommend to have a smooth experience with their product. While the product may still operate when your machine doesn’t meet the specified requirements, it won’t be optimal performance. Let’s delve in deeper to why you need this level of parts for your VR machine.

Graphics Card: Your graphics card controls everything displayed to you, and it’s what renders the image coming to your eyes. In order to have half decent graphics through your headset, you’ll need at least a half decent graphics card to render it. Best Options? While the GTX 1060/RX 480 will get the job done, I’ve found that the experience is better with at least a GTX 1070.

CPU: Your processor is the brain of your computer. Nowadays games need all the brainpower they can get. Ingame the processor controls/decides everything from simple movement to the AI that powers NPC’s. Best Options? This is one of the part of the requirements I’m going to suggest you follow. You will get excellent performance out of an i5-4590/FX-8350 (I sway more towards Intel but that’s a personal decision) and it should be able to handle anything you throw at it. That being said, Haswell is pretty outdated, so if you’re investing in a whole new system for VR, I’d recommend getting a new Skylake 6xxx series CPU.

Memory: Ram isn’t hugely important for gaming. Best options? Despite the Vives 4GB requirement, I suggest investing in at least an 8GB kit.

VR seems like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and that it may even be the future of gaming. Hopefully this guide gave you some insight into your future VR build.