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Is your PC VR ready? Check it out here

Virtual reality is becoming ever more accessible. Even though standalone headsets like the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest mean you can enjoy it without an external device, the most immersive high-end VR equipment still needs to be connected to a computer. 

To compare the strengths and weaknesses of different headsets, be sure to check out our VR buying guide. To check which would work best on your computer, we lay down the specs you need below.

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Is my PC ready for...

Buying a VR ready PC or laptop

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift remains the most popular and accessible VR headset thanks to its great controls, ergonomics and extensive library of content on the Oculus Store. In addition to outlining the specs below, Oculus also provides a compatibility tool that you can download to run checks on your computer and assess its specifications.

Recommended specs for Oculus Rift

  • GPU –  NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
  • Alternative GPU: – NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
  • CPU: – Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 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 10 or newer

Minimum specs for Oculus Rift

  • GPU:  NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
  • Alternative GPU: – NVIDIA GTX 960 4GB / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
  • CPU: – Intel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
  • Memory: – 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: – Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: – 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • OS: – Windows 10 or newer

HTC Vive / Vive Pro

HTC Vive is currently available as two models. The older, standard HTC Vive has lower PC requirements than the Oculus Rift, but the advanced, higher-res Vive Pro is more demanding, especially when it comes to the recommended graphics card. You can also download and run checking software for your PC from HTC Vive's official site.

Recommended specs for HTC Vive

  • GPU: – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU: – Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: – 4GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: – HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB Port: – 1x USB 2.0 or greater port
  • Operating System: – Windows 7 SP1 or newer

Recommended specs for HTC Vive Pro

  • GPU (Minimum): – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • GPU (Recommended): - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070/Quadro P5000 or above, or AMD Radeon Vega 56
  • CPU: – Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: – 4GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: – DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB Port: – 1x USB 3.0 or greater port
  • Operating System: – Windows 8.1 or 10

Windows Mixed Reality

Windows Mixed Reality is Microsoft's VR platform that supports a range of headsets including Microsoft's own HoloLens and the Samsung HMD Odyssey+. Microsoft provides two sets of recommended specifications for consumers. The standard WMR requirements and also the recommended specs for WMR Ultra, which offers a number of advantages, such as crisper visuals, a higher refresh rate and a desktop window that shows what the headset wearer is looking at.

As with the other VR platforms, Microsoft offers a downloadable app that will assess your PC for you.

Recommended specs for Windows Mixed Reality

  • GPU: – Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 or greater DX12-capable integrated GPU, NVIDIA MX150 discrete GPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU, NVIDIA 965M discrete GPU, AMD Radeon RX 460/560
  • CPU: – Intel Core i5 7200U (7th generation mobile), dual-core with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology enabled (or better)
  • Memory: – 8GB DDR3 RAM dual channel, 10 GB Disk space
  • Video Output: – HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB Port: – USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C
  • Operating System: – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (RS3) - Home, Pro, Business, Education.

Recommended specs for Windows Mixed Reality Ultra

  • GPU: – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or greater DX12-capable discrete GPU / AMD Radeon RX 470/570 or greater DX12-capable discrete GPU
  • CPU: – Intel Core i5 4590 (4th generation desktop), quad core or better / AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.4Ghz (desktop), quad core or better
  • Memory: – 8GB DDR3 RAM or better, 10 GB Disk space
  • Video Output: – HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB Port: – USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C
  • Operating System: – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (RS3) - Home, Pro, Business, Education.

Buying a VR ready PC or laptop

If you're getting a new computer and want VR to be an option, many high-end PCs and laptops will advertise that they are VR-ready. This usually means upper end specifications and most importantly, a powerful GPU along the lines of what you can see above, especially if you want to handle the top VR games coming out this year.

Naturally, dedicated gaming PCs and laptops are the keenest to promote this. Laptop models such as the Acer Predator Helios 500, the Razer Blade 15 and Asus ROG Strix all boast to be VR-ready for example, but any modern PC geared towards gaming or graphics performance is also worth considering, checking against the specifications outlined above.

Are you think of getting a VR headset for your PC? Or even a new PC to try VR? Let us know in the comments.

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