VR Requirements for PC Complete 2022 Guide. What do i need to run vr

You can now use VR to climb Everest, explore the Grand Canyon, take a gondola ride in Venice and watch an array of surprising 360-degree videos posted by GoPro wearables worldwide. Looking even further, Mars 2030 will let you roam the surface of Mars.

Will it Run? VR Hardware Requirements for your PC or Laptop

Virtual reality applications are taking our world by storm.

But whether you want to play the latest VR games or make a living creating VR and AR applications, you need a computer or laptop that is powerful enough.

Why should your computer be powerful? Because it performs all the tasks: processing and rendering.

But not every computer is up to the task. If you want your virtual reality applications to run smoothly, you need stations that are above average.

But fear not, there are still affordable options on the market that meet the minimum requirements.

In this guide, we’ll help you find out if your computer is powerful enough to run VR applications on any high-end headsets, or if you need to upgrade any of its components.

We’ll also make the latest PC builds available for each price segment so you can buy or build a VR ready PC from scratch.

Table of Contents

Can I Run VR on my PC or Laptop?

is your equipment ready for vr

There are three main components that determine whether a computer is VR-ready: processor (CPU), graphics video card (GPU), and random access memory (RAM). Let’s go through each of them.

GPU VR Requirements for Running VR

The GPU requirements are particularly high as it has to render two displays to create a VR experience, one for each eye. Add to that the much higher rendering resolution for VR applications, and you’ll understand why your average GPU might not be enough.

We recommend that you purchase at least the minimum graphics card recommended for a consistent frame rate of over 90fps. A cheaper GPU can run VR applications, but the lower FPS can make you feel nauseous.

Minimum requirements for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift S graphics card: Nvidia GTX 970 or later benchmark 9563+
Alternatives: Radeon R9 Fury, GeForce GTX 1060, Radeon R9 390X

Minimum GPU requirements for the Valve Index Headset: GTX 1070 or later benchmark 10570+
Alternatives: GTX 900, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Note: AMD VR Ready FX and Ryzen graphics cards and processors dominate VR performance thanks to close collaboration with VR headset vendors and the native LiquidVR interface.

CPU Requirements for Running VR

In general, most processors with four or more (quad-core) processors are recommended for sufficient processing power. Below are the minimum CPU requirements for most VR headsets, including HTC, Oculus, and Valve.

Minimum processor requirements for all models: Intel i5-4590 or newer 1600+ benchmark
Alternatives: AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 2200GE, AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE, AMD FX 8350 or better

RAM Requirements for Running VR

Most VR goggles require a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. The only exception is the HTC Vive Pro and HTC Vive Pro Eye which can run from just 4 GB. HTC Vive Cosmos also requires 8 GB + RAM.

How To Easily Check If Your Current PC Is VR-Ready

Instead of relying on writing performance statistics, use a software test to determine if your system is performing well enough. Download and use the SteamVR Performance Test from the Steam Store. The tool will automatically measure your system’s rendering power with a 2-minute VR demonstration.

With this tool, you can easily determine if your PC is capable of running smoothly in VR at 90fps, or if any graphics card, CPU, or both improvements are needed.

The SteamVR Performance Test will identify your hardware and return a graph based on your results. Thus, you will know if your desktop is good enough or if you need to update or even replace your computer system.

steam capacity vr

The third great weapon in the VR race is the Sony PlayStation VR goggles, which entered the market in October 2016 as an accessory for the PlayStation 4 game console. Both the PlayStation 4 and the new PlayStation 4 Pro are compatible with headsets, but the pro will run VR games at higher screen resolutions and frames per second.

What You Need for VR

As technology advances, VR is growing. Tracking head or body movements can translate into specific results in the virtual world. For this reason, it’s important to have a low latency device so that your actions and reactions are instantly transformed.

The device also requires a high frame rate (generally a minimum of 60 FPS, 90 is recommended) to keep the virtual world real. Frequent jumping or chopping would completely destroy the illusion and experience.

Internet Speed and VR

You need a decent internet speed when playing VR, but most of the game was downloaded before the game started, allowing you to move freely in the virtual world.

You may need to think about your PC’s upgraded components before upgrading your internet plan. Your CPU or graphics card may be causing problems in the game. That being said, if everything on your PC gets updated, look for a 600 Mbps internet plan.

Some headsets offer a physical IPD adjustment. This shifts the lenses and display panels to place them more directly in front of the pupils of a wide range of people. Other headsets do not allow you to physically adjust this, but may offer software customization to compensate for this variability in humans.

Entry level VR vs high-end VR

Today, VR equipment manufacturers have developed headsets that don’t actually require a computer to function. If you’re a console gamer and want to get into VR without any of the fuss of learning to build a PC for VR, you should take a look at the Oculus Quest series. These are entry-level wireless headsets that work without any bindings so you can pick and play most of the good virtual reality games wherever you are, such as Beat Saber and Pistol Whip. They’re not super strong, and are surprisingly cheap as a result, selling them for $ 299 on the base model.

The best part is that you can use them to stream high-quality VR games from your computer if you already have a gaming PC and have a decent internet connection. You can also use an Oculus Link cable to connect the Quest device to your gaming PC to increase its power and play more challenging Oculus Rift games if your internet connection isn’t good enough. PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 owners can also opt for a PlayStation VR package for about the same price if they wish to completely skip the need for a computer. If you go this route, we strongly recommend checking out the best PSVR space games we found – they are awesome!

The full PlayStation VR setup includes a PSVR headset, camera, and touch controllers. No PC required, but you will need at least a PlayStation 4 to use it. (Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC)

However, if we take Half-Life: Alyx as a benchmark for VR, you’ll need a more powerful headset and gaming PC to enjoy it. There isn’t much mid-range when looking at the current landscape, as most standard virtual reality setups will cost around 400,000, making any long-term solution high-end. The obvious choice right now would be Valve Index, which costs $ 999 for the full kit and comes bundled with Half-Life: Alyx. One thing to look out for with high-end VR headsets is that many of them require room-scale setup.

Valve Index uses lighthouses, which means you’ll have to place two cameras in your room while looking at a wide open space where you can track your body, so you’ll need a large, clean playing space before you start. Other headsets, especially entry-level headsets like the Oculus Quest 2, use inside tracking, which means the headset detects where you are and you need to draw a boundary around you to tell the headset where you want to play. This is a more affordable solution for small spaces, but tracking is understandably less reliable.

How to build a PC for VR: Specs

With all that in mind, it’s time to think about your gaming PC to complete your virtual reality setup. The best place to start building a VR PC is to take a look at the system requirements of the headset you are about to buy. If you own Steam, Valve offers a handy tool to check if your hardware is capable of supporting the Valve Index, but most other headsets will offer system requirements on the store page that you can disable in preparation for building a PC for VR.

The minimum specs for Valve Index are 8 GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD RX 480 and a Dual Core processor. Recommended specs require a quad-core processor and an NVIDIA GTX 1070 or better card. You’ll also need USB 3.0 ports for the best experience, and DisplayPort 1.2+ inputs on the back of the headset’s display set as it doesn’t support HDMI.

These are fairly modest specs by the 2021 standards, but even if your PC meets the headset requirements, you’ll need to consider the specs of every game you want to play. For example, Half-Life: Alyx asks for 12 GB of RAM, a GTX 1060 / RX 580 with 6 GB VRAM, and a Core i5-7500 or Ryzen 5 1600 processor.

Created by Steam, the Valve Index VR Kit includes everything you need to start your VR adventure, including Half-Life: Alyx. (Image credit: Valve)

If we take some of the other most popular VR games as an example, Sword and Sorcery recommends 16GB RAM, Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GTX 1070. Recommended specification of Pavlov VR multiplayer shooter is 16GB RAM, that is Six Core 4 Processor GHz + and RTX 2080.

As you can see from the examples above, the most important parts of any VR computer are the graphics card, RAM, and CPU / CPU. It should also be noted that many of the software specs are higher than the base specs of the headset itself. You don’t want to save on any of these parts as you prepare to build a VR PC, especially if you want to future-proof your VR platform. Most importantly, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you’ve bought an expensive headset, but you can’t make the most of it, so base your gear on the games you want to play.

I have NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super, Ryzen 5 3600, and 16GB of RAM in my personal VR hardware (which is paired with Valve’s index). This allows me to browse most games at high settings and crank up the internal Hz on the headset display for a deeper immersion. This would be a great benchmark for any solid VR computer. Just make sure you pair it with a compatible motherboard, a high-powered PSU (google the recommended pairing of your graphics card), and a case that provides good airflow to keep your system safe and cool.

“This is a really new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unlimited space and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine not only sharing your online moments with your friends, but all your experiences and adventures.”

HTC Vive

HTC Vive is a partnership between the Taiwanese technology company HTC and Valve. Valve has added a dedicated VR category to its existing Steam digital game store, while HTC has just launched its Viveport site for non-gaming apps.

The HTC Vive is the most direct competitor to the Oculus Rift by far. Photo: Chesnot / Getty Images

The Vive is a direct rival to the Oculus Rift, although there are several games and apps available for both devices. Like the Rift, it requires a PC to run the software, and HTC helps buyers get the right kit by maintaining a list of Vive Ready PCs, including Alienware, HP, and MSI partners.

The Vive has some unique features including a front camera which in some applications can bring the real world into a virtual environment. You’ll also find two hand-worn gesture controllers in the box, unlike the Rift, which partly explains the higher price.

The Vive also comes with a base station that tracks your movements, so within fairly tight confines you can walk around your VR space. This means a longer setup process, comparable to properly setting up a high-end home audio system, not just locking your stereo to a shelf – but as more apps and games are taking advantage of this option, it could prove to be Vive’s killer feature.

Price: $ 799 (£ 759) includes a headset, two wireless handheld controllers, two base stations, and a connection box to connect it to your computer.

You also need: a powerful PC – check the recommended specifications.

Best for: Anyone who wants an absolutely top-notch (so far) home VR system that mixes games and more.

The Verdict: The HTC Vive is the most expensive system on the market and also one that requires the most effort to set up. However, once you do that, the ability to walk around in your virtual space as well as turn your head around is impressive. Valve’s commitment to its Steam store means there is also a large developer community.

10 HTC Vive apps and games to try

    : a big hit from mouth to mouth; The 2050 setting simulates hijacked robots: epic space game gets even more epic with headset: thrilling first person real-time strategy game about colonizing alien planets: horror with lots of monsters and scares: originally a 2D machine-building puzzler, works it’s beautiful in 3D and VR: the Google app is one of the first creative joys in VR: paint in 3D space around you in neon blur: a wide range of VR-made movies, from documentaries to music: a clever historical app that takes you on a mission Moon Landing: If you’ve enjoyed the BBC’s Blue Planet, this is a must-see for its gorgeous VR ocean life: curious social VR rehearsal

Sony’s PlayStation VR will go on sale soon. Photo: Christopher Jue / EPA

Sony PlayStation VR

The third great weapon in the VR race is the Sony PlayStation VR goggles, which entered the market in October 2016 as an accessory for the PlayStation 4 game console. Both the PlayStation 4 and the new PlayStation 4 Pro are compatible with headsets, but the pro will run VR games at higher screen resolutions and frames per second.

PlayStation VR will use the standard PS4 controller, the DualShock 4, but you’ll also need a PlayStation Camera accessory for $ 60.

Sony wants PlayStation VR to be more than a solitary experience: a feature called VR Social Screen shows what you see in the headset on your TV screen so friends can join or watch.

Being part of the PlayStation world inevitably means that games are an even more emphasis on PlayStation VR than on Oculus Rift and Vive. Sony already has over 100 games confirmed, and 50 of them are expected to be released by the end of 2016.

Price: $ 399 (£ 350) for the headset, processor, headphones and cables.

You’ll also need: PlayStation Camera, which costs $ 45 (£ 39). While standard PS4 joypads can be used for games, some support PlayStation Move motion controllers, which cost $ 99 (£ 70) for a two-pack.

Best for: gamers – or at least PlayStation 4 players, because (which shouldn’t be surprising) there is no compatibility between consoles with either Xbox One or Nintendo.

The verdict: As the first VR headset connected to your console, PlayStation VR is also the most affordable high-end model, even if you have to buy a PS4 to get it going. There are some impressive launch titles, while Sony’s breakout force means there will be a strong torrent of titles in the coming months and years, although there may be leaner choices for non-gaming VR apps.

10 PlayStation VR apps and games to try

    : a brilliant reboot of the classic rhythm game Rez: a clever puzzle game that is about placing blocks: this space hunting game is specially made for VR and shows: crime solving strategy with the dark knight: “first person puzzle” with hideous graphics: racing combination , shooting and rhythmic action: a big hit from mouth to mouth; The 2050 setting simulates robotic hijacking tasks: from gangsters to racing, this collection of VR minigames showcases Sony VR technology: use your head to complete a series of soccer challenges: skillful racing game puts you in the cockpit of 80 engines

To learn more about these games, see Guardian’s VR App Summary

Processor: Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or better Memory: 16 GB RAM Operating system: Windows 10 USB ports: 1x USB port

What is the Difference Between PC and Standalone VR Devices?

Let’s check out some specific features of the different types of VR.

# 1. Mobility

Mobility - Visartech Blog

Most professional headsets and their controllers have 6 degrees of freedom. See how it works in the photo.

This means that apart from rotation, controllers and goggles can transmit information about their displacement in relation to world coordinates.

Oculus Quest and HTC Vive Focus can determine these 6 degrees of freedom without having to place special sensors in the room to read your location. Most PC virtual reality helmets condemn their owners to placing these sensors in rooms where the immersion session will take place. Therefore, they cannot be used outside of this space.

Additionally, there is a need for tethering to a computer, most of the time this tethering happens literally: with a wire! This significantly reduces the ability to move around the room, causing inconvenience and discomfort. But the biggest disadvantage is precisely the lack of mobility, the inability to use this device without a computer. Even if we get rid of the wire and transmit the information stream via wireless means of communication, we will still be tied to a computer, a separate device.

In our digital age, technology looks wild, just like a wired phone with internet access. On the one hand, you get excellent quality of communication and access to modern technologies, on the other hand, all this does not make sense when you understand how this device limits you.

# 2. Image quality

Yes, that’s a fact. A PC can render an image with much higher quality and better consistency, with a large number of polygons, larger shadows, post-processing and other facilities that allow us to implement the latest gaming graphics cards.

Therefore, if the quality of graphics in your project should be at the highest level, then stand-alone VR is definitely not suitable for you. And if the user experience over graphic quality is your priority, keep reading.

But to justify standalone headsets, the quality of the graphics they can reproduce is good enough by modern standards.

# 3. Additional means of communication

In this category, we classify additional functions, such as imitation of smells or tracking the position of students, which are very rarely used even by owners of devices that have this technology. For example, the HTC Vive PRO EYE with a value of 400 500 has special cameras that monitor the position of the pupil. This method of communication is rarely useful. Although our company has experience in creating a similar application for scientists studying brain reactions.

These devices are very expensive and not very popular. So, if you are looking for a mass consumer, you should not focus on the users of such devices.

Why Standalone VR is Beneficial?

Why am I saying that a stand-alone VR has greater prospects than its older brother?

Here is a list of standalone VR benefits:

  • Graphics chips in standalone devices have made significant gains in performance. Now they are high-performance devices that can process beautiful 3D images. For example, the Oculus Quest has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with 4 gigabytes of RAM. At the same time, unlike a mobile phone, it does not run applications running in the background, such as GSM network processing, synchronization of applications with the network, etc.
  • The matrices inside such devices are as good as those of professional headsets. Sometimes they are even better.
  • Full mobility.
  • Low price.
  • The possibility of implementing real applications – from the manual for the lawn mower, which is downloaded via the QR code on the package, to the online multiplayer shooter.
  • The ability to use such devices everywhere: at work, at presentations, on the train, at home, with friends. They are as mobile as possible!

I personally created the application for the Oculus Quest platform and I am absolutely delighted with it! The creation process is not complicated at all – everything is exactly the same as with any other VR headset.

In fact, it’s not much different from creating 3D applications for PCs. The processor power allowed us to implement all the planned graphics. He just swallowed complex shadows and lights. Everything was just wonderful. It tracks the controllers no worse than the professional Vive PRO EYE headset, which costs 400,500. The number of feedback interfaces is as high as possible. There are 4 cameras on the front that can be used to control your hands instead of the controllers. And the fingers work like keys.

VR fingers work - Visartech Blog

Moreover, you can implement a certain analog of augmented reality over it. The image obtained through the viewfinders can also be involved in the application. You can broadcast camera images and place both static and dynamic virtual objects in the room. You can interact with these items using your hands or controllers. So I really liked this headset. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to work with Vive Focus yet, but I’m sure it won’t disappoint me either.

Let’s take a look at the starting cost of the most popular headsets at the moment.

  1. Standalone Virtual Reality:
    • Oculus Quest (2019) – From $ 399
    • Vive Focus (2018) – from $ 599
  2. PC VR:
    • Oculus Rift S (2019) – From $ 399
    • Vive (2016) – from $ 499
    • Vive PRO (2019) – from 400 599

As you can see, standalone VR headsets and PCs cost about the same.

Vive Focus is more expensive than Oculus Quest. Perhaps this is its main drawback.

The Vive PRO costs a lot more than any other device, but it’s a very niche product. So people who really need it will pay for it. For example, our clients who study brain responses.

But standalone VR is definitely cheaper than VR for PC. In addition, for PC VR, you still need a fairly powerful computer with a graphics card worth around 400,000.

There are a lot of other virtual reality products on the market, in addition to headsets from well-known brands. The early success of the Oculus Rift on Kickstarter has made the crowdfunding site the focus of VR startups advertising interesting hardware.

Oculus Quest 2 | Standalone + PC VR (~$300) Amazon Link

Quest 2 is one of the most versatile headsets on the market.

For $ 200, you get a fully standalone headset that requires no other hardware, with a selection of the best experiences and games on any platform. However, the big trade-off is that you have to log into your Facebook account to even use the headset. Older Oculus users will need to link their Oculus and Facebook accounts – all content and access to the headset will depend on the Facebook account.

However, if you don’t mind, Quest 2 has huge benefits. You can take it anywhere, use it anywhere, and let others try the kit in seconds. Quest 2 provides the lowest friction of any headset available today.

But that’s not all – if you have a VR-enabled PC, you can use Oculus Link to connect your Quest to your computer via USB C and enjoy whatever experiences the Rift can run on your Quest while staying tethered. Quest offers the best of both worlds.

That being said, since the Quest is a standalone headset, everything is in the headset itself. This makes the front of the headset heavy and not super ideal for long gaming sessions. The Quest 2 is slightly lighter and smaller than its predecessor, but we found the optional Elite strap to offer the best and most comfortable experience compared to the standard Quest 2 strap.

Pros: Fully standalone headset and 6DoF controllers, no existing hardware required, portable, Oculus Link gives you access to the best of both standalone VR and PC VR.

Cons: Despite Quest 2 improvements, still heavy at the front, not comfortable for everyone, tracking from inside is less accurate than outside, requires Facebook login.

oculus rift p

The Rift S is a good headset in a tough place. It is at the end of its life cycle, but many are likely to be used for many years to come. Considering only VR headsets, the Rift S remains a solid choice at one of the lowest price points – the Valve index tops at $ 1,000, and the Reverb G2 in between for $ 600.

However, Quest 2 has the option to run VR content on PC at a quality level which is almost, if not equal to the Rift S experience. Plus, at $ 300, the Quest 2 is even cheaper than the Rift S.

As of October, the Rift S still requires you to be logged in to Facebook during setup, as does Quest 2. So if you don’t mind, it’s a cheaper and arguably better option for a Facebook VR PC for most users, Quest 2.

That being said, the Rift S has some tangible benefits. The Rift S fit system is generally more comfortable than the Quest. The Rift S from Lenovo uses the very popular halo bar design made popular by PlayStation VR.

The Rift S does not offer any form of physical IPD regulation. Quest 2 has basic physical adjustment, offering three positions between which the lenses can be switched. For the Rift S, the lenses are set to 63.5mm.

According to Facebook, Quest headsets “are best suited for an IPD from 56 to 70mm” (which Facebook says make up 95% of adults), while the Rift S is “best for users with a thickness of 61.5 to 65.5mm.” For those sitting out of reach or on the edges, this difference could be a game changer for the Rift S.

Between the Oculus Rift S and HTC Vive Cosmos, Oculus is the cheaper option. It has a 16-foot cable so you can move around a bit while you play.

VR Computer Specs

To enter VR, you not only need an immersive VR headset – such as the Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, or Samsung Odyssey + – but also a computer to render the experience.

As a VR-focused company, it’s important to us that your VR experiences with customers and colleagues are as productive as possible. Therefore, we recommend that you always use a computer that is capable of delivering 90 frames per second (FPS) in VR all the time – 90 FPS is a key benchmark for creating a comfortable, nausea-free VR experience.

So what makes a computer powerful enough to run high-quality VR at high FPS? Your CPU and GPU.

What CPU and GPU do I need for my VR computer?

For a smooth VR experience, you need high performance from both a CPU (CPU) and graphics card.

However, since VR requires a computer to support two displays – one for each eye – the requirements for a graphics card are the greatest. Higher resolution headsets like the HTC Vive Pro require an even more powerful GPU.

In the case of a CPU, it is crucial to keep the clock speed as high as possible. The minimum benchmark we recommend is 3.5 GHz, but 4 GHz + is better.

Our CPU suggestion is 8th and 9th generation Intel processors: i7 8700K, i7 9700K, i9 9900K and so on. For GPU, we recommend NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 equivalent or better.

How much RAM is necessary for running VR?

As for RAM, our advanced (recommended) suggestion is 32GB +. We recommend 16 GB + RAM as a minimum, but 32 GB + RAM is preferred.

You may have noticed that HTC and Oculus list the minimum RAM for VR as 8GB – but that’s not enough to run many professional software packages like Prospect, Revit, and Rhino. Therefore, our recommendation for low-end RAM is 16GB+.

You can learn even more about the essentials of a powerful VR workstation – such as the ports and outputs you need and the best operating system – on our recommended VR PC page.

Each of Puget Systems IrisVR computers has been custom built and tested to exceed these expectations, so if you’re ready to start building your VR Workstation today, then your bet is best.

VR Computers On The Market

We’ve been testing VR computers for 5 years, so we’ve seen the good and the bad. Learn what to look for – and what to avoid – if you’re looking for a VR computer here.

What To Look For

When it comes to laptops, we were lucky with the ASUS GX501 with the GTX 1080 GPU. Overall, be aware that performance and cooling issues are possible when it comes to using VR on a laptop.

If you’re looking for a desktop, our favorite is the BOXX S3 with GTX 1080Ti GPU. The three workstations that Puget Systems assembles for IrisVR users are also desktop computers.

One of them – Advanced IrisVR Workstation – can even be combined with a hand luggage accessory, making it ideal for VR on the go.

What To Avoid

Over the years, we have selected certain computers and parts to avoid when assembling a VR workstation. They include:

  • ASUS ROG G752 laptop – we received information that it has problems detecting HTC Vives.
  • Any Alienware desktops or laptops – We are constantly troubleshooting these computers and have received reports of inadequate power adapters, driver issues and more.
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