Cast your mind back to the 80’s when personal VR came to you via the classic TomyTronics. You stuck your eyes into the UFo shaped binoculars and watched neon 3D characters come towards you. Brilliant for its day and powered by 4 x AA batteries. How things have changed! The advent and launch of Oculus Rift and Vive mean that you are able to get fully immersed into a virtual reality environment like no other. Graphics are stunning, sound is impressive and overall experience has to be played to be believed. However you’re not going to get away with AA batteries now! In fact you’ll need a pretty meaty PC to have your virtual reality games properly.
So why does your PC need to have such power behind it? Well lets pick out the Oculus Rift headset. At its core are two separate high res screen being refreshed at 90HZ (frames per second) which is akin to your PC having to render two monitors at one time. This needs some serious processing power. The following article focuses on how to get your PC ready for the Oculus Rift and most of the advice on graphics card/ processors etc will also be suitable the HTC VIVE.
Best graphics card for VR gaming
The NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 is the minimum you should go for. Anything lower will result in a substandard VR experience. Its also worth pointing out that the GTX 970 works officially with Gameworks VR, which truly displays the power of virtual reality.
However with the recent launch of the 980 VR edition this is a graphics card that you should seriously contemplate investing in. Why? Well firstly it is packed with an extra bay so you can easily connect to the Rift and it gives you more length so when you’re tethered you can wander a bit more easily. Secondly as we mentioned you need greater power for VR games as the 980 VR card performs almost 30% greater than the GTX 970! Might be a bit more pricey but with the 980 TI VR edition you are future proofing your set up.
Best processor for VR gaming
The recommended processor for VR gaming is Intel Core’s i5-4590 which was officially recommended by Oculus as the best low-priced CPU for VR gaming. An alternative is the Intel Core i7-6700K which is universally known to be a strong performer when it comes to virtual reality games. It also has higher hyper threading support and greater clock speed than the i5-4590 so is a good bet.
Other factors for virtual reality
When it comes to RAM size really does matter and you should aim to get a decent amount of data storage (say 16GB) and new VR games can use up a lot of memory. We’ve heard that the Ripjaws X series is a great option as it helps to avoid stutter in games. When it comes to operating systems Windows 7 SP1 is the minimum required for the Oculus Rift however purchasing Windows 10 for virtual reality is a way of future proofing your set up. Other considerations include having to have at least its a way of future proofing two 2 USB 3.0 ports.
VR ready PC packages on Amazon
If you’re not tecchy and don’t want to build a PC from scratch then you should look at some of the virtual reality PC packages available to buy from the likes of Amazon. These packages generally take away any hassle so you can plug and play. We’ve listed three of our favourite VR PC packages below.
This is one hell of a package that is virtual reality ready. It comes with a stylish cube case, side fan with Corsair CX600 80 Plus Bronze Certified 600w Power Supply. There is a Intel Core I7 4790 3.6ghz processor, 16gb DDR3 1600mhz Performance Ram with 2tb Seagate Barracuda Sata 6Gb, Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 4gb graphics card. Should be suitable for your gaming purposes – £807 – AMAZON
This ADMI ultra gaming system comprises a AMD FX-8350 4.20GHz Turbo 8 Core CPU, 1TB Hard Drive with an 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB DDR5 graphics card. It’s Oculus Rift ready with a free version of Tom Clancy’s ‘The Division’ – a very cool looking gaming pc indeed – £799 – AMAZON,
This PC package is for the serious gamers out there. Its costs a pretty packet but wow does it pack a punch. Featuring a NVIDIA GTX 980 graphics card and Intel Core i7 6700K (our recommendations above) it also includes a NZXT chassis, Asus H170 pro gaming motherboard – there is also Microsoft Windows 10 thrown in for good measure – £1,595 – AMAZON