What kind of system does it take to run an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive?

VR is doing a great job of taking over this year thanks to the release of the Oculus Go, price drops on other solutions like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, an increase in popularity surrounding the Playstation VR, and of course movies and other media like Ready Player One. With this, you see an increase in consumers asking the question “can my PC handle that?” when they realize the best solutions require a fancy PC to drive them with.

The answer thankfully is pretty easy, as both companies list in great detail what the recommended and limited specs are for each. They even provide a downloadable tool that can test your current setup and give you a direct answer (which should be pretty reliable). We will talk about these tools in a moment, but for now let’s take a look at what is recommended.

Oculus Rift Recommended/Minimum Specs
Recommended SpecsMinimum Specs
Graphics CardGraphics Card
NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greaterNVIDIA GTX 1050Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
Alternative Graphics CardAlternative Graphics Card
NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greaterNVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greaterIntel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
Video OutputVideo Output
Compatible HDMI 1.3 video outputCompatible HDMI 1.3 video output
USB PortsUSB Ports
3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newerWindows 8.1 or newer


Now let’s take a look at the HTC Vive options:

HTC Recommended Specs
ProcessorIntel™ Core™ i5-4590 or AMD FX™ 8350, equivalent or betterIntel® Core™ i5-4590 or AMD FX™ 8350, equivalent or better
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce™ GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon™ RX 480, equivalent or better.NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon™ RX 480, equivalent or better.Recommended Graphics for the best experience is NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070/Quadro P5000 or above, or AMD Radeon™ Vega 56 or above.
Memory4 GB RAM or more4 GB RAM or more
Video output1x HDMI 1.4 port, or DisplayPort 1.2 or newerDisplayPort 1.2 or newer
USB Ports1x USB 2.0 port or newer1x USB 3.0 port or newer
OSWindows™ 7 SP1, Windows™ 8.1 or later or Windows™ 10Windows® 8.1 or later, Windows® 10


As you can see, both companies take a liking to the GTX 1060 or equivalent cards. This is because VR takes a lot of juice to pull off right, especially when it comes to a high resolution to help reduce the noticeable pixel grid, as well as refresh rate (all three of the above mentioned units support a 90Hz refresh rate).

So you won’t be able to pull things off using a basic setup with integrated graphics. It is going to take some customization in finding the right PC. Especially if you want to experience the best quality your money can buy.

If you’d like to see where your current system lies, especially if you don’t have any knowledge when it comes to customizing PCs, you can download a tool from either company, that can tell you if your system can pull it off.

These tools will scan your system to determine what hardware you are running and give you the results. If you have an older system, you can pretty much guarantee that the answer isn’t going to be in your favor. However, if you have a relatively new system (and the store that sold it to you claimed it is a monster), it could be worth checking out.

For everyone else who have no interest in upgrading their rig, there is of course the new Oculus Go, which is a standalone VR solution that doesn’t require a PC to power it with. The quality/experience won’t be as good as the Rift since you won’t have a monster of a PC powering it, but it proves to be a great start for those looking to get their feet wet without spending too much.

Of course, when you have to buy into so much hardware to get the Rift to work, it kind of makes you wonder why the Oculus Go is cheaper (despite having less resolution). It kind of feels like the Oculus Rift should be priced more like a PC accessory (like an advanced gaming keyboard/mouse combo) than what it is today. The big money should only be in the rig, with the VR setup being the icing on the cake (not the price of a new entry or better laptop).

This article was originally published by PN.

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