Find out if your PC is ready for VR

By Sherif Saed, Friday, 8 January 2016 12:22 GMT

Virtual reality is happening this year. Whether or not your wallet is ready, you need to find out first if your PC is up to the task.

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Excluding Sony’s PlayStation VR, we have two major virtual reality headsets coming this year to PC. These are Oculus Rift and Valve/HTC Vive. You’ve probably already heard that you need a decent PC to have a good VR experience, or even be able to run it at all.

Now that the makers of both the Rift and the Vive have revealed the minimum specs for either headset, let’s take a look at both.

According to Nvidia and Oculus, you’re going to need a PC with the following components to run VR. This is considered a minimum.

  • Graphics card (GPU): Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD R9 290, and GTX 980 for laptop
  • Processor (CPU): Intel i5-4590 or AMD equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): At least 8GB
  • Outputs and inputs: HDMI 1.3 port, 3x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Operating system (OS): Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

The list is largely similar for the Vive, with some differences:

  • Graphics card (GPU): Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD R9 290, and GTX 980 for laptop
  • Processor (CPU): Intel i5-4590 or AMD equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): At least 4GB
  • Outputs and inputs: HDMI 1.4 port (or Display Port 1.2) and 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Operating system (OS): Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

If you’re coming up on a purchase and not sure what to go for, Nvidia has a new VR-Ready Program, which is a logo you’re going to be seeing a lot on graphics cards that’re VR-capable, as well as laptops and pre-build PCs from a lot of manufacturers.

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Amazon UK / US and NewEgg are among the participating retailers, so you’ll be seeing this badge on their websites for related products.

If you already have a PC you think can do the job, you can make sure by downloading this file. This is an official tool from Oculus that will run on your PC and determine if it’s VR-ready.

If you’re looking for a more thorough analysis of your hardware, Valve released its own tool that’s a lot more involved. It gives you a rundown of your hardware, in addition to explaining how well it will run VR content.

If you have Steam installed, you can download the benchmark from here.

This story will be continuously updated to reflect any changes or new information.

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