The Oculus Rift is set to be unleashed to consumers later this month and people have already lined up (via preorders) to get a piece of it despite the hefty price tag. However, the $599 isn’t the only thing that people should be concerned about. They should also take into account whether their PC is up to the task of supporting the virtual reality gear. And the Oculus Rift is by all means not the type of hardware that would simply require a PC to be “good enough”.
Whether you’ve already punched in your Oculus Rift preorder or plan to wait for the first round of reviews first before committing to it, it’s good to know beforehand if your PC can handle its demanding requirements. The requirements for the Oculus Rift have already been released in the official website, although it was never really specified whether they’re the minimum requirements or the recommended setup. But let’s just assume they’re the bare minimum.
Official Minimum/Recommended Setup
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
- Processor: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- Memory: 8GB+ RAM
- Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- Input: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
The developers were given those specifications to work around, so if your PC is sporting anything lower, don’t expect a happy start to your virtual reality experience. Even if you don’t plan to grab the Oculus Rift from the get-go, that setup is perfectly geared for a high-powered gaming experience. So, don’t worry: Every drop of money you will spend for it will not be put to waste. Unless you decide to use it for, let’s say, SNES emulators only.
Since the Oculus Rift isn’t out on the market yet, there is no telling whether the official requirements will really provide a very smooth experience. And it also makes it impossible for consumers to determine an optimum setup that will truly maximize the Oculus Rift’s potential. Although it’s safe to assume that anything that boasts a higher configuration than the official ones are bound to bring more juice to the experience.
However, Logical Increments, an online PC-building advisor, delved deep into the matter and provided future Oculus Rift users a comprehensive guide on how to gear up their PC not only for the first wave of virtual reality games, but for future ones as well. Check out their in-depth guide here.
They provided three more additional PC builds on top of the official minimum/recommended setup. Let’s take a look at each of them. Prepare to have your mouth agape, though, because these setups don’t exactly scream ‘cheap’.
The “Budget” Build
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6500
- GPU: GeForce GTX 980 or Radeon R9 390X
- Motherboard: ASRock Z170 Pro4S
- Storage 1: SanDisk Ultra II 120GB SSD
- Storage 2: Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD
- Power Supply: 620W Seasonic S12-II
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Case: Corsair Carbide 500R
- CPU Cooler: Stock (or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo)
This setup, according to them, is a step up from the official one. It provides more punch, thanks to the stronger graphics card, while still staying on budget. This setup will require you to shell out $1,100.
The Future Investment Build
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K
- GPU: GTX 980 Ti (alternative: 2x GeForce GTX 980)
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming
- Storage 1: 250GB Crucial BX100 SSD
- Storage 2: 2TB Hitachi Ultrastar
- Power Supply: EVGA 850 G2
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Case: Enthoo Pro
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S
This 1,700-dollar baby is the perfect setup if you want your PC to be able to handle the games coming out within the first year or two, allowing you to go 90 FPS without any setback. If you plan to permanently switch over to virtual gaming and leave your precious consoles to collect dust in the basement, then don’t hesitate to go for this setup instead.
The Eye-popping, Jaw-dropping Extreme Build
- CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K
- GPU: GTX 980 Ti (alternative: 2x GTX 980 Ti)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X-UD5
- Storage 1: 512GB Samsung 950 Pro PCIe M.2 SSD
- Storage 2: 4TB Seagate HDD
- Power Supply: EVGA 1000 P2
- RAM: Crucial 16GB DDR4
- Case: Enthoo Primo Aluminum Case
- CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H110i
This one here, as its name implies, borders on the extreme that will allow you to fully experience virtual reality as smoothly as possible. Unless virtual reality headsets suddenly undergoes a drastic change of requirements in the first year or two that are way more jaw-dropping than they are now, chances are this extreme build will carry you through the experience without so much as a cough. Oh, and this build comes out at $2,600. Not exactly lunch money.
Do note, however, that any of these setups may or may not be sufficient enough for the Oculus Rift’s first year in the hands of consumers. Once people finally get their hands on the much-anticipated technology, no doubt different kinds of recommended or optimum setups will pop up to help those who are eyeing virtual reality gaming. But like as mentioned above, people who emptied their wallets to set up their PC in the image of any of the aforementioned builds, won’t exactly be wasting their hard-earned money: They can still utilize them for regular PC gaming.
Virtual reality is the next step in gaming. It will allow players to experience games like never before. It’s especially big for Role-Playing Games (RPG) because it will really allow gamers to be part of whatever beautiful and colorful game world the developers cook up, making the experience truly immersive. The Oculus Rift is just the first virtual reality headset out of the many others that will surely follow to drop on consumers’ hands. It’ll make its mark on the world, at least to those lucky enough to have preordered, on March 28. The launch package contains a headset with built-in headphones and mic, a standalone sensor, and an Xbox One controller.