How to Setup and Connect the Oculus Link Cable to your PC

When it comes to the Oculus brand, odds are you’re more familiar with the Rift, Oculus’ debut breakthrough in VR gaming. VR enthusiasts who followed the brand saw the Oculus Quest launch in 2019. An all-in-one VR headset, the Quest offers a wireless VR experience. The Quest tracks your movements and inputs them without external sensors, offering a seamless gaming immersion. The Oculus Quest also marks a significant milestone in VR development: a fully-featured, mobile headset for gaming on the go. Set up is easy and the controls are nuanced, perfect for VR and AR content. The Quest helps bring VR gaming into the mainstream.

While the headset sold an estimated 425,000 units in its first year, many developers complained that the Quest had lower performance than the Rift, which was often blamed on the mobile-powered CPU and GPU. Oculus answered: they’ve now launched the beta for Oculus Link—a system that allows users to power the Oculus Quest through a PC’s hardware, using the Quest for high-end visual experiences and opening the door to developer innovation.

oculus rift

Photo credit: Marco Verch Professional

About the Oculus Link

If the Quest is such a great piece of tech, then why is Oculus Link all the buzz as of late?

Oculus Link takes the game-changing hardware of the Quest and reconnects it to the powerful hardware of PC gaming. In other words, you get the best of both worlds.

Oculus Link is a software addition that connects the Quest to your PC, allowing you to use the processing power of your PC to enhance your Quest experiences. In essence, the Quest functions like a next-generation Oculus Rift, while maintaining the option to disconnect and return to mobile VR/AR gaming.

Anyone interested in both experiences simply has to follow a few basic steps to set up their Oculus Link connection, starting with ensuring compatibility.

Oculus Link Compatibility Requirements

All PCs are not created equal, and as with all gaming accessories you need to ensure that your computer is compatible with Oculus Link. If you plan on developing applications to use with the Link, you’ll want to have something more powerful than the minimum.

Also remember that with all tech, specs are constantly updating. It’s worth verifying the suggested specifications before purchase and investing in a platform that will keep you enjoying your system for the next couple of years.

Currently, the recommended base specs are as follows:

Component                Recommended Specs

Processor                    Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater

Graphics Card             See below list

Memory                      8 GB+ RAM

Operating System       Windows 10

USB Ports                    1x USB port

Graphic cards that are currently supported include:

*Mileage on these may vary based on your PC specs and the types of games you want to play*

  • NVIDIA Titan X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • Desktop NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (all)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (all)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series (all)
  • AMD 400 Series
  • AMD 500 Series
  • AMD 5000 Series
  • AMD Vega Series

Oculus Link Connector Cables

Do you need to buy the Oculus Link proprietary USB-C to 3.0 cables?

This is one of the most common questions we hear from prospective buyers.

The quick answer? No.

The longer answer: You do need a cable to use Oculus Link. However, as the software has advanced, so too have the number of options. Oculus did create their own 16-foot long cable for $80. Other options are finding your own USB-c to USB 3.0 cable; brands like Anker have been recommended by Oculus. One of the good things to come from 2020 is the ability to use a plain USB 2.0 cable instead—including the one that comes with your Oculus Quest.

For consumers who are interested in supplying their own cable, Oculus has released a list of specifications:

  • Length: 5-Meter Headset Cable
  • Type: Full-featured USB active optic cable. USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
  • Signal Requirements: USB 3.2 Gen 1 Signaling 5 Gbps USB 2
  • Infrared Signal Loss Tolerances: <500mV VBUS @ 3000mA; <250mV GND @ 3000mA
  • Power Supply: 3A
  • Bandwidth: 5 Gbps
  • Support for SuperSpeed USB ports

As with most VR setups, often more is better, especially when playing resource-intensive fast action games. We suggest asking around and seeing what types of experiences others have had with the particular setup you’d like to go with, and the games you’re interested in playing.

oculus rift 2

Photo credit: Marco Verch Professional

Oculus Link Set-Up Steps

Once you have determined that your PC can handle the Quest experience, and you have your connector cable, it’s time to delve into the Link!

Follow the quick-start steps below to get going:

  1. Download the Oculus software to your PC.
  2. Ensure that your PC and Quest software are up-to-date.
  3. Power on your Quest and open the Oculus PC app.
  4. Connect your cable, first to your PC and then to your Quest.
  5. A pop-up may prompt you to allow Oculus Link to access your data. Select Deny.
  6. Another prompt will offer to enable Oculus Link Beta. Select Enable.
  7. Enjoy!

It’s really that simple. But in case you run into issues (hey, it happens to the best of us), check out our troubleshooting and bug fix guides below:

Troubleshooting the Oculus Link

As with all fun new electronic toys, sometimes the Oculus Link does not function as it’s meant to. Sometimes this is due to user error, but other times the platform itself may be the cause.

For example, when booting up you might see the Quest standalone interface, or you might see three blinking dots.

If this happens, you will need to try a few quick tricks:

  1. Reboot everything. It’s the age-old question: Did you try turning it off and back on again? Reboot the headset and the PC, then retry the connection. Because Oculus Link is still in Beta, this is often all it takes to fix connection issues.
  2. Update everything. And we mean everything. Check the runtimes for both PC and your Quest; check your graphic card drivers; check your USB controller drivers. If all else fails, check your motherboard USB drivers, too. Your PC will thank you, whether or not this fixes the problem.
  3. Double-check your PC and cable specs. You’ll know pretty quickly if your cable is the issue: your desktop Oculus App will signal that the Quest is not connected to a USB, even if you plugged the cable in yourself. Don’t forget: you must use a USB 3.0 or 2.0 cable that can transfer data and ends with a USB-C.
  4. Make sure your USB cable is plugged into a 3.0 (or superior) port. This can help correct any image quality issues or streaming lag.

Some Common Beta Bugs Have Also Been Solved

As with most new software or technology, bugs happen. No matter the level of quality assurance, these things tend to surface now and again. The good news is that most of the common bugs users report have been patched or solved with a workaround.

If you happen to experience any of these when setting up your Link, refer to the steps below for assistance.

Common Bugs And Solutions For Link Setup

Desktop app shows a red bar saying Runtime or Quest needs to be updated, despite no updates being available?

Your PC may need to connect to the PTC—or opt-out altogether. Select settings → find the Beta tab → toggle the PTC switch. Make sure the Oculus software updates itself by restarting the app.

            No popup on the Quest?

Unplug and reattach the USB cable;

On the desktop app: Device→ Quest → Device Setup; or

On the Quest: settings → show all → device → activate Oculus Link Beta

            No audio?

Play around with your audio settings between all devices. A standard solution is to use the built-in PC audio instead of the Quest.

            Poor image quality?

You can fiddle around with the Oculus Debug Tool and adjust settings for optimal results. You can also plug your USB cable into a superior port.

The Evolution of VR

With the combination of the Quest’s free-roaming VR experience and the capability and power of PC VR gaming through Link, combined with a price point that doesn’t break the bank, Oculus is bringing VR gaming to the mainstream.

In fact, the Quest may just be the most versatile of VR headsets on the market today. We can’t wait to see what Developers do with the Oculus Link and what moves Oculus may take in the future to enhance this platform even further.

One thing is certain: The future is glaringly bright for the VR community.