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Welcome to the future, Virtual Reality is here and it works. Hooray! Unfortunately, you need a computer from the future just to be able to use it. For this guide we will be focusing on the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift as mobile systems like Google Daydream and the PSVR don’t require any messing around with computers and are pretty self explanatory out of the box.
How do the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive work?
Both the Rift and the Vive are top of the line VR systems offering the most impressive and serious experiences. They both have full directional and positional tracking and motion control. It sounds complicated but really this just means when you move around in the real world you will move around in Virtual Reality just the same. What you see changes depending on which direction you look and the motion control lets you use your hands to interact with the virtual world. To make the virtual world seem truly real your movement has to be tracked and updated 100s of times a second and this requires some serious computer hardware. These systems are not like a self contained game console, you have to have a powerful Windows computer to run them.
Obviously building or buying a top end computer can be very complicated and most people don’t know enough about computers to make sure they are buying the right thing. Thankfully there are some great VR bundles available. These Bundles come with a VR system, a computer to power it, and all the parts and software you will need to get it up and running. You can chose from Desktop bundles or Laptop bundles but be warned, VR-Ready laptops are very expensive so this is a much more costly option. Below we have selected a range of great VR bundles for you consideration.
Our Recommended VR bundles
Oculus Rift Bundles
|Budget Desktop Bundle||CYBERPOWERPC & Oculus Rift + Touch||$1133 USD|
|Performance Desktop Bundle||Asus ROG & Oculus Rift + Touch||$1999 USD|
|Laptop Bundle||ASUS ROG GL502VM & Oculus Rift + Touch||$2047 USD|
HTC Vive Bundles
|Budget Desktop Bundle||CYBERPOWERPC & HTC Vive||$1698 USD|
|Performance Desktop Bundle||Cybertron Titanium-1080X & HTC Vive||$2299 USD|
|Laptop Bundle||MSI GP62MVR & HTC Vive||$1849 USD|
Buying your own VR Computer
You can also purchase your Computer separately to your VR system but you will need to make sure it is powerful enough and has all the required accessories. If the computer you choose does not meet the minimum requirements then it will not be able to power your VR system and you will just end up with a paperweight. A simple option is to look for a Computer that has the ‘VR-Ready’ logo, both the Rift and the Vive have very similar specs so these computers will be suitable for either system. Once again you can choose between Desktops and Laptops and once again Laptops will be more expensive. See below for our recommended VR-Ready Computers.
Our recommended ‘VR-ready’ PCs
VR Ready Desktops
|Budget||Cyber Power Gamer Xtreme VR||$699 USD|
|Performance||Cybertron Palladium 1070X||$1269 USD|
|Monster||CUK Annihilator VR Extreme||$2199 USD|
VR Ready Laptops
|Budget||ASUS GL502VM||$1298 USD|
|Performance||HP Omen 17||$1899 USD|
|Monster||MSI Titan Pro||$3459 USD|
Advanced users may want to select a computer with individual components or even build one themselves. This can be a great way to save money and also allows you to customize your computer to suit your particular needs. But computer parts are all named with seemingly random numbers and letters so if you are no familiar there can be quite a steep learning curve. In the next section we will cover the most important parts that go into a VR computer and guide you in choosing the best parts to suit you budget.