Is Your Computer Compatible for Virtual Reality Experience?
Virtual reality is the next big revolution, with the Oculus Rift headset and HTC Vive gaining in popularity recently. These new gadgets and the world of virtual reality (VR) allow you to experience video games, and other programs in a 3D environment. But with this fast-developing field of technology, there is a growing need for VR compatible Computers.
NVIDIA recently made an announcement related to VR games. The GPU manufacturing company
claimed that virtual reality games will require around 7 times the power as for normal games. That can be a very big jump over your existing system configurations. But that claim by the company could have lots of sales focus in their minds. It will be more reasonable to check what the VR hardware makers are asking for. There are certain minimum requirements for enjoying the best of the virtual reality experience. And if your PC doesn’t have a minimum GPU configuration of AMD 290 or GTX 970, it is time for an upgrade.
But you can test your computer’s compatibility before thinking of anything else.
Testing Computer Compatibility
Oculus VR, the company that developed Oculus Rift has as software utility that allows you to check your computer and determine if it is VR compatible or not. This tool can be downloaded Oculus’ website, where it can be found in the order page. Thus, the company allows users to check compatibility before spending their money on the virtual reality gear. This tool analyzes your computer system and delivers the results telling you if your PC can be used with the gadget or not. It also informs the shortfalls, such as the graphics card and CPU processing power.
Then you can determine if you can upgrade your computer or whether you will have to purchase a new system to enjoy the VR experience to its full. Here are some of the systems you can upgrade to.
PC Requirements for Different VR Gadgets
Let’s explore what is needed in VR compatible Computers. Interestingly, the requirements are slightly different for the different virtual reality hardware offered by different manufacturers.
The Oculus Rift is one of the most popular virtual reality headsets currently. The product gained more popularity when Facebook took over the company Oculus VR for a decent $2 billion. It is currently believed to be at the center of the VR story, and the success of the initial phase of the virtual reality revolution will depend a lot on its success.
It requires the following PC configuration to be able to enjoy the Rift experience to its full:
- CPU – Intel i5-4590
- Graphics / video card – AMD 290 / NVIDIA GTX 970
- RAM – 8GB
- OS – Windows 7 64 bit
- USB – 3 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 2.0
- Video Output – Compatible HDMI 1.3
Make sure that your system has at the minimum the above-mentioned configuration or higher.
Sony PlayStation VR
Sony also has a virtual reality headset, called the PlayStation VR. It was initially named, “Project Morpheus.” But you will need a PlayStation 4 to be able to use it. Interestingly, over 36 million users already have the PS4. Another advantage that the company has is that the earliest adopters of the VR experience will be gaming users. So, this can give it an edge over the Oculus Rift if and when they launch it. But you will have to have a PS4 to be able to take advantage of the PS VR.
HTC has not recommended any specifications for its HTC Vive virtual reality gadget. It has been developed by HTC and Valve, and has many similarities to the Oculus Rift. So it is also expected to have the same requirements for VR compatible Computers. HTC Vive uses Elite: Dangerous for running space simulation. The minimum required computer configuration for this VR headset is as following:
- CPU – Intel Core i7-3770K Quad Core / AMD FX 4350 Quad Core CPU
- GPU / Video Card – NVIDIA GTX 980 with 4GB
- RAM – 16 GB
- HDD – 8GB free space
- OS – Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
HTC Vive is expected to take another month to be out.
HP Envy Phoenix
HP joined hands with HTC for the Vive headset. They have also developed a computer, Envy Phoenix that is specifically made for the best VR gaming experience. HP allows users to make subtle changes to the system configuration before placing the order. However, the standard configuration includes the following:
- 2TB of hard drive
- Intel Core i7 K-series CPU
- The GPU card options are NVIDIA’s GTX 980 Ti and AMD Radeon R9 390x
HP has also claimed that they are working on eliminating any graphics cards problems that could interfere with the face-mounted screens. This will also help ensure that the virtual reality worlds will display in the appropriate resolution. The Envy Phoenix has some amazing LED work and then there is a liquid-based cooling system to keep the temperatures under control.
Need for Powerful VR compatible Computers
Virtual reality requires very high framerate for delivering all the experiences. And this cannot be possible without these high-end system specifications. If the framerate drops due to any reason, the user will start feeling sick almost immediately. So the more powerful the VR compatible Computers you have, the better it will be. Oculus VR has promised that the minimum PC specifications will remain the same throughout the lifecycle of their current Rift edition.
The PC configuration required for supporting the Oculus Rift experience may not mean that you have to get the most expensive computer. You don’t have to spend tons on the ‘legendary’ NVIDIA Titan X GPU that was especially developed with virtual reality in focus. But you will still have to think of spending around a thousand dollars on a new system if your current system doesn’t have the required power. If you have a laptop, you are most likely out of luck. You will have to have a decently powerful computer rig.