Our virtual future is coming at us fast, but you may want to upgrade your crusty old Gateway PC before trying to enter the simulation.
We’ve known for a while that virtual reality is going to require some serious computing power, and now Oculus VR — the Facebook subsidiary working on the Rift headset — is sharing the hardware specifications that it thinks you should have before it releases its consumer product in Q1 2016. These components will enable your PC to not only to render VR games in high definition but also help it keep a super-high frame rate of around 90hz. A speedy frame rate is key to a quality VR experience, as anything below 75 frames per second tends to make some people feel nauseous.
So, to get the best experience, here’s the rig that Oculus VR suggests you aim for:
- Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 equivalents or greater
- Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- 8GB of RAM or more
- HDMI 1.3-compatible output
- At least 2 USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 with service pack 1 or newer
“The goal is for all Rift games and applications to deliver a great experience on this configuration,” reads an Oculus blog. “Ultimately, we believe this will be fundamental to VR’s success, as developers can optimize and tune their game for a known specification, consistently achieving presence and simplifying development.”
Oculus promises that anything it creates internally will run great on this setup.
But, of course, not everyone will have a PC that matches what Oculus wants, and that highlights one of the big problems both the Rift and Valve’s Steam VR products will face. PC gaming is unpredictable, and VR could stumble if people run into issues trying to get games to run well on their personalized systems.
Compare that to Sony’s Morpheus headset for the PlayStation 4. It’s an underpowered home gaming console when you list its specs side-by-side with a top-of-the-line PC, but developers making Morpheus games will have a guarantee that every consumer has the same hardware. That could benefit Sony in the long run as it lowers the barrier to entry.