I’ve been a Mac user for more than a decade. But my next computer will run Windows.

I want a computer that can power the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset when it comes out for consumers later this quarter — and Oculus won’t support the Mac, because the team wants to focus on Windows for now.

I’m psyched about virtual reality, and this feels like a major product that will create a vibrant and long-lasting platform. Sure, it will arrive on the market after Google Cardboard, which has built up a respectable ecosystem of apps and low-cost headsets, and it’s not as portable as, say, the Samsung Gear VR, but it’s clear that Facebook cares about this launch, following the $2 billion Oculus acquisition.

Sure, I could order one of the “Oculus-ready PCs” that Facebook is pointing to on the Oculus website. But then I won’t really learn much. I want to have an excellent understanding of how computers work.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to build this PC myself. It feels like a rite of passage here in the Bay Area, and now it’s time for me to do it.


I’m going to outfit this rig with exactly the components I want, and nothing unnecessary.

I’ll get a GTX 970 graphics card (the minimum recommended one) and an Intel Skylake Core i5 chip. I want a fast solid-state drive to store the operating system elements and start games quickly, and I want a hard disk drive for storing pretty much everything else. I have my memory, motherboard, power supply, case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and Wi-Fi adapter picked out too. And I know I’ll get Windows 10 Home (64 bit).

So I’m looking forward to strolling into the Fry’s in San Jose and buying everything I’ll need — and then sitting down in the living room and putting it all together.

And then I’ll buy an Oculus Rift, once it’s available.

It's coming soon.

Above: It’s coming soon.

Image Credit: Jason Wilson/GamesBeat

I’ll be able to do so much.

What I’m excited about

I’m excited to see how Facebook builds on the existing Oculus Social Alpha app and offers up a real social network in VR. Facebook now boasts 1.55 billion monthly active users around the world, and many people I actually know are on it, meaning that Facebook on Oculus will feel like less of a new social network and more like a familiar place.

I’m super-excited about playing Minecraft on Oculus. I can see it now — just hanging out in my living room and building stuff.

And the Oculus Touch controllers are fascinating to me, even if they’ll be shipping a few months after the Oculus comes out. Apparently they’ll make for a truly novel gaming experience.

Beyond games, though, I want to use the special controllers to design things with the “digital clay” of Oculus Medium.

Really, I want to explore as much of the Oculus Store as I can. I want to see how developers evolve their apps for Oculus over time.

I wonder how many other people are building PCs just to use the Oculus Rift. I wonder if the consumer release of the device will trigger a perceptible rise in chip sales.

It’ll take a while to figure that out. For now, the more pressing thought is when exactly I’ll be able to turn on my Oculus Rift with my home-brewed PC for the first time.

It’s possible that I’m getting in on Oculus too early and that I’ll regret paying so much money for a fancy rig. But I can’t think of a better excuse to build a computer. If I don’t do it now, I might never do it.

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