Best Computer for VR?
There are many different opinions about which computer is the best one for virtual reality (VR). Some say that it’s not necessary to have a high end PC if you don’t want to experience any problems while playing games or watching movies. Others say that they need a powerful machine with lots of RAM and graphics card, but they will get better performance from a low cost laptop. Still others say that it’s good to have a mid range system with some graphics cards and a decent processor.
However, there are still those who believe that the best computer for VR is a gaming PC. They argue that VR requires very powerful hardware, so it would be better to use the most powerful ones available rather than spending money on less capable machines.
In this article we’re going to tell you what is the best computer for VR? And why do some people think that it’s not necessary to spend much money on a high-end PC when using VR?
Let us try to answer these questions.
What Is the Best Computer For Virtual Reality?
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a gaming PC or a VR Ready PC. This decision is very important, because the components that make up the two types of systems are very different from each other.
Let’s start with gaming PC (or console). They are ideal for VR games, but you’ll need to spend a lot more money than you would with a VR-ready computer. There are many different gaming PCs with a wide range of prices and capabilities.
So which one is right for you?
If you have done your research, you will probably find that there are many different options. However, today the best computers for VR games are those that support Nvidia’s GTX 10 series graphic cards (currently the 1060, 1070 or 1080). These are already powerful GPUs, but they can be a bit expensive in some cases.
Now let’s talk about the VR-ready PC. The good thing is that you do not have to spend a fortune to get one of these. You can easily find a desktop computer with a powerful i5 processor and a GTX 1060 or even 1050 Ti graphics card.
These will work perfectly when you want to enjoy the latest VR games and videos.
Another option is to buy a laptop that is compatible with VR. At the moment, most manufacturers are releasing new laptops that meet the recommended specifications for the most popular VR systems (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive). So it should not be too difficult to find one within your price range.
Just keep in mind that you will probably have to invest more money in additions like keyboards, mice and monitors to use VR.
What about the Operating System? Do you need a special one for the VR?
Not really, but if you buy a PC especially for VR, then it’s best to go with the ones that support Windows 10. This is Microsoft’s latest operating system, released in 2015, which includes special features to support VR.
The main advantage of using a Windows 10 computer with VR is that you will have access to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive software development kits (SDKs). This means that you’ll be able to access all the games and videos for these systems.
However, if you buy a computer just for VR, it does not necessarily mean that it will come with an operating system. In this case, you’ll have to buy one separately. Windows 10 is the most common choice, but you can always download a free Linux distribution and save some money.
If you already have a computer and want to use that one for VR, then you must be sure that it supports these technologies. The official Oculus website has a system that will tell you if your machine is good for VR or not. You just have to insert your PC’s specification to find out.
When it comes to HTC, the creator of the Vive, they have a similar tool on their website. The only thing is that you will have to insert the specifications of each individual part of your PC to find out (like the processor or video card). This may be a bit complicated if you do not know much about these things.
How Much Money Do You Have To Buy A Good VR-Ready PC?
This is a difficult question to answer, since it will depend on the quality of the components you want to buy. But let’s see some common combinations.
We can assume that the cheapest option (which is also the worst) will have these characteristics:
Intel Core i3 processor ($134.99)
2 GB DDR3 RAM ($44.99)
1TB HDD ($54.00)
Integrated Intel HD Graphics 505 ($99.00)
This is the bare minimum to run the Oculus Rift. However, if you want a PC that will not slow down with time, you can also buy:
Intel Core i5-6400 ($214.99)
8GB DDR4 RAM ($89.99)
1TB HDD ($54.00)
Integrated Intel HD Graphics 510 ($99.00)
With this combination, you will be able to easily handle games like Half Life 2 or Rise of the Tomb Raider without any problems.
On the other hand, if you want a PC that will allow you to play all the latest video games, you can buy one with these components:
Intel Core i5-6600K ($219.99)
8GB DDR4 RAM ($89.99)
1TB HDD ($64.00)
Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 ($324.99)
This kind of quality will allow you to enjoy the latest games at high definition, and also allow you to play them for several years without needing an update. (Remember that new games will be coming out gradually that will require more power).
In any case, before you buy it is always important to know what you want to do with it. If you just want to watch movies and have access to some video games, then the cheapest option will be good enough for you. If you’re planning on developing a lot of games, you should buy as much power as you can.
(However, keep in mind that developing VR games is very demanding and requires powerful hardware).
How about if you already have a powerful PC?
Well, that’s great news! Because if that’s the case then you just need to buy the headset and motion controllers.
And that brings us to the next point…
How Much Money Do You Have To Buy The Oculus Rift?
The price of the Oculus Rift is $599, and you’ll have to add another $199 if you want the Oculus Touch controllers. This makes it the most expensive option on our list.
This much money will not get you a high-end gaming PC, so it is something to keep in mind. The good thing is that the headset now comes with two sensor cameras, which may reduce the initial investment required (you only need to buy a stronger PC if you want to).
As I said before, this price makes sense because this technology is still in development. Later on, it will probably be cheaper for consumers.
How Much Money Do You Have To Buy HTC Vive?
The HTC Vive is more expensive than the Oculus Rift ($799) and it does not include the controllers, so you need to add another $298 if you want them.
To be honest, this is a lot of money, but keep in mind that this is the most powerful PC on the market right now. This means that you will be able to enjoy everything it has to offer for several years.
How Much Money Do You Have To Buy OSVR?
OSVR is also a cheaper option ($299) but, as you would expect from the name, it is not as good as the other options. It is an open source platform that was created by a community of developers, so it does not have the quality and strict requirements that the other two have.
Its good thing is that it is cheaper, and if your PC is powerful enough, the experience will not suffer so much. In any case, if you already have a capable gaming rig, then you can use that to run it.
What Is Your Budget?
Of course, the amount of money you want to spend will also determine which VR headset you buy. Obviously, if you want the best experience possible, you need to be willing to pay for it. Fortunately, all three options on this list are worth the money.
Oculus Rift VS HTC Vive VS OSVR!
Which One Is The Best?
This is a difficult question to answer because what is the “best” one for you depends on your preferences and your pocket. So let’s make a quick comparison between these three headsets to help you decide.
The Rift is undoubtedly the leader in the industry. It has better hardware, a better design and better motion controllers. It also has better platform support, so you are more likely to enjoy the large catalog of games and other experiences that the Rift has to offer.
However, it is also a lot more expensive than its competitors.
Like the Rift, the Vive is a clear winner in terms of performance and comfort. It allows you to move in your space, and its controllers offer meaningful additions to the VR experience. However, it does not have as many advantages over the competition.
It is not as comfortable as the Oculus Rift and its controllers are very large when compared with those of the Rift. It is also more expensive.
The open source platform of this headset helps keep the cost down, but it also means that you get a technically inferior experience. The resolution and refresh rate are worse than those of its main competitors, and the amount of content available for it is much smaller. There are some advantages, such as the possibility of using your own PC to run it, but in general it lacks too many features to be taken seriously as a candidate to the throne.
My Thoughts On The Three VR Headsets
Honestly, I think the Rift is overpriced, but it’s worth it if you have the money.
The Vive is a great device and, in my opinion, the best out of the three, but it doesn’t offer enough to justify its price in my opinion.
That leaves me with the OSVR. Although it doesn’t offer the same quality as the other two, it is still a good headset and it is certainly the best value for your money.
Having said that, if you have the money, I would still go with the Rift. There is nothing wrong with buying the best if you can afford it!
My choice was between the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, and I ended up going with the latter.
Why did I pick it over the former?
Well, it was a close decision, but what it ultimately came down to is content. Both headsets had their strengths and weaknesses, but what ultimately pushed me towards the Vive was its larger game catalog. There were more games that interested me on the Vive than there were for the Rift.
Another important factor for me was comfort. Although both devices are relatively comfortable, the Vive just felt better to wear.
That’s not to say there weren’t any games that interested me for the Rift. There were a few games, such as From Other Suns, that I was interested in that were only available for the Rift, so it wasn’t a waste of money for me.
Which VR headset did you choose, and why?
Let everyone know in the comments!
Tagged with: Gaming, vr headset
Sources & references used in this article:
Evolutionary design by computers by PJ Bentley – 1999 – books.google.com
Optical neural computers by YS Abu-Mostafa, D Psaltis – Scientific American, 1987 – JSTOR
Computers make kids smarter–right by H Kirkpatrick, L Cuban – Technos Quarterly, 1998 – dailypapert.com
Gender differences in adolescents’ perceptions of the best and worst aspects of computing at school by A Colley – Computers in Human Behavior, 2003 – Elsevier