Performance PCs: Picking the Right Laptop or Tower to Run Your Rift

Oculus Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
August 31, 2017

Thanks to Summer of Rift, a ton of new people have joined the VR community. While $399 for Rift + Touch takes a lot of the guesswork out of taking the plunge, finding the right PC to power your VR experience can still be a challenge. Today, we’re excited to share some pointers—whether you want an attractively affordable price point or the highest horsepower on the market, we’ve got you covered.

Check Your Compatibility
It’s a common misconception that a high-end VR system requires a brand-new computer tower. The truth is that Rift works with many laptops, and you might have a compatible machine at home—or you could just be a graphics card upgrade away from getting up and running. If you currently own a PC and want to see if it’s ready for Rift, click here for instructions on running our compatibility check tool at home.

Everyday Essentials
If you’re in the market for a new PC, our minimum spec requirements are ideal to get you set up with an affordable price tag.* Here’s what you need:

  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
    • Alternative Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
  • CPU: Intel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • OS: Windows 8.1 or newer

For example, Acer’s Nitro 5 laptop** and Aspire GX-781 desktop both fit the bill and recently passed Oculus Ready certification. Look for the new Oculus Ready machines to hit select retail stores starting in October.

Thanks to the magic of asynchronous spacewarp (ASW), min spec machines can run virtually anything on the Oculus Store—though, with high-end graphics, you might see the occasional slowdown. In most cases, ASW should smooth out frame-rate issues for a quality experience.

Min spec is a great way to get started in VR. And if you buy a desktop, you can easily upgrade your GPU down the line to instantly improve the quality of your experience. With options like DIY and special promotional deals from retailers, the combined cost of Rift + Touch and a new PC can be as low as $1,000.

Level Up
For the best that VR has to offer, recommended spec is your best bet. These machines have the horsepower to deliver an even smoother and more immersive experience.* Here’s what rec spec looks like:

  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
    • Alternative Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

New to VR? You can bundle a PC together with Rift + Touch. Right now on Amazon, you can get an Acer i7 GTX 1060 laptop bundle for $1,449 or a CyberpowerPC i5 RX 580 desktop bundle for $1,119.

Already own Rift + Touch? You can grab a rec spec machine from CyberpowerPC for $769 at Best Buy or an Oculus Ready Alienware 17 laptop starting at $1,479.

Don’t Forget DIY
The more adventurous among you may want to consider building your own machine from scratch, using either the min spec or rec spec lists above as a jumping off point.

To make it even easier, the team over at PCPartPicker recently posted its “Budget VR Gaming Build Guide,” which targets Oculus min spec. With a parametric parts list, you can pick and choose your preferred components to design a custom build that’s VR ready—starting at a base cost under $550! Note that this option isn’t for everyone, and your mileage may vary.

Upscale Options
For hard-core VR enthusiasts, there are plenty of options to splurge on high-end horsepower. Priced at $1,899, the ASUS ROG G20CI Compact Gaming Desktop combines a sleek form factor with cool, quiet performance to support VR and 4K gaming at its best.

Want to pack up your Rift and demo VR for friends while on the go? Check out the TLX from Falcon Northwest. Portable, powerful, and offering a customizable paint job, this laptop starts at $2,779.

Still looking for the perfect machine? For a wide selection of both laptops and desktops that have been officially certified as Oculus Ready, please click here.

Summer of Rift has been an incredible ride, and we can’t wait to see where the rest of the year takes us.

— The Oculus Team

*Some experiences on Rift push the boundary beyond our minimum and recommended specifications, so be sure to check the recommended specs for the particular experiences you want to try.

**While our minimum spec calls for a GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, Acer’s Nitro 5 passed Oculus Ready certification with a GTX 1050 4GB (only available for laptops).