Here’s what you need to be VR Ready

The virtual reality revolution is here. Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are all tantalisingly close. Sure we have to wait until October to experience Sony’s Daft Punk style headset but good things come to those who wait. But what do you need to be truly VR ready other than having willing eyeballs and a stomach willing to take a kicking? Let me break it down for you.

PlayStation VR

Well, this is the simplest out of all of the options. Got your PS4? You’re halfway there. On top of that you’ll need the standalone VR headset which doesn’t come with one vital ingredient in the box; the PlayStation Camera. Unlike the Move wands, you do actually need the camera for the PS VR headset to function so time to invest in one of them before October or take a look at the bundles on offer.

There’s already an official VR bundle available in the US with the camera and one Move wand - PS4 not included - but nothing available as a collection as yet in the UK. Expect this to change in the coming months. And yes, about those Move wands, the DualShock does still work in many games but these make perfect hand replacements and plenty of games have been developed around these multicoloured controllers. Two is clearly optimal for the best experience. Start checking your local second hand game stores now. There won’t be any left come October.

Oculus Rift and HTC Vive 

You’re almost there. You’ve planned your VR room - nothing for walking into and no cat flap so that poor Tibbles won’t be trodden on in your quest for virtual glory - but there’s still one more thing. Just a little thing. A VR friendly PC.

While the recommended PC specs for Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are similar, they’re not exactly the same and it’s really important to look at the differences and make sure you’re prepped accordingly.

Necessary like a head lopping tool during the zombie apocalypse, the required graphics card for happy making VR visuals is an Nvidia GTX 970 or an AMD R9 290 or better for both headsets. If you’re looking just to upgrade your graphics card then Amazon UK has the MSI Gtx 970 with 4GB of RAM for £268.99, or if you have an AMD setup, the R9 290 is £174.99. Looking at the rest of the specs, CPU wise, the headsets also match with an i5-4590 processor required to keep things running smoothly.

Oculus Rift recommended specs

Video Card: Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent 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
Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

HTC Vive recommended specs

Video Card: Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
CPU: Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
Memory: 4GB+
Video Output: HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
USB Port: 1x USB 2.0 or greater port
Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 or newer

Memory differs slightly with the Oculus asking for a minimum of 8GB and the Vive 4GB but the big differences are when it comes to ports. Don’t worry about the HDMI specs. HDMI 1.4 is now standard with Nvidia’s 900 series of graphics cards so you’ll have it anyway if you’ve got the right card but gosh, that’s a lot of USB 3.0s needed for Oculus.

Yep, the Oculus Rift requires 3 USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0, while in contrast the Vive just needs a solitary 2.0 or up. That’s a staggering difference and if you’re Rift minded, you’re going to need a lot of those lil' blue ports.

If this all means it’s easier for you to purchase a new PC for the occasion, the below systems are ideal for both Oculus and HTC Vive and have the all important number of HDMI ports for the Rift. As you can see, VR comes at a price but there’s swathes of options and it all means you’re armed with a serious gaming rig for the times you don’t want to plug fully into the game. Both Oculus and HTC have teamed up with PC manufacturers so whether you want a massive beast, tiny small form factor or a VR worthy laptop, there’s no shortage of solutions.

Best value

OCUK Kinetic VR: £766.03

Processor: Intel Core i5-6500
Memory: Kingston Fury Black 8GB DDR4
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 with free 240GB SSD
Storage: Seagate SSHD 1TB Hybrid Drive
Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Chillblast Fusion Division (shown above): £799

Processor:Intel Core i5-6500
Memory: 8GB DDR4 2133MHz
Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Storage: 120GB SSD & 1TB HDD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

PC Specialist VR 760: £795

Processor: Intel Core i5-4690
Memory: 8GB Kingston DDR3 1600MHz
Graphics card: 8GB AMD Radeon R9 390
Storage: 1TB Seagate SSHD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Mid-range 

Chillblast Fusion Krypton: £899

Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory: 16GB DDR4
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Storage: 128GB SSD & 2TB HDD
Operating System: Windows 10 Home
Includes keyboard and mouse

OCUK Gambit (shown above): £999.95

Processor: Intel Core i5 6600
Memory: 16GB DDR3
Storage: 120GB SSD & 1TB Hard Drive
Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Super-powered

OCUK Titan Virtual Force: £1322.94

Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory: Kingston Fury Black 8GB
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB
Storage: 128GB SSD & Seagate 1TB
Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Chillblast Nano Fury (shown above): £1379.99

Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory: 16GB DDR4
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon R9 Fury Nano 4GB
Storage:256GB SSD & 1TB SSHD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

PC Specialist VR 1600: £1572

Processor: Intel Core i7-6700k
Memory: 16GB HyperX Fury DDR4
Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB
Storage: 480GB HyperX SSD & 3TB HDD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Laptops

PC Specialist 17.3” Octane 2 Pro: £1977.00

Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory: 16GB 2133MHz DDR4
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 8GB(Desktop Version)
Storage: 480GB SSD & 1TB Hybrid SSHD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

MSI GT72S 6QF Dragon 17.3" NVIDIA 980 GSync (shown above): £2599.99

Processor: Intel Core i7 6820HK Quad Core Processor
Memory: 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 8GB(Desktop Version)
Storage: 512GB SSD & 1TB HDD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GR+ news lead Louise is a fan of all things Bat and Assassin shaped. She can often be found watching horror, drinking coffee and beating you at The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth.
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