Oculus Rift Won’t Require You To Break The Bank On A Compatible PC

by Mike Futter on May 15, 2015 at 06:26 AM

Oculus has shared details regarding required specifications for the first consumer Rift display. The good news is that the list is reasonable, though you may need to upgrade if you haven’t in a while.

Oculus chief architect Atman Binstock posted a detailed analysis of what the Rift needs and why it requires it. For those looking to line up their specs against a Rift-ready system though, this is what you need:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM

You’ll also need Windows 7 service pack 1 or later, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI 1.3 video output. The requirements above are in place to ensure that frame rate remains stable. Dropped frames lead to simulation sickness and other discomfort. In other words, you don't want to experience VR with hardware that can't adequately support it.

Oculus has also shared that it renders at 2160 x 1200 (divided by the two displays) at 90 Hz refresh rate. Before you look longingly at your high-end gaming laptop, know that Oculus doesn’t think that’s going to cut it.

“Many discrete GPU laptops have their external video output connected to the integrated GPU and drive the external output via hardware and software mechanisms that can’t support the Rift,” Binstock writes. “Since this isn’t something that can be determined by reading the specs of a laptop, we are working on how to identify the right systems. Note that almost no current laptops have the GPU performance for the recommended spec, though upcoming mobile GPUs may be able to support this level of performance.”

We checked out PC Part Picker to get a feel for how much each of those items will cost you (lowest price available), if you need to upgrade.

  • GTX 970: $302.00 or AMD 290: $239.99
  • Intel i5-4590: $179.95

Memory price will vary greatly depending on which manufacturer you choose. It’s also one of the more flexible parts of the build (and you may choose to go higher than eight gigabytes).

You can read the full technical breakdown of how Oculus came to these conclusions on the company’s website. The consumer Oculus Rift will be out in early 2016.


Our Take
This could have been a lot scarier, but the parts needed seem quite reasonable. If you aren’t comfortable building your own PC, give it a couple of days. I suspect that Origin, Digital Storm, and other companies that make pre-built machines will start assembling VR-ready units. Knowing that the specs are reasonable makes consumer VR far more appealing.