With content for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows ‘Mixed Reality’ VR headsets maturing since their respective launches, there’s more reason than ever to finally jump into VR—especially now that headsets have come down in price. For the gamers out there who are beginning to consider purchasing a headset, one major question marks the starting point on their journey to a decision: can my PC handle it? Here’s how to find out.

Update 12/26/17: included updated recommended specs for Windows VR headsets, and new price info for Rift + Touch.

VR gaming is much more resource intensive than monitor gaming. In short, that’s because the render resolution (2560×1200 for first-gen headsets) is much higher than the 1080p displays used by most PC users today. Not to mention, VR games must also be rendered in 3D, and first-gen VR headsets require a constant demanding 90 FPS, otherwise the image insider will stutter uncomfortably.

SEE ALSO
The 5 Best Games for Oculus Rift

Both Oculus and Valve/SteamVR/HTC have provided what they call a “recommended” hardware configuration for virtual reality gaming. This gives developers a baseline hardware target so that they can ensure the consistent 90 FPS requirement is met. If your hardware does not meet the recommended specification, you risk dropping under 90 FPS which generally results in a very uncomfortable VR experience.

Both specs are nearly identical, but let’s take at each one and the tool each company provides to check to see if your computer is VR ready:

Oculus Rift Recommended VR Specifications (2017):

  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 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
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
oculus compatibiliy check vr ready pc
image courtesy Valve

Check your PC: Oculus offers the Oculus Compatibility Check app to automatically check your computer’s specs against their recommendation.

Valve / SteamVR / HTC Vive Recommended VR Specifications (2017):

  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Video Output: – HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB Port: – 1x USB 2.0 or greater port
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
steamvr performance compatibiliy check vr ready pc
image courtesy Valve

Check your PC: Valve offers the SteamVR Performance Test app which actually benchmarks your machine to see if it can handle VR games built to their spec in practice. Since the Oculus and Steam VR specs are so similar, running this app may be helpful to identify bottlenecks for either.

Windows VR Recommended VR Specifications (2017):

Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs (graphics intensive)

  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 960/1050 (or greater) DX12-capable discrete GPU AMD RX 460/560 (or greater) DX12-capable discrete GPU
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 4590 (4th generation), quad-core (or better) AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.4Ghz (desktop), quad-core (or better)
  • Expected Frame Rate: 90 fps
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 (or better)
  • Video Output: – HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB Port: – USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C
  • OS: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (RS3) – Home, Pro, Business, Education

Windows Mixed Reality PCs (non-intensive apps)

  • Video Card: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 (or greater) DX12-capable integrated GPU, NVIDIA MX150/965M (or greater) DX12-capable discrete GPU
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 7200U (7th generation mobile), dual-core with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology enabled (or better)
  • Expected Frame Rate: 60 fps
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 dual channel (or better)
  • Video Output: – HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB Port: – USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C
  • OS: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (RS3) – Home, Pro, Business, Education
image courtesy Microsoft

Check your PC: Microsoft offers the Windows Mixed Reality PC Check app which actually benchmarks your machine to which category your machine fits into.


Looking for a PC that goes above and beyond the baseline specs? We partnered with AVA Direct to create the Exemplar 2, our high-end VR hardware reference point against which we perform our tests and reviews. Exemplar 2 is designed to push virtual reality experiences above and beyond what’s possible with systems built to lesser recommended VR specifications.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • Simon Wood

    The lack of Linux support for the Rift is one of the things that turned me off it (although I understand their priorities in getting Windows to work nicely). However, I am (still) under the impression that the Vive will be cross platform, at least for some of their titles.
    http://store.steampowered.com/search/?#sort_by=_ASC&vrsupport=101&os=linux&page=1

    PS-VR will just have to be hacked into working order… ;-)

    • Erik Larsen

      really dude this is why u should use windows for gaming and use linux for everything else windows was built for gaming

      • HackerFinn

        No. It really wasn’t.
        Windows was built for office use (just like linux and MacOS, and linux has way better performance.
        The only reason Windows is a “better” choice for gaming, is because of the larger number of games. Which is a big reason most people use it. Which is a big reason there is the only reason there is more games.
        It’s an evil cycle.

    • Get Schwifty!

      When Linux begins to even scratch the surface for home users undoubtedly it will get support. As it stands, great in the back end server space, but inconsequential in home use unless you are tinkerer.

  • One thing i’ve noticed is the NVidia Experience app will also tell you if your rig is VR ready.

    • jlschmugge

      Yes, that might be the best, as my overclocked 3570k is better than a stock 4590, and the Nvidea said my CPU is ok.

      • realtrisk

        Really, the minimum specs are more of a guideline for the average user. If you’re smart enough to know how to overclock a chip safely, then you probably don’t need a tool to tell you if your computer will work with VR or not. :)

        • jlschmugge

          Yeah, but just because it is overclocked to 4.5 GHz doesn’t mean it is better than a 4590. 2xxx generation chips might still fall short. You do take a little risk hoping that just because it is overclocked it is good enough. I wish the Oculus and Valve tool would take that into account with a real constellation/lighthouse simulation to see if your CPU is up to the task of tracking.

          • realtrisk

            Since CPU utilization for lighthouse and constellation is claimed to be 1% to 2%, as is usual in graphical programs today, GPU is much more important. I know what you mean, though. I had a first generation core i7, and I really wish it hadn’t died, because I’d really like to see if it could have run VR. I bet it could have. Upgrading it to a new, VR ready CPU didn’t make the PC feel any faster on program execution… that thing was still fast.

            Without real competition, Intel has been able to coast for years now, repackaging what amounts to the same thing. I keep hoping AMD comes out with a killer new proc, like in the old days, just for some competition to make Intel actually start working again.

  • yag

    Oculus Check said I must throw my i5 away :(
    (overclocking not detected ^^’)

    • jlschmugge

      Use PassMark to see if your overclocked CPU is running better than a stock i5_4590. http://www.passmark.com Pay attention to the single thread performance. That is what Oculus looks at.

  • Foreign Devil

    My PC is VR ready. .but my wallet isn’t :(

    • TA ting go SKRAAAAA

      O O F

  • Jad

    The SteamVR-Tool is buggy as hell. My system with a heaviliy overclocked Core i7 6700K, 16 GB DDR4-3000 and an also heavily overlocked R9 290 barely manages to creep into the “capable” region.

    • realtrisk

      Compare your results to hundreds of other users here:

      https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/558807-post-your-steamvr-performance-test-results-here/

      If you are lower than other computers in your hardware category, I would suggest you’ve got too high an overclock and are seeing performance and stability degradation because of it.

      • Jad

        Thanks for the tipp, but I’m not new to overclocking or PCs. My system runs fine in all other benchmarks, gfx benchmarks, stress tests and games. Otherwise I wouldn’t use it with those setttings, I even lowered the clocks a bit below the max stable ones. Temperatures are not a problem either, they are monitored and I use watercooling.

        • Jad

          Ok, funny… I just ran the SteanVR Test again – and now the result is what it should be. 7.4 fidelity and right in the middle of “Ready”.

          • realtrisk

            Huh. I hate it when computers do that. Yeah, that’s what I was seeing for numbers on the link I gave you for computers with a 290. Weird. Maybe your computer was PMSing the first time… XD

            Seriously, though, glad it’s working for you now… Was it a long time ago that you ran it? Maybe there were bugs in the SteamVR app that they ironed out in a patch, or maybe newer Catalyst drivers with code optimized for VR made the difference? Both GPU manufacturers have been releasing VR optimized driver updates for a while now as the market matures to launch day… Finalized specs from Valve/HTC/Oculus might have resulted in a better driver…

          • Jad

            I tried it when it came out and I tried it some time later. Since then, there was an update for the SteamVR test and new AMD drivers as well. So… somewhere in there was the solution :)

            I have an Oculus Rift coming this month, so I’m happy this test works now. The Oculus VR “test” for VR capability isn’t even worth starting.

    • Dario Rossi

      I disagree, is not the test,
      I have an FX 9590 32 GB DDR3 2400 and radeon R9 390 I scored 9.7, check your driver, download the latest chrimson edition, yo”ll see…

      • Jad

        I already answered 3 month ago a bit below that after an update of the SteamVR benchmark and drivers I’m at 7.4. I have no problems with my Rift :)

  • CharSkin

    For Oculus the USB 3.0 ports must use a specific chipset. I have a less than six months old PC with 6 USB 3.0 ports at rear and 2 at front. My PC failed the Oculus test. I bought a PCI-E USB 3.0 card, but made the mistake of not checking the chipset. This also failed. So had to buy another one. Make sure it has a Fresco chipset.

    • jlschmugge

      Mine failed not because I had the wrong chipset, but because I had at least one USB controller that wasn’t compatible. I disabled the one controller I was having problems with, an AS-Media controller, then all-of-a-sudden I got a green check mark.

  • TaxPayer

    Does anyone know when the Demo stations are going to be setup? I’m assuming USA and Canada would be around the same time? Bestbuy would be the logical choice.

    • benz145

      Oculus has said they will be in retail in April, though that isn’t clear if that means just selling the Rift from stores or if they’ll have demo units too.

      • TaxPayer

        I want to try it bad, so im hoping for demo stations. Its really a see it to believe it type of hardware.

  • Paramesh Subramoni

    i have a i5 4460
    gtx 960
    is my pc vr ready

    • Mike Hedges

      did you read this lmfao, no you need a better gpu, get an amd 480 when its out for 200 bucks

    • Buddydudeguy

      …..learn to read. 970 min> 960

  • guy robison

    I have the Geforce GTX 1070, intel i7-4790,16 mb of ram, and windows 10 but its saying i need an upgrade? Is it possible that my usb port or video output are slowing me down? It’s telling me I need an upgrade because im in the red.

    • MogliGuy

      your ram is too small. you have 16mb, you need 4/8gb that is 500 times bigger. just kidding, i see you meant gb, not mb. lol

    • NooYawker

      Do you have a minicase that’s overheating or something? There must be a bottleneck somewhere because you should definitely be able to use VR. Also update all your video drivers.

  • Aaron Wilhoit

    Ok so I did the SteamVR Performance test and it said I was good but according to every site I have visited, my cpu needs to be better. I have an intel i5-4440. Should I listen to the performance test or the website?

    • Roland

      It seems to be under the minimum specs a bit. If you were to get a Vive, I’d only do so if you are also prepared to upgrade your CPU as well in the case that your current CPU doesn’t perform well enough.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Oculus has definitely made revisions to their testing setup – my old 2015 15″ laptop didn’t pass the CPU test, but now does, so they are making progress on bringing down requirements.

    I can also say they have definitely improved on the tracking software- did some testing yesterday with the latest updates and it was quite smooth. The only problem I noticed was a game which acted up made me need a reboot to smooth things back out.

    • sfmike

      Tracking seems worse to me.

  • With Windows10 upcoming headset, every PC is VR-ready :D

  • Usama Elheddiny

    I have 2 graphic card in my laptop, the first one is intel HD 4600 and second is Nvidia GeForce GTX 860m
    Every time when I make a test by SteamVR, it is give me the result of intel HD 4600
    I need to test Nvidia GeForce GTX 860m, what can i do

    • Ron

      Disable the onboard vid chip (4600) in bios, then run the test

      • Caped Crusader

        It should be listed under “integrated peripherals” (or something similar) in the BIOS. Need to set onboard video to “disabled”.

  • Sam Lindler

    It says that my FX-8350 and R7 370 2gb is more than capable of running both Oculus and the Vive…
    That can’t be right.
    The R7 370 is a garbage card in 2017.

  • NooYawker

    Really? How old is this article? I’m answering posts until I realized some of these were posted 2 years ago.

    • Noo Yawker Jr.

      Thanks for the heads-up… I was about to follow the directions…

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    The Xbox One X could have been the game changer in VR world, because PC is a mess for anyone not willing to spend 2 hours a week to install drivers and configure every games to their maximum potential. 80% of PC cost and power is lost for non-vr related tasks (like OS). Instead the Xbox One X is not powerful enough for VR, and so VR will never be possible on that console, meanwhile, the old PS4 is doing God’s work with proper VR without any compatibility issues and no settings. It just works all the time and it is predictable. PC is the cancer of VR, we need stand alone VR like Oculus Go or other upcoming stand alone VR.

    I cannot recommend VR on PC to anyone because it’s too complex, difficult and unstable (One day your game won’t start or a driver stopped working). I always recommend Oculus Go and PSVR. PC may have better graphics, but the cost and time it requires are not worth it. As soon as the PC dies, VR will thrive.

    • Andrew McEvoy

      Really? I dont have any of these issues that you desc4ibe. Its all basically plug in and play now with oculus home and steam vr. Rarely need to upgrade anything or keep drivers up to date.
      Cant say I share your frustrations at all. You can even buy vr ready pcs now and everything you dont need to assemble or buy specific parts.

    • Bruce Banner

      I agree that a console VR system would be easier on the general consumer, because it’s built for VR, and all the games released are fine tuned for that console specifically. As for the Xbox One X not being powerful enough.. lol. It’s more powerful than the PS4 Pro.. 0.2 Ghz faster CPU (both using 8-core AMD Jaguar), 1.8 TFLOPs more and 261 MHz faster GPU (both using AMD Radeon), and 3 GBs GDDR5 more VRAM. The Xbox One X would have killed the PS4 Pro in VR. Unfortunately, they decided to walk away from VR.. for now anyway.

      As for the PSVR being ‘without compatibility issues’… you only have front-facing 180 degree VR, not a true 360 degree full room scale VR as you do with PCVR. If they can fix that.. maybe add more tracking cameras.. then their system will be perfect.

      I have a Rift, and spent a year building the rig to run it, buying a few pieces each month until I was done. Every piece in the rig is new.. including the case. $4000 CAD… not including the Rift, 2 extra cameras, USB 3.0 active extension cords, and 4 DIY 7’ tall camera stands, made from Ikea upright floor lamps. All together, and it’s just over $5000. A pre-configured console, specifically designed for VR.. that sells for less than $1000 CAD.. that’s where VR will finally be in every house in the world. The high cost of a proper rig to run VR is the biggest hurdle for the industry. That’s where consoles will flourish. The games will be better too, seeing as they only have 1 set of hardware to develop for, instead of trying to work on everybody’s PC.. with all the different combinations of hardwares out there.

  • Dude

    I need to know if my PC is VR ready!
    Specs:
    GTX 770
    Ram: 16 Gigs
    CPU: AMD 8350 8 Core
    1TB SSD

    Thanks