Mirroring the ‘Oculus Ready PC’ program, HTC is now working with PC hardware partners to offer ‘Vive Optimized PCs’. The initial set of systems come from HP, Alienware, and MSI.
‘Vive Optimized PCs‘ are “fully Vive-compatible right out of the box featuring jaw-dropping graphic capabilities and breathtaking audio output for a superior VR experience,” according to HTC. It isn’t clear if there are requirements beyond meeting HTC/Valve’s recommend VR specs to be considered Vive Optimized.
Although recommended specs for the Vive are slightly less than that of Oculus, you won’t be able to nab yourself a ‘Vive Optimized PC’ for less than $1,299 for the time being (while Oculus Ready PC bundles make such systems available for $999 or less).
HP has the cheapest initial offering. The company’s page for the HP ENVY Phoenix, which is now adorned with Vive imagery and copy, says it starts at $999, but clicking to buy one you’ll find that only the $1,299 and higher configurations are marked as ‘Virtual Reality Certified’. Alienware’s Area 51 Gaming Desktop isn’t ‘Vive Optimized’ until you hit the $2,099 configuration. MSI is the only one of the bunch selling laptops (with built in desktop GPUs), which they say are compatible with the Vive.
As the Rift‘s recommend specs actually exceed those of the Vive, if you can find an ‘Oculus Ready PC‘ for cheaper than a ‘Vive Optimized PC’, it may be a better bang for your buck! While Oculus said that PCs through their certification program wouldn’t exceed $999, this seems to be only be the case when combined with a pre-order of the Rift.