After nearly five years, I’ve finally moved on from Index as my main PC VR headset, and Valve is the one that made me do it.

Index is a great headset. Between it’s tracking, ergonomics, field-of-view, crisp display, and still industry-leading audio, it’s been hard to give it up—even if it’s resolution is, by this point, very much ‘last-gen’.

Image courtesy Valve

Even with Quest 3’s upsides of higher resolution, better lenses, no-tether, more compact form-factor, and no external trackers, I was still reaching for Index when it was time to dive into PC VR. But the release of Steam Link finally put me over the edge; Quest 3 is my go-to PC VR headset.

Image courtesy Meta

Steam Link is Valve’s application on Quest 3 (also available on Quest 2) which makes it incredibly easy to wirelessly connect to SteamVR and access all of your PC VR content. It cuts out the Oculus PC software and Quest Link as the middle-man, which made you jump through a few hoops before you could finally get to where 99% of PC VR users actually want to be: SteamVR.

Image courtesy Valve

Meta abandoned its Oculus PC platform years ago, and has only barely maintained the software to ensure that Quest Link would continue to work. But they know full well the vast majority of people using Quest Link are using it to get to SteamVR, not the abandoned Oculus PC library.

After using Steam Link on Quest 3 over the last few months, I realized it was steadily becoming the most frequent way I was jumping into PC VR. Right now I’m looking over at my unplugged Index in the corner, and I’m not sure the next time I’ll feel compelled to plug it in. I would still pick Index over Quest 2 even with Steam Link, but Quest 3 and Steam Link have tipped the scales. Having key Quest 3 accessories like a real strap and dock makes a difference too (but benefit standalone VR just as much as PC VR).

It’s of course ironic that Valve’s own software made the difference. And it’s worth commending them for being willing to upend their own hardware to make things better for users—even if those users are using other headsets (Meta also gets a pat on the back for letting a competitor’s app onto their store).

Now Quest 3 is not only the best value in a standalone headset, it’s also the best value in a PC VR headset. That is, assuming you’ve got the right networking and PC to back it up.

Meta Connect 2024 Developer Conference Announced for Late September: What We're Hoping For

Wireless PC VR is super convenient and can work very well, but you absolutely need an optimized network setup and a hefty gaming PC.

If you’re going this route, make sure your gaming PC is directly connected to your router. And your router should be at least Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), but ideally Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax). Ideally your router should also be in the same room that you’re gaming, but as long as its a room or two away, you should be fine.

A PC equipped with at least Core i5-4590 or equivalent, RTX 2070 or equivalent, and 16GB of RAM is also recommended.

– – — – –

Valve made Quest 3 my main PC VR headset; will they ever win me back with a follow-up headset? I don’t think anyone knows for sure right now, not even Valve.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • ViRGiN

    I’m so happy the Valve Deckard app helped you make the right choice!
    Sadly, it’s tied to a dead platform.

    • ViRGiN

      Nobody cares what I say, except me paradoxically. And that’s only to mock, and hope one day I am silenced by a horse kicking me in the head.

      • ViRGiN

        Volvo Dickhard

    • guest

      Then why is there a magnitude more new apps this month on Steam rather than Quest? (Putting the link here is probably why my message got censored yesterday).

      • ViRGiN

        Is that true? If so, I’m sure there are more apps out on steam than actually players playing them. There are hundreds of not thousands of apps that nobody has launched in months. Great steamvr!

        • guest

          Yes, Quest has 16 and Steam 140. They BOTH seem low quality to me! So there is not an inverse relationship:

          Last Labyrinth $20.99 $29.99
          Another Fisherman’s Tale $12.99 $19.99
          The Secret of Retropolis $5.99 $9.99
          Coaster Combat $5.99 $9.99
          Space Salvage $14.99 $24.99
          PathCraft $5.99 $14.99
          Zero Caliber 2 $26.99 $29.99
          Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire $17.99 $19.99
          The Wizards – Dark Times $12.99 $24.99
          The Tale of Onogoro $20.99 $29.99
          Taskmaster VR $21.99 $24.99
          Survivorman VR: The Descent $13.99 $19.99
          Tank Arena: Ultimate League $15.99 $19.99
          Wings 1941 $7.99 $12.99
          Hellsweeper VR $19.99 $29.99
          Maskmaker $5.99 $19.99

          Paper Dolls VR $ 32.00 $ 80.00
          Smoots Tennis Survival Zombie $ 9.75 $ 39.00
          Quest for Runia $ 16.50 $ 33.00
          Dreadhalls $ 60.00 $ 75.00
          Slackline VR $ 12.00 $ 20.00
          Battle for Mountain Throne $ 29.42 $ 125.00
          GORN $ 62.50 $ 125.00
          Star Shaman $ 26.00 $ 52.00
          Ascent Spirit $ 13.00 $ 52.00
          HeadCount $ 59.00 $ 118.00
          Siienaa $ 18.40 $ 46.00
          QuiVr $ 94.05 $ 165.00
          Ghost Signal: A Stellaris Game $ 62.50 $ 125.00
          Breakout VR $ 46.48 $ 83.00
          Headshot VR $ 90.50 $ 181.00
          Ancient Journey VR $ 10.90 $ 109.00
          Boiling Steel $ 64.00 $ 128.00
          Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope $ 147.78 $ 624.00
          A Legend of Luca $ 33.00 $ 66.00
          Escape From Mandrillia: Local Asymmetric VR vs PC $ 42.90 $ 66.00
          Star Shelter $ 26.70 $ 89.00
          We Are Stars $ 72.10 $ 103.00
          Horror Adventure VR $ 10.40 $ 52.00
          Trails Of Gold Privateers $ 16.50 $ 66.00
          Trains VR $ 75.20 $ 94.00
          Robinson: The Journey $ 31.32 $ 125.29
          YUKI $ 44.50 $ 89.00
          Blair Witch VR $ 25.80 $ 129.00
          Gravitational $ 44.50 $ 89.00
          Kris Kringle’s Christmas Village VR $ 17.50 $ 35.00
          The Dark Method $ 62.25 $ 83.00
          Magic Gun $ 11.50 $ 23.00
          Anime show 动漫时装秀 $ 17.20 $ 86.00
          Astro Chef $ 87.50 $ 125.00
          Tales of Glacier (VR) $ 9.60 $ 48.00
          Starship 43 – The Last Astronaut VR $ 84.75 $ 113.00
          Dark Nebula VR $ 5.06 $ 46.00
          Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter $ 18.75 $ 125.00
          Soulace $ 24.90 $ 83.00
          DREAM GIRLS VR $ 12.40 $ 62.00
          Budget Cuts Ultimate $ 178.00 $ 445.00
          Home Detective – Immersive Edition $ 49.50 $ 66.00
          MOTHERGUNSHIP: FORGE $ 31.15 $ 89.00
          VR historical journey to the Buddhist civilizations: VR ancient India and Asia $ 21.84 $ 104.00
          Hex Defense $ 18.00 $ 45.00
          Paper Beast $ 22.25 $ 89.00
          Can Gym Break This? $ 24.44 $ 52.00
          Crumbling $ 93.75 $ 125.00
          TAG WAR VR $ 55.50 $ 111.00
          Crowd Control VR $ 11.60 $ 58.00
          Tentacular $ 78.00 $ 156.00
          Orbatron $ 11.40 $ 76.00
          UNDERDOGS $ 140.25 $ 187.00
          Heaven Island Life $ 3.50 $ 7.00
          Time Lock VR 1 $ 7.93 $ 158.59
          Weapons Genius VR $ 29.42 $ 125.00
          Queendoom $ 15.00 $ 75.00
          The Slopes $ 6.60 $ 66.00
          Climb VR New York Parkour $ 106.80 $ 356.00
          GrowRilla VR $ 47.50 $ 95.00
          All-In-One Sports VR $ 62.30 $ 89.00
          Once upon a time in the Gold Rush VR: shoot and ride $ 38.40 $ 64.00
          Fly Caster – VR Fly Fishing $ 46.20 $ 66.00
          Red Matter $ 68.75 $ 125.00
          VRosty $ 70.00 $ 140.00
          Furious Seas $ 62.30 $ 89.00
          Arcaxer $ 43.60 $ 109.00
          Cryodeath VR $ 73.45 $ 113.00
          Hunt Together $ 62.50 $ 125.00
          No More Rainbows $ 81.25 $ 125.00
          Forbidden Art $ 66.50 $ 95.00
          Brutal Wizardry $ 62.50 $ 125.00
          Darksword: Battle Eternity $ 46.80 $ 156.00
          Bootstrap Island $ 124.80 $ 156.00
          Timberman VR $ 36.00 $ 72.00
          Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE $ 28.05 $ 187.00
          Holy Chick! $ 5.40 $ 18.00
          Aenaon $ 38.50 $ 110.00
          VR historical journey to the age of Crusaders: Medieval Jerusalem, Saracen Cities, Arabic Culture, East Land $ 21.84 $ 104.00
          The Tide $ 108.00 $ 135.00
          System Critical 2 $ 87.50 $ 125.00
          All-In-One Summer Sports VR $ 87.50 $ 125.00
          Crimen – Mercenary Tales $ 32.30 $ 95.00
          ESPER $ 5.28 $ 48.00
          HOT GIRLS VR $ 12.40 $ 62.00
          Cute Girls VR $ 9.60 $ 48.00
          Mecha Party $ 67.80 $ 113.00
          Music Inside: A VR Rhythm Game $ 46.40 $ 116.00
          Earthling of Gaia $ 10.40 $ 52.00
          Iron Blood VR $ 72.50 $ 145.00
          Chess VR: Multiverse Journey $ 84.00 $ 168.00
          Pipejob $ 15.00 $ 75.00
          Desperate: Vladivostok $ 64.00 $ 128.00
          Space Accident VR $ 11.16 $ 223.20
          Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventures $ 93.75 $ 125.00
          RUN GUN ZR $ 20.00 $ 25.00
          House Flipper VR $ 115.05 $ 177.00
          Drone Hunter VR $ 46.90 $ 70.00
          Stargaze $ 70.20 $ 117.00
          VR Marco Polo’s Travelling in Medieval Asia (The Far East, Chinese, Japanese, Shogun, Khitan…revisit A.D. 1290) $ 27.30 $ 65.00
          The Talos Principle VR $ 56.10 $ 187.00
          Killer Klownz $ 6.60 $ 66.00
          SaberSaw VR $ 7.82 $ 46.00
          House Flipper Pets VR $ 97.35 $ 177.00
          TIMESCAPE: Altitude $ 33.00 $ 66.00
          Spacecats with Lasers VR $ 27.30 $ 39.00
          Paradise City VR $ 7.60 $ 76.00
          Protagon VR $ 5.60 $ 28.00
          The Shore VR $ 12.40 $ 62.00
          Tea For God $ 75.00 $ 125.00
          Visionarium 2 – The Descent $ 30.40 $ 76.00
          Soccer VR $ 40.60 $ 58.00
          VR Driver School $ 36.40 $ 52.00
          Block’hood VR $ 31.35 $ 95.00
          Espire 1: VR Operative $ 110.44 $ 214.00
          Pipeline VR $ 34.52 $ 62.77
          Snow Fortress $ 74.80 $ 88.00
          KooringVR Wonderland:Red Queen’s Black Magic $ 121.27 $ 181.00
          Lust for Darkness VR: M Edition $ 22.25 $ 89.00
          Legendary Tales $ 330.39 $ 412.99
          Giant Cop: Justice Above All $ 118.50 $ 237.00
          Construction Playground $ 49.50 $ 66.00
          The Wizards – Enhanced Edition $ 37.06 $ 109.00
          Barn Finders VR $ 40.00 $ 80.00
          Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter $ 12.50 $ 125.00
          Girls Dance VR $ 9.60 $ 48.00
          Falling Down XR $ 59.50 $ 119.00
          Bladeline VR $ 18.60 $ 62.00
          Time Lock VR 2 $ 7.93 $ 158.59
          Cosmodread $ 57.00 $ 76.00
          Mount Wingsuit 2 $ 49.40 $ 76.00
          Layers of Fear VR $ 35.60 $ 89.00
          Arca’s Path VR $ 37.50 $ 125.00
          Death Duel VR $ 70.55 $ 83.00
          Legendary Boxing Belt $ 15.20 $ 76.00
          Killing Floor: Incursion $ 22.25 $ 89.00
          Basketball VR $ 32.20 $ 46.00
          Ancient Dungeon $ 87.50 $ 125.00
          DeepStates (VR) $ 12.40 $ 62.00
          VR Shooter Guns $ 6.50 $ 13.00

          • ViRGiN

            What is this wall of text? Certainly not the list of games released recently.
            Is this price comparison? It’s not an industry secret, that to sell anything on steam, you gotta put bargain bin pricing. And even then, nobody wants to even launch these games.
            Never claimed there is an ‘inverse relationship’. But you gotta be nuts to ignore that most of these titles are fitting for the MOBILE platform, while they have no business being ran on ANY gaming PC with unlimited power in comparison.

          • GUEST

            It goes to show that there is low quality on both platforms regardless of quantity, so that’s why Quest has LESS low quality apps, that is, because it has LESS apps. The prices just happen to be in HK dollars.

          • ViRGiN

            And how does that relate to anything I have ever said?
            The software quality is subjective, but even I said on too many occassions that software is lacking. It’s just that you have masses of cultists who are trying to portray it otherwise. The narrative is if you don’t like something, is because you’re bad at it. Then you also have the “flat2vr” cultists who think they are above everyone else, playing 11000+ unreal games in vr, and 50+ flat ports, with their xbox controllers, being butthurt about the success of mobile VR.

            _We are still in the early days_ of VR software.

      • shadow9d9

        Shovelware is just quantity over quality. Pcvr has been dead for years when it comes to bigger titles, coming much much later than other platforms, if at all.

  • Stephen Bard

    For very many months I have been shocked by how long so many people have loyally clung to their Valve Index headsets despite the dramatically obsolete resolution . . . as though this would conjure the mythical Deckard. It is interesting that the turning point for Ben was the Steam Link app, whereas I have found that the wireless Quest Link works even better for both the Oculus PC library and the Steam library. I adore my Quest 3 for PC VR, but I’m a little surprised that an expert/enthusiast like Ben wouldn’t prefer something more exotic like a Pimax Crystal or a Bigscreen Beyond. Another thing that has shocked me is that there is a large cadre of die-hard PC users who do not realize that some of the recent standalone games with graphics optimized for Quest 3 look as good as most of the best PC games. I still can’t comprehend how the standalone chipset allows Red Matter 2 to produce those convincing realtime dynamic reflections and shadows.

    • ViRGiN

      r/valveindex is full of people who truly believe index hasn’t even reached it’s final form, and just now PC hardware allows to squeeze more out of it.

      it has always been a cultists headset, totally irrelevant, but it was made by valve, which is always a pro for them. i still see tons of ads on marketplace websites with ab-used indexes going for 70-80% of it’s retail price from launch.
      people are stupid, and ton of them just fall for youtubers propaganda.

      whenever someone mentions compression and latency, you know that person is completly doomed and easy to manipulate.

      • Guest

        The cult that formed around Steam and especially “Gaben” allowed him to get off scot free from a number of things. The defense of the now long irrelevant Index is but one of many manifestations of this worship.

      • NotMikeD

        It’s no surprise that ViRGiN would chime in on any given thread to preach more hate for a Valve product. But what shocks me is that some of this nonsense is getting upvoted.. For shame, people!

        “It has always been a cultists headset?” So are we going to just ignore the 4 or so years of Index’s practically uncontested dominance as a nearly all-rounder best-in-class VR headset? The Index won me over from Meta HMD’s on its release because it was the best way to experience VR at the time. Even ~5 years on from that, it still dominates in more than one category. No Kool Aid required.

        • ViRGiN

          Yes, we are going to ignore 4 years worth of shilling, filled with propaganda of “superior” tracking, image quality etc. It might won YOU over – but even the biggest shits have it’s fanbase. It’s totally irrelevant for the industry, and the pcvr market. Valve joining the game legitimized vr for many, and they all got burned when valve immediately dropped any support for it.
          My comments here aren’t the only one being negative – it appears that it is you looking at index through rose tinted glasses. The roughly 300p worth of extra pixels isn’t a game changer compared to htc Vive, and you actually loose oled screen which was superior and you pay more to get less. Vive also received wireless adapter, index did not, and valve even advertised scammers from nofio, and didn’t release their own adapter which gayben himself claimed to be a solved problem years ago. Their knuckles have been shipped to devs as devkit for years, and they are still not supported by pretty much anything.

          Index users are just cultists and hyper loyal to the valve brand.

          • kraeuterbutter

            i own quest 1, 2 and 3
            the htc vive and the index

            for the resolution: it was not only 300p more extrapixel, it was also switching from 2 subpixels to 3

            for me the resolution of the index – in games like hL:alyx – is not the big downside..
            its more – compared to the quest3 – the Glare of the index..

            didnt notice it back than than much..
            but i compared it recently in alyx with the quest3..
            and boy: does that glare of the index destroy the image
            the image – also quest3 is also only lcd – is much better on the quest3 because of much less glare..
            comparing only the displays for contrast-values and blacklevels does not do justice..
            contrast is heavyly damaged by glare with the index..

            i liked a lot of things for years on the index..
            but meanwhile: the quest3 is mostly supperior
            nevertheless – even when excluding the sound –
            i feel a bit more immersed with the index than with the quest3 playing hl:alyx..
            i cant say why..
            but standing in front of the entrance to the quarantine-Zone, looking up the high wall.. its more immersive with the Index
            more “goosebump factor”

            i want to replay alyx after all that years..
            and still wondering: should i do it with the Index (steamcontrollers, more immersed, better sound)
            or with the Quest3 (much better picture in regards to resolution, blacklevels (because not destroyed by glare))

  • Yeshaya

    Really wish there was a 3rd party off-ear audio option for Q3. I can handle the FOV drop off from the Index, and controller straps are clutch for just opening your hands every once in a while, but the drop-off in audio quality really hurts

    • J.C.

      The OG Vive DAS has entered the chat.

      It’s still the best head strap, and with a set of 3d printed adapters, it’ll pop right on your Q3. The sound quality is quite nice. They go on sale as low as $25 on Amazon (right now it’s a surprisingly high $60). The adapters add to the cost, yes. If you have your own printer, it’s way cheaper, but I don’t. I paid $25 for some very good looking adapters.

      • Yeshaya

        Hmm I’m tempted, but I do really like how the index didn’t actually touch your ears, even when wearing my own headphones for better sound quality still took me out a little from the additional points of contact. I’ll keep it in mind though, thanks!

  • mirak

    I am still using my Vive Pro wireless, and sometime Vive wireless in my vacation place.
    Sure I would take better resolution, but only if I don’t downgrade on tracking, wigig wireless AND OLED.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yeah, I too still use the Pro/wireless a lot compared to the Pico 4. For some reason I still like the comfort of the Pro (with original headstrap) better then the Pico 4 (with the facemask replaced with an AMR facemask). I still have to check out other additions of a headstrap for the Pico. But I do like the resolution/clear lenses of the Pico, but the blacks of the Pro are much better (even though it is much more grainy).

    • Stephen Bard

      I remember how much I liked the OLED of the original Quest headset, but absolutely couldn’t tolerate the annoying “screen door” effect and was greatly relieved to get a Quest 2 even though it wasn’t OLED. Every aspect of the Quest 3 was optimized to be better than the Quest 2, but yes, the only conceivable further improvement that would entice me to get an eventual Quest 4 would be an OLED display.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Valve ofcourse is working on Steamlink for their own wireless headset, and then the Quest 3 is the best choice at this moment due to it getting more and more users. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Valve’s next headset isn’t even running on a x86 based chipset, but ARM based like the XR2+.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      ARM’s main benefit is higher performance per watt in low power modes, saving a lot of battery in idling phones with occasional peaks. This made the architecture from the 1980s the default on mobile. VR gaming with constant high load has different needs, which is why XR2 Gen 2 has a different core configuration than SD8 Gen 2. VR doesn’t benefit all that much from ARM’s strengths, it was chosen as it was the only readily available ultra-low power platform due to phones. ARM was basically picked for price and battery weight, even if it trailed beyond X86 in CPU/GPU.

      ARM SoCs have become faster, esp. in graphics, but at the same time still faster AMDs APUs brought a lot of GPU performance to the ultra notebook segments with a power draw similar to HMDs. AMD have published their APU roadmap, and should hit baseline PCVR performance by late 2024 or early 2025, significantly before the XR2 line gets there. And like with Steam Deck, Valve needs/wants a device running their existing library, something that won’t be feasible via emulation on ARMs for many years. So going ARM makes no sense for Valve.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        What is ‘baseline PCVR’? The XR2 gen2 can already be considered ‘baseline PCVR’ if you look at games like red matter 2. Look at the power of the Apple M2 and knowing the new available M4 is even much more powerfull. The current AMD APU in Steamdeck is just slightly more powerful as the XR2 of the Q2, the XR2 gen2 is more powerfull, and just like AMD’s roadmap of future products will have much more powerfull GPU’s, so do the Qualcomm chips or Apple.

        Also the now newly available ARM socs are capable of running older existing x86 code more then perfectly through emulation.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Steam Deck’s 2021 Van Gogh APU is much, much faster than XR2 Gen 2, with double the GPU performance. PCVR baseline is GTX 1060 as per minimal requirement of most games. Van Gogh CPU performance already exceeds minimal spec, but GPU is only at GTX 1050 level. With XR2 Gen 1 half as fast, the XR2 Gen 2 at 2.5x its speed should be 25% faster, or ~60% of a GTX 1060, but with much slower CPU, which is massively underclocked to allow for the GPU boost.

          And only Apple has ARM silicon running X86 at reasonable speed, as they add expensive to emulate x86 command flag handling to the ARM ISA with their very expensive ARM architecture license. This only allows an M1 to run x86 code at similar speed as an Intel MacBook. The same code compiled for ARM runs twice as fast, so even best-case x86 emulation cuts SoC performance by half.

          Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite notebook SoC can finally run emulated Windows x86 in a usable form, but nowhere near native. It brute forces this with 8/4 performance/economy cores, barely beating the 3/6 base M4 in multicore, trailing it by 1/3rd in single cores while consuming much more energy. ARM for performance hungry apps only makes sense if you can transition most to native like on MacOS, not an option for older VR games.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Xr2 has 1.37 tflops, steamdeck is 1.65 tflops, xr2 gen2 is about 2.1 tflops. And just as AMD also Qualcomm already has faster SOCs lined up. And again, optimisation is important, just look at a game like red matter 2 on the Q3. So it might not be just as good as a decent native PCVR game, but it sure can fake it like that.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            TL;DR: Performance doesn’t scale linearly with TFLOPS across different platforms/architectures. In actual graphics benchmarks a GTX 1050 (~ Steam Deck) scores 3x higher than Quest 2, a GTX 1060 9x higher, due to higher TDP, memory bandwidth etc.

            TFLOPS aren’t a useful GPU performance indicator between different platforms. You can use them to roughly compare GPUs of the same architecture and generation, like within RTX 40×0, but beyond that there are way more factors impacting performance like memory bandwidth, efficiency or what the GPU uses the TFLOPS for, resulting in very different results for Radeon vs RTX.

            For example the Steam Deck has 88GiB/sec memory bandwidth compared to half that on SD865/XR2 Gen 1, allowing for much higher quality graphics. You need benchmarks to evaluate real world performance, which is somewhat difficult here with ARM/Android vs. custom x86 APU running Linux with the SteamOS Gamescope compositor serving as a virtual screen for OpenGL and DX9-12 graphics translated to Vulkan.

            A lot of outlets benchmarked Steam Deck’s performance in real games, putting its performance at about 10% above Radeon RX 460 or similar to GTX 1050, again with variations. The Phawx, who did very extensive testing, pointed out that for any mobile gaming platform the top performance is actually much less relevant than the level with the best performance to power ratio, which is usually lower. You need sustained performance without throttling or draining the batteries, something x86 is more designed for than ARM mostly targeting phones needing burst and ultra-low power idle.

            Comparing XR2 Gen 1 to Windows GPUs is easier due to the standard platforms and available (synthetic) benchmarks, which aren’t perfect and generate varying results, but still much more realistic than comparing peak TFLOPS.

            GFXBench 5 Aztec Ruins High Tier (offscreen):

            Quest 2 Adreno 650: 1,142 (uploadvr)
            GTX 1050 3,611 (~ x3.15 Quest 2)
            GTX 1060 10,626 (~ x9.3 Quest 2)

            A lot of that is just physics: The burst-optimized 2020 SD865 has a TDP of 10W, XR2 Gen 1 in Quest 2 might be lower due to configuration for sustained load and underclocked CPU. The 2021 Steam Deck APU has a 15W TDP, the 2016 GTX 1060 120W TDP. Performance increases for GPUs have been around 30%-40% per year, with Qualcomm at the lower and Apple at the higher end.

            And everybody always pointing to Red Matter 2 has to understand that this is an example of excellent game design, with mostly baked graphics, limited environments and a low number of objects, cleverly working around the weaknesses of mobile GPUs, not a sign of mobile GPUs making sudden performance jumps. It’s basically painting the image of a mansion onto a shack and leading players in a way that they will never notice. That doesn’t translate to open world games with configurable environments and dynamic lighting. Which is why people always point to only Red Matter 2 instead of a number of different games.

            A GTX 1060 allows you to walk through the bizarre Fallout 4 base you build yourself with moveable toilets and carpets illuminated by lots of neon signs during day and night cycles. An Adreno 650 can’t do that, and neither can the XR2 Gen 2 Adreno 740. And of course the GTX 1060 could “fake” a game playable in 4K the same way as Red Matter 2. It’s just not worth the enormous effort and resulting design limitations with faster PC GPUs available, while Quest developers have to deal with whatever Meta/Qualcomm released.

  • Ryan McClelland

    If your network setup is an issue, just get the PRISMXR Dedicated Router. Works perfectly, even if your PC is on Wifi. They have it at Amazon. Mine works great.

  • Desertwhale

    Call me old fashioned, but I still use the original Vive with the upgraded audio strap and the wireless. I just built a brand new PC that I spent 2 grand on, but I still don’t feel the need to get a new VR headset. /Shrug lol.

    • ViRGiN

      i hope you didn’t build that pc for pcvr

    • Stephen Bard

      You should be embarassed to admit that you use a headset that has only HALF of the resolution of a modern headset. Anyone who can afford a $2000 PC should at least spend $200 on a Quest 2!

      • ViRGiN

        Yeah if he is continuing to use 2016 headset in 2024, then that’s pretty pathethic given Quest 2 pricing.

  • Dave

    I must admit I found this article quite strange. I can’t really comprehend it to be honest. I would have thought most index users would have gone for a Bigscreen Beyond years ago, but to wait this long to buy a Quest 3. For me the Quest 3 is so far ahead of the Index, and has a great experience with Steam already through VD, add to that the bonus of genuinly good standalone store and wireless play, it’s hard to ignore. Ignorance from the ‘tech’ expert?

    • Stephen Bard

      My 512g Quest 3 feels like the best current versatile multipurpose headset (standalone/PC, Oculus/Steam, Quest Store/AppLab/Sideload).

    • Ben Lang
    • NotMikeD

      I must admit I find aspects of this post quite strange.. There was no Bigscreen Beyond to flock to years ago; I was a relatively early pre-order for mine and only got it this past November. I think they’re still months out from shipping new orders.

      But yeah to your point, I consider upgrading from an Index to a BSB to be the smartest upgrade path for PCVR enthusiasts (evidenced by me personally taking this option). However, I’d never talk down on anyone’s choice to go the Quest 3 route, which I’d consider the right choice for most people most of the time.

      • ViRGiN

        Every VR user, PCVR or not, is an enthusiast.
        No need to gatekeep yourself as someone even deeper into VR with words like this.

        • NotMikeD

          I’ll agree with the point that we here are all early adopters into what’s currently a niche market, but other than that you’re getting the wrong context from what I’m saying. I’m not “gatekeeping” here, I’m talking specifically about folks entusiastic about PCVR–i.e. interested in things like lighthouse based tracking, high graphics fidelity, modding existing flat games into VR, and all that comes with that specific ecosystem. I think it’s fair to suggest that you, for example, who often shits all over PCVR in these forums would *not* be a “PCVR Enthusiast”–you may champion wireless freedom of movement and simplicity of use in VR experiences that are established benefits of Standalone VR, and there’s nothing wrong with that! People can have different tastes and preferences. No gates to keep here.

          • ViRGiN

            Why would I be not considered an enthusiast? I enjoy VR!
            Taking interest in lighthouse tracking is irrelevant and frankly stupid, basically nothing has been achieved since it’s inception – and in the beginning we even saw prototypes of real accessories that are nowhere near to be seen; trackers have also been completly obsolete and unsupported by anyone.
            High graphics fidelity? That’s basically fully obsolete from PCVR platform. Unbiased person will agree that even PCVR graphics are many many years behind even a decade old games! Supersampling isn’t really high fidelity and todays PCVR games are a complete joke, and you can’t use “but Alyx” forever.
            Modding existing games into VR? Unless _you_ are specificially actually making the mods then no, you are just a consumer of content made by others. Absolutetly no different than people playing homebrew games.

            There are no PCVR vs mobile wars. PCVR isn’t even participating. With unlimited power there should be an insane jump in quality, but that’s not the reality. If there was an actual value, and place in the market for PCVR, with actual userbase behind it, then noone could argue anything about PCVR.

            PCVR is a complete flop – no matter how ‘enthusiastic’ or fans of it they are. There isn’t anything real to look forward to either.
            Just another day of roughly 8000 SteamVR players online, with #1 being as it always is, Gorilla Tag.

      • shadow9d9

        Not really though. BSB is still a short wire, has no speakers, has intense reflections, and a large blur circle meaning you look with your head. Q3 offers so, so much more, from 8 studios making big budget exclusives, to funding 3rd party exclusives, to upper body tracking, ringless controllers, MR, and wireless freedom of movement. There are 3 ways to do wireless pcvr, including in rooms without a breakable pc. Additionally, game release have dried up considerably on pcvr, and is usually an afterthought.

  • Vr

    What is the cheapest pcvr pc I can get?

    • ViRGiN

      Cloud PC.

    • rabs

      For around $500 new, a PC with a Ryzen 5 3600, 16GB RAM, RX 6600 XT or similar. That’s old but not too old hardware, can get it for cheaper. About PS5 performance level.

      Can get something a bit less powerful as well, depends what you want to play. If it’s designed for Quest games with better shaders and reasonably more details, a potato PC is enough. My GTX 1070 still do the job easily in that context. But sims and UEVR games better need more juice.

      And maybe new hardware will be revealed at Computex early June.

  • Hussain X

    Gabe Newell somewhere thinking to himself after reading this article:

    See, I was right to only ever release Index at a high price of $1,000 & continue to sell it at that high price many years later & not subsidise it & grow the PCVR market. I was right to only ever fund HL Alyx. We almost funded three VR titles but quickly realised we don’t have to & just released the one title & stopped wasting money on any further VR titles. If I was ever wrong about PCVR is why did we ever see Oculus as a threat. PCVR players still would’ve chosen SteamVR. I shouldn’t have bothered to release Index (so glad we didn’t at least bother to release a wireless module for the unused frunk), nor fund HL Alyx. In hindsight, I was wrong to do that & just wasted money on those projects as we would’ve still pocketed all that money from SteamVR & not lose our PCVR gaming dominance. Phew, se also almost released Deckard! But it seems like a simple Steam Link app is all that was needed to keep them happy. Let Meta take the stress of releasing hardware & then take the hit by subsidising it too, whilst we sit back & see them being used on SteamVR. Why waste our money on VR hardware. I mean look at how PCVR players praises us. Even though it’s a Meta subsidised headset, and Meta has done & does more for PCVR than we’ve ever have, Ben still praises us & thanks us for the Meta released Quest 3, & even goes on to say Meta is the one who has abandoned PCVR. In reality, we abandoned PCVR after releasing just one expensive headset & one title (even then we came in late after Meta funded many PCVR titles already), but surprisingly people don’t see it that way. We did so little for PCVR, Meta being the one having invested a lot, lot more to get where PCVR is today, even with the highly subsidised Quest 2. Meta thankfully allowed us to add Steam Link to the store so we can continue milking our Steam sales cash cow whilst still doing barely nothing for them in return, even recently abandoning our Deckard idea. Because there is no need to. I was already wrong to release Index & Alyx thinking Oculus will be a threat. I don’t want to make another mistake & release Deckard too if we don’t need to. I just want to sit back stress free, let Meta do all the hard work for PCVR, whilst we do as little as possible for it, see all those Quest headsets get used on Steam, & see my ever burgeoning wealth grow, & get praised for not abandoning PCVR like Meta has.

    That’s what Gabe could be thinking. But here is what I think. If you really love PCVR, SteamVR, that Meta continued with PCVR, that Valve would release Index 2, Deckard, fund more PCVR titles and Valve IPs, then we need to act accordingly (spend & praise a company if they’re giving you back in return) & be more honest & not just be blindly loyal to a company or person. Otherwise you won’t get what you want. PCVR players had the chance to make Oculus & Valve compete for PCVR players & for a brief moment some years ago these companies kind of did, & it was good whilst it lasted, till they both left PCVR for opposite different reasons. Meta saw no fruit with its investments, Valve saw a lot of it for very little investments. So both reduced investments in PCVR.

    Long comment I know. But I wrote it so PCVR players & Ben Lang can hopefully give themselves a better chance of a subsidised, up to date, Valve VR headset, along with maybe another Half Life VR game. Because otherwise Gabe Newell will sip on his tea whilst reading Ben’s article above & go bed thinking Ben’s really happy with the little Valve has done for PCVR & so Gabe can just count his SteamVR money at night & do nothing more for it (& Mark Zuckerberg having nightmares that Valve is getting headline praise for Quest 3 & being blamed for abandoning PCVR), with each passing night another night gone without a new Valve headset & Valve IP or another renowned non-Valve IP in PCVR (which we could’ve been playing in VR today, had Oculus & Valve been made to keep competing for PCVR market).

    • ViRGiN
    • Stephen Bard

      I am still puzzled by the schizophrenic conundrum where Meta somewhat abandoned their participation in Oculus PC apps/Store, even while knowing that a substantial percentage of their Quest 2/3 sales were to people who Only use the headsets for PC VR (often not realizing how good the standalone has gotten). Simultaneously with de-emphasizing their PC Store, Meta was optimizing the Quest Airlink for PC VR. I have never stopped mourning the beloved customizable Oculus PC homes that many of us furnished with assets from Sketchfab. Since these custom PC homes were a Social space, you would think they would be another asset/incentive for Meta headset sales to PC users, but some irrational creature at Meta arbitrarily cancelled them even though the development costs were already paid. I have tried to rehost these homes on Banter but they don’t appreciate the customizable part . . .

      • shadow9d9

        Except you are using facts not in evidence. About 10% use the device for pcvr, which is not particularly large, and they don’t make money for Meta. PCVR users don’t buy games, and so they weren’t making mopney on the oculus pc store either.

        Quest airlink was released as a token and rarely gets updates.

    • NotMikeD

      If there WAS an actionable recommendation there, I’m sorry to say it got buried in the overlong rambling turn this post took. Consider a TL;DR in there.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Two flaws regarding Newell’s thinking:

      1) The idea that Valve is driven by money

      Valve is a private company. Newell has more money than he can ever spend. If they just wanted to maximize profits, they wouldn’t waste a valuable IP like Half-Life on an exotic platform. VR staying niche was obvious by the time Index and HL:A released, so investing money just to keep Meta in check in a small side show made little economic sense. Valve had better opportunities to make money, their engagement in VR had different reasons.

      2) The idea that Valve time comes with predictable product cycles

      HL:A was the first HL title after 13 years. Valve’s Linux based Steam Machines failed in 2015. Then out of nowhere they released Steam Deck as a Linux based x86 handheld in 2022. They never stopped working on the concept, but waited until the hardware was ready. Index also was quite late for PCVR, with no chance to make a lot of money, but praised as the best HMD with astonishing longevity.

      Steam is a market dominating money printing press, so Valve didn’t do VR for money or market share. They did it to make a point, to show how it’s done right. And if the tech needs five more years for a PCVR standalone HMD matching Valve’s aspirations, they’ll wait five years. They didn’t give up on Half-Life, Linux gaming or PCVR. Valve time just requires patience.

    • Cl

      Oh, meta didn’t abandon PCVR. They generously allow us to connect it to the PC. Who could ever think that when they do so much for PCVR.

  • Regarding content, I use PCVR only with SteamVR. But as a developer, I still find it easier to use the Oculus runtime, Steam it’s slower to startup and sometimes has framerate issues on Windows.

  • JakeDunnegan

    While it does undercut Valve’s hardware – it opens up all their games to Quest 3 users as well – who may have otherwise avoided them. I think in the end, given how much each unit is used – Valve comes out ahead if the PC VR market of games sells well on the Quest 3.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I seriously doubt that Valve ever made a lot of money from selling the Index, given its high price and low unit numbers. They expected VR to do a lot better, which would have brought down the cost for the rather expensive lighthouse tracking, so they may have counted on one day generating a noticeable profit from the HMD itself. But given the age of Index and the development of the PCVR user count on Steam, I seriously doubt that anybody at Valve would have argued against Steam Link because it would undercut Valves hardware sales in the first place.

      As long as the Index wasn’t the most popular VR HMD by far, making SteamVR content more accessible would always have been the winning move. Meta had to go with their own proprietary hardware, because they needed to draw people to their store/platform. Valve never had to do that, Steam was the PCVR default destination long before Index released. They stated themselves that instead their motivation was to demonstrate how to do VR right, and that’s what the Index did for HMDs in 2019 and HL:A for VR games in 2020. It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.

      • XRC

        Educated estimates put production cost for HLA at $60-70 million and pre-production/tooling/assembly lines in China and US for Frank (Index) at $25-30 million.

        Cannot see Index was profitable not that it ever needed to be; considering the setup costs, extensive bom, excessive warranty write-offs, legal action from immersion inc.

        Hardware best left to those with deep pockets, but what an amazing spend for 2% of their user base. From interview with Polygon some years ago:

        “We’re optimistic. We think VR is going great. It’s going in a way that’s consistent with our expectations,” says Newell. “We’re also pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure.”

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          It’s kind of funny that people somehow accepted that Zuckerberg, who still has to answer to shareholders looking for profit, is willing to lose lots of money on XR, but at the same time believe that Gabe Newell, who build an unorthodox company lacking hierarchies or product schedules and answers to no one, wouldn’t push exciting projects not guaranteed to add more to his billions.

  • XYZ

    Nobody at Valve cares one iota about VR anymore. All the best VR people left years ago, leaving just one contractor tinkering on SteamVR so it still works.

    Valve is content just to skim their 30% off the store and try and recoup all the money they wasted on their hardware projects over the last decade or more. Even though Steam Deck has sold well, they are still far in the red with all of their expensive hardware adventures across Steam Machines, Steam controller’s, Steam Link and of course VR.

    • Cl

      Yea they should just give up on hardware huh? Shouldn’t have even tried unless it’s proven to make money.

      I think that’s what people like about valve. They try interesting things even if it might lose money. They make a ton off selling games so they could just play it safe and not do anything else. Maybe they would if they had shareholders to answer to.

      • ViRGiN

        > They make a ton off selling games so they could just play it safe and not do anything else.
        And all that money isn’t really creating jobs or fueling the economy. Yes, gayben does own multiple yachts, but developers are being laid off and indie have their lives ruined if steam algorithm isn’t helping the small guy. Just be real. Serving hundreds (!) of millions (!) of customers with a tiny tiny workforce of roughly 350 people isn’t healthy.

        What people like about valve are the memes, and unfounded love for the ‘work culture’ of which they know nothing about and just base it off super old youtube videos. A lot of these who do actually work for valve, have a lot to say about what’s going on at valve.

        So in the end, for them it’s purely about making even more money, at the lowest cost possible. You can argue their games were innovative, which they dont really make anymore; but all their hardware projects were just clones of already existing devices. Swapping thumbsticks with touchpad also isn’t really inventine, and no matter how many fanboys it has, it clearly did not stick with the public, and even for VR touchpads were a failure.

  • I started my VR life on a 4590. cannot tell you how much I do not recommend it for wireless VR. No way

  • david vincent

    “Quest 3 is the best value in a PC VR headset.”
    Sure if you don’t need low latency.
    Also Steam Link doesn’t have SSW, which is needed for demanding games like DCS World, MSFS, Hogwarts, Star Wars Jedi…

    • RiCHeeGee

      Virtual Desktop is better than Steam Link and Meta Quest Link. Supports SSW and allows running native Oculus runtime without Meta app and bypassing of Steam VR in most games via VDXR.

      Latency can be made comparable with Vive Wireless kit but it’s still high enough to make a difference in competitive games.

      I moved from Index/Vive Pro to Quest Pro and WiFi-6E and started losing games against people I’d usually beat until I optimized network and switched off buffering (this granted me a 20-30ms reduction in latency but it’s still higher than wired Steam VR devices).

    • Ardra Diva

      Yes, it is. Quest 3 is the best visor, all things considered, yet.

      • david vincent

        For your needs, maybe

  • rabs

    May be true for those with no headset. But except if mine breaks, I’d better spend that kind of money on a GPU.

    My GTX 1070 is still valiantly rendering what it can in latest sims, but it’s showing it’s age more than the panels resolution.

  • Alex

    engagement bait or not, here is another befuddled observation of an absolute cultist that wrote this article

    Valve Index was completely obsolete like a year after it came out lol

    • ViRGiN

      Even much sooner. HP Reverb came out like the same week! And it was pretty much the highest resolution consumer headset at the moment.

      Index with it’s Quest 1 resolution but in the CHEAPEST CHINESE LCD IMAGINABLE 1440×1600, versus HP 2160×2160.

      Index was absolutetly irrelevant, gaybens just really wanted a piece of “VALVE”. Index was abandoned the same day it came out.

      Who else remembers the pathethic speech given by mr manboobs in sandals in a warehouse?

      YouTube “Gabe Newell Valve Index Launch Party Speech”

  • Ondrej

    It’s not that ironic when you remember than Gaben was always AGAINST making any hardware and criticized it as a very unprofitable business.

    Valve makes hardware only as a necessity for the software. They are more than happy to let someone else do it. But Quest is a quite closed platform, so they are definitely not fully satisfied with it, which may push them to make the Deckard.

    • ViRGiN

      > Gaben was always AGAINST making any hardware and criticized it as a very unprofitable business

      Who the fuck is gayben? Nintendo makes a ton fo money off their hardware, its EXTREMELY profitable, if done right. But of course I wouldn’t expect a FILE HOSTING COMPANY with about 350 employees to be able to tackle ACTUAL challenges rather than writing an AI robot that will automatically refund you money if something doesn’t work from their store.

    • RiCHeeGee

      Deckard is years away in terms of hardware. A standalone PCVR HMD is going to need Xbox Series S levels of performance as a minimum which isn’t going to be running off a battery.

      You need something like half a Strix Halo on a smaller manufacturing process.

  • Hone McBone

    I just upgraded from an original Vive to a Quest 3 & similar to Ben it was Valve’s release & support of the Steam Link on the Oculus platform that helped finalise my decision.

    My intention was to wait for Valve’s next headset, hopefully something with eye tracking, but the lighthouses finally started to give up & I ended up settling for a Quest 3. It’s not perfect, I found the software for the link cable to be awful, it took a lot of playing around with settings to get it running with games like Microsoft Flight Sim, & Meta is still a pretty awful company with a tendency to drop support of their products after a couple of years. The quality of the headset & the components are great though & it’s a big step up from the Vive, it’s just too bad I can’t bypass the Meta software to use it with Steam.

  • RiCHeeGee

    Steam Link is okay but Virtual Desktop offers better image quality and performance and allows use of the native Oculus runtime without the Meta Quest Link app and the bypassing of SteamVR by VDXR in many games – the only caveat is having to use OpenXR toolkit to implement eye tracked foveated rendering but that doesn’t apply to you on the Quest 3.

    I grabbed a Quest Pro and a dedicated WiFi-6E router early last year to try because the Index controller thumbsticks were breaking every few months l and I’d had three RMAs in 12 months (two to three weeks turn around each time) so I wanted to give the Quest Pro controllers a try.

    I ended up selling my Index and Gear VR modded wireless Vive Pro plus 4 x base station, Vive wands and Index controllers two weeks later and haven’t looked back since. The wife is much happier now that I don’t have base stations all over the walls and the corresponding mess of wires and tracking accuracy is indistinguishable.

    There’s a little bit of latency difference that can impact competitive games but other than that I’m having a much better experience (I can also game wirelessly indefinitely after investing in a pile of hot swappable BOBOVR battery packs and the mounting kit).

    • Ardra Diva

      You strike me as the kind of guy that fiddles with your operating system until you manage to break it.

  • ViRGiN

    You absolutely can. And while it won’t be as low as locally streamed, it’s still perfectly playable, and probably the best way to explore pcvr for a month or two without committing to buying a real machine.

  • NicoleJsd

    Virtual desktop existed way before steam link. idk why you didn’t know about it. It’s not like it is some niche

  • Ardra Diva

    Quest 3 is awesome. I use it way more often than any before it. AR/MR/XR/WhateverR content is jawdropping. Love it.

  • polysix

    Both trash LCD.

    And am completely done with standalone VR HMDs on my head for PCVR (and standalone software sucks to the point VR is almost pointless).

    PCVR or PSVR2 are great… I was using Quest Pro for wireless PCVR and it worked very well, but I grew tired of having to do it all through a system not designed for it from the ground up… i.e battery, APUs, extra weight built in, having to go through layers (even with steam link) to get things working. While compression only bothered me now and then, the latency was notable.

    My old Rift CV1 *FEELS* so much better, even with its out-dated panels. Partially due to direct connection and also due to OLED.

    From this day on I’ll only have OLED, hate LCD (even local dimming), and pref direct connection (DP). I’m sure one day wireless will be as good but until they can remove the extra weight from battery and chips…. I’ll stick with wired.

    I’m gonna rebuy a PSVR2 when PC works with it (and buy a PS5 Pro for better perf there). Though PSVR2 could do with a revision too.

    • Ardra Diva

      great story, bro. good luck with everyone ending support for your CV1.

  • Ginsu_Weaver

    I honestly think Steam Link on the quest 3 is the test bed Wireless PC VR app for the Deckard Headset Valve has been working on for a bit now. If it is and the Deckard as everything we are looking for I know ALOT of quest 3 users will jump over to that (Me Included.) Valve Killed it with the index when it first release, while I have faith they’ll kill it with the Deckard, I also have no clue when they’re going to release it so even that is up in the air. Though I am always on the lookout for any new information on the Deckard.