“VR Requires a Super High-end Gaming PC”
This was arguably true when VR headsets first hit the market back in 2016. Most VR headsets demand high resolutions and high framerates, quite a bit higher than the 1080p 60FPS that was a common performance target for PC games of the era.
Four years later, the high-end GPUs of the time have become the low-end GPUs of today, and major players in the VR space have improved performance on the software side to actually lower the minimum GPU power compared to when headsets first launched.
Yes, you’re still going to need a dedicated GPU, but even moderate gaming PCs (and many gaming laptops) have the power to run VR games.
There’s a common misconception that if you want to get VR headset, you’re going to need to buy a new high-end PC to power it. I’ve heard this from plenty of gaming friends who are getting interested in a VR headset; when I ask them what specs they have in their current PC, they’re always surprised to find they already have the hardware they need.
This is true for many PC gamers. The most popular NVIDIA and AMD cards on Steam—GeForce GTX 1060 and RX 580—easily have enough horsepower for any consumer VR headset old or new. Even older cards like the GTX 970 are enough.
And let’s say you have an aging gaming PC that in fact doesn’t have the requisite horsepower. How much would you need to spend to buy a new one that can handle VR? Surely it must be $1,500? Nope. Most people are surprised to find that they can buy a brand-new VR capable PC for around $800, or even cheaper if they wait for a sale or are willing to build one for themselves.
And we haven’t even talked about Oculus Quest [Amazon] yet! If a gaming PC is out of the question, you’re in luck. Quest—which we called “the first great standalone VR headset“—is an all-in-one headset that requires no outside hardware. Though it has less graphics horsepower, Quest actually has an impressive and growing game library, including ports of many PC VR titles, including Beat Saber, the best-selling VR game to date.
Surely an all-in-on VR headset that can play games like Beat Saber must be expensive. Right? Nope. Quest is a great value at $400, especially because it can optionally tether to a PC to play the full range of PC VR games. That way, if you catch VR fever and want to upgrade to more expansive VR games on PC (like Half-Life: Alyx), you can use the headset you already have.