As the holiday launch of the Windows VR headsets nears, Microsoft has published a new set of system requirements and an app allowing you to see if your PC will be ready for the company’s “Mixed Reality” platform.

A while back, a pre-release version of Windows specified some impressively low minimum specifications for Microsoft’s “Mixed Reality” platform (at the time called “Windows Holographic”). Though the company is indeed targeting support for a broad range of relatively low-end computers (even those with integrated graphics) a newly published minimum spec raises the bar a bit, and also clarifies the requirements for ‘Mixed Reality Ultra’ PCs, which will run Windows VR headsets at refresh rates and with better graphics. Here’s a look at Microsoft’s latest Mixed Reality specifications (which they note are subject to change):

Desktop and Notebook PCs with Discrete Graphics (‘Mixed Reality Ultra’) Desktop and Notebook PCs with Integrated Graphics (‘Mixed Reality’)
Operating System Windows 10 (RS3) Fall Creators Update – Home, Pro, Business, Education
Processor i5 Intel Core i5 (4th generation) CPU with 4 or more physical cores AMD FX-4350 4.2Ghz (desktop), 4 or more physical cores Intel Core i5 (7th generation) CPU, 2 physical cores with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology enabled
RAM 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 Dual Channel
Hard Disk Space 10 GB of free space
Graphics Card NVidia GTX 965M/AMD RX 460 or greater DX12 capable discrete GPU Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620 or greater DX12 capable integrated GPU
Graphics Driver Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.2
Display Connected external or integrated VGA (800×600) display
Graphics Display Port 1 x available HDMI 1.4/ DisplayPort 1.2
USB Connectivity 1 x available USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C
Bluetooth (for accessories) Bluetooth 4.0

The new consumer Windows Mixed Reality spec is published here, and comes with a bunch of fine print.

Hands-on: Microsoft's "Mixed Reality" VR Motion Controllers

For developers building for the Windows Mixed Reality platform, Microsoft recommends a higher set of specifications.

Check to See If Your PC is Ready for Windows Mixed Reality

If you want to know whether or not your computer makes the grade, Microsoft has handily published a new application which will tell you just that. The ‘Windows Mixed Reality PC Check’ app is available on the Windows store, and will check your hardware against the Mixed Reality specifications.

Update (9/14/17): The Windows Mixed Reality PC Check app has reappeared on the Windows store

Update (8/28/17): Microsoft seems to have pulled the Windows Mixed Reality PC Check app from the Windows store for now. It will likely return closer to the launch of the Windows VR headsets.

Image courtesy Microsoft

Even if your computer meets the specs, the app is likely to trigger a ‘Can’t run mixed reality’ message because the platform relies on the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update which hasn’t yet been released.

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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."
  • Jagick

    Sorry Microsoft, I’m just not getting Windows 10. Get over it already.

    • J.C.

      Oooo, the headsets will work with Steam, but do they work at ALL outside of Win10?

      Won’t matter in a couple years, but there’s still a lot of people right now who won’t upgrade for…whatever absurd reason they have.

    • NooYawker

      You will eventually. They all do eventually… become.. one of us. One of us.

    • Bespin

      Not missing you rest of us are all in.

      • Xilence

        I upgraded to Win 10 instantly but I still fully disapprove. I would not recommend it if you can avoid it, but if you can’t, then yeah, what choice do you have?

        • Bespin

          None so that’s the point move on …lol

          • Xilence

            Still, waiting and keeping the good stuff while you can is fine by me if it’s no difference to you.

    • crychlyd

      so brave

    • Hitherto

      Okay, then you’re not getting their AR or VR. Easy.

  • Wednaud Ronelus

    Lol, you are too funny

  • Kenny Thompson

    Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620 : Passmark Score = 762
    GeForce GTX 970 : Passmark Score = 4379
    Read 5.7 x more power with a Rift or Vive…. How would a Galaxy S8 score?

  • Muzufuzo

    I thought that requirements would be higher. It seems that the minimum is on par with 2017 top-of-the-line smartphones.

    • Bespin

      That’s because of Windows 10 built with it from day 1 not tacked on, windows 8 was for bigger targets , Fluent design is for targets that make sense in virtual. This AR push started 20 years ago for Microsoft… for Apple and google its about CATCH UP and trying to extend the life of smartphones sort of like 3DTV for TV

  • NooYawker

    Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620 or greater DX12 capable integrated GPU

    Is this a joke?

    • Konchu

      VR works on smartphones arguably way lower spec. So having lite experiences can make sense and they seems to be going for both. And I don’t think MS is doing this as a “Gaming platform” which is really cool for VR seems they want VR as a PC extension for all computing including productivity(Though we all know this will be used more gaming and naughtier things.)

      • Hitherto

        First, VR MAY work on phones with way lower spec, but that’s because VR phones still render to a single HD screen, whereas all VR headsets require two separate renders to two different screens, whose total combined pixel count is notably higher than a single HD one, thus drawing more power. This is compounded when you take into account that all these Microsoft headsets have a higher resolution than Oculus or Vive, and should therefore draw more graphics processing power to maintain a steady 90 fps. So the Intel card IS still kind of a joke.

        Second, although MS doesn’t want to be a gaming platform, all the applications they’re putting out at launch (with the exception of MasterpieceVR) are games. The intent to be a platform where you do everything in VR is there, but they’re not really capitalizing on it.

        • Konchu

          See I think its not so much the single screen as it is resolution and in particular the render resolution. Many of the earlier units for PC used one screen to get this done. So things like the pimax 4k did take more horsepower to run cause it had 4k worth of screen aka 3840 pixels × 2160 and the Vive/Oculus run at 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye) which is way lower. On phones I’m pretty sure they are under sampling to get good frame rates though the screen may be showing higher res in some cases than vive etc aka many phones are at 2960×1440 now they are most likely upscalling to that and not running native to make this work.

          I do think gaming is the biggest market for VR at the moment but as screens get better more and more uses will open. I still think Microsoft still has an eye on that prize on VR/AR being pivotal to windows in the future.

  • Duane Locsin

    I have little confidence in MS initiatives anymore.
    -Windows phones
    -Surface products (over priced, proprietary and not forward – yes they are meant to be templates for third party OEMS, but still a low bar)

    MS “mixed reality” is reminiscent of Kinect with just tech demos and MS not even really supporting their own product, let alone third parties.

    MS are half ass*ng and rushing it for the holidays.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      except there was only one company selling Kinect, and now there are at least 4 major manufacturers that make MR headsets, and it’s possible the Rift and Vive will also support it.

    • With MR they are trying to target the mass market. Above Cardboard, below Rift/Vive. That is my take on it.

  • MosBen

    You know, something that I don’t see talked about with regard to these headsets is how nice it would be to have a setup that only used one USB port. Using a third sensor with my Rift required me to get an external USB hub to use for some of my devices, which is acceptable to me, but probably seems like a pain and/or too complicated for non-early adopters. Just being able to use the ports on the back of your PC which are likely going unused now makes the process much less complicated.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    hmm still at least an GTX 965..

  • Nicolas Popy

    “Something went wrong, and can’t check your PC right Now. Try again later”

  • Doctor Bambi

    Makes me excited about the potential when we put this chip in more open air housing for standalone headsets and get some more thermal headroom.

  • GrangerFX

    I ran it. It gave me a warning that my USB is less than 3.0. I have USB 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 ports on this laptop. My guess is that it meant that I should not plug the Mixed Reality into the 2.0 port but the app is really badly written and did not explain that (typical Microsoft).