If you love the idea of playing virtual reality games in your home, you need excellent computing hardware to make it happen. VR software requires plenty of processing power. As a result, only high-end gaming computers have the right system requirements.
To play the latest VR games, you will need a computer with above-average CPU performance and well-above-average graphics performance. The majority of computers for VR are desktops, but some laptops can handle the job, too.
To learn more about computers for VR, continue reading our buying guide. Our favorite VR-ready computer is the iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC MR9280. It does an excellent job of mixing power and price.
Considerations when choosing computers for VR
When selecting a VR computer, think about whether a desktop or laptop is right for your gaming style.
Desktop computers have a tower configuration with a separate display monitor. This is the most popular option for a VR computer, as the components of a desktop computer are easy to upgrade in the future.
It’s also easier to cool a desktop tower than a laptop. This is important for VR computers, as the processors inside the VR computer will run hot as they work, requiring cooling for safe performance.
VR laptop computers give you the obvious advantage of portability. However, the selection of VR-ready laptops is fairly small and upgrading them to keep up with the latest games can be challenging. Gaming laptops sometimes have a design that simplifies certain upgrades compared to business laptops.
When looking for a VR computer that can handle the latest VR games, pay attention to the minimum requirements of the software you plan to use. These requirements are usually listed on the product packaging or on its website.
For the best level of performance, your VR computer should exceed these minimum requirements. Some of the components you’ll find listed in these requirements include the following:
Also called a CPU, the processor’s ability to receive instructions is measured in GHz of clock speed.
Also called a GPU, it sits on the graphics card. The VR software may require a certain GHz of clock speed in the GPU.
Frames per second:
VR software requires a fast screen refresh, which it will measure in frames per second, or fps.
Short for random access memory, this is the temporary storage area for data the CPU is currently using. It’s measured in GB.
The graphics card will contain its own RAM, sometimes called GRAM. It’s also measured in GB.
The majority of VR hardware will need a USB 3.0 or faster port to connect to the computer.
VR hardware may require DisplayPort or HDMI ports to connect to the computer.
The least expensive computers made to run VR software cost from $600 to $1,500. These may struggle with intensive software, however. For a top-end desktop VR computer, expect to pay from $1,500 to $4,500.
Q. Do I need a specific computer for a particular VR brand?
A. No. Most VR hardware has common connectors that will work with any computer. Just make sure your computer is powerful enough to run the hardware you want to use.
Q. What is the most important component in a VR computer?
A. The majority of computers need top-notch graphics card to run VR software properly. Because VR software requires a high frame rate, the graphics card has to be a strong performer.
Computers for VR we recommend
Best of the best: iBUYPOWER’s Pro Gaming PC MR9280
Our take: If you don’t want to blow your budget, this model has the best power and feature set for the price you’ll pay.
What we like: You’ll be able to significantly overclock the CPU for those VR games that need an extra power boost.
What we dislike: Doesn’t have enough power for the top-end VR games, so you may need to add upgrade the RAM out of the gate.
Best bang for your buck: Skytech Gaming’s ArchAngel Gaming Desktop PC
Our take: This isn’t the most powerful computer for VR gaming, but it’ll handle certain tasks well, and it has a reasonable price.
What we like: The graphics card in this computer is the star performer, delivering outstanding quality for VR gaming.
What we dislike: Needs more power for demanding VR applications. Limited to 2.4GHz wireless transmission speeds.
Choice 3: Acer’s Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
Our take: This is an impressive gaming laptop for VR or other types of games.
What we like: Contains a high-end graphics card, so it can run intensive VR software as successfully as many desktop computing setups.
What we dislike: Tends to run excessively hot when using VR applications or high-end software.