Maybe you haven't made the jump yet, maybe you're settling for the respectable usability of the PSVR, or maybe you just haven't scrounged up the funds to get into VR. After all, you must have heard the stories of how you'll need an ultra-powerful machines fitted to the highest specs and running on the brain of a T-1000. The costs can be intimidating when you're taking your first baby steps into VR and all you have to go on is the bravado of internet commenterati. But what do you really need to run a full VR experience? How beefy of a machine is actually required?

Recommended requirements

Glancing through the website, Oculus recommends the following minimum PC requirements for a fully fleshed out VR experience on the Oculus headset:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output

PC Part Picker pegs a system built using these specs at around $650 USD. A very reasonable price for a PC capable of full VR output.

SImilarly, HTC lists the minimum rig for the HTC Vive as requiring:

  • Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better.
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 4590 or AMD FX 8350 or greater.
  • RAM: 4GB or more.
  • Video port: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2, or better.

A PC built with these specs comes in even lower, at a mere $625. 

When Beyond Reality demoed the Beyond Builder product at Buildex last year, we used a higher spec computer, using the GTX 1080 graphics card. It isn't too dissimilar from the GTX 970 And from first hand experience, it runs like a dream.

Beyond Reality runs full VR experiences on GPUs similar to the above requirements

Beyond Reality runs full VR experiences on GPUs similar to the above requirements

Don't let the fear that you need a beast of a computer to run a full VR experience stop you from taking the dive. As you've seen above, the most expensive part of the VR experience is the VR headset itself. But as Facebook has announced it'll be dropping the price of the Oculus by $200, putting pressure on HTC to follow suit for the Vive, it may just be that your next VR adventure won't be so far away after all.