So, you’re finally ready to dip your toes into the virtual worlds, right? Well, you arrived at just the right time because it so happened that in the past few years virtual reality has gotten really, really good. There are games that offer immersive worlds, natural movement, and experiences that can only be achieved in virtual reality games.
Whereas the Oculus Quest and Quest 2 (now renamed Meta Quest 2) made a strong case for standalone VR headsets, games with more expansive worlds, and more mind-blowing graphics (like Half-Life: Alyx, which really doesn’t live up to noise level) still require a powerful computer to operate. But how powerful is it exactly? And which computer should you get? Read what you need to consider, plus our recommendations.
How to check if your PC will work with your VR headset
Once you know which VR headset you want to buy, the first thing you should do is research the minimum system requirements for that headset, as well as its recommendations. Not all VR headsets have the same basic needs. For example, the Oculus Rift (now the Meta Rift, I think?) wants an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti or AMD RX 470 graphics card, while the HTC Vive wants an NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD RX 480, but only requires 4GB of RAM Random, while Rift requests 8 GB.
A bit confusing, I know. Just start with the minimum requirements for headphones as a baseline when you start your search. You will mainly look at the graphics card, processor (central processing unit) and the amount of RAM. I would also like to add that you want the fastest Wi-Fi router possible. Your internet speed isn’t necessarily important, but if you want to wirelessly stream PCVR games to a wireless headset (such as the Meta Quest), you need a powerful router.
How to make sure that your computer can play virtual reality games
Here is where things get more complicated. Although the requirements for headphones may not be too high to explain, those major games will be more demanding. Again using Half-Life: Alyx as an example, it wants a Core i5-7500 or Ryzen 5 1600 processor, a GTX 1060 or RX 580, and 12GB or a massive RAM. But here’s the thing: This is just to run the game in a less accurate mode. Yes, you can still play it, but if you want all the amazing textures and detail, you’ll need something like an RTX 3080 GPU, which can be hard to find and expensive.
How to protect your computer in the future
This is tough because who knows what the future holds, but you can bet that games will get bigger and better and will require faster and faster hardware to run. If you just want to buy a desktop and keep it going for years, you’re better off looking at a system that has new-generation components, such as a GPU and CPU. It will cost you more now, but it may mean you don’t have to replace it sooner. Desktops are often upgradeable, so you may be able to upgrade some key components later without switching your entire system.
Anyway, let’s get to the recommendations.
pirate revenge i7200
If you want a gaming PC that not only works as a gaming PC but really look Like one too, the Vengeance i7200 fits the bill. You can get up to an Intel Core i9-10850K or AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU and even an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU (which has some crazy horsepower). You can max out at 64GB of RAM, which isn’t as high as some of the others on our list, but it will be more than enough for the games out there today. Additionally, this unit has some wild and customizable color LED lights that really wow.
price: 3300 dollars
HP Omen 30L Gaming Desktop
Intel Core i9-10900K? Examines. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090? Examines. Up to 64 GB of RAM? Examines. AMD options if you prefer? Roger that. I wouldn’t exactly call the HP Omen 30L a nice desktop tower, because it isn’t, but what’s inside is what counts, right? And you can actually see the insides through a big pane of glass, which is kind of cool looking.
price: $1400 or more
Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition 8940
If your gaming area is also your home office, and you want something a little more refined, then we have the right choice for you. The XPS Desktop Special Edition looks polished and light, with a cool 3D mesh on the front for added ventilation. Why do you need ventilation? Because you can fill it with some serious power — even an Intel Core i9 and Nvidia GTX 3070. No, that’s not nearly as brutal as the 3090, but you can push any current-gen game to its max graphics and still have smooth gameplay.
If you want something as customizable as it is, look no further than Maingear and their Turbo line. This pretty custom stuff uses AMD CPUs (up to Ryzen 9 5950X), graphics up to an NVIDIA RTX 3090 or AMD Radeon RX 6800. But what else? Do you want to choose the color of the car paint to apply to your chassis? Do it. Custom artwork? No problem. You can even choose the color of the coolant that runs through it (which you can see through a clear glass window), on some models.
price: $2,319 or more
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