Ah, Virtual Reality, VR, the closest we’ll ever get to a holodeck. But if you’re like me, your hobbies tend to outweigh your checkbook, especially when it comes to technology. The good news is, you can build a PC that is capable of running VR, offers tons of features, looks great, and only costs around $650[ii],[iii], thus enabling you to dive into VR without breaking the bank. (Well, at least not too much).
If you’re already bored and tired of reading then check out this video. If you have a general dislike for product videos that tend to take too long to get the point, (thank goodness for YouTube speed settings[iv]) read on below!
Testing VR performance is in its infancy, and utilities like FRAPS only measure the refresh rate of the mirrored window on your desktop, not the smoothness of the experience in the head-mounted display. Because of this, we tested the system the way you would: we turned it on and played a wide variety of game titles on it. We enjoyed excellent, playable VR experiences and we were never disappointed when playing games like Elite Dangerous, Google Tiltbrush, Vanishing Realms, Hordez, Surgeon Simulator, and Space Pirate Trainer.
We started with an AMD FX™ 6350 CPU ($126.50). The processor does an excellent job on nearly all VR titles, and in addition, DX12 enabled games can take advantage of the six cores. It comes with our new stock cooler, the Wraith, to help keep the system cool and quiet. You may see a compatibility warning pop up when using an Oculus Rift headset, but this is nothing to worry about – know that our CPU validation efforts with Oculus are underway!
For graphics, we’re using the 4GB version of the Radeon™ RX 480 graphics card ($199.99). It’s an ideal match of price to performance providing VR capability starting at SEP $199 USD, the most affordable solution for premium VR on the market today.
Our motherboard is the Gigabyte GA-970-Gaming-SLI ($98.99). This board is great for this system as it offers tons of features including USB 3.1 & 3.0 ports, which are crucial for supporting all the devices you need for VR. In addition, this board includes reinforced PCIe® slots, integrated lighting and is ready for M.2 storage.
Our case is the Corsair Spec Alpha ($64.99) which looks fantastic, is super easy to build with, comes with three case fans and is available in a few different color options. Note, pricing may vary based on color.
In total that’s $649.34! Not too shabby for a PC that played VR for us just fine, as well as games, movies, just about anything you need. So what do you think? Are you jumping on the VR bandwagon? Would you use different parts? Let me know in the comments.
At least in the next 12-18 months
[ii] Prices change and sales happen so this price may be higher or lower right now. These prices were current as of July 12th, 2016 from PCPartPicker.com and Newegg.com..
[iii] Price does not include keyboard, mouse, monitor, VR hardware (like a headset) or any software
System configuration as tested: FX 6350, 4GB Radeon™ RX 480 GPU, 2x4GB DDR3-1866, 240GB SSD, Driver 16.7.2, Windows 10
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