Team Red trumpeted the arrival of “VR for the masses” with the launch of its Radeon RX 480, a graphics card that revolutionized what’s possible for $200. But the real key to virtual reality on a budget quietly lies in AMD’s affordable processors. FX chips aren’t even mentioned in Oculus Rift’s PC requirements, but many of them indeed power VR experiences, and for far less cost than the Intel Core i5-4590 ($195 on Amazon) Oculus recommends.
To drive the point home, AMD designed a VR-ready DIY PC whose hardware costs a mere $650(ish), with the FX-6350 and Radeon RX 480 as its cornerstones. And then they offered to send it to us for review to verify that it’s indeed capable of engulfing you in digital worlds without barf-inducing frame rate compromises.
Here are the specs for the rig before we dive into analysis. (AMD really likes Corsair! Though we do too, if PCWorld’s dedicated graphics card test system is any indication.)
- FX-6350 with Wraith cooler ($118 on Amazon with AMD stock cooler, or $130 on Newegg with Wraith)
- Radeon RX 480 4GB ($200 on Newegg)
- Gigabyte GA-970-Gaming SLI motherboard ($99 on Amazon)
- Corsair Vengeance (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 memory ($43 on Amazon)
- Corsair Force LE 240GB SSD ($65 on Amazon)
- Corsair CXM 550W Bronze ($54 on Amazon)
- Red and white Corsair Spec-Alpha case ($80 on Newegg)
Add it all up and you’ve got a grand total of $659 as of September 6. Pricing for PC parts fluctuates regularly—we’ve seen the cost of this rig vary from $649 to $680 while we’ve had it for testing—but AMD’s definitely fair to call this build a $650 PC.