Virtual Reality is finally here. Both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive have launched, and each has (so far) delivered on their promises to create immersive, amazing experiences. But if like me you wouldn’t know anything about that. Since most of my experiences have been limited to conventions and stores. Reason being is that my poor PC has not yet been equipped to support VR Technology.
So here’s some tips on getting your PC, VR-ready on a budget.
So for the less tech savvy of you, building a PC may sound daunting. And for you to fully appreciate this article you will need to familiarise yourselves with the basics. Lukily for you the internet is chock full of healthy tutorials, tips and articles to get you started. If you’ve never done this before check out this video:
This video by Easypcbuilder is very helpful, as is this article by PCWorld. It’s important to remember that the process of building a virtual reality-ready PC is identical to the process of building any other PC, you’ll just be working with more powerful (and expensive) components.
Even though this is the budget edition of building a PC there is still a significant amount of investment that you’re going to spend for parts. I’m not talking about tens of thousands of dollars but definitely a couple of thousand. Remember that playing a game in VR requires your computer to render the game twice, at relatively high graphical settings. So you’ll need to beef up the horsepower of your PC.
Expect your entry-level VR PC to set you back about RM5,000 or about USD1,000. Not including the VR hardware itself. Always remember to shop around, don’t just look at LowYat or SimLim, you can also check for parts online. Remember to set yourself a realistic budget for your build at the beginning. So you don’t go over budget at the end.
Know What You Need
If you’ve built a PC before, you’ve likely heard of Logical Increments. If you haven’t, allow us to introduce you. The site features example builds for everything from budget PCs to monstrous rigs that cost thousands of dollars, and they check each build to make sure that all the components are compatible with each other, which can save first-time PC builders from costly mistakes. It is a near-essential resource for people wondering how to build a PC, and they even have a buying guide for folks wanting to know how to build a VR-ready PC.
Having said that, before you go adding everything Logical Increments lists on their site into your shopping cart, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Necessities You Can’t Skimp On
- There are certainly areas of any VR-ready PC build in which you can skimp a bit. The CPU is not one of them. You’re going to need something with at least a quad-core processor. So resign yourself to spending a bit more money in this department. If you are going with a motherboard and build that supports Intel chips,the new Intel i5-6500 won’t break the bank. If you’re planning an AMD build, anything at or above the level of the FX-6350 processor should work. But we recommend spending a bit more to get an 8-core processor like the FX-9370 to future-proof the build.
- Video Card
- For a budget build, the RX 480 will handle most VR apps and games at an attractive price point. However we’d also recommend you consider the R9 390x, which is able to run most VR games at high or very high settings while maintaining a constant frame rate.
- RAM – 8GB at least
- USB ports – Make sure you have plenty of USB ports (2.0, 3.0 and 3.1) so you can plug everything in. This is especially important if you’re planning to buy the Oculus Rift headset.
Compatibility Of Your Parts
If you do choose to go a bit off-script with your VR build, be sure to visit PCPartPicker. This is another invaluable resource for both novice and experienced PC builders, as it allows you to keep track of the components you’ve picked for your PC. As well as ensure that each component is compatible with every other one. There’s nothing worse than starting a build only to realize that your components don’t fit.
Once you have all of your parts picked out, add each to PC Part Picker to ensure compatibility. Screenshot the page, and file it away for the next step.
Those are a few tips for you to take note of before you build your VR PC. Do you have any more tips? Be sure to leave us a comment below!