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How-To: Build a VR-worthy PC

If you want to get into virtual reality, you’ll need a souped-up computer

HTC Vive (photo by SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images).

Virtual reality is here to stay. The technology is making its way into living rooms around the world with PC-based VR platforms such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The games and entertainment content available is unreal, offering an immersive experience that must be seen to be believed. But what if your current computer rig isn’t up to the task of running a VR setup? No worries, here’s a rundown of some of the tech components you need to get in on all the VR action.

The GPU

It’s essential to get a high-powered graphics processing unit, or card, such as the AMD Radeon RX 480 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or better. VR is graphically demanding, requiring GPUs not only to render at a high resolution but also to deliver a frame rate often above 90fps (frames per second). You definitely need a beefy GPU.

The CPU

Find a potent processor such as the Intel Core i5-6500 (3.2 GHz Quad-core). If you’re aiming for more affordable alternatives at the cost of a little clock speed, you could level down to an Intel Core i5-6400 processor. It’s clear to many VR fans that the GPU does most of the heavy lifting, and while you need a solid CPU for VR, those requirements aren’t terribly demanding. If you had to upgrade anywhere, spend the extra cash on a souped-up GPU.

RAM

It’s recommended to give your PC at least 8 GB of memory, which is the bare minimum for using the Oculus Rift headset, for example.

Hard-drive Space

This is essential to store all your games and entertainment and the operating system. Anywhere from 240 GB to 500 GB is recommended.

USB Ports

Note that VR headsets demand several open USB 3.0 ports for connectivity, so you’ll need a motherboard that supplies plenty of them.

Operating System

Finally, you need the best OS available, and Windows 10 is ideal for such a VR build, thanks to its widespread support for VR games and apps.

Now it’s time to sit back and dive deep into VR worlds, whether you’re a gamer or a movie fan looking to be immersed like never before. And best of all, you played DIY tinkerer and modded your PC to handle this new technology without giving in to buying a VR-friendly PC.