What is the best Dell PC I can get for VR?
You've ordered your Rift or Vive and can't wait for it to arrive, but now you need a computer to run it. The dilemma: you don't have time to put a computer together yourself, or you don't feel comfortable delving that deep. Luckily, Dell puts together some great VR-capable computers under their XPS line. There is both an NVIDIA and AMD option to please members of both sides of the graphics card (GPU) debate.
XPS 8900 Special Edition
The XPS 8900 Special Edition is about as good of a gaming computer as you're going to get from Dell without delving into their Alienware line. Its processor (CPU) and GPU will deliver more than enough power for your VR ambitions, and its added features make the price easy to swallow.
The graphics card is arguably the most important part of your VR experience, and Dell has here thrown an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 into the build. Its 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM will run circles around your old video card and provide you with high-resolution VR sessions you won't want to end.
For memory you're getting 16GB of DDR4 RAM with the option to upgrade to a whopping 64GB. Considering the Rift recommends 8GB of RAM and the Vive recommends 4GB of RAM you won't have a problem with performance.
Your processor cannot be underestimated when it comes to building a gaming or VR PC — low performance will lead to bottlenecks that not even the best video card can get through. Here you're getting an Intel Core i7-6700K, the sixth generation multi-core processor that features new Skylake technology. It has a stock clock of 4GHz, but it can be overclocked to 4.2GHz. This is a VR-ready processor even if you're not into overclocking.
Aforementioned features of this desktop that don't relate so much to VR are still an essential part of your overall experience. A 512GB solid state drive will load your included copy of Windows 10 in seconds, and a 2TB hard disk drive can hold plenty of your games, movies, pictures, and more. If you still use disks (and many people do!) you'll be happy to know there is an included Blu-Ray combo drive; it reads Blu-Ray and can write to DVD or CD.
Dell's renowned hardware support is included for one year; expect in-home or onsite service for problems not fixed with distance support.
Looking for a Dell that runs your Vive or Rift and moonlights as a home and office PC? Have a look at the XPS 8900 Special Edition — this particular configuration starts at about $2200.
Don't be fooled by Dell's decision to omit this computer from the arena of "Special Edition" — it has more than enough strength to run your Vive or Oculus, and it comes at you for a markedly lower price. That price difference is made up mostly in areas that don't affect VR performance, so don't be dissuaded.
All VR-ready PCs need a robust graphics card, and here we have exactly that. AMD's Radeon HD R9 370 has 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM and is an excellent GPU for either the Vive or the Rift. AMD has its own software, Catalyst, that acts as a control panel for your Radeon GPU. Through Catalyst you receive driver updates and you can optimize your settings for individual games. You'll be getting the best performance possible from your graphics card — no one wants a grainy, stuttering VR experience.
Included in this configuration is an Intel Core i7-6700 processor that comes clocked at 3.4GHz. Although the clock speed is slower than the K version of this processor (as found in the XPS 8900 Special Edition), performance is not much different and in fact beats the K version in some aspects. You'll be getting more processing power than both the Vive and Rift recommend.
The Rift recommends 8GB of RAM while the Vive recommends 4GB of RAM — whichever VR system you use is covered here with included 16GB of RAM. Dell's motherboard supports a whopping 64GB of RAM, so you'll have plenty of room for future expansions projects.
Some features not-so-related to VR are nevertheless part of the overall PC gaming experience. With the XPS 8900 you're getting a 2TB hard disk drive loaded with a copy of Windows 10, and you're also getting a DVD and CD burner that can read Blu-Rays. Included is one year of Dell's fantastic hardware service — onsite repair is available for any problems not fixed with distance support.
If you prefer AMD Radeon technology for your graphics card, or if you'd rather save around $1000 over the special edition XPS, have a look at this PC; it starts at about $1250.
How do you VR?
Let us know in the comments section below what Dell PC you're using for your VR setup.