What are the best laptops for my virtual reality setup?
Now that you have a VR setup in your hands, you may need a new PC to run it. While desktops will almost always trump laptops with potential performance, laptops have some obvious advantages: mobility, footprint, and power consumption should all be considered.
Yet to be sold on laptops? Check out the best laptops ready for VR.
- Alienware 17
- MSI GE62VR Apache Pro
- ASUS ROG G725VS OC Edition
- Origin EON17-SLX
- MSI Stealth Pro
- ASUS ROG GL502VS
- MSI GT72VR Dominator Pro
- ASUS GX700VO
The new Alienware 17 comes equipped with an NVIDIA GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon RX 470 graphics card, which is pretty much bananas. The GTX 1080 is top of the NVIDIA line, and the RX 470 is not far from the front when it comes to AMD GPUs. Both of these cards will have no problem running your Rift or Vive.
The 17-inch display is available in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K configurations, each costing a bit more than the last. Each display does look beautiful, so if you're looking to save some bucks, here's where you can get away with it without affecting your VR experience — you won't be looking at the screen much anyway.
If you're into overclocking, the Intel Core i7 can be boosted up to a 4.1GHz clock speed; again, keep in mind this crazy performance is coming from a laptop. With up to 32GB of RAM and a big solid-state drive, you're sure to have a great VR gaming experience with the Alienware 17. It hits later this September.
MSI GE62VR Apache Pro
If you love MSI but don't want to spend quite as much money as the higher-end MSI VR-ready laptops cost, the Apache Pro might be the one for you. It has an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM that will have no problem running your VR games, and it has either 12GB or 16GB of RAM.
The 17.3-inch IPS display has a 1920x1080 resolution and is designed to cut down on glare — not the best resolution, but you won't mind since you'll have your face in a VR head-mounted display most of the time.
All configurations come with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ with a stock 2.6GHz clock speed that can be overclocked up to 3.5GHz. If you're not into overclocking, the stock speed will be enough to take care of whatever VR games you throw at it.
The Apache Pro has the standard MSI offering of a full-size SteelSeries keyboard with a beautiful full-color backlight. As mentioned, the price is a bit lower than other MSI VR-ready laptops — this one starts at about $1550.
ASUS ROG G725VS OC Edition
If you don't want quite as much power as an NVIDIA GTX 1080 delivers, you can pick up this ASUS laptop with a GTX 1070. While still a beast of a GPU, it doesn't quite have the same oomph as its bigger sibling, and it will save you a bit of money — this laptop starts at about $2500. The GTX 1070 will not have any problems running games in VR.
The ASUS ROG G725VS also comes stocked with an overclocked Intel Core i7-6820HK processor, your choice of 32GB or 64GB of overclocked RAM, and your choice of a 256GB or 512GB solid-state drive. ASUS also managed to cram in a 1TB hard disk drive to hold all your games.
The 17.3-inch 1080p display isn't going to knock anyone over with its resolution, but it's sufficient for setting up your VR games. Throw in a fantastic cooling system to keep the heat down while you're overclocking, and you have a badass laptop ready for VR.
Origin's EON17-SLX comes to you with many customizable options. As you work through the build menu, you will see how many different pieces of hardware you can choose, and you will see the price rise or drop in real time as you make selections.
You can choose from either one or, yes, two NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPUs with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM. One GTX 1080 will have no problem running your VR games, so save some money here if needed. All of the processors offered by Origin are suitable for VR, so go with your gut and your bank account. RAM? The Vive recommends 4GB and the Rift recommends 8GB; go with what you want but ensure you meet the requirements for your VR setup. The 17.3-inch 4K display is a beauty, and the matte finish will keep glare to a minimum.
Even the laptop's case is customizable. Choose from 8 stock colors and 8 stock paint jobs. Not satisfied with what they have to offer? Create your own design using any artwork you want. You can, if you want, have your face airbrushed onto your laptop. Cool, right? Adding to the style is a multi-color backlit keyboard with a full number pad for added function.
Even if you're not going to buy one, it's fun to create a laptop and see the price on Origin's website. The customization options are extensive and show that Origin truly cares about what you want. No matter what you choose, you're looking at spending between $2500 and $4000 — but that's expected for a premium gaming laptop.
MSI Stealth Pro
Looking for a VR-ready gaming laptop that isn't a beast to lug around? The MSI Stealth Pro is aptly named. Although it has a GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM and 16GB of RAM, it keeps a surprisingly low profile and weighs in at four pounds.
The 15.6-inch display has a 1920x1080 resolution — not incredible, but keep in mind that you're using this for VR. This thing has a full SteelSeries keyboard with a number pad and a beautiful full-color backlight.
All configurations come with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor that comes in at a stock 2.6GHz clock speed. If you're into overclocking, you can get up to about a 3.5GHz clock speed, but the stock speed will run your VR games without problems. Those games and your copy of Windows 10 will be safe and sound in your choice of 256GB or 512GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard-disk drive is there as your library expands.
ASUS ROG GL502VS
Love ASUS but don't want to shell out upwards of three or four grand? This model, the ROG GL502VS, starts at about $1700 — quite a deal considering what you're getting.
This laptop has an NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM — your games are going to look gorgeous. Keeping things running is an Intel Core i7-6700HQ with a clock speed 2.6GHz, and 16GB of RAM.
The display is 15.6 inches and has a resolution of 1920x1080. Keep in mind you'll have your head in a VR headset most of the time, so super high resolutions aren't exactly important when choosing a laptop for VR.
This is ASUS's most mobile VR-ready laptop; it's less than an inch thick and weighs in at just under five pounds. Not bad considering they've jammed in a 256GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard-disk drive to accommodate for your ever-expanding library of games.
MSI GT72VR Dominator Pro
The MSI Dominator Pro is packed with your choice of either an NVIDIA GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM or an NVIDIA GTX 1070 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. While not quite as powerful as the GTX 1080, both are powerful graphics cards that won't have any problems running your Vive or Rift.
The 17.3-inch and 15.6-inch display models come in several configuration options — you can choose between 12GB, 16GB, and 32GB of RAM, and 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB solid-state drives. No matter which model you go with will come with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor that can be overclocked up to 3.5GHz.
The display's resolution is 1920x1080 — not fantastic, but most of the time you're going to have your face in a VR head-mounted display. The keyboard is provided by SteelSeries and has a full spectrum of color you can choose from. Pretty!
What we have here is the world's first liquid-cooled gaming laptop. The liquid cooling unit is a piece separate from your actual laptop, so if you're thinking about maximum portability you might want to look at some of the other options on this list. If you're someone who loves to overclock your processor, however, this might be your best bet.
The liquid-cooling unit connects to your laptop without leaks; it transfers coolant between two radiators and the guts of your laptop in order to cool things down better than any sort of air cooling. ASUS claims desktop performance with the cooler attached to the laptop, but if you'd rather not attach the cooler (mobility reasons) you'll still see stellar performance.
It comes with an Intel Core i7-6820HK processor that is clocked at 2.7GHz. Thanks to liquid cooling you can overclock this puppy up to 3.6GHz without worrying about a meltdown. This CPU has enough power to run your Rift or Vive even if it's not overclocked, so don't worry if you're not really into that sort of thing.
The most important part of your VR-ready laptop is the graphics card. While the ASUS GX700VO doesn't have a new 10-series GTX card, it does have a GTX 980 with 8GB of VRAM. That's plenty of power for all your Rift and Vive games.
ASUS gives you 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and the motherboard has enough room to expand up to 64GB. The Rift recommends 8GB of RAM and the Vive recommends 4GB; either way, you have more than enough for whatever you want to do.
To top things off you're getting a 17.3-inch display at 4K UHD for when you're not in virtual reality. The display features NVIDIA's G-Sync technology to reduce stuttering and tearing. You're going to get a smooth gaming experience in and out of VR. An external display or two can be hooked up to this laptop thanks to the beefy GPU and myriad ports available (including HDMI and Thunderbolt 3 USB-C).
Your VR-ready laptop
Which laptop are you using for VR? If you're not already using one, would you consider it? Let us know in the comments section below!