Now that you have an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive 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.
Oculus recently integrated Asynchronous Timewarp into their runtime, effectively lowering the minimum specs for PCs running the Rift. While it is still recommended to pick up a powerful PC, it's not always possible. We will look at the best laptops ready for VR, and we'll also look at a great laptop with lower specs that will still run your Oculus Rift.
The Alienware 17 (starting at about $1,479) comes equipped with up to an NVIDIA GTX 1080 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM, which is pretty much bananas. The GTX 1080 is near the very top of the NVIDIA line and will have no problem running your Rift or Vive.
The 17.3-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 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7820HK quad-core processor can be boosted up to a 4.4GHz clock speed; again, keep in mind this crazy performance is coming from a laptop. With up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a big solid-state drive (SSD), you're sure to have a great VR gaming experience with the Alienware 17.
If you think a 17-inch laptop is a bit too big to lug around, check out the Alienware 15, which can also run VR with a smaller footprint.
The new Razer Blade (starting at about $1,800) follows the cult of Thin that Razer has long been known for — the body here is only 0.7 inches (1.77cm) thick. This is hard to believe when you consider there is an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and up to a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive inside the chassis. Don't forget about the quarterback, a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor that keeps everything running smoothly.
The 14-inch, 1080p display (also available in 4K) is great for when you're taking a break from VR, and the Chroma keyboard has millions of color combinations for your backlit keys. You get three USB-A 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, and an HDMI port for easy VR connectivity. Windows Central has a full review of the Razer Blade to check out for more information. Also, if money is no object and you'd like a bigger, badder Razer Blade, be sure to have a look at the Razer Blade Pro.
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 ROG G752VS (about $2,350) with a GTX 1070 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. While still a beast of a GPU, it doesn't quite have the same oomph as its bigger sibling. Don't worry; the GTX 1070 will not have any problems running games in VR.
This laptop also comes stocked with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, 16GB of overclocked DDR4 RAM, and dual 256GB solid-state drive coupled with a 1TB hard-disk drive.
The 17.3-inch, 1080p display has a 120Hz refresh rate and is G-SYNC compatible for silky smooth gaming when you aren't in VR. Throw in a smart 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. 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 GS63VR Stealth Pro
Looking for a VR-ready gaming laptop that isn't a beast to lug around? The MSI Stealth Pro (starting at about $1,760) is aptly named. Although it has a GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, it keeps a surprisingly low profile and weighs in at just under four pounds.
The 15.6-inch display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution for when you aren't in VR, but you can also get up to a 4K display if money is no object. This thing has a full SteelSeries keyboard with a number pad and a beautiful full-color backlight.
All configurations come with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor that comes in at a stock 2.8GHz clock speed. 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. For more information, check out Windows Central's in-depth review of the GS63VR.
ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS
Love ASUS but don't want to shell out upwards of $2,500? This model, the ROG Strix GL502VS, starts at about $1,450 — quite a deal considering what you're getting.
This laptop has either an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU or a GTX 1070 GPU — your games are going to look gorgeous. Keeping things running smoothly is a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a clock speed up to 3.8GHz, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
The display is 15.6 inches and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. There's also a 120Hz refresh rate, and it's G-SYNC compatible to make things about as smooth as possible when you're doing some standard gaming outside of VR. Rounding out the specs is a 128GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard-disk drive to accommodate for your ever-expanding library of games.
Acer Predator 17 X
Acer's Predator line offers some of the company's highest tier gaming devices, bringing together formidable processor and graphics combinations. The Acer Predator 17 X (starting at about $2,700) sits among the line's best offerings, packing some of the best hardware currently available with its form factor.
Another laptop that sits in the heavy-hitter category, it's sporting a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor that can be boosted up to 4.3GHz. When paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM and 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, the Predator 17 X winds up to be a truly impressive device for virtual reality. All of this is only complemented by its available storage solutions, with the option of a three SATA SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration or an NVMe PCIe solid state drive.
When away from the headset, the Acer Predator 17 X has both full HD and 4K display variants on offer – both of which support NVIDIA G-SYNC.
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition
Acer's recent revision to the Aspire line adds new components and connectivity, bringing the laptop range into the modern day. The Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition (starting at about $1,275) packs some remarkable specs into its relatively slim body, being a worthy choice for those jumping into laptop VR.
With the Aspire V Nitro, buyers will get the choice of up to a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
For the display, the Aspire V Nitro is available in a 15-inch variant with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Finally, when it comes to ports, the Nitro supports traditional USB-A, USB-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI and Ethernet. Windows Hello integration is also available in the form of a fingerprint sensor.
Lenovo Legion Y720
The Lenovo Legion Y720 starting at about $1,100) is among the entry level VR laptops, packing a Core i5-7300HQ or a Core i7-7700HQ processor and an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Although outperformed by a number of today's high-end gaming laptops, the Y720 is a relatively well-priced choice with suitable specs for a fluid VR experience. Two display resolutions are available for the Y720 – both full HD and 4K configurations.
Under the hood, you'll also find inbuilt Xbox One wireless controller support, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C and Dolby Atmos speakers. This is all wrapped up in an appealing RGB-laced package. If you're thinking about a Legion Y720, be sure to check out Windows Central's review.
Best laptops that meet Oculus Rift minimum specs
The Rift's minimum specs are as follow:
- Video card: NVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD Radeon RX 470
- Processor: Intel i3-6100 / AMD FX4350
- RAM: 8GB
- Ports: one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and one HDMI
- OS: Windows 8 or newer
This opens up an entirely new section of laptops that are ready for VR. Here are the best laptops that meet these new specs.
Lenovo Legion Y520
Lenovo's Legion gaming line is coming along nicely, and they've now added a budget option that just so happens to meet the Rift's minimum specs. For about $780, you're getting a 7th-generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
The 15.6-inch IPS display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution for when you'd like to play standard games, and the 1TB hard-disk drive can accommodate your library. You can upgrade hardware as you see fit, getting up to a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and an added solid-state drive. Prices go up as you increase the hardware, but you're still getting a bargain no matter how you configure things. Windows Central's review of the Legion Y520 contains much more information about this outstanding budget laptop.
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!
Updated September 8, 2017: We've refreshed this list to ensure you're still getting the absolute best laptops for VR.
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