What are the system requirements for VR?

You have your eyes on a shiny new VR system, you have money in your hand, but do you have the computer to run it? The three big contenders, the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) all have significantly different recommended system requirements. Here they are to ensure you get everything running as it should.

HTC Vive system requirements

Vive system requirements

There are a few sets of system requirements to look at when considering the HTC Vive. The first, the minimum requirements, are what you absolutely need to have to properly run the Vive. The second, the recommended requirements, are what you should have to get the most out of your Vive. Now that the Vive is coming to Mac, we need to also take a look at those recommended specs.

There is a SteamVR compatibility tool available for download from Steam. Use it to test whether or not your computer is ready to run the Vive.

Download SteamVR Performance Test from Steam

Recommended PC specs

These are the specs that HTC recommends to run the Vive. You can, of course, have better performing hardware than what is listed here.

Category Hardware
Processor Intel Core i5-4590
AMD FX 8350
(equivalent or better)
Graphics card NVIDIA GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 480
(equivalent or better)
RAM 4GB or more
Video output HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2
USB One USB-A 2.0
OS Windows 7 or newer

Minimum PC specs

These are the minimum specs your PC needs to properly run the Vive. The only thing that's really different from the recommended PC specs is the graphics card, and that's mostly thanks to asynchronous reprojection, a technology implemented in SteamVR that allows for a smoother VR experience from lesser hardware.

Category Hardware
Processor Intel Core i5-4590
AMD FX 8350
(equivalent or better)
Graphics card NVIDIA GTX 970
AMD Radeon R9 290
(equivalent or better)
RAM 4GB or more
Video output One HDMI 1.4 or one DisplayPort 1.2
USB One USB-A 2.0
OS Windows 7 or newer

Minimum Mac specs

HTC Vive and SteamVR are coming to Mac, and many new, high-end iMacs will have support right out of the box thanks to a beefy Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. The rest of the specs remain pretty much the same as the PC specs; you still need at least 4GB of RAM and a strong processor, both of which the new iMac crushes. You will, however, need to invest in a Thunderbolt 3 adapter or two in order to have the correct ports.

Don't forget, the new MacBook Pro has support for an external GPU, effectively making it an option as well as long as the rest of the specs match.

Oculus Rift system requirements

Oculus Rift system requirements

The Oculus Rift has two things working for it — Asynchronous Spacewarp and Asynchronous Timewarp — that help lower the load on your PC. For this reason, the Rift's minimum system requirements are quite a bit lower than the Vive's. There are still recommended system specs that will deliver the best Rift experience possible.

Oculus has a great compatibility tool that will scan your computer and tell you if you have what it takes to run a Rift.

Download the Rift compatibility tool

Recommended PC specs

This is the hardware that Oculus recommends for the best Rift experience. You can have a better processor, graphics card, and more RAM without causing any problems.

Category Hardware
Processor Intel Core i5-4590
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
(equivalent or better)
Graphics card NVIDIA GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 480
(equivalent or better)
RAM 8GB or more
Video output HDMI 1.3
USB Three USB-A 3.0
One USB-A 2.0
OS Windows 7 or newer

Minimum PC specs

Because of Asynchronous Spacewarp and Timewarp, Oculus Rift has a considerably lower set of minimum specs.

Category Hardware
Processor Intel Core i3-6100
AMD Ryzen 3 1200
AMD FX 4350
(equivalent or better)
Graphics card NVIDIA GTX 960 (4GB)
AMD Radeon R9 290
(equivalent or better)
RAM 8GB or more
Video output HDMI 1.3
USB One USB-A 3.0
Two USB-A 2.0
OS Windows 8.1 or newer

Windows Mixed Reality system requirements

WMR PCs come in two flavors: Windows Mixed Reality and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra. Standard WMR tops out at about 60Hz (60 frames-per-second), while WMR Ultra tops out at about 90Hz for a smoother picture.

Here's the hardware needed in your PC to make it both regular and Ultra. Notice that it's quite a bit different than what the Rift and Vive require.

Windows Mixed Reality

Category Hardware
Processor Intel Mobile Core i5-7200U
Dual-core with Hyperthreading
Graphics card Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
NVIDIA MX150
NVIDIA 965M
(equivalent or better)
RAM 8GB DDR3 dual-channel
Video output HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2
USB USB-A 3.0 or USB-C
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
OS Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Windows Mixed Reality Ultra

Category Hardware
Processor Intel Core i5-4590 Quad-core
AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Quad-core
(equivalent or better)
Graphics card NVIDIA GTX 960
NVIDIA GTX 1050
AMD RX 460
AMD RX 560
(equivalent or better)
RAM 8GB DDR3 dual-channel
Video output HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2
USB USB-A 3.0 or USB-C
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
OS Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Your PC

Is your PC or Mac up to snuff for your preferred VR system? What are you running in your build? Let us know in the comments section!

Updated December 6, 2017: We've refreshed this list to ensure you're still getting accurate system requirements across VR platforms.