It's important to make sure your computer can handle VR in a way that guarantees fun.

Whether you're using a phone, a PC, or a game console to power your VR experience, performance is important. Before you put the headset on, you should make sure you have done everything you can to ensure the experience is going to be a positive one. For our third day of VR tips, we're going to walk you through creating the best possible VR environment for your headset.

Phone-based VR

For the most part, your phone is designed to give as much power to an app as it needs and push other apps out of the way to get there. That means you don't normally have to do things like close apps running in the background or tweak any settings when you want to run a VR app on your phone. When you launch the VR app, be it a standalone app on your iPhone or a Daydream VR app or a Gear VR app, the settings should be adjusted automatically and the app should "just work" as intended.

That having been said, there are a few tweaks you can make for a better overall experience.

How to control phone notifications when from inside a Samsung Gear VR Dealing with drift problems in Google Daydream

PlayStation VR

Game consoles are really only built to do one thing, so there's not a ton of room for optimization outside of what the console is already doing. As long as your PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR have been set up correctly, what you see is what you get from this hardware.

Optimizing above and beyond what you get with the PlayStation 4 involves upgrading your console, which in this case would mean considering the PlayStation 4 Pro. The performance difference, especially for the PlayStation VR, depends largely on the games you play. Not every PlayStation VR game offers an "Enhanced" mode to enjoy, but when you do have one of these games the difference in quality and performance can be substantial.

Here's a look at all of the PlayStation 4 "Enhanced" games

Oculus Rift

The first step in setting up a successful Oculus Rift environment is making sure you meet the minimum system requirements for this VR headset. For the uninitiated, you PC must be equal to or greater than:

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

Now, obviously if your machine is more capable than these minimum specs you're going to have a better experience. For Oculus Rift users, better performing hardware or better optimized software means a smoother gameplay session. Testing this for yourself means you need the Oculus Rift Compatibility Tool. This app will walk you through what you need to ensure the best possible experience.

Once you score high on this test, it's off to the good times with you!

Download the Rift compatibility tool

If you pass the test with flying colors, and you know your hardware can handle a little more, you can push the Rift a little harder with Supersampling. This process makes the visuals in the headset look nicer, but it's something that requires a very capable video card to pull off successfully.

How to experiment with Supersampling on your Oculus Rift

HTC Vive

Setting up an HTC Vive is a little more complex than most, but the software side of things is actually quite familiar if you do any PC gaming. Everything runs inside of Steam, unless you use the HTC-made Viveport app for subscriptions, and that means the set up process inside the PC is fairly simple. To get there, you first need to make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements for VR:

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

If you meet these requirements, or you think you're pretty close, it's a good idea to run the SteamVR performance test to make sure you're going to have a good experience inside the game itself. This test will tell you how optimized your hardware is for VR, and what can be done to improve your score.

Download SteamVR Performance Test from Steam

Did you score a perfect 10 on that test? If you did, and you know you have the hardware to spare, you can push your Vive a little further with something called Supersampling. This will increase the visual quality inside your headset, but it does so by pushing your hardware a little harder so you should only give it a shot if you know you've got the power to handle it.

How to improve your Vive with Supersampling

Windows Mixed Reality

Microsoft makes it amazingly easy to get started with Windows Mixed Reality. No matter the headset, you just plug it in and the Mixed Reality Portal will fire up and prepare you for a good time. Actually playing with Mixed Reality games is a little different, since Microsoft actually has two different kinds of Mixed Reality experiences.

You can enjoy basic Mixed Reality, which lets you explore 360-degree videos and open Windows apps in your Cliffs House, and there's the more intense gaming focused Mixed Reality Ultra. These two modes come with very different hardware requirements, so it's important to know which experience your PC is set up for.

Knowing the difference between Mixed Reality and Mixed Reality Ultra

If you're preparing your PC for Windows Mixed Reality Ultra, you probably also want to check out the massive library of games over in the SteamVR store. A lot of SteamVR games are already compatible with Windows Mixed Reality, so you just need to get set up to fully enjoy the experience.

How to add SteamVR to Windows Mixed Reality

And that's it, you're ready to make the most out of your VR world!