PC VR Guide

  • Overview
  • PC VR Advantages
  • PC VR Disadvantages
  • Popular PC Virtual Reality Headsets
  • What Else You Will Need
  • Accessories
  • Finally

 

Overview

  • Typical Pricing: $499 to $799
  • Prerequisites: You will need a a decent Windows 7 or Windows 10 computer with a newer processor like an Intel i5 or equivalent, 8 GB of memory or more, and a higher end gaming graphics card with the minimum being the Nvidia 970 or equivalent (~$249 to ~$649)
  • Experience: Mid-range to Complete

 

PC VR Advantages

PC virtual reality offers the absolute best experience and the most options. With a desktop computer PC components are standardized and can be upgraded and enhanced without too much trouble.

 

PC VR Disadvantages

The biggest considerations are money and space. You will need a good gaming graphics card which will run you anywhere from $200 to $700 and a fast computer which, if you need to buy a new one, can cost between $600 and $3,000. You will also probably want a 5 foot by 5 foot or more of empty, open floor area to get the full experience. PC VR gaming is not always about room scale though as it can still be done in a standing space or sitting. The sitting games are generally the simulator type games, such as flying and driving.

 

Popular PC Virtual Reality Headsets

The two most popular headsets on the market today are the HTC Vive and Facebooks’ Oculus Rift. The headsets have nearly identical technical specifications. The primary differences between them are the object tracking mechanisms and the gaming environment. With VR controllers and a full tracking setup the Oculus Rift costs around $670 and the HTC Vive around $800.

The recommended full tracking setup for the Rift requires that there are three cameras set up to capture all angles of the gaming environment with cables running back to the computer and power adapters. In it’s most simplest state the technology consists of the three cameras each capturing a live video feed of the room looking for differences in the infrared signals from the headset and controllers.

The full tracking setup for the Vive requires two “Lighthouses” placed on opposite ends of the gaming environment that communicate wirelessly over built-in Bluetooth and need power adapters. In it’s most simplest state the two Lighthouses basically create an array of infrared beams that track the headset and controllers. This tracking technology is generally regarded as the most accurate and creates the least amount of additional overhead for your computer.

 

What Else You Will Need

In addition to the headset and tracking system you will need:

  • A computer with a fast central processing unit (CPU).
  • A good gaming graphics card.
  • A Microsoft operating system of Windows 7 or higher.
  • An open floor area.

You will also need to have a computer with a top end, newer generation, faster CPU like an Intel i5 or i7. You will also want at least 8 GB of memory and at least 100 GB of free storage space too for the downloaded games. A new computer to meet basic specifications will generally start around $700 and then you can easily spend up to $3,000 if you want to go for the best.

Most games run through the Steam gaming client which is free and available to install at http://store.steampowered.com/about/. If you don’t know much about the specifications of your computer then install the SteamVR Performance Test application, run it, and see what it says. This will give you a good idea of what you may or may not need for your computer.

To get the full VR experience you will want to be able to move around in VR space. The very minimum you will want for this is an arms-length stretch of open space around you in all directions. The more space the better. Don’t forget to watch out for low ceilings or things hanging from a ceiling like a fan or light that can get smacked by a controller.

 

Accessories

 

HTC Vive Replacement Components:
HTC Vive 3-in-1 Cable
HTC Vive Link Box
HTC Vive Controller

HTC Vive Comfort Components:

Don’t suffer with the weak foam padding that comes with the HTC Vive, get a VR Cover. They come in packs of two, are washable, and way more comfortable.

 

Finally

Be sure to check out the Console VR Guide and the Smartphone VR Guide to learn more about VR.