You will be able to play all the VR games with these VR PC builds. I am going to categorize each build by budget, so the cost won’t be an issue.
I did these previous years, and the success and popularity of them were encouraging.
But, with each year there are tons of changes to VR, as well as to PC components.
The hardware suggestions I am writing here are thoroughly thought through so that you will be completely on the safe side for years to come. I will add the links to Amazon pages* with the best price so that you can get it immediately.
If you worry about not having enough experience with PC building, then stop right here. There is absolutely no reason to fear failure. Unless you smash components together with grace equivalent to an elephant in a porcelain shop, the chances of something going wrong are close to none. Once you are familiar with basics, it’s basically like a lego house building. For basics, I recommend this video:
VR PC Build Introduction
VR PC Build – Bronze Tier (low cost)
This is the build that focuses on being affordable (but not cheapest, for that there is another article). While affordable, it focuses on being able to run all VR games in high settings and be ready for future VR games. The downside might be its risk of falling behind in around 4 years.
VR might get quite costly, especially with VR accessories, so being smart with your money is very advisable. So, here are the parts that will do their job well within the current virtual reality scene.
Let’s start with the heart of the build.
There are tons of motherboards out there actually, that work well enough for VR. This is one of them. It has all the requirements for VR: HDMI, USB 3.1, support for VR ready CPU’s, ie.
This one was picked due to a good performance/price ratio, as well as for its form factor. Due to it being a small Mobo, it will fit into MicroATX that this build uses. Usually, smallness comes with a cost, but with this one, there isn’t one. It has six USB slots and can carry GPU’s that most gamers have.
There aren’t really many requirements for VR from the motherboard side, so we can move to more important parts.
For this build, AMD Ryzen 2600 is picked. You probably heard of the Ryzen boom that happened recently in the PC builders world. Everyone, including your grandma, if you ask her, will recommend Ryzen builds over Intel, and that is because of how cheap and powerful Ryzen has gotten over the years.
Intel made a mistake on focusing on single-core performance while everyone was foreseeing the rise of multi-core usage. That is where AMD started to invest early, and that resulted in a huge boom in Ryzen sales. Even I switched to AMD despite needing to buy a different motherboard and RAM and power supply for that.
Ryzen 2600 is just one generation behind the best processors currently. Its performance is unparalleled, and Intel is deeply in trouble because of that. The six core advantage that it offers makes it possible for you to play VR games in a way that you don’t have to worry about the frame rate drops in multiplayer games.
If you are not sure where CPU works the best, I can explain it like this: GPU is responsible for you having the nicest looking car, while CPU is for what happens behind the hood. The better the CPU, the faster the instructions are loaded, the better frame rate comes from heavy NPC type games or even multiplayer. For example, Planetside 2, where there can be 100’s of players all within a 200-meter radius, will benefit a lot from a powerful CPU like Ryzen. Although there aren’t many VR games that have a heavy multiplayer focus, it is best to be prepared for future releases. Who knows what comes next.
So, Ryzen 2600 at its current price is definitely worth the investment.
I am going to go and recommend GTX 1660 Super for that. I was about to go with 1660ti, but seeing the benchmarks, it is a bad investment to spend 50+ dollars just to get a few extra fps.
This line of Nvidia cards might be a bit confusing for some, so if you want a comparison, it’s slightly more powerful than GTX 1070, while also being packed with newer technology.
With graphics cards, I cant only recommend AMD as I did with CPU’s. Nvidia has stood its ground in the GPU market and has given us a reasonable performance, despite the RTX lineup being a bit too expensive.
With this GPU, you can play almost any VR games on max settings with original Vive and Rift. With Vive pro and Valve Index, things are a bit dicey. You can hit the 80fps mark, but the setting might have to be lowered for some games.
There are also new RTX 3xxx coming. Their release date isn’t announced, but they are expected to hit the market around September 2020. If you have the patience, you can wait for those. I will update this guide if their price to performance ratio is better. But, if you don’t want to wait, I’d say this 1660 Super is an excellent card that doesn’t require VR users to lower their graphics settings too much.
With the current scene, I would not recommend the RAM amount to be lower than 16GB. The games that have come out in recent months, seem to want to use more than 8GB.
For example, Half-Life: Alyx, that came out recently, needs 12GB of RAM from you, and that’s just a minimum recommendation.
The one I am recommending has a speed of 3000MHz. That results in faster speeds, especially when it’s paired with Ryzen processors. Ryzen is notorious for being able to scale the performance if the RAM speed is high, so in the end, the VR performance benefits from that a lot.
Prices for SSD have plummeted hard and getting one for yourself is almost mandatory. The difference for this 2020 affordable build compared to previous builds is that I recommend buying only SSD. I don’t think HDD is even needed at this stage.
You can get 1TB of SSD for 100 bucks. If you’d have done it a couple of years ago, the price would be at around 300. That is why I picked this 860 QVO SSD from Samsung. They are one of the best and they are ‘Best Seller’ on Amazon currently.
1 Terabyte should be more than enough to fit a lot of VR games on your PC. Of course, it might not be enough and that depends on you. It depends on what games you plan to play, as well as what else will you use the computer for. There are some gigantic games like Half-Life: Alyx that require 67GB of storage, but most VR games are well under that.
If you feel it is not enough, then feel free to dip your VR legs into HDD options, as the price for them isn’t high either.
Now we pick a nice power supply to connect all the components and we are almost done. This EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W power supply has proven itself over the years to be reliable and efficient, getting consistently high ratings.
500W is enough to power everything here, so no shortage of watts will happen in the future for you.
The size is also correct so it fits nicely in a microATX case.
The aesthetics do not play a role in how it performs in VR. Choosing and pushing my style and taste isn’t right so I leave that option up to you.
Pick whatever Micro ATX case you see in this link and it will work well.
Just try to make sure that airflow is good enough to cool down everything that is inside, as some are poorly designed. That can usually be filtered by not choosing a cheap case. Around $40-50+ should do the job.
Lets up the power here a bit. We all know that games are evolving and graphics also. That means, we have to upgrade our build with it. Recent VR games require quite a lot from your computer, and to play them at the highest settings, this build right here might just do the trick for now.
The parts here are chosen so it’s good not only for current VR entertainment apps but also for what is to come.
As with the previous build, you may switch some things up a bit, but make sure that everything matches, because all the parts that are picked below have a specific reason for being here.
We are going with the Tomahawk Max for this one. It is one of the most popular motherboards currently out there, and the reason is its good price to performance ratio. It has everything you need to have the superb VR experience from the get-go.
I am using Tomahawk Max myself on my personal computer, and it has zero issues.
The issues may start if you pick the non-Max one, as it may not be suitable for 3rd generation of Ryzen CPU’s that this build has. You will have to do some BIOS updates and those are just scary, especially when you can’t even get into the BIOS for that. To avoid all that, Tomahawk Max was made by manufacturers and it is perfect for this VR build, with plenty of room and possibilities for future upgrades in terms of RAM and CPU.
The reason for going with Ryzen 3600 is because it’s the go-to processor for someone who doesn’t want to spend too much money but still wants the best.
Compared to the #1 CPU out there, it is only 10-20% slower, while at the same time is twice as cheap. It offers 6 cores, 12 threads, and a base frequency of 3.6GHz (with turbo it’s possible to reach 4.2GHz).
The Intel era is indeed over. For the first time, having Intel inclined motherboard makes it more of a problem than anything else. Now it’s the time for a new king, and AMD has been preparing for it for years. There were always talks that in the end, more cores will be more beneficial for games, VR ones included. Intel stuck with making 1 core as good as possible while AMD focused on many cores. While games were optimized for intel ones, it was apparent that more cores are necessary.
I switched to AMD myself after being on Intel for numerous years, and I haven’t looked back since. If it’s the first time for you also, you are not going to be disappointed with Ryzen 3600.
The choice is between Nvidia and AMD, as usual. Although in the past, I would have only recommended Nvidia, I cannot look past some of the gems that AMD produces.
Radeon 5700 XT is most often compared to RTX 2070 Super. Although the latter outperforms 5700 XT by a small margin, we can’t ignore the fact that 2070 Super costs $100-150+ more. Plus, if we were to overclock 5700 XT, it brings the performance to the same level of 2070 Super.
The architecture of AMD GPU is also newer, which in its way benefits VR gaming as newer optimization methods require newer architecture.
In terms of FPS, almost all the VR games hit the 100+ fps mark. Batman Arkham VR gives 194 fps, Dirt Rally averages 110 fps, Skyrim VR hits 122 fps. For the latest game Half-Life: Alyx, it barely misses the performance needed to play this game at ultra (110-120 fps) while easily hitting the highest refresh rate of the Valve Index by playing the game at high settings (130-140 fps).
The RAM is T-Force 3200MHz, cl16, 2x8GB, similar to the previous build. The speed of it will scale with Ryzen just as well, and the memory amount will be sufficient to play any VR game currently out there. It might bottleneck sometime in the future, but luckily with the motherboard I’ve chosen, it is possible to add additional memory sticks.
Since it isn’t the top build, we will have to make some sacrifices in the cost, and that means we are not going with higher frequency or with cl14. But, as RAM doesn’t affect FPS as much as CPU and GPU, it isn’t a big sacrifice.
The components above really don’t take much power, so 550W should be plenty to power everything up. The only thing is the quality of said power supply.
For this particular silver build, Corsair TX550M is chosen.
A trusty Corsair product that can operate even at unusually high temperatures, and is efficient not only in terms of power but in the aesthetic look of cables. You can use show only the cables you use, so they blend nicely in the background.
As the particular power supply isn’t a very important component for selected VR gaming, you can pick whatever you feel is good enough for you. Just make sure that it has at least 500W of power and comes from a trusted brand.
I feel like, for the price, this case is the best. Cases usually don’t affect performance as much as just being the visual eye candy. But with this one, the air cooling is so well designed that it keeps the components cool enough for higher frames by improved airflow.
On top of that, it has a glass panel that lets you see your monster from inside. To make the visuals more pleasing, it is a smart case, which means the light show can be easily controlled by you.
Those options aren’t available in many cases, so for such a price, I do recommend getting this one from here:
This build focuses on bringing out the best of VR games without you needing to make sacrifices in visuals.
However, it won’t be using the best components. That is reserved for the “Platinum” build. The gold build uses PC components that squeeze out everything from the game without squeezing your wallet too hard at the same time. You will be maxing out every single game in graphics settings and the framerate stays rock-solid at a required level within your VR masks.
If that is your wish, this build is perfect for you. All the parts here are picked for the best synchronization between the parts. AMD helps a lot with that. Let’s dive in!
Motherboards don’t pay as much role in performance as they do in functionalities and options. X570 is one of the best mid-priced Mobo’s out there, with enough options for needed overclocking and support for future components. If you plan to upgrade your GPU, for example, for the Ampere Nvidia line that is coming down the line, this motherboard will not be a bottleneck.
Its strong points compared to other motherboards are better suitability for higher RAM speed overclocking, as well as in terms of CPU. Although Phantom Gaming 4 isn’t the highest class in the x570 line, it does not mean it doesn’t do its job well. Trust me, it will work as intended and will make you proud.
Outside of VR, it gives a much better sound compared to the b450 lineup. VR is important, but I gather that you won’t be using this build only for gaming, so these little advantages that x570 offers make your life more pleasurable.
It is no surprise that games start to look better and better, and the calculations for AI are more demanding, in VR included. That requires cores. It cannot be escaped. The bigger the core count, the higher chance for you to be ready for the next wave of VR games that come out in two years. Heck, even right now you can see the rise of 8 core eras. I love the AMD Ryzen 3600, but 6v8 cores will start to be noticeable down the line.
That’s why Ryzen 3700x is a fantastic processor for those that want to sleep soundly at night without worrying about the future. If you work in Photoshop or in 3D programs like Blender, that comes even more in handy.
Any VR game that is out there, won’t be bottlenecked by this CPU. If you want to get it now, you can find it here:
Speaking of number 8, this one has 8GB of GDDR6 memory, allowing you to play games at higher resolution without worrying about running out of space. That comes in handy when VR headsets are higher resolution than normal either with Valve Index or through supersampling.
It is an excellent card that supports up to 4 monitors, so even if you have a multi-monitor setup, VR cable will have a slot to fit itself in.
Most VR games that are currently out there will perform better than is needed to hit the headset’s original refresh rate cap. There are games that are below 100fps like Elite: Dangerous, but even 2080ti, the king of VR gaming, didn’t manage to hit that number. With games like that, optimization is also important despite what specs your computer has.
By the way, I didn’t include the king of GPU’s (as well as CPU) in this article due to the reason that there is a new line of GPU coming. Due to COVID-19, the release date for Ampere Nvidia GPU has been pushed back to September, as rumors say. However, I still don’t want people to spend money on such expensive GPU’s if there is something better coming just around the corner. Once it is out, I am going to update this article with better components, as well as an additional build called “Platinum” that will be even more powerful than anything.
Until that time has come, this GPU is more than capable of running everything perfectly.
We are again going with the 16GB of 3200MHz RAM, but this time using the cl14 Samsung dies for extra scalability with Ryzen CPU. Ryzen CPU is known for its extreme scalability with better Ram, and this one does the job.
That cl14 timing ensures that the speed is correctly provided to each of the Ryzen cores effectively so that you will feel the difference when the game is CPU heavy. Usually, those games are similar to GTA 5 or Half:Life: Alyx.
I thought about adding 32GB of RAM, but seeing that we are still not even scratching the full usage of 16GB, it is better to invest in perfecting those 16GB that we have. That’s why timing and speed are more important than the amount. If you wish, you can search for the compatible 3600Mhz frequency speed version, but I am going to save it for the upcoming platinum build.
This case a really good airflow design, so that all the parts above are cool enough either for casual working or for overclocking. I like that it has the glass panel for visual eye-pleasing, though I do have to admit that it gives enough disco for viewing even from the outside. You can regulate each RGB lighting for your taste, so whatever your theme is, whether it’s Nvidia-like green with black, Red with white, or just a rainbow party, it has it all packed into its program that you can install and mod.
But, like usual, that is a thing of personal taste, so pick whatever case you have or want to buy, as long as it’s in ATX form.
I made these builds specifically with VR in mind. There have been some important things to keep in check, so I made sure those are covered so that everything is smooth and enjoyable from the get-go.
The “Platinum” build is probably going to be released once Ampere GPU from Nvidia is released in September, so keep an eye out for those.
If you have anything to add or want some answers to your question, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer them as quickly as possible. As this article was written during coronavirus time, I wish to stay safe and happy gaming ;).
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