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 their success and popularity of them were encouraging.
But, 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 the 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 the cheapest possible, as there is another article for that). 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.
Motherboard – B550 mATX
Let’s start with the heart of the build.
There are tons of motherboards out there that work well enough with VR. This is one of them. It has all the requirements for VR: HDMI, USB 3.1, support for VR-ready CPUs, ie.
This one was picked due to its good performance/price ratio, as well as for its form factor. Seeing the prices of PC parts nowadays, it’s a fine miracle that motherboards stay relatively cheap.
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 4 USB 3.2 slots (4 in the back and 1 in the header) and is perfectly compatible with the listed CPU.
You might have to do a BIOS update so that it is 100% compatible with the CPU below. The ones listed on Amazon should be updated though.
Apart from having enough USB ports, 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 5 5600G 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 the mistake of 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.
Intel is getting better but AMD is still my top choice right now.
Ryzen 5600G belongs to the latest generation of 5xxx AMD CPUs and it seriously packs a punch. Its performance is unparalleled, and Intel is deeply in trouble because of that. The six cores, 12 threads, and 4.4GHz speed that it offers make it possible for you to play VR games in a way that you don’t ever 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, Battlefield 2042, where there can be 100s 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 5600G at its current price is definitely worth the investment.
And you know what’s the best part of this CPU? If you really want to wait out this GPU crisis, you can use the CPUs integrated GPU that can do the everyday tasks you need on your computer. Once the GPU craze has calmed down, you can buy a new GPU.
Oh boy, here is where the bulk of the money will go. GPU prices have tripled in value in the last years, so keep that in mind. Hopefully, you are reading this article when the storm has subsided.
I am going to go and recommend GTX 1660 Super for that. Yes, GTX 1660S is not the newest generation but do not mistake it for a weak one! I have a much older GTX 1060 on one of my computers and it can still play any game on the market right now.
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, as it came out in 2019.
With graphics cards, I cant only recommend AMD as I did with CPUs. 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 game on max settings with the Vive, Rift, and Quest. 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.
Is GTX 1660s really worth it compared to the newest RTX 3060, for example? Looking at the price, yes.
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, which came out a while ago, needs 12GB of RAM from you, and that’s just a minimum recommendation.
The one I am recommending has a speed of 3600MHz. That results in faster speeds, especially when it’s paired with Ryzen processors. Ryzen is notorious for being able to scale the performance when coupled with high RAM speeds.
That means VR gets that nice juicy memory speed advantage that your friends don’t have unless they’ve upgraded their system as well 😉
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 SSDs. I don’t think HDD is even needed at this stage.
You can get 1TB of SSD for around 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 870 SSD from Samsung. They are one of the best and they are ‘Amazon’s Choice’ 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 Thermaltake Smart BX1 550W power supply has proven itself over the years to be reliable and efficient, getting consistently high ratings.
550W is enough to power everything here. I would only recommend getting a higher wattage (like 650W) if you plan on getting an RTX GPU in the near future.
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.
Let’s 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.
Motherboard – B550M mATX
We are going with the GIGABYTE B550M for this one as well. 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 a superb VR experience from the get-go.
B550 version is currently the most recommended motherboard, and it’s very VR friendly
Do keep in mind one thing though – You will have to do a BIOS update. There are many guides on how to update BIOS if you haven’t done it. It only takes a couple of minutes.
Once you’ve done that, 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 5600X 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.
Oh my sweet, sweet under-500-bucks cards, what has happened to you!
My choice of the year is RTX 3060ti.
Let’s take the price out of it for now. I am sure you are aware of the silicon shortage and crypto farming that is going on, so let me just talk about the reason why I chose 3060ti.
Rtx 3060ti is comparatively well priced while being at MSRP. If a couple of generations ago the “x060” version was the best in terms of price-to-performance ratio, then now we need to add “ti” to the end.
The difference between RTX 3070 version, which is 200 dollars more expensive, is only at 5 fps at most. 3070 is not really worth it.
While comparing it to a 3060 version, we feel the difference of around 20% more power.
The architecture of NVIDIA GPU is also improved, 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. With Half-Life: Alyx, the game that many love to compare the PC power with, hits the max fps range with ease. Only when the supersampling is cranked up to 200%, do we see the fps drop.
It’s a very good GPU for VR gaming, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Silicon Power GAMING 32 GB, as on the name, has 16x2GB of memory. We are nearing the time when 16GB might not be enough for gaming, and seeing the speed of the advancements in the gaming industry, it is wise to invest early. The speed of it will scale with Intel CPU just as well, and the memory amount will be sufficient to play any VR game currently out there. There should be no bottlenecking issues any time soon.
The components above really don’t take much power (apart from RTX 3080), so 750W should be plenty to power everything up. The only thing is the quality of said power supply.
For this particular silver build, Corsair RMX 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 750W 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, which comes out later on. 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. Intel helps a lot with that. Let’s dive in!
Motherboard – Gigabyte Z690
Motherboards don’t play as much role in performance as they do in functionalities and options. Gigabyte Z690 is one of the best higher-priced Mobo’s out there, with enough options for needed overclocking and support for future components. The overclocking is actually one of the main reasons I chose this motherboard, as it scales extremely well with the CPU in terms of high-end overclocking.
For example, you can’t fully overclock on the H or B chipsets – but with this one, you can.
Just make sure that you do a BIOS update before running it, as many have noted that it has XMP compatibility issues.
But overall, it is a very good motherboard that is future-proof for VR users. In case you don’t or can’t buy a GPU immediately, Z690 has an integrated graphics card for temporary use.
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.
That’s why Alder Lake i7-12700K 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. It features 8 Performance-cores with Hyperthreading, plus 4 Efficient-cores.
To make sure you can squeeze out as much performance as possible without overheating, check out an appropriate cooler. This cooler is a good one (make sure you have the right adapter as well)
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:
Although I am talking about the VR performance, I do recommend getting a high refresh rate monitor for 3080 as well, because this card is a beast.
Do it a service, and let it shine with a good monitor, and you’ll see what this card is truly capable of. For streaming, Nvidia’s NVENC encoding will offload the task to the GPU with a minimal performance hit using OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while providing image quality similar to or better than x264 Fast quality.
Until that time has come, this GPU is more than capable of running everything perfectly. The frames, while VR gaming, will be very stable, and the biggest plus is that you can supersample a lot more. Getting 120Hz will not be a problem for the most demanding VR games out there, although 144Hz is a bit unstable but doable.
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 RTX 4xxx from Nvidia is released later down the line, 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 for you to stay safe and happy gaming ;).
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