Oculus Rift and Laptop – Will it Work?

If you have an Oculus Rift and laptop, you might be wondering what kind of a feature awaits me. Will the virtual reality visit my hardware?

Unfortunately, if you want to be in the VR scene, changing your current hardware is a necessity. Both DK1 and DK2 can run on laptops, considering you have a beefy device in terms of specs. But to get the best performance, it is not news for VR enthusiasts to have a desktop PC.

Updated: Can The Oculus Rift Work on a Laptop? (Recent Edition) and Best Gaming Laptops for Oculus Rift! (Recent Edition)

Let’s be honest, no one wants to experience low frame rate. Even if you play games on your current computer without Oculus Rift, getting 30fps truly is rage inducing sometimes (at least for me). In VR everything is multiplied by 3.

Oculus RIFT
Oculus Rift demo called “Surge”
  • You’ll get sick 3 times worse if the frame rate is bad.
  • Games require 3 times more juice.
  • You get 3 times more immersion if everything is working correctly.

For those people who absolutely need this portability, going with laptops is the only choice. Those are the people who usually travel a lot, and cannot be in one place. They usually prefer to showcase it to their friends or relatives.

See also: Oculus Rift Reactions – The Best of Them!

But will they be able to do it once the CV1 comes out?

Oculus has published a blog post, where it gives you details on what specs are recommended for best VR experience:

oculus rift glasses

  • Video card – NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Processor – Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • RAM – 8GB+ RAM
  • Port – Port – Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • Port – 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Operating System – Windows 7 SP1 or newer

Let’s start with the video card. GTX 970 is needed. Although there are laptops available (like this one) that feature GTX 970, we have to take into consideration that it is 970M, not 970. GTX 970M is in the same category but gives a lot less performance due to it being a mobile version.

Processor Intel i5-4590 is only available for desktop PC’s if I am not mistaken. You can, however, get better mobile integrated laptop CPU’s but their price is very high.

RAM is not a problem. Most current laptops already come with 8GB+ memory.

Port is a huge problem. Here is what Atman Binstock says in his blog post:

Many discrete GPU laptops have their external video output connected to the integrated GPU and drive the external output via hardware and software mechanisms that can’t support the Rift. Since this isn’t something that can be determined by reading the specs of a laptop, we are working on how to identify the right systems. Note that almost no current laptops have the GPU performance for the recommended spec, though upcoming mobile GPUs may be able to support this level of performance.

Operating System. Oculus has announced that they have stopped developing their software for OS other than Windows 7 or newer. That is also confirmed by their partnership with Microsoft. That means that Linux and Mac users won’t be getting that taste of VR, unless other HMD’s announce the support for it, or Apple decides to make their own VR headset, which is actually quite possible considering the hype that VR has.

See also: Buy The Best VR PC Hardware


Long Story Short

Laptops will not be the best choice for Oculus Rift. When Oculus Rift CV1 comes out next year, there will probably be some workarounds to make it work with laptops. But in the long run, going with the desktop is a much more logical and “price/performance ratio” suitable option.

Even cyberreality responded to the question “What kind of laptop should I buy for Oculus Rift?”.

“I’d highly advise NOT buying a laptop for VR as there are many problems. Better to build a decent desktop machine.”

I mean, it makes sense. VR is still young. If people buy Oculus Rift while at the same time having the only laptop, their VR experience will be many times worse than for people with a decent desktop computer. They will remember their first VR experience as something horrible, and will never step their foot in that area.

Getting good first impressions is very important, as VR is still in its infancy. That is why laptops don’t cut it for now.


Update (13.07.2015)*

If you really want to have a good portable PC for showcasing Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, responded with the following:

We use the Falcon Northwest Tiki for a lot of our demos. Tiny footprint, and it has a 980 option.

If you really want a laptop, get in touch with the guys at G-Tune Garage. They have some non-Optimus Nvidia powered laptops that work better for VR than most other options.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE: Best Oculus Rift Laptops in 2018!



Want something to add? Feel free to comment below:

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  1. guys hello.i bought oculus rift cv 1 .I have a Asus G751JT with gtx 970m and when i connect the oculus i can t see anything,the screen is totally black.the light is orange but looks like the laptop cannot read the oculus as second monitor.do you have some experience with this laptop?

    1. Hi, gtx 970 works with Oculus Rift, but GTX 970M might not work well. It’s a mobile GPU and is not powerful enough for VR. Only the mentioned laptops above can work with Oculus Rift.

  2. hey guys i have a question. i want to buy a Oculus Rift, but my laptop is not co-operating with the system you have to download. but my question is, do you really have to buy that program on the website? can you use the Rift without having the program on your laptop/desktop computer. I hope you guys have an answer to this.

  3. I just setup the Oculus on a Dell Laptop (NVidia Quadro M2000M Graphics, 16MB Ram, i7). Its not for gaming but to study stability of people walking. Hence laptop, it needs to be mobile. Anyways what I learned:

    1.You have to setup the High Speed Video Card as the default in the 3D Global Settings in NVidia .
    2. You have to disable graphics switching in Bios (F2 then video settings on startup for the Dell). Otherwise the output from the HDMI port was still not compatible and would use the original intel R HD graphics.
    3. Oculus config asked me to install a different NVidia Driver, it even advised a specific model. I installed the newest one (Feb 2016 361.91 for the Quadro M200M). This might be too slow for gaming but it will work for what I am doing.

    These 3 changes worked perfectly – I did not change anything else.

    If anyone knows of any video files that will make a person fall over when watching please pass them on to me. T.D.Stewart@leeds.ac.uk (University of Leeds, UK)

    1. this worked perfectly for me too. Thanks Todd – had nearly given up hope until I stumbled across this!

  4. how well do you think the razer blade 2015 model hold out. after all it does have a 970m though it doesn’t perform as well as the desktop card its only loss is 25% of the performance. after all it does have an i7 and 16 gigs of ram. I do believe that would be enough but i would like other people’s input on this.

  5. You mentioned the port issues for laptops in the above article. I’m a bit confused still about that. I wanted to get a new laptop right now, that will work with the HTC vive, but I don’t want to accidentally get one that will have the wrong ports. Can you specify any more on this issue? Is the falcon really the only laptop that will work?

    Most things I read online about the HTC vive, say that as long as you meet the minimum specs for the occulus, you should be okay. But your article is the only one I’ve found that mentions the port issue, and it makes me afraid. It makes me worried that I’ll buy an awesome laptop with a crazy video card, but then the port will be wrong, and I’ll be stuck. Any guidance at all would be most helpful as I need to decide what new laptop I’m getting right away, thank you!

  6. I need a portable pc for the rift (demos etc). If not a laptop, i could get away with a small chassis PC with appropriate cpu and graphics card. Can you recommend a shopping list for this?

      1. I actually have that exactly laptop, little did i know it would be a able to run(sorta) a rift or vive!

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