For the most part, the Oculus Rift recommended specs are pretty straightforward:
- Your video card needs to be at least as powerful as a GTX 970 or an AMD 290
- Your processor has to be at least as powerful as the i5-4590 (quad-core with 4 threads per core; 3.3GHz w/ max turbo up to 3.7GHz)
- You need a minimum of 8GB RAM
- You need to be running Windows 7 SP1 or newer
- You need two USB 3.0 ports
- But here’s the tricky one: The Rift requires HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture
WTF is “Direct Output Architecture”?!
Oculus has made clear that very few gaming laptops currently on the market meet this final requirement. There are more details in the Oculus article “Powering the Rift“.
Long story short: A lot of computers, particularly laptops, output video through a combination of hardware and software mechanisms, not directly via hardware (hence the “direct” in “direct output architecture”). Since this is an explicit requirement for powering the Oculus Rift, computers lacking this feature will not support the headset.
How do I Know If My Computer is Rift Compatible?
Fortunately, Oculus has made this part pretty easy. Just go to the Rift’s page on the Oculus website, click to preorder the rift (or add it to your shopping cart), and you’ll see a blue message at the top of your cart:
Download it, run it, and find out if your PC is capable of running the Oculus Rift.
Will These Specs Provide the “Ultimate” VR Experience?
Which is why you see several “Oculus-Ready” computers boasting an i7 processor instead of an i5, and a GTX 980 as opposed to the weaker GTX 970. Although it runs a few hundred dollars extra, those paying for a “power boost” in the processor and graphics card will receive an indisputably better gaming experience than users opting for the minimum recommended specs.
The graphics will render at a higher quality, and more powerful gaming rigs will be capable of delivering a higher frame rate too.
Questions or Comments?
Still confused about the Oculus Rift recommended specs? Feel free to drop a comment in the section below, and I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours.