We’re still a little while off from the Oculus Rift’s official consumer launch – pre-orders are starting later this year, the company revealed recently, with shipping beginning early next year. But the company has now revealed the recommended specifications for PC rigs powering the Oculus Rift headset, which gives potential buyers a good idea of what kind of system they need to save up for in time for next year.
The bad news is that the recommendations are starting fairly high, but the good news is that they’re now set, meaning costs should continue to drop for the required equipment in time for next year’s launch as newer and better GPUs and components come to market. Here’s what Oculus recommends for the best Rift experience, along with set-in-stone requirements for what yo absolutely must have on your hardware:
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture
In their blog post, Oculus’ Chef Architect Atman Binstock provides some of the reasoning behind these spec recommendations – GPU performance is highly important, since you’re basically running two, 2160×1200 displays at 90Hz simultaneously, which takes around three times the GPU power of your average full HD, 1080p rendering. Dropped frames are also fine on traditional desktop monitors, for the most part, while missing frames in VR results in considerable discomfort.
Basically, as it stands with those specs and current hardware, you’ll need a desktop PC to work with Oculus – notebooks are basically classed out, and in what may be worse news, Oculus has also announced that Mac development (and Linus support) are paused while the team focuses on getting Windows Rift software to where it needs to be for launch.
Binstock notes that Oculus still wants to develop for Mac and Linux, but that at this stage, they “don’t have a timeline.”
That’s bad news for Mac and Linux gamers, but understandable given Oculus must be under pressure to deliver Rift at an acceptable level of performance within their announced timeframe.