Fancy the Oculus Rift? You’ll need one beefy PC to drive it

Oculus’ long awaited Rift virtual reality headset is readying itself for a Q1 2016 launch, but the company has finally revealed just what hardware consumers will need to drive the computing future.

And it’s a fair old task for the modest PC.

As Oculus’ chief architect Atman Binstock notes in the company’s most recent blog post, the “Rift will be capable of delivering comfortable presence for nearly everyone,” and that seems to be an important notion for the company.

Based on these requirements though, it seems not everyone will be able to enjoy the Oculus Rift in its natural habitat. The company’s asking for quite a beefy PC, but understandably the idea is to have more than needed rather than just enough.

Here’s a breakdown of the specs:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or greater (no AMD chip is mentioned)
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
RAM: 8GB or more (no speed or architecture is indicated)
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or newer
Other requirements: two USB 3.0 ports and “HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture.”

Of course, running the Oculus Rift would be akin to a seriously demanding future AAA title. Interestingly, Binstock notes that the Rift require more grunt when compared to games, as it renders video at a monstrous “2160×1200 at 90Hz split over dual displays, consuming 233 million pixels per second,” while most games eat up 1920×1080 at 60Hz on a single screen.

It’s serious stuff which needs serious hardware too.

It should be noted that Binstock promises that the Rift will not deviate from these requirements though. He explains that eventually, the hardware will be available to all, thanks to the eventual and usual technology price droop we all know and love.

As the equivalent-performance hardware becomes less expensive, more users will have systems capable of the full Rift experience. Developers, in turn, can rely on Rift users having these modern machines, allowing them to optimize their game for a known target, simplifying development.

As for those running alternative OSes — Linux and OS X — Binstock mentioned that “development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content on Windows.”

“We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don’t have a timeline,” he adds.

Feature image: Sergey Galyonkin via Flickr



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