Once upon a time, the benchmark of a truly battle-ready PC rig was “Can it run Crysis?” Now, though, your average, run of the mill $200 desktop your parents use just to check Facebook can probably run Crysis. But VR is another story. The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive definitely needs good quality horsepower to run well, and while there’s no small number of invincible, hardcore gaming rigs out there, the days when a VR-ready desktop would break the bank are also a distant memory, and we’ve collected the cream of the crop from all the way across the spectrum. (Presented by Oculus)
Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop (5680)
For budget minded gamers Dell’s Inspiron series has always been the perfect balance of power and price, and their latest model of gaming desktop is no exception. For around $600, the Inspiron manages to not just be a capable tower, light on the flashy bells and whistles of some of its burlier brethren, but the specs make it a perfect gateway machine (pun unintended) into the world of VR right out of the box.
Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition
If you want a bit more kick out of your Dell, however, the Special Edition XPS 8930 is configured out of the box to meet the recommended specs for the Rift and Vive. On top of that, it’s configurable to use NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card which not only surpasses the recommended VR hurdle (GTX 1060), but delivers above and beyond on just straight up HD gaming, all in a compact little package.
HP Omen Desktop
As it is, HP’s Omen line of computers all look like one of those chests in an RPG you can’t open until you’ve recruited a wizard into your crew, but the Desktop version in particular, while hitting the VR benchmark dead on—is also built to invite wonder. For a midrange price, the Omen leaves a lot of room in its chassis for enterprising gamers to expand and experiment, while leaving quite a few other computers in the dust just from the mindboggling amount of pre-set configurations available.
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme
Possibly the best of both worlds in terms of form and function, the Gamer Xtreme series looks like it’s powered by the fires of Hell, the kind of machine that the pros spend $5K on easy. In reality, it’s a rig that costs less than a grand, and has everything you need to get your VR on right out of the box, no fuss no muss. It’s also far from a slouch in the horsepower department, offering strong performance on regular games, and plenty of room to expand the memory when you’re ready.
There isn’t really a wrong choice when it comes to Alienware. The logo on a box is pretty much a guarantee you’re getting a gaming beast. The Aurora in particular, though, is an absolutely leviathan. Not only is it sporting the best both NVIDIA and Intel have to offer, playing even the most intensive titles at 4K resolution, but it handles VR without even breaking a sweat. When the time comes where you might have to give it a boost, it’s got one of the easiest and most intuitive panel configurations, allowing players to swap out parts without having to pick up a single screwdriver.
Asus ROG G20CI
Your average VR setup does, admittedly, take up quite a bit of real estate in your home, no matter where you’ve got it hooked up, and PCs with the power to do VR right typically don’t want you getting stingy with that space to do its thing. Fortunately, Asus seemed to have noticed a place where they could do some good and delivered a powerhouse of a machine that is tailor made to be compact. Though it’s got the futuristic designs of a bigger machine, its a rig that’s maybe a smidge bigger than a PS4, and designed to maybe sit next to a console and look relatively inconspicuous. Depending on where you’ll be doing your VR gaming, that may be the biggest blessing of all.
Falcon Northwest Talon
Compared to some of its ostentatious brethren in the same elite tier of gaming desktops, the Talon is relatively unassuming, especially if you pick a less flashy color scheme for the exterior. The outside is where the restraint ends, though. Inside, the Talon is one of the most extravagant and jaw-dropping configurations on the planet. The rig sports an 18-core 4.4 Ghz processor, twin 12GB graphics cards, and 64GB of memory. Needless to say, the absolute pinnacle of VR performance can be found here, a future-proof monster that’ll take whatever you throw at it for years and years to come.