Best PCs for VR: Which configuration is the most powerful and impressive in 2023?
With the advent of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, companies have access to new opportunities for development and training. One of the benefits of VR is that it allows your customers to experience your products and services as realistically as if they were in a physical store.
In some industries, such as medical, defense and utilities, VR can be used for in-house training in a 3D virtual environment to minimize internal costs while reducing the risk of accidents.
Why choose a pre-assembled PC over a standalone VR headset?
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Virtual reality applications offer great advantages when run on a PC, including better graphics and higher processing speed compared to a standalone VR system. This allows developers to create truly immersive VR experiences in high definition powered by state-of-the-art GPUs and CPUs. Thus, VR presents itself with all its potential.
Those new to the business may be tempted by a cheaper option: standalone VR headsets. That’s because standalone VR headsets include their own CPU, memory and GPU, as well as their own batteries, and don’t need a computer to deliver a VR experience. However, they have a fixed specification and cannot be upgraded. There is still a lot of debate about whether to use a PC or a standalone device for VR, but so far, many users have confirmed that space tracking is more accurate on a PC VR headset than on a PC, not to mention the upgrade issue.
If you’re using a PC for VR, you can upgrade it as your or your headset’s needs grow, by adding more RAM or upgrading the GPU. With the industry changing so quickly, it’s easy to get on the wrong train when working with portable VR and end up working with outdated equipment or outdated technology.
So without further ado, here are our top 3 PCs for VR.
Prebuilt gaming PCs like the Alienware Aurora R13 are only gaining in value, especially as the prices of the components needed to build his machine rise.
Compared to various previous models, this new Alienware tower brings some aesthetic improvements, especially the multi-design, even futuristic glass side panel.
Alienware Aurora R13 offers high performance especially in terms of gaming performance. It also has the advantage of being very easy when it comes to upgrades.
The weak point of the Alienware Aurora R13, apart from the high price, is the cooler that cannot cool the power-hungry Core i9-12900K chip. Therefore, it is less suitable for professionals who need to run editing programs, for example.
Since gaming computers are resource intensive in terms of CPU, RAM and GPU, they are well suited for virtual reality. The HP Omen 30L PC offered by HP packs ultra-fast components into a slim and elegant chassis with beautiful design elements that enhance its aesthetics.
It’s a consumer computer, not a workstation, which means it’s still reasonably priced. It includes a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 chip, 16 GB of RAM, as well as a fast PCIe SSD and a powerful 1 TB hard drive, which leaves plenty of space for development and VR applications. Other configurations are available at retail, including one with a 2 TB SSD and 2 TB HDD with 64 GB RAM.
Its semi-transparent tempered glass side panel showcases these components while allowing easy access without the need for tools. It has a large number of USB ports, including USB 3.2 Gen 2 at 10 Gbit/s, allowing you to easily connect your VR positioning sensors. Placing the USB-C port on the back is unfortunate and impractical.
The Zotac Magnus One is a mini PC that proves you don’t need a big box to enjoy increased performance and VR.
It offers a Core i7-10700 processor, a GeForce RTX 3070 LHR graphics card and two SSD slots. The system we chose has 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1TB hard drive.
The Zotac Magnus One PC is elegant and unique thanks to its small size, but also thanks to the many ventilation holes located on its side. With two USB ports on the front and six on the back, you should have no problem connecting your VR headset and sensors. On the front, you’ll find two USB 3.2 Type-A ports and one USB 3.2 Type-C port, both with speeds of up to 5Gbps, as well as an SD card reader and headphone jack.
On the other hand, the Zotac Magnus One gets noisy. Indeed, if the fans allow the heat generated by the components to dissipate, they can be heard through the ventilation grilles. You can always use headphones to overcome this.
Building your own computer in a professional environment is not the best option. This is time-consuming and cannot be scaled to more than one without overburdening your IT staff. However, the VR requirements are more than adequate for many off-the-shelf computers, whether intended for gamers or graphics workstations. To get started, you need a very fast, latest generation processor and one of the best graphics cards available.
There should also be enough ports to plug in a VR headset and any necessary motion sensors – while several are allowed, many experts recommend sticking to three. Therefore, gaming PCs with powerful graphics cards are suitable for using VR in professional settings such as workstations. In summary, system requirements depend on the headset you want to use, but suffice it to say that an advanced VR headset like the HP Reverb G2 requires an Intel Core i5, Core i7, or Intel Xeon E3-1240 processor (or better). With 8 GB or more RAM, 16 GB RAM is recommended. A DisplayPort 1.3 video output port and USB 3.0 Type-C ports are also required.
Given the minimum VR headset requirements, we chose systems with 8GB of RAM or more, Intel i5 or better processors (including AMD Ryzen 5 or better), and fast SSDs. Bonus points were awarded to systems equipped with video cards on Nvidia’s “VR Ready Solutions” website’s list of recommended cards, which include the Quadro RTX 8000, 6000, 5000, and RTX 4000, among others.
We’ve narrowed our picks down to five categories: the best overall system that offers the best value, the best choice for professionals at a mid-range price, the most expandable system based on memory expansion flexibility and memory, the most portable system based on overall system size, and finally, VR that doesn’t want to break the bank the best budget option for newcomers.