We've known for a while now that the consumer version of the Oculus Rift would require a beastly gaming PC attached to it. Today Oculus got specific about the recommended system specs to run the 2016 Oculus Rift.

The Oculus team says the following machine is recommended for a gaming PC to achieve uninterrupted "presence" (the sense of being somewhere else) in the Oculus Rift:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • 3x USB 3.0 ports + 1x USB 2.0 (or higher) port
  • Windows 7 SP1 or newer

As expected, that's a fairly powerful rig you'll need to buy or build, though far cheaper than some gaming PCs. The graphics card alone retails for around US$330 right now, while the processor falls in the $200 range. If you built this PC right now, you'd probably be looking at around $850 or more (after adding Windows, RAM, a quality cooling system, case and everything else).

Since you have until 2016 to get ready for the Rift, though, this probably isn't the time to buy the parts for the long-anticipated virtual reality headset. Prices of PC parts can drop quickly when updated versions are released, so the total build price for an Oculus rig could potentially be significantly lower by the time the headset launches.

Oculus VR did add, though, that these will remain the target specs throughout the life of the Oculus Rift (meaning the first-generation consumer version). This should help to keep things simple for both developers and consumers, in the often complex world of PC gaming.

By announcing the PC specs now, the Oculus team also gives Rift buyers plenty of time to scout great short-term sales on the necessary parts (Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be a good time to keep an eye out). We also wouldn't be surprised to see PC manufacturers selling pre-made machines that they can advertise as Rift-ready, though those will always be pricier than building yourself.

Alongside these minimum specs, Oculus VR also announced that a new version of its SDK (0.6.0) is available for developers today. VR devs can download it here.

There's no word yet on pricing or an exact release date for the headset itself, but, no matter how much component prices drop, the tethered PC is almost certainly going to be the most expensive part of the purchase.

Gizmag will have much more on the Oculus Rift from E3 next month. For more on its mobile headset, which you can buy today, you can read our Gear VR for S6 review.

This article was updated in March, 2016 to include the extra USB ports Oculus since added to its minimum specs.

Source: Oculus blog

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