We’ve always known that good virtual reality wouldn’t come cheap. From the beginning, Oculus used beefy gaming PCs to show off its VR headset. Now, the company is revealing the specs you’ll need to get those experiences on the final Oculus Rift—and it looks like you’ll be spending $800+ just for the desktop computer.

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Oculus says these are the recommended specs “for the full Rift experience”:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Windows 7 SP1 or newer

Honestly, that’s not too bad—considering Oculus also just revealed that the final Rift needs to push 400 million pixels per second. With two displays inside running at a combined resolution of 2160 x 1200, refreshing 90 times per second, plus some additional headroom (so you can move your head around without seeing things that haven’t loaded yet), Oculus says the Rift requires approximately three times the GPU performance you normally need to play games at 1080p.

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But that means you’ll be paying a good bit if you want to jump in. I just whipped together a quick PC system build at PCPartPicker with some of the cheapest (yet tried and true) components you can get, and it added up to just over $800 after discounts and rebates.

Yeah, yeah, these are Oculus’ recommended specs, not absolute requirements, so you could probably go cheaper if needed. (Also, prices may come down by the time the Rift ships.) But remember that virtual reality has way less wiggle room for performance to dip. If a traditional video game drops under a certain amount of frames per second, it’s a little choppy. If a VR experience drops frames, it can totally destroy the illusion or even make you sick.

What about plugging the Oculus Rift into a laptop? Bad news: “almost no current laptops have the GPU performance for the recommended spec,” says the company’s chief architect. [Oculus]


Contact the author at sean.hollister@gizmodo.com.