Microsoft plans to make virtual reality support a centerpiece of next year's Windows 10 Creators Update. We're now getting a better sense of just what kind of computer you'll need to explore virtual worlds in Windows 10.
The latest Windows 10 test builds reveal the minimum specs required for virtual-reality headsets, according to The Verge, which spotted the requirements. You'll need a PC with 4GB of RAM, at least one USB 3.0 port, four CPU cores, and a graphics card that can support DirectX 12. You'll also need ample storage space to handle the virtual content.
Microsoft is trying to build a presence in the virtual-reality market, with the hope that next year's Windows 10 update ushers in the standard way for users to get their virtual reality experiences. As part of that, Microsoft has signed on several partners — including HP, Dell and Lenovo — to make virtual reality headsets that cost $299.
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HTC and Facebook-owned Oculus offer two of the most prominent headsets in the market —the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, respectively. And their hardware requires much more oomph than what Microsoft's Windows 10 test builds list. Oculus, for instance, requires Windows 7 or newer, three USB 3.0 ports plus a USB 2.0 port, HDMI 1.3, and at least 8GB of RAM. On the graphics side, you need the power offered by the Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon 290, or something better.
Microsoft is clearly looking to get virtual reality in the hands of more people, with less hefty system requirements and devices from third parties who don't need to worry about developing their own VR platforms. Microsoft's platform will be developed on the back of Windows Holographic, a computing environment used by the company's HoloLens augmented-reality headset.
We still need to hear details about what kind of apps and experiences will be available through the VR capabilities of Windows 10. Expect to hear more about that as we get closer to the 2017 release of Windows 10 Creators Update.