As the launch dates for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive rapidly approach, it is time to start reevaluating your PC's capabilities. Does your desktop or laptop, or the one you're eyeing as a purchase, have the necessary specs to power a virtual-reality headset?
The Oculus Rift VR headset and Touch Half Moon controllers. Credit: Oculus VR
Nvidia is hoping to make your buying decisions easier with its new GeForce GTX VR Ready program. Each VR-compatible PC will feature a recognizable badge that's designed to take the guesswork out of your purchase.
In order to smoothly run VR programs, a computer must maintain a frame rate of at least 90 frames per second for each of two simultaneous video feeds, one for each eye. Nvidia's compatibility check adds a number of other features, such as Multi-Res Shading, which the company claims increases overall performance by a whopping 50 percent without sacrificing image quality. Multi-Res Shading also apparently works to reduce latency, which can mean the difference between a great VR experience or a nausea-inducing one.
To establish a consistent tagging system, Nvidia has teamed up with a number of PC makers, including Alienware, Asus, Maingear, Falcon Northwest, Acer and HP. Products eligible to sport the badge will have, at minimum, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 GPU (for desktops) or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 GPU (for laptops), Window 7 SP1, an Intel Core i5-4590 processor or an equivalent AMD CPU, USB 3.0 support with at least 2 ports, 8GB of RAM and HDMI. The badge will also be added to GPUs sold separately.