If you've been holding off on getting an Oculus Rift due to your PC not being powerful enough, you might want to take another look. Oculus has officially rolled out Asynchronous Spacewarp, its new performance-optimizing technology that allows the Rift to run smoothly on less tricked-out gaming machines.
There's a whole lot of technical mumbo-jumbo to Asynchronous Spacewarp, but here's what you really need to know: the Oculus Rift now works with PCs packing at least an Nvidia GTX 960/1060 GPU or an AMD Radeon RX 470 and an Intel Core i3 processor. Previously, you needed at least a GTX 970 or equivalent GPU and a Core i5 processor.
That means that getting into VR has gotten even cheaper. A decent VR-ready gaming desktop typically costs a little over $1000, but AMD and CyberPowerPC recently unveiled a machine that meets the new Rift requirements for just $499, just to name an example.
Asynchronous Spacewarp builds upon Oculus equally-cool-sounding Asynchronous Timewarp technology, which is designed to keep framerates smooth even when your PC is having a hard time rendering the action in VR. Oculus notes that the more powerful your PC is, the less it will need Spacewarp, and also mentions that you might run into a few minor visual oddities if your PC is getting pushed to the limit.
Mainstream VR has come a long way since it first debuted early this year. Headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were first limited to very powerful PCs, but now support select laptops, and, thanks to technologies such as Spacewarp, lower-end desktops. Having a top-of-the-line graphics card is still ideal if you care about having the smoothest VR experience possible, but it's nice to see Oculus opening the Rift to more users.