With the Oculus Rift finally being confirmed for release some time in 2016 the company has finally cleared up something many people have been wondering about; the PC specifications for the Oculus. The price however is something the company is still avoiding in their announcements and updates of the VR system.
The company announced their recommended PC specs today in a blog post:
It was also stated that these requirements will remain consistent over the life of the Oculus which is great news for PC gamers who may not update their computer’s components too often.
NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
2x USB 3.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 or newer
Sadly, this is bad news for laptop users. It seems that most laptops will either be unable to run the Oculus or will struggle to do so; most laptop GPU’s do not have a HDMI 1.3 video output built into them.
Going into more detail about this Chief Architect Atman Binstock added that they were “working on how to identify the right systems” and also said that no current laptop can match the GPU requirements however future ones may be able to support this level of performance.
Binstock also mentioned that all work to port Oculus for Mac and Linux has currently stopped so they can focus on development on Windows. They do intend to continue to work on Mac and Linux compatibility but have no current timeline for this.
The Oculus demands a high GPU for one main reason which Binstock explained nicely, in short it’s all down to the pixel count:
On the raw rendering costs: a traditional 1080p game at 60Hz requires 124 million shaded pixels per second. In contrast, the Rift runs at 2160×1200 at 90Hz split over dual displays, consuming 233 million pixels per second.
At the default eye-target scale, the Rift’s rendering requirements go much higher: around 400 million shaded pixels per second. This means that by raw rendering costs alone, a VR game will require approximately 3x the GPU power of 1080p rendering.
So it looks like current laptops will not be able to run the Oculus and it will be interesting to see if laptops this powerful suddenly begin to crop up around the release of the Oculus some time next year.
With the potential consumer pool for the Oculus shrinking even more the price tag for the device is going to be even more crucial.
Are you planning to get an Oculus Rift? Could your computer even run it?