Virtual reality has some of the highest recommended specifications for a platform in recent memory, easily beating out most contemporary games – especially considering that “recommended” is really more like a recommended minimum. To try and solve that, Valve has been working on lowering the requirements for its Vive headset. And it seems to have done so, making it possible to get on with just a R9 280.
Previously the recommended specs for the Vive were almost identical to that of Oculus’ Rift CV1 headset: a i5 4590 or better, 8GB of RAM or more and a GTX 970 or R9 290 or better. That’s quite a tall order for many and in-fact less than 15 percent of all Steam gamers have a set up that powerful.
However the number of applicable VR gamers is now that bit lower, thanks to the adjustment of the Vive’s recommended specifications. Looking at the Vive site, it appears that a R9 280 is all that is required now.
That is great news for anyone who already owns a 280, but also for those looking to upgrade their systems to a VR ready state. Although a little hard to come by, R9 280s can be found for well under $200, meaning a ‘VR Ready’ system is now a whole lot cheaper.
Specifically if you go with AMD, it seems, as the HTC Vive’s specifications still suggest a GTX 970 if you go the Nvidia route. Although a far newer and more powerful card than the R9 280, it is also much more expensive, upwards of $300.
That means an AMD based system is certainly the cheapest way to get yourself ready for VR right now. While a stronger GPU might be recommended according to tests like Steam’s VR performance benchmark and it would certainly give you a better visual experience in VR games, the bar for entering into that virtual dimension certainly just became a lot lower.