You need a GeForce GTX 1070 or better to get the best out of HTC’s Vive Pro

The pre-order option for HTC’s upcoming Vive Pro virtual reality headset is now live, and with it arrives an updated list of system requirements you need to get the best experience possible. The company now provides two sets of graphics card requirements: Minimum and recommended. The Vive Pro doesn’t ship until April, so you still have time to upgrade and get the most out of HTC’s newest VR headset when it finally arrives. 

Here are the hardware specifications: 

Minimum Recommended
Processor:

Intel Core i5-4590
AMD FX 8350

Intel Core i5-4590
AMD FX 8350

Graphics:

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 480

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Nvidia Quadro P5000
AMD Radeon Vega 56

Memory:

4GB

4GB

Video output: 

DisplayPort v1.2 

DisplayPort v1.2 

Connections: 

1x USB-A 3.1 Gen1 

1x USB-A 3.1 Gen1 

Platform: 

Windows 8.1
Windows 10 

Windows 8.1
Windows 10 

 Compared to the original Vive headset’s “recommended” requirements, the Pro’s minimum hardware specifications are seemingly unchanged save for the removal of the HDMI connection requirement, and an upgrade to USB 3.1 Gen1. But the Pro’s “recommended” system requirements are understandable given it demands a bit more processing power to render virtual reality at a higher visual level. The vanilla Vive unit provides a 2,160 x 1,200 combined resolution versus the Pro’s 2,880 x 1,600 combined resolution. 

The drawback to the Vive Pro is that for $799, you’re only getting the headset and its companion link box — base stations and controllers are not included in that price. The optional accessory starter kit includes two base stations and two controllers, setting you back an additional $450. A single controller costs $130 while a single base station is another $135. That said, you can get a complete HTC Vive “vanilla” first-generation kit for $500 and still have a great experience. 

Keep in mind, for the “best” experience for the Vive Pro, an upgrade to the GTX 1070 will cost at least $400 based on Nvidia’s Founders Edition pricing. But in the real world, prices are substantially higher due to a short supply and traditionally higher price tags supplied by manufacturers. Meanwhile, AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 suffers the same fate, with prices hovering around $538 and higher. 

So let’s do the math. If you’re just jumping onto the virtual reality bandwagon, here are the options along with how much you will likely spend in total if your graphics card needs an upgrade too. We threw Facebook’s Oculus Rift into the mix as well: 

Complete Cost With GPU upgrade
HTC Vive Pro

$1,250

$1,800 (GTX 1070)

HTC Vive

$500

$870 (GTX 1060)

Oculus Rift

$400

$770 (GTX 1060)

If you’re already set hardware-wise, then the only component you need to consider is how much you want to sink into a niche market. If you need both the headset kit and a new graphics card to support the device, now simply isn’t a good time unless you have money to burn. As stated, the graphics card shortage is generating higher prices with the current stock. And with Nvidia’s next-generation graphics cards just around the corner, you’ll be better off playing the waiting game for now…. at least until June.

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