What Graphics Card Do You Need for VR in 2024? A Short Guide
Updated: September 12,2023
The gaming industry is ever-expanding, and virtual reality has certainly taken it to a whole new level. Although VR technology is relatively new, it has already found its way to the home setting. But can you run VR on just any home setup? What graphics card do you need for VR, for example?
In this article, we will discuss our top graphics card picks for an ultimate VR experience, so read on.
Choosing a CPU for VR
Before we discuss the graphics cards, however, let’s look into other key components you’ll need to enjoy your favorite VR titles. First off, VR needs continuous performance delivery, so you’ll need a strong processor that will keep everything running smoothly.
Although the VR experience doesn’t necessarily include only gaming, even if you are using it for educational purposes, it feels a lot like a game. This is a nascent industry, but the basics of virtual reality resemble modern computer gaming a great deal.
For VR, clock speed or frequency is much more important than multiple cores, so VRs work bests with CPUs that have low core counts and the highest possible clock speeds.
If you want better VR sessions, look for 6-core and 12-thread or 6C/6T processors. But if you want it to be ideal, go for 8C/16T processors. The minimum would be those with 4C/4T, but you won’t have the best time with your VR. Bear in mind that the best GPUs for VR are not necessarily the most expensive ones. The same goes for CPU.
A regular monitor will require 60 fps to create a smooth performance, but 60 fps on its own won’t cut it for VR - you’ll need a CPU with 90 fps if you want an optimal VR experience. For example, if you use an older CPU like Intel’s 5 2500, you’ll be able to get decent 60 fps easily, but if you try to get 90 fps, the experience will be shabby, to say the least.
The very hardware minimum for Vive Pro and HTC Vive will be AMD FX-8350 or Intel Core i5-4590 or stronger. Any model, such as Core i5 or Core i7, will be more than enough.
Recommended CPU for VR
Now that we know that CPU is important when considering entering the world of virtual reality, let’s take a look at which CPUs are a good match for VR.
Intel Core i7 13700K 16 Core is one of the great examples, as its chips are great for VR workloads, and it has a moderate core count and pretty good per-core performance. Another perk is that they’re quite affordable.
Another one is AMD Ryzen 7 7700X 8 Core. You could also go with AMD Radeon RX if you want a similar performance. What’s impressive about this CPU is the excellent clock speed, which makes it ideal for VR. Those who want more cores can upgrade to Ryzen 9.
But, if you’re looking for a CPU that will be the best possible choice and you are fine with spending an extra dime for your setup, you should go with Core i9-9900K. With it, your VR will produce a seamless experience regardless of which game you choose.
Best Budget GPU For Gaming
Now that we’ve covered which CPU is best if you want to make the most of your VR, let’s see the list of the best GPUs for VR if you’re on a budget.
Even though you can often see that the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Super are typically recommended for VR gaming, a much faster option is RTX 3050, and it’s quite affordable. Still, RTX 3050 and GTX 1660 are a lot similar, so whichever you get, you won’t make a mistake.
The RTX 3050 is a very solid option for mid-range requirements, and it will serve you well if you’re playing Half-Life: Alyx in VR over 70 FPS.
Good options for those on budget are also NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and AMD RX 470. They work well with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and will be a great choice for many VR headsets.
Recommended Graphics Cards for VR
Your VR experience can be much more enjoyable than regular gaming because you will feel immersed in virtual reality, and everything will feel that much more real and next-level. But what are the essential things for your VR headset to work perfectly, other than choosing an appropriate GPU?
The answer lies in a great VR graphics card. GPU is the foundation for all the visuals you get from your games, and there are many you can choose from, but you won’t be able to make the most out of your virtual world experience if you go with just any of them. Here, we’ll suggest some of the best graphics cards to maximize your gaming or educational VR journey.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
If you don’t mind paying an extra dime, your VR games will come to life with this graphics card, which rightfully made it to our best VR graphics card list. The memory speed is 14 GBps and you’ll get 4352 CUDA cores, which is impressive, to say the least.
The boost clock can stretch to up to 1634, and the base clock is 1350, with a total memory is 11 GB. When it comes to size, it’s 4.5 x 10.5. There are dual 8-pin power connectors drawing 260 W.
All in all, this is a great solution and a full package for your virtual reality gaming. Plus, the card is esthetically pleasing, which can add extra value for those who want their machine to look nice, as well as purr like a kitten.
With this GPU, your machine will run smoothly, thanks to its overcloking and other features, but with pricing being an important consideration for the key demographics, we should note there are cheaper alternatives with similar benefits.
Statistics show that 44% of users interested in purchasing VR devices are aged between 18 and 35, and the average adolescent is probably not likely to be able to afford the 2080 Ti Founders Edition. The same goes for AR, where 35% of users are aged between 16 and 34.
MSI GeForce Gaming RTX 2060
The GeForce RTX 2060 can be a great addition to your PC set that you want to use for VR gaming.
Sadly, it offers only 6 GB of VRAM and there’s only one HDMI slot, but that’s where the disadvantages end. You’ll get a boost clock of 1830 MHz, which is a great deal for such a price, and you’ll benefit from 14 Gbps memory speed.
This graphics card has Mystic Light support, with a variety of colors you can choose from to lighten up the atmosphere. The power consumption is 190 W, and there’s one 9-pin power connector.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super
Somewhere between the top-of-the-range and budget graphics cards, you’ll find Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super. This mid-range GPU will provide a great VR gaming experience thanks to its 3072 CUDA cores and the 15.5 Gbps memory speed.
The memory interface width is 256, and the card is equipped with 8 GB of GDDR6 memory, making it great value for money. The power requirement is 250 W, and the PSU is 650 W. If you’re wondering about the size, it’s 4.5 x 10.5 with 6-8 power connecting pins. This GPU is the best option for 4K gaming, which is pretty incredible considering how affordable it is.
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660Ti
The strongest suit of this graphics card for VR is that it’s compact and well-designed. You’ll get an impressive 6 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which will more than work for most games.
Apart from being VR-ready, this graphics card features 4K resolution, a 12 Gbps memory clock, and 1563 CUDA cores. As we already mentioned, the GPU is super compact, being 8 x 4“, which also makes it great in terms of power consumption - the requirement is 130 W.
However, the downside is that there’s no SLI support which some users might see as a deal breaker.
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Ventus OC Edition
This graphics card will get you more than a usual mid-ranger. With the 6 GB VRAM and GDDR6 technology, you’ll also get 1920 CUDA cores and a 192-bit memory bus.
Although it’s not the most affordable solution, a great feature is that it can connect via compact phones, and the boost clock is 1720 Mhz, with 14 Gbps speed.
Like other models covered in this guide, its power consumption is 160 W, and you’ll get an 8-pin connector.
Now that we’ve covered the required CPU and the best VR-ready graphics cards, you can make an informed decision and start preparing your PC setup for an immersive virtual reality experience. All of these options are solid solutions for VR. It’s up to you to decide how much you’re willing to spend for your VR gaming experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you do. A solid GPU is one of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to VR gaming. You should get a GPU that will provide a 90-plus fps refresh rate, as anything less will result in lagging, and you might even feel motion sickness and nausea.
Sadly no, not just any PC config will do. You don’t have to get the newest-generation graphics card, but certain requirements need to be met for your PC to be VR-ready. While looking for the right PC for VR, make sure the first question you cover is, “What graphics card do you need for VR?”
The minimum graphics card for Ocul Quest 2 should be the equivalent of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, and you’ll need at least 8 GB of RAM.
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A true tech and gaming savant, Ivan has been fascinated by the digital world since the early days of gaming on antiques such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore’s beloved Amiga. Whether you’re interested in the latest PC and console gaming news, antivirus software, or smartphone reviews, or simply want to learn about the newest geeky gadgets around, we at KT have you covered, and Ivan’s likely the one we’ll ask.