At just under $800, this is probably going to be the cheapest VR capable gaming PC build that you’ll be able to put together until the RX 480 releases, without sacrificing some performance that is.
Regardless of the VR unit you have, this build will work perfectly to ensure your virtual reality experience is what it should be. A GTX 970 is currently the cheapest graphics card that supports VR, and that’s what this build was based around.
Cheap VR-Ready Gaming PC Build
Updated: June 15th, 2016
Corsair Carbide 100R
Great layout, optimal cooling, 2x front USB 3.0. View
LGA 1151, H110, mATX, only 2 DIMMs for RAM. 2x USB 3.0 headers + 2 on i/o panel. View
Intel i5 6500
3.2GHz, 4-cores, 4-threads. Comes with a CPU cooler. View
Gigabyte GTX 970 G1
4GB GDDR5 VRAM, HDMI / DisplayPort/ DVI connections. The minimum requirement for VR. View
EVGA 600W B1
600W, up to 85% efficiency, 3-year warranty
Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB
2133MHz, dual-channel pair, CL14 View
Seagate 1TB SSHD
3.5 inch, 64MB cache. hybrid drives are faster than your typical HDD while offering more storage at less cost than an SSD. View
PNY CS1311 240GB SSD
Up to 90,000 IOPS read/write. An SSD is the single best upgrade to make your PC feel faster (won’t get more FPS in games). View
Samsung Internal 24x CD DVD±R/RW kit
Comes with mounting hardware & cables. An optical drive isn’t necessary, but if you’re installing your OS from a disc you’ll need it. View
Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Hub
Although this build has enough USB ports for your typical VR setup, if you want to plug more stuff in you’ll need more ports. View
This is just a quick build list to show you what a base-level VR build might look like with the hardware that we currently have access to. Once AMD drops the RX 480, and if it proves to be as good as they say it is, a VR capable build will become quite a bit cheaper than you see here. That said, this is currently the minimum spec build that you’ll need for VR, and quite possibly the cheapest.
For starters, to get the price below $800, I had to opt for a lower quality motherboard than I would have hoped for, but it’ll get the job done well enough. It has 2 rear USB 3.0 ports, and 2 USB 3.0 headers to power our cases front USB 3.0 ports, so we’ll have more than enough USB ports to power either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.
When it comes to graphics, the minimum requirement for VR is currently a GTX 970, so that’s basically the foundation of this build. Gigabyte’s G1 Gaming iteration of the 970 uses their proprietary WindForce cooling system that keeps the card cool while staying relatively silent. It has all of the display ports that you could hope for, including HDMI, so we’re pretty much set for VR. Outside of VR, the GTX 970 is a powerhouse and it’ll handle anything you can throw at it with relative ease.
When it comes to picking an operating system, we’re pretty limited in our choices. We have Linux-based choices that’ll work alright for the most part as a free solution, or we have Windows.
On one hand, a Linux-based OS can be a great and affordable solution when you’re on a tight budget, but on the other hand, Linux & VR aren’t entirely compatible together just yet..
So, we’re pretty much limited to a copy of Windows. Not only that, but if you want to take advantage of DirectX 12, then we’re even more limited to just Windows 10.
If you don’t already have things like a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and some kind of audio, you might want to take a look at some of my suggestions. They’re hand-picked to match this budget level, and they’re all great peripherals.
23″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming View
Redragon K552 Keyboard
Mechanical switches, wired, lightweight, durable, adjustable backlight. View
EVGA TORQ X10 Carbon
Wired, adjustable weight & height system, ambidextrous (use either hand). View
Creative Sound BlasterX H7
The best gaming headset you can get, in my opinion. View
If you plan on using a WiFi connection, then you’re also going to need some kind of WiFi adapter as very few motherboards come with it built-in.
You have a couple of options, either a USB-based WiFi adapter, or one that mounts internally, but you only need one. USB is more convenient and much cheaper in most cases, but less reliable than an internally mounted unit.
All-in-all, this is a great entry-level VR ready build that’ll serve you well for a long time. Yep, the GTX 1070 has been released, but the 970 is cheaper and this build is all about putting together the cheapest VR capable PC possible, if you want to upgrade to a GTX 1070 that’s entirely your call.
This build meets all of the necessary requirements for VR, and it’s also capable of handling any non-VR game you can throw at it. The only thing left to do is pick it up and put it together!