In this article, we will give you an answer to the question if you can run VR (Oculus or Vive) on a laptop, and which are the best ones to buy for it, as well as budget ones that are enough for playing VR games.
Yes, some laptops are capable of running VR.
Stay with us further, because we will explain to you everything you need to know about how to run VR (Oculus/Vive) on a laptop.
Can you use VR on a laptop?
Most gamers play their VR games on desktop computers, so VR manufacturers, such as Oculus (the Rift) and HTC (the Vive) have focused on desktop computers, which usually means higher components. In the last few years, laptops have started to be less and less expensive, so they are becoming a VR option as well.
So, as we said before, yes, you can use VR on some laptops, but you have to know it will cost much more than the same thing on a desktop computer. Also, bear in mind that not all of them can work well with VR. Zak Lyons of the human-computer interaction team at Bath University said this for Rock Paper Shotgun:
“Most modern machines are capable of running VR. However, not all of them can run it well. If you put a VR headset on and there’s latency when moving your head, you’re going to get ill pretty quickly. So it really comes down to whether a laptop can offer a good enough latency-free performance to avoid cybersickness.”
We can conclude from this that you need a really good laptop, with the extremely good graphic card, that has amazing cooling, to be able to play VR on it, oh, and forget about your battery, it will drain it immediately, so you will have to play it plugged in.
But, there is also another option, if you are not already owning Oculus or Vive VR, and that is to buy lower-spec VR headsets such as Razer’s OSVR. They offer 1080p, with 60Hz and 120Hz operation, similar to the Sony PSVR. So they are much more suitable for a wider range of hardware. Still, they don’t offer the best of current VR technologies available, but that is maybe the sacrifice you will have to take.
How do you know if your laptop is VR Ready?
Windows is the current operating system on most computers and laptops, and they have made devices ready for Virtual Reality gaming through it (at least devices that use the latest Windows 10). That doesn’t mean they can make wonders for your rig, but if you have strong enough laptop, and you are using Windows 10, it is a very big possibility that it is already ready for VR.
Ir shows you if your laptop is VR ready, or to better explain, if you have a device that is capable of offering immersive gaming with richly detailed, three-dimensional graphics, comfortable gear, and natural movements. This helps in creating a lifelike environment, made possible via powerful processors and lightning-fast graphics cards that render systems breathtaking images and augmented reality.
As you see from the above, powerful processor, and maybe even more important, lightning-fast graphics cards are the things to look out for when choosing to buy a new laptop if you want it to be VR ready.
What specs to look out for in new laptop to be VR Ready
The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive – biggest VR brands – have some hardware requirements, and the most important thing is the graphic card.
Graphic Cards for VR Ready laptops
When they started out, they suggested for smooth VR gaming Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or an AMD Radeon RX 480, and they later added minimum requirements in GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and Radeon RX 470 graphic cards.
Now, a lot of time has passed since the VR beginnings, but they still haven’t changed their recommendation for entry-level graphic cards.
Processor and Memory for VR Ready laptops
Even thou graphic cards are the most important piece of hardware for VR gaming, we can’t forget about processor and memory.
Oculus recommends at least an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X, or if you can afford, something better – newer. HTC Vive has a little higher recommendations, but no major differences.
Memory related, Oculus recommended 8GB or more, while HTC claims 4GB is sufficient for its hardware. This is really not hard to meat, as almost any new laptop comes with at least 8GB of RAM.
What else to look out for when buying new VR Ready laptop
The selections of ports – You need to have enough of them to be able to plug in all of your headset’s connectors, and knowing which ports you’ll need requires checking the instructions well. The Rift needs an HDMI 1.3 port and three USB ports (ideally, two USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port). The Vive can use either HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 and needs only one USB port.
Be very careful when buying your laptop and checking your ports. Note them all down, and check if your new VR game platform has enough holes to connect your headset, also, try to have even more so you can use your other peripherals.
Screen Size – it comes down to your preferences and needs. Both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops are compatible with VR, but of course, you’ll be wearing the headset while playing, not looking at the screen, so this is not so important aspect directly for Virtual Reality gaming.
Storage – VR games take a lot of space, so be careful when choosing the right amount of space on your new laptop. It would be best if you can combine 1TB for storing your games, and one smaller SSD disk for the operating system and a few key applications. If it only has room for one of those, then we recommend you go with the biggest SSD disk possible.
Battery – you would maybe be surprised, but a better life is not important here at all. Why, you ask? Well, no matter what battery you take, gaming, and VR in particular, will eat it up almost instantly. Gaming laptops are meant to be played plugged in.
Conclusion – Can Laptops Run VR (Oculus/Vive) And Witch Ones?
As seen from above, they sure can.
We have explained in details what is needed for your new laptop to be VR ready, but in short, most important things are graphic card and CPU. Unfortunately, those two things are the most expensive ones as well.