The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive have arrived and it’s looking like Virtual Reality is here to stay, so while we scowl at the thought of building an expensive system to experience being lost in outer space, this post should hopefully help you decide which graphics card is right for you.
In this post I’ll be suggesting some of the top VR Ready GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA starting from the low-end, all the way up to higher-end GPUs.
Now, we already know that the minimum specs for both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, at least in terms of graphics chips, is the GTX 970 or an AMD Radeon R9 390, so without further ado:
EVGA NVIDIA GTX 970 SC ACX 2.0
Although this just scrapes past the bottom of the specifications for VR, the GTX 970 is probably the best low-end chip at a fairly reasonable price (around £270), and is capable of running some of this year’s games at pretty high settings.
This particular model offers not one, but two Swept fan blades which help keep the chip cool, what’s more, it’s powered by two low-power motors offering even more power to the GPU itself.
This card also offers support for Gameworks VR, which is NVIDIA’s own program made for VR allowing more power for virtual reality.
You can pick this particular GPU up for around £270.
MSI Radeon R9 390
On the red side of the camp, and also on the lower-end of the VR specifications, is the Radeon R9 390. Much like the NVIDIA GPU, you’ll find this GPU also around the £270 mark.
This particular model from MSI is £5 more than the NVIDIA chip mentioned above, but offers double the memory at 8GB instead of 4GB.
You can pick up the MSI Radeon R9 390 for £275.
EVGA NVIDIA GTX 980 SC ACX 2.0
Now if you’re looking for something a little more kick ass, then the NVIDIA GTX 980 puts you safely within the lines of VR capabilities. Not only that, it offers a fair bit of future-proofing when it comes to future game releases.
Compared to the GTX 970, the 980 offers better compute performance, though it does require much more power, so you’d have to make sure that your PSU has enough to boot.
Much like the EVGA GTX 970, this card benefits from a cooling system which doesn’t use too much power, as well as NVIDIA’s own Gameworks VR software.
You can pick up the EVGA NVIDIA GTX 980 SC ACX 2.0 for £400.
MSI R9 390X GAMING 8G
I’ve discovered that it’s actually quite difficult right now to find an AMD GPU which offers similar performance to the GTX 970 (from the research I’ve done), but in terms of price point, and slightly similar specifications, then the R9 FURY almost compares.
Much like the R9 390 and the GTX 970, the 390X offers AMD’s own VR technology, AMD Liquid VR. This brings better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications.
You can grab this particular GPU for around the £360 mark, which isn’t as expensive as the GTX 980, but also doesn’t offer quite as much bang for your buck
EVGA NVIDIA GTX 980Ti VR Edition
Now, if you wanted a graphics card which was fully set for the VR revolution, then look no further. Not only is the GTX 980Ti VR Edition, BUILT with VR in mind, the complete package also comes with an additional 5.25” drive bay with front HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.
This means that you won’t have to fiddle behind the system in order to plugin your VR headset, there’s also an internal HDMI connector, meaning no external cables will be visible.
GTX 980 Ti VR Edition performs better than 970 by almost 30% so you’ve got enough performing power and then some. However, it comes at a price.
The EVGA NVIDIA GTX 980Ti VR Edition will set you back around £630.
AMD Radeon Pro DUO
What’s better than one GPU for your VR gaming? TWO GPUs! Yep, AMD is hoping to conquer the VR scene with a GPU that combines two Fury X-class chips into one watercooled unit.
This particular GPU is aimed not only at VR enthusiasts, but also game developers, including both standard and VR game developers.
If you’re ready to break the bank with your new gaming rig, you’ll be looking to spend around £1,000 for this chip. Unfortunately it’s not available until Q2.
Whatever the budget, there’s a VR ready GPU for you, though you’ll still need to fork out a good amount for the VR headset and the remaining PC, if you don’t already own those components.
This post is sponsored by Box.co.uk, your one-stop shop for electrical and computing products in the UK. All thoughts and opinions in this post are our own.