Get Ready For Oculus Rift – Buyers Guide

Buyer's Guide Slider


With the Oculus Rift launching today, we thought we’d put together a guide for anyone unsure what they need to get up and running with this great piece of kit.

The Oculus Rift is a serious investment.  It’s uncommon for a consumer computer accessory to launch at a price higher than the cost of the majority of computers being sold today, however the £499/$599 price tag isn’t the only cost you need to think about.  Many computers sold today won’t meet the minimum requirements to use the Rift and will require various upgrades, while most laptops will simply not be capable of running the Rift at all.

Disclosure: In this buyer’s guide we’ll be looking at creating two affordable Oculus Rift ready computers, one Intel Powered and one powered by AMD.  All prices are correct as of 28th March 2016.  While this article is not sponsored some links may link to affiliates that pay commission if you purchase from them.  These links help to keep Next Box up and running, although you’re always welcome to use the parts list below and compare prices at other online stores.

Before we get started you will need to know if you’re looking to purchase the Oculus Rift for your existing computer or build a new machine, so we’ll need to know Oculus Rift’s minimum requirements:

Processor (CPU) Intel i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
Graphics (GPU) NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Memory (RAM) 8GB+ RAM
Video Output HDMI 1.3 video output
USB Ports 3x USB Ports (2 of which must be USB 3.0)
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 or newer

If you’re unsure if your computer meets these requirements you can run Oculus’ Component Check software first.  It’s worth being aware that most laptops sold over the last few years will not meet these minimum requirements.  These are also minimum requirements to use the Rift, and may not give the best possible gaming experience.

Intel Build | £1,199.99

An intel build is one of the more common choices, giving solid performance for gaming and all-around use.

Processor (CPU): Intel i5-6500

The Intel Core i5 processors have been a popular choice with gamers for many years.  Offering an excellent cost to performance ratio, as well as some of the most advanced consumer features such as Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading.

The latest Skylake chips improve performance while also decreasing power consumption.

Graphics (GPU): NVIDIA GTX 980

The NVIDIA GTX 980 comes in at the higher end of the graphics card spectrum, with a massive 4GB of DDR5 memory (according to the MSI website, it appears the page on Amazon is incorrectly saying DDR3) and the ability to boost it’s clock speed up to 1,290MHz during intense gameplay.

Importantly the GTX 980 comes equipped with a HDMI 1.4 socket for the Oculus Rift.

Motherboard: ASRock Z170 Extreme4 ATX

You have a fantastic processor, and an amazing graphics card, but they need a way to communicate with each other.  That’s where the ASRock Z170 Extreme4 motherboard comes in.

This ATX sized motherboard comes equipped with 6x rear USB 3.0 ports (plus connectivity for 2x front USB 3.0 case ports), 2x USB 3.1 ports, full compatibility with Skylake processors and the new DDR4 memory standard.

The ASRock motherboard also has huge upgrade potential with room for dual graphics cards, four memory channels for up to 64GB of RAM and 6x internal SATA3 connections for SSD, HDD and optical drives.

Memory (RAM): HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4

While the Oculus Rift states that 8GB is required, it’s always worth getting more memory than you think you will require.  This HyperX Fury 8GB stick runs using the latest DDR4 technology and at less than £30 it’s an absolute steal.

It would be recommended to pick up two sticks of this memory for a total of 16GB, although this could be purchased later on to keep the initial cost of the system lower.

Power Supply (PSU): Corsair 750W CS760M

All of these components require power, and a lot of it.  A power supply is always one area where people tend to shave a few pounds off the cost of their build, but remember a bad power supply at best can break down, forcing you to purchase a new one, but at worse can damage the components within your computer should it fail.

The modular design of the CS750M also allows you to keep your wire management neat, helping to enhance airflow, keeping your machine running cool and even prolonging the life of your components.

Case: Antec Solution ATX Tower

A beautiful PC case is something that is entirely subjective.  The Antec Solution ATX case is certainly no looker, but for £30 it offers good value, enough room for our components and is more importantly fairly well ventilated with it’s mesh front.

More expensive cases will often look more attractive, offer better cable management and allow for even better ventilation which will mean a quieter computer.  However so long as you get an ATX case you’re good to go (just avoid mATX as they will likely be too small for our build).

Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD

With prices coming down, Solid State Drives are the way to go for blazing fast storage.  Working well with the SATA3 ports on our ASRock motherboard we can get access speeds of up to 540MB/s, that’s over around 5 times quicker than a traditional hard drive!

Traditional Hard Disk Drives do still have a place in a modern computer build, their high capacity makes them ideal for storing media files, so pairing the Samsung 850 EVO with a drive such as the WD Blue 2TB (£63) will give you the best of both worlds.

Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit

Lastly we need an operating system to run our software on.  While the Oculus Rift is happy to run on Windows 7, a 6 year old operating system, Windows 10 is really the way to go.

While you’ll often hear elitist gamers proclaim Windows 7 is better, only Windows 10 allows the use of newer gaming APIs, specifically Microsoft’s DirectX12, which will allow for improved graphics and better power management.

There you have it, you now have everything you need to build your computer.  It’s worth putting around £20 aside for smaller items such as SATA cables, as they aren’t included.  Oh yeah and another £500 for the Oculus!


AMD Build | £730

Although Intel is the more common build, AMD offers a mixture of great performance and value.

Processor (CPU): AMD FX8350

This beastly processor offers eight cores running at an impressive 4GHz, with the ability to push 4.2GHz with Turbo CORE Technology.  Although slightly beat in single core performance by the Intel i5-6500, the AMD FX8350 dominates in newer multi-core optimised games.

Graphics (GPU): MSI AMD R9 380

The AMD R9 380 graphics card is a great semi-budget graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.  Despite it’s lower price than the other graphics cards listed here, the R9 380 still comes equipped with HDMI 1.4.

[Alternative] Graphics (GPU): MSI AMD R9 290X

The AMD R9 290X graphics card is a solid mid-level graphics card with 4GB GDDR5 memory, and the ability to overclock up to 1,040MHz.  The card is also offers full compatibility with the new DirectX12 API under Windows 10 and the all-important HDMI 1.4 video output for the Oculus Rift.

Motherboard: MSI 970 Gaming ATX

The AMD processor requires a different motherboard than that of our Intel Skylake build, the slightly older standard of the AM3+ socket also means mother boards often cost less than similar Skylake compatible ones.

Don’t let the older tech and lower price dissuade you however, with the required 2x USB 3.0 ports, an additional 8x USB 2.0 ports and 6x SATA3 connectors for SSD and HDDs.

Memory (RAM): HyperX Fury 8GB DDR3

Similar to our Skylake build, we’ve met the 8GB requirements the Oculus Rift requires, but advise you to pick up a second stick to boost your build to a comfortable 16GB.

Power Supply (PSU): Corsair 750W CXM750

All of these components require power, and a lot of it.  A power supply is always one area where people tend to shave a few pounds off the cost of their build, but remember a bad power supply at best can break down, forcing you to purchase a new one, but at worse can damage the components within your computer should it fail.

The modular design of the CXM750 also allows you to keep your wire management neat, helping to enhance airflow, keeping your machine running cool and even prolonging the life of your components.

Case: Antec Solution ATX Tower

A beautiful PC case is something that is entirely subjective.  The Antec Solution ATX case is certainly no looker, but for £30 it offers good value, enough room for our components and is more importantly fairly well ventilated with it’s mesh front.

More expensive cases will often look more attractive, offer better cable management and allow for even better ventilation which will mean a quieter computer.  However so long as you get an ATX case you’re good to go (just avoid mATX as they will likely be too small for our build).

Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD

With prices coming down, Solid State Drives are the way to go for blazing fast storage.  Working well with the SATA3 ports on our ASRock motherboard we can get access speeds of up to 540MB/s, that’s over around 5 times quicker than a traditional hard drive!

Traditional Hard Disk Drives do still have a place in a modern computer build, their high capacity makes them ideal for storing media files, so pairing the Samsung 850 EVO with a drive such as the WD Blue 2TB (£63) will give you the best of both worlds.

Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit

Lastly we need an operating system to run our software on.  While the Oculus Rift is happy to run on Windows 7, a 6 year old operating system, Windows 10 is really the way to go.

While you’ll often hear elitist gamers proclaim Windows 7 is better, only Windows 10 allows the use of newer gaming APIs, specifically Microsoft’s DirectX12, which will allow for improved graphics and better power management.


A man who is equally happy saving the universe from fanatical aliens or hiding in a hole to survive the night. Gamertag: Boozy Bond

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*

Lost Password