You'll need a powerful GPU to drive the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is coming in the first quarter of 2016, and we now know what class of system it'll take to deliver a smooth VR experience with the headset. Oculus posted the recommended system specs on its blog today. To drive the headset, you'll need a PC with a Core i5-4590-class CPU, at least 8GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290-class graphics card or better.

Here's Oculus' complete list of recommendations:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Windows 7 SP1 or newer

In a companion post, Oculus chief architect Atman Binstock explains that the recommended components were chosen based on three factors: the raw pixel-delivery demands of the Rift's twin displays, the need for essentially real-time rendering, and the need for low-latency frame delivery. Considerable GPU headroom is required in order to maintain the illusion of presence in virtual worlds.

Oculus says these system recommendations will remain constant over the Rift's lifetime, so that developers can target a single reference platform and consumers can take advantage of decreasing component costs over time.

Mac and Linux users will find some bad news buried in Binstock's post. Rift support for those platforms is being "paused" for now. Oculus cites the need to deliver "a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content" for Windows and PC users when the Rift launches.

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