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While the cost of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are fairly expensive on their own, one common misconception is that, in order to run them, you need to spend thousands of dollars on a computer.
And, while that may be true if you are looking for a pre-built computer, if you are willing to build your own computer, you could get a VR-ready system for much lower than $1,000.
The good news is that building a computer isn’t really as hard as you would think. In fact, if you can read and you have a screwdriver, you probably have what it takes to build an affordable VR-ready gaming PC.
In this guide, I’ll go over all of the parts you’ll need in order to build a PC that meets the requirements of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Part List for A Cheap VR Gaming Computer
Below is a part list that is capable of meeting the minimum requirements of both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1200 (~$110)
- GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 (~$215)
- MOBO: ASRock AB350M PRO4 (~$75)
- PSU: Corsair CX450 (~$40)
- CASE: Rosewill Star Predator (~$36)
- RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport (~$68)
- HDD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda (~$45)
- OS: Windows 10 USB (~$110)
Grand Total: ~$699
Other Areas Where You Can Cut Costs
At just under $700, this build has everything you need in order to build a gaming computer that can run both an Oculus Rift and an HTC Vive.
However, if you’re looking to cut costs more, you can definitely do so…
1. Shop Around for Lower Prices
For starts, these component prices were all pulled from Amazon. I like to buy from Amazon because I have a Prime account and I get 2-day free shipping.
But, if your main goal is to spend as little as possible, you could shop at other online retailers like Newegg.com, NCIX.com, TigerDirect.com, BHPotoVideo.com, etc. and see if you can get any of the parts listed above for a lower price.
It might take those sites a little longer to ship you your products, but you could potentially bring the cost of your build down by $30 or more simply by looking for cheaper prices elsewhere.
2. Find Windows 10 At A Discount
Another way you can cut down on the cost is, instead of buying Windows 10 at full price, you can shop around on places like Kinguin.com and buy a Windows key for a lot less.
In some cases, you can find a Windows 10 key for around ~$30. That’s a savings of almost $80 of what you would pay for the full retail price.
3. Drop Your Video Card Down to A GTX 1050 Ti
Finally, while the HTC Vive’s minimum recommendation for a graphics card is a GTX 1060, the Oculus Rift has a minimum recommendation of a GTX 1050 Ti.
So, if you choose an Oculus Rift over an HTC Vive, you could drop down to a GTX 1050 Ti and save yourself another $60-$70.
All-in-all, there is the potential to save another $100-$150 on this build if you shop around, get Windows 10 at a discount, and go with a GTX 1050 Ti.
That means that you could build a VR-ready gaming computer for as little as $550.