When you buy a laptop or PC for VR gaming, there is a lot you have to consider. More than with regular gaming. Not only are the recommended specs for software important, but also for the VR headsets, and even things like available USB bandwidth (especially for Oculus Quest owners). And some laptops only have HDMI ports while many new headsets don’t support that anymore, not even with an adapter. But after this video, I hope to give you all the info you need to buy a VR-ready laptop, or you could use this info for a PC too.
But even if you already have one, you may want to check it out for some tips. First, it’s thanks to Intel that I can make this video today. So a big thanks to them for providing the laptop, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i7. That’s a mouthful 😉 Hey! Cas here, and welcome to VR TECH TIPs. We’ve noticed many new people diving into VR these last couple of months, and that’s great news, so I hope to help out with these videos.
If you like to see more, consider subscribing as that’s a big support. And now, join me beyond reality. Today, I’m mostly focusing on the three most popular headsets right now, the Oculus Quest 2, HP Reverb G2, and the Valve Index, but the info in this video should be usable for other headsets as well. I’m also focusing a bit more on laptops as laptops are more difficult for VR than PCs. I’m not going to talk about how to build your own PC as that should be a video by its own. This is more of a guide for those looking for a laptop or a prebuilt pc. By the way, timestamps are below as always for your convenience. So the first step I recommend doing is looking at what VR headset you may want to buy. Every VR headset has it’s own requirements, like specific ports that you need. For example, the Valve Index needs a DisplayPort 1.2 and USB-A slot, while the HP Reverb G2 needs DisplayPort 1.3 and USB-C. And to use the Oculus Quest with Link, you need a USB 3.2 gen 1 cable, and your laptop also needs the same USB 3.2 port to make the most out of your headset.
Are you confused yet? No worries, I’ll explain in a little bit. Now, let’s answer one quickie first: Which operating system? Well, I can already tell you, you should get a Windows laptop, not a MacBook, or one with Linux as many VR software are just made for Windows. Next, start by looking at the recommended specs needed for the headset that you want. You can usually find that by Googling, for example, “Valve Index recommended specs” You’ll find a page like this. If you’re on a budget, you can look at the minimum specs, but if you want the full VR experience, like higher refresh rates and be more futureproof.
It’s better to look at the recommended specs, so that’s what I’ll focus on too. For convenience, I’ve got the recommended specs for the three headsets for you here: So let’s say now, I want to buy the ASUS Zephyrus Duo. I’ll need to check if this laptop has the required specs. What I usually do is going to the site of the manufacturer and looking up the technical specs. ASUS actually has a very lovely one-pager for all their laptops. So I’m going to go through this laptop’s most important specs for VR while giving you tips on what to look at. Some specs are straightforward, some specs you need to pay extra attention to, and some are just really cool to have IMO 😉 This laptop is a beauty, ain’t it. But I digress, so let’s begin with the first specs I recommend looking at: the CPU and GPU.
This laptop has an: Intel i7-10875H with 8 cores CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER with Max-Q Design GPU. First of all, the more cores on a CPU, the better and you need a dedicated GPU, not an integrated one. Here’s a list of CPUs and GPUs ranked in performance. Simply put, the higher the number on the CPU & GPU, the better the card is. So if you got the money to spend, you could pick something better than recommended. By the way, I’ve been an Intel and NVIDIA user all my life, I guess that’s my dad’s fault, so I don’t know much about AMD. That’s why I’m focusing more on these. Keep in mind here that laptops’ GPUs are usually less effective than their PC counterparts since they are smaller, mobile versions. And usually, in the recommended specs list, only the PC counterparts are listed.
So if you go for a laptop, it may be a good idea to pick a GPU that’s better than the minimum requirement. To check the differences in performance, I recommend checking out benchmarks online. But as you can see, I think our laptop is good to go in the CPU & GPU department. The next thing I would look at is RAM or usually also specified as Memory. All three headsets have a recommended memory of at least 8GB. But I recommend to get at least 16GB, since there are games like Half-Life: Alyx that require a minimum of 12GB of RAM. This laptop has 32 GB, so that’s more than enough. But just for VR gaming, RAM isn’t that important. But having more RAM is great if you’re someone who does a lot of intensive tasks at the same time; for example, if you’re a content creator or streamer, you might need it. 16GB is enough for most though and it might be worth it to look at laptops who have upgradeable RAM so you can upgrade later.
Now, probably the most confusing thing to look at are the USB ports. If you want to use Oculus Link with Quest, the biggest thing you need to consider here is that Link requires a high-quality USB cable capable of supporting data and power. And that cable should go in the right USB port on your laptop too. USB ports can be confusing as even if you got USB 3 ports, they can differ in supported data transfer speeds. Let’s take a look at this laptop again. To check what USB ports you have, go back to the manufacturer’s website as it’s usually specified there.
Like on ASUS, you can see what ports the laptop has exactly: As you can see, if you have a USB-A cable for Oculus Link, you may want to use the USB port at the back of this laptop as that’s the fastest port to avoid any issues to and to make the most out of Link. Manufacturers may have different naming conventions for their ports though, which can be confusing, so keep this table in mind if you look at your USB specs. By the way since this laptop is new, it shows the SuperSpeed logo too, so you can check what speeds the ports are by looking closely. Then, the cable you use also needs to support the same data rate. This means that when you buy a cable, make sure you pick a USB specification in this row or better, of course. Ok, thankfully, PC VR headsets are a little bit simpler. Many newer VR headsets use a full-size DisplayPort, like the G2 and the Index both do. First, check which version of DisplayPort your headset needs as your laptop should support that too.
This is to take full advantage of the refresh rate and resolution. Again, you can check this on the manufacturer’s website. However, a laptop usually comes with a mini-Displayport or only an HDMI port. If you got a mini-DisplayPort on your laptop, then you’re a bit lucky as most VR headsets come with a DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort adapter. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to buy one. There’s another thing, many laptops nowadays support the mini-DisplayPort through a USB-C port, and so they come with only HDMI and a USB-C port.
This is also the case with our laptop here. Since these newer headsets don’t support HDMI. You’ll need a DisplayPort to USB-C adapter, like this one. I’ll link everything that works for me below by the way. For the Index, that’s all you need. The G2 needs one extra step because it not only uses a DisplayPort but also a USB-C cable instead of USB-A. A lot of laptops only have one USB-C slot, and since we are already putting the DisplayPort to USB-C converter in this slot, we need another adapter for the USB-C cable, one that converts it to USB-A.
This one works, but any convertor that supports USB 3.2 gen 2 should work—as explained in the USB section of this video. As for PCs, you don’t need to worry as much about the ports as you’ll usually get enough. But do check the specs of your prebuilt to see if you got the right USB versions. Now, the laptop’s display specs aren’t as crucial for VR, since, well, you got the display on your head.
However, if you plan on playing flat games or do work on it, then it’s worth it to check what display suit your needs. For example, this is a full HD IPS-level display with a 300Hz refresh rate and a low response time of 3ms. This is a good one for flat gaming too since you’ll get less ghosting and better precision, especially with fast-paced games. But if you’re a creative, you may want to look at the 4K display with full Adobe RGB colors. By the way, this laptop also has one cool, unique selling point.
You’ve probably noticed it already, but this companion screen right here, which is also touch screen, can be used for multitasking. I was using this for our stream last Friday in the living room where I don’t have extra screens, and it was so useful to have our chats down here and our stream at the top. But what I think is awesome too is that you can use this screen for in-game windows, like to show your missions or inventory. But I digress again, I just think it’s cool 😛 But the last thing to look at is the storage. I recommend an SSD, as those drives are much faster than HDDs, allowing you to install and load games faster. For regular gaming, this may not be as important, but when you’re in VR, you cannot do anything except stare at a blank screen when loading, so faster loading times is nice-to-have. How big the storage should depend on how much you save on your computer. VR game install sizes differ a lot.
For example, Boneworks needs 20 GB, and Half-Life: Alyx requires about 70 GB. But you do get a few exceptions, like Asgard’s Wrath that needs a whopping 121 GB. On Steam, you can check per game what the install size is so you can do the math yourself 😉 And these are the things you should know when you are looking for a VR ready laptop or prebuilt PC. Now, the laptop I have here is not the most affordable, and as explained in the video, you don’t need this for VR gaming. If you’re on a budget, you can go for lower specs.
However, I do recommend at least getting the recommended specs for an HP G2 as I think that would be more future proof. The biggest advantage of using a laptop is portability, the ability to take it anywhere you want and play VR where you want. The disadvantage of this is that it’s more expensive. For the same price, you can get a very powerful PC. So it is up to you what you need and what your budget is. By the way, if you do need the portability, I do recommend a VR headset with inside-out tracking so you don’t need to drag external sensors around. And if you got the money to spend, I have to say, this is a great laptop.
I’ve been testing this laptop for a little over a week now for content creation, VR, and non-VR gaming, and so far, I’m really satisfied with it. I like how much effort was put into making efficient use of all the usually empty space at the keyboard area. So props to Intel and ASUS for innovating here. Apparently, they’ve been working with gamers and content creators to design this laptop, and I think that shows. If you’re interested, you can get this laptop from the link in our description. And let me know if you’re going to use this info to get a VR ready laptop or PC? Also, if you got any questions or additional tips, put that below too, and let’s help each other out. And I hope to see you in the next video; stay healthy, and a special thanks go to all our Champions, especially these Patrons down below.
One last big thanks to Intel for sponsoring this video with the laptop. And as always, VR on!.