For the first time in the mid-’80s, digital gaming revolutionized technological advancement. Things take time to get recognized, and so does the Virtual reality. Well, there’s a massive talk about the best graphics card for VR, but how about, for now, we lodge ourselves into the past to know more about the functionality of VR. Do you remember that in the early ’90s, clumsy ring-shaped arenas came into the being? People were so agitated, although the game produced hardly five frames per second. Today, if we were to say that a particular game was the closest we can get to the future, you will call us a fool.
You can’t blame the people running companies, because everything present at the moment can be seen as the only future. Because of the fine achievements, we take things for granted, and somehow, they get replaced in no time. The same was the case with the newly arrived game in the early ’90s. Who knows in the next ten years, VR would be so normalized that we will be diving into the world of AI?
It’s time to snap ourselves back to reality. Speaking of the current achievements about VR, in 2016 and 2017, forensics recorded a huge bump into the investments being made on VR hardware and software. In the same year, Oculus Rift made its first public exposure. Over time, VR headsets became the norm, and today, people want to have a decent exposure to the lucrative system.
You can take it in jest, but VR systems are being modulated for professional fields like medical and military, where people are made to dive into the 3D world. It was because it made them accustomed to the reality that they might be facing in their professional careers.
Why do you need a graphics card for VR?
What do you expect from a device which messes up with your brain? Forsooth, it requires demanding components, especially top-notch GPU, to render 3D graphics. That’s why the article will be focusing on competitive GPUs that can allow you to immerse yourself in the world of VR.
There’s a procedure that VR follows. Well, it’s quite intricate, but I’ll try putting it in easy terminologies. The first step VR does is to render the models twice. The rendering ensures that whatever is being done in real-time, does not hamper the 3D effects. Critically, if the lag that causes your head’s movement to un-sync with your hand’s movement, you might feel disorientated (can inflict you with severe nausea). Hence, the need for consistency between Frame rate and frame time is paramount and should be strictly followed.
Initially, if you are trying to render small scale games, you might not need a powerful GPU; otherwise, get ready for an RTX series card.
What are the best VR headsets that you can get?
I do not intend to go against your personal choices, but here I will be recommending a couple of high-end VR headsets that can propel you into the vast 3D world, with little to no degradation.
- Oculus Rift S (Uses 2560x 1440P)
- Valve index (1440 x 1600 per eye resolution)
What are the key elements to look into a GPU before buying a compatible VR graphics card?
- Types of GPU: When talking about GPUs, you get a couple of different designs that deem fit for your casing. For instance, there’s a single slot, dual, triple-slot, and low-profile GPUs that you can look into before finalizing your product. Verily, selecting the GPU with the best possible design can take ages, but it’s a mandatory process if you want to power on your VR headset. Typically, VR headsets require a behemoth GPU; thus, increasing the temperature of your card. That’s why you might need to look into triple GPU with dedicated and considerable passive cooling solutions inbuilt.
- GPU Clock Rate: Forsooth, VR headsets require a higher GPU clock rate to resolve complicated mathematical and geometrical calculations for rendering. For your understanding, the clock rate is how many cycles a GPU can complete in one second. The rate greatly varies from GPU to GPU, and you need to consider it before proceeding to the checkout. It’s true that these days, GPUs are given a fixed frequency range that they dwindle in while processing, hence saving you from buying an expensive GPU.
- Memory: It’s one of the crucial and vital steps in selecting a compatible GPU for your VR headset. VRAM identifies how much a system needs temporary space on the card. The maximum range a GPU these days is providing: 11GB VRAM. It’s always recommended to go for the largest possible range because we are talking about virtual reality. It will be going to munch on every little bit from your GPU.
- Cooling System: Noise and temperature issues are the major thing in GPUs. For instance, if you are laying your hands on an expensive GPU, the temperatures will escalate quickly; thus, a need for a competitive high-end cooling solution. Either ensure that you get the best stock fans or look forward to a liquid cooling solution. VR headsets will buff up your GPU in no time.
- Price tag: At times, high-end GPUs might not entail absolute stunning results. You can get the same results if you are up for a proper postmortem of your newly selected GPU. You also need to ensure that the VR headset remains compatible with the mid-tier GPU; otherwise, it will be a complete loss.
Without any further ado, let’s proceed to the list of recommended Graphics Cards for Virtual Reality!
4 best Graphics Cards for VR (summarized table)
RTX cards have been revolutionizing the concept of VR; thus, forcing us to pick 2080Ti for you. Since it’s an editor’s pick, you can rely on the card. You can check reviews online or anecdotes from people who have been using the card for VR for credibility. Unfortunately, you might have come across many people, negating the fact that expensive cards are an overkill. But, here, 2080Ti is not. You do need it to get the full 4k gaming VR experience on the headset.
For the features, the card offers a multitude of immersive gaming tweaks. For example, you get hold of NVIDIA Turing architecture, which provides the system with 6X the performance of previous-generation cards. It’s a potent feature that can power on your VR and will have all its features unlocked. On top of that, the card runs on Direct X 12, which helps to render techniques. Let me remind you that VR renders techniques for the proper generation of the 3D world. Since you will be using Direct X 12, the VR headset will be generating more pixels per second. Not to mention, the card supports 4k gaming, Axial tech fans for the cooling solution, 2.7 slot design, and MaxContact technology. It’s worth mentioning that you need a properly working cooling solution, either in the form of stock fans or liquid cooling. Although the card offers three stock coolers, you still need to get an external liquid cooler if possible.
There’s a couple of features that I might have missed; for instance, Auto extreme technology, ASUS FanConnect II, and GPU tweak II for thermal controls (monitoring).
Since we are talking about RTX 2080Ti, it’s needless to say that it comes with an on-fleek design. For flamboyant, you can always put your card to display and let the other peeps drool over it. That’s why you are buying an S-tier card. Above that, you get to make use of the Super Alloy Power II feature, which includes premium alloy chokes, solid polymer capacitors, and an array of high-current speed power stages for powering on CUDA cores. Well, the use of an alloy body was a must thing to protect your card from thermal throttling.
Why should you rely on RTX 2080Ti for your VR headset?
Let me remind you that the card offers OpenGL 4.6 support, Overclocked mode (1665 MHz), 4352 CUDA cores, 352-bit memory interface, Max resolution of 7680 x 4320, HDMI output, and the use of 650-watt supply. When considering all the specifications mentioned above, it becomes an undisputable verdict that you shouldn’t go for it? The card is enough to power on your sweet little VR headset without any input lag.
Perhaps, you don’t want me to get started about how gem of a card this is. Albeit, it is a couple of months older than RTX 2080Ti, the card’s doing wonders. The performance ratio between RTX 2080Ti and the RTX 2070 Super is nearly the same. The RTX 2070 super indeed lacks a couple of CUDA cores, but it’s nowhere less than the current generation advanced cards. Since the card makes use of RTX, you can render 3D images brilliantly on your VR headset.
The card offers a tremendous amount of VRAM (8GB), sufficient to power on your VR headset without perceptible input lags. Not to mention, the card makes use of the WINDFORCE 3X cooling system, which is a mandatory thing for passive cooling. These three stock fans on your RTX 2070 Super might not be sufficient enough to reduce soaring temperatures because of the VR. Hence, you might need to use external cooling solutions to bring down a notch a couple of degrees. It’s worth mentioning that the card uses VR ready features that include, lowest latency, Nvidia Works headset, VR audio, Physics, and haptic that allows you to have immersive VR experience.
It just doesn’t end here. For flaunting, you get to hold of RGB Fusion 2.0, which makes your card look attractive to enticing to the eyes.
The card is built on the foundation of metallic alloy. Surprisingly, the card offers extreme durability and advanced overclocking, thus making it withstand high temperatures. It also comes with a protective metal backplate that provides aesthetics and enhancement alike to the card. Not to mention, the card also offers a unique blade design that propels air at a greater efficient rate. It’s worth adding that you can control the direction of flow through setting up your fan profile. Either use alternative spinning for smooth airflow or standard spinning for turbulent airflow.
Why should you rely on RTX 2070 Super for your VR headset?
At a decent cost (less than RTX 2080), you get hold of 1785 MHz core clock, 52 RTX-OPS, 2560 CUDA cores, 14000 MHZ memory-clock, 8GB of VRAM, memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s, a maximum resolution of 7860 X 4320, and DisplayPort support. When considering these all mentioned bulletins, it’s a must-go-to GPU for your VR headset. Believe me, if you want RTX 2080Ti experience but in portable form, then RTX 2070 super it is.
I’m so excited to pitch in my constructive criticism about this specific product. AMD is for life, and I recommend you to at least pay heed to the findings before you finalize your VR GPU. Well, AMD Radeon RX 5700XT is a behemoth card that proposes a multi-threading option. It means that the GPU can process zillions of instructions in a single second. When it comes to VR, the card somewhat outperforms most of the existing flagship models to date.
RX 5700XT OC brings in a boost clock of 2035 MHz and 2010 MHz for gaming mode. Let me remind you that the clock speed is subject to change from vendor to vendor. If you plan to get RX 5700XT from another entity, you might not get the same features. Other than that, you get hold of 0db technology (low noise levels), 2.7 slot design, and Auto-Extreme technology. These features are golden because it allows your VR headset to function within its sanity boundaries; thus, elevating the 3D experience you get from the VR.
On top of that, the card offers MaxContact technology for improved thermal transfer, ASUS FanConnect II for cooling, and Aura Sync for lighting effects. It’s worth mentioning that you get tor RGB at your will. All you have to do is simply use any third-party software, and you are good to go. For the cooling solution, you need to keep in mind that the fans might not suffice for your VR. Indeed, the card has three stock fans, but at times VR dissipates heat at a greater rate; hence, requiring a more formidable cooling solution. You can get your hands on an external liquid cooler, or fans that propel heat directly at the heat sink.
For design, you get a super Alloy power II body that includes premium alloy chokes, solid polymer capacitors, and an array of high-current power structures that allows your GPU to stay stable. Not to mention, the card also offers a reinforced frame that protects your GPU from excessive torsion and involuntary bending of the PCB. For aesthetics, the card has an ebony body that twins with your enticing casing. Verily, you have all the assets to flaunt to your friends. It’s worth mentioning that you can tune in the fans’ speed as per your will from the control panel.
Why should you rely on RX 5700XT for your VR headset?
The question should be, why shouldn’t you? Well, the card offers PCI Express 4.0, OpenGL 4.6 for high rendering, variable clock speeds, 14 Gbps memory clock, 256-bit memory interface, HDMI and DisplayPort display, and the max resolution of 7680 x 4320 for purposeful 8k VR gaming. There’s so much more to do this card and to be honest, I can write a book on it. You are getting everything at a decent rate, why to gamble with performance then, huh?
GTX 1660 OC is the last card on this list, but it doesn’t mean that you will ignore it. I chose it to be last because some of the features might not be as per today’s standard. Regardless, the card works efficiently on a couple of VR headsets. The card belongs to the GTX lineage, which means that the number of CUDA cores and the efficiency of VRAM might not be suitable for some VR games.
The card uses NVIDIA Turing technology that allows seamless gaming to take place. You get to hold the WINDFORCE 2x cooling system with alternative fans that channel air in and out efficiently. Well, it’s useful because when you connect a VR, the card tends to run hotter than usual. For removing heat concerns, a unique fan layout was proposed. For the core clock, the card offers 1830 MHz, which is variable depending on the vendor chosen.
You also get to RGB with the card from different third-party software. Not to mention, the card comes with a passive cooling system, which makes the card kicks fan only when it reaches a given temperature threshold; hence, you should be using some sort of external cooling solution.
The card offers an aesthetically pleasing design that you can flaunt to your friends. The design indeed uses a strong alloy body so that the card can withstand hot gusts of winds inside the case. Notwithstanding, the card uses LOW RDS mode, Metal choking, and lower ESR solid capacitors.
Why should you rely on GTX 1660 OC for your VR headset?
Well, the specifications include, 1408 CUDA cores, 8002 MHz memory-clock, 6GB VRAM size (low for VR setups), 192-bit memory bus, 192 GB/s memory bandwidth, and the max resolution of 7680 x 4320 for 8k gaming experience. Verily, you can use the card for mid-tier VR games. So as long as you have all the assets to max out the card’s potential, you can buy GTX 1660.
The selection criterion is crucial in terms of getting a top-notch juicy performance. It’s always recommended to go for the best video card for VR because you will be experiencing the 3D world. If you want a seamless gaming experience, I recommend you go for ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080Ti Overclocked 11G since the card proposes all the advanced features that you can bask in.
If you are looking forward to something subsidized, then Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660, OC, might work for you. In the end, your choice matters the most. I hope the article cleared all your doubts regarding which GPU works the best with a particular virtual reality headset.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 1060 6GB best for VR?
The bare minimum requirement for running a VR compatible game is GTX 1060 6GB. If you have this card, then yes, you can run VR games at ease. Remember, you can only run VR games on the VIVE VR headset since it doesn’t require a lot of features.
What graphics cards run better VR games?
The GPU, which supports the Multi-GPU option, can render the VR graphics articulately. If you have that option, it’s time you enable it!