Computer games have advanced enormously since they first emerged in the 1970s, but regardless how powerful your PC is we all experience games the same way - by looking at a computer monitor.
The trouble with gaming on a monitor is that they're not very good at tricking your brain into thinking you're actually in the game as at some point you'll get distracted by something in the background, such as bird flying by the window or the phone ringing. Once that happens it's very hard for your brain to be tricked again, breaking the sense of immersion.
After decades of development we're just on the cusp of this problem being solved by the introduction of Virtual Reality headsets. Instead of looking at a monitor sat several feet away on a desk, a VR display sits comfortably on your head and cuts out all ambient light, so all you see is the game. This tricks your brain into thinking you're really there, greatly increasing the sense of immersion.
VR headsets also track the movement of your head, so instead of panning your view in the game around with the mouse you move your head naturally and the headset does the rest for you. Some VR headsets will also be bundled with controllers that mimic your hands, allowing you to interact with objects in-game far more naturally than with a keyboard and mouse.
The first VR headsets to hit the market are the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Developed by the tech leaders HTC and Valve, the Vive delivers best-in-class technology and content for the ultimate VR experience. Featuring a state-of-the-art headset, two wireless controllers, and room-scale motion tracking. See, hear, and experience worlds beyond imagination. Interact with virtual tools, discover new worlds, and travel beyond the boundaries of your imagination.
So here is what graphic card we’d recommend for a good VR experience.
|VR Ready Graphics Cards|
|Good Experience||Better Experience||Best Experience||Ultimate Experience|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti|
Read our guide to the best gaming graphics cards
Whichever VR headset takes your fancy you'll need to make sure you have a suitably powerful PC to provide a smooth frame rate and a responsive experience.
For instance, the Oculus Rift has a resolution of 2160x1200 split across two displays which need to be fed game date at approximately 90fps. This is much faster than the frame rate of a monitor, and is necessary because the displays in a VR headset are much closer to your eyes than a monitor.
Put into perspective, running a game on a VR headset is roughly three and a half times harder than on a standard 1920x1080 monitor or twice as hard as on a high-end 2560x1440 monitor. This means that you need a very powerful PC to cope with the added demands of playing a game on a VR headset