The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will cost hundreds of dollars. And those looking to use the gadget should be prepared to buy a decent desktop PC if they don't already own one.
Facebook-owned Oculus announced Friday some technical specifications in the headset and the recommended specs for systems to power it. A PC laptop or Mac just won’t cut it for the first consumer version, due out very soon.
Oculus Rift will require a machine with Windows 7 SP1 or newer, two USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock. For the best performance, the company recommends NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics cards, and at minimum an Intel Core i5-4590 processor and 8GB RAM. These specifications are expected for the lifetime of the Rift product, the blog reads.
Gizmodo’s Sean Hollister estimated that a PC with the required specs would cost about $800 after discounts. That does not include the recommended specs, which Oculus’ chief architect Atman Binstock wrote is necessary for the “full Rift experience.”
Oculus has put a temporary stop on Mac and Linux support in an effort to improve the system before the launch, as revealed in the blog post. "We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don’t have a timeline," Binstock wrote.
That decision upset some developers who were building games for the system and planned for use across Windows, OS X and Linux. Developers have had access to early versions of the Rift since 2012. "As a game developer who thinks you've just shot yourself in the foot by abandoning OS X, I've decided to abandon Rift," developer Taylor Marks wrote on Oculus' post.
Exclusive content and games on Oculus Rift is one way analysts believe the system can stand out against its competitors. The system will compete with other virtual reality headsets, including Sony's Morpheus and HTC's Vive. Microsoft's HoloLens may be geared more toward high-end entertainment and commercial applications.
In March, Oculus announced that the consumer product will ship in the first quarter of 2016. Pre-orders are planned for later this year. The company said it will slowly reveal more details as the product gets closer to launch. Oculus is also expected to be featured at the video gaming conference E3 in June.