The Alienware Aurora is built from the ground up with performance and unique design in mind, making it your best bet for an ultimate VR desktop.

Our Pick

Alienware Aurora

Style, power, and ports.

The Aurora sports up to dual NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti GPUs, an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8700K processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 2TB hard-disk drive (HDD). There are also plenty of configuration options if you don't need this amount of power. No matter what you choose inside, it all comes in an attractive, unique case.

Who should buy this VR-ready PC?

Scraping the bare minimum system requirements for VR, whether Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift, will often result in a sub-par experience full of judder and tearing. This PC is for anyone who wants enough power for unbridled VR and for anyone who wants their rig to remain relevant into the future through easy upgrades.

Is it a good time to buy this PC?

If you want to get into VR now, this is still the device to use. The Alienware Aurora has 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs with plenty of RAM and storage, so no problems there. Yes, 20-series NVIDIA GPUs have been announced and are coming to the Aurora, but current-gen VR headsets will run perfectly well with the 10-series GPUs being used now.

Reasons to buy

  • Plenty of powerful configurations available
  • Tool-less access and easy modifications
  • Has the right ports for VR (and more)
  • Programmable lighting for style
  • 24/7 support available
  • Sturdy, unique chassis

Reasons not to buy

  • Can find cheaper alternatives

Immersive VR demands a powerful PC

When shopping for a pre-built PC for your VR rig, you want a combination of power and affordable price, which the Alienware Aurora delivers. Starting at about $1,050 for a VR-ready rig, you can get a configuration with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8400 quad-core CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 2TB hard-disk drive (HDD), and a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This is more than enough power for a Rift or Vive, and checks the boxes when it comes to Windows Mixed Reality Ultra.

The Alienware Aurora delivers the ports and performance for any VR system you're looking to experience.

The top of the line configuration has a ridiculous amount of hardware in it, so you'll probably want to look at something in the mid-range that is a sweet spot of price and performance. We suggest the $1,400 configuration. It comes with an Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 128GB SSD coupled with a 2TB HDD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

The hardware is all contained in a sleek case that has a PSU swing arm, letting you upgrade or tweak everything with ease. There is also lighting on the outside to give your rig some style. If you're a Rift owner, know that these PCs are Oculus certified and you'll have access to advanced Rift support. As for ports, you're looking at everything you'll need for a hassle-free VR experience.

Alternatives to the Alienware Aurora

Alienware certainly isn't the only manufacturer making VR-ready PCs, and there are plenty of alternatives if you'd like something cheaper, more expensive, or with different hardware inside.

Budget pick

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme

A sub-$1,000 VR-ready PC with AMD GPU.

Designed from the start with affordable VR power in mind, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme has a lot to offer and costs quite a bit less than our top pick.

This desktop PC from CYBERPOWERPC was designed from the start to deliver Rift, Vive, and WMR Ultra performance at a low price. You get an 8th Gen Intel i5-8400 six-core CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Enjoy a 1TB HDD to hold your expanding library of games, and take advantage of the included gaming keyboard and gaming mouse. Despite the price, the attractive case with red lighting and clear cutout on the side make it seem like a premium build.

Best customization

Origin Chronos

A pre-built PC that feels like you built it.

Origin will build you a desktop PC capable of VR from a huge range of options that fit both your budget and your desires.

Each PC is built to order and the Chronos packs an enormous amount of power into a fairly small box. You can spec one up with an AMD or Intel CPU, and for graphics, choose from either an AMD Radeon RX 570 all the way up to an NVIDIA Titan V with 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Origin also lets you customize virtually every aspect of the PC, including adding 32GB of DDR4 RAM, painting the outside, and having RGB lighting installed inside. It's not the cheapest entry to VR, but this would definitely be your PC. Grab one whether you're interested in the Vive, Rift, or Windows Mixed Reality Ultra.

Best Lenovo

Lenovo Legion T730

The refreshed gaming lineup from Lenovo has a lot to offer.

A couple of VR-ready configurations are available from Lenovo's gaming line, coming in an updated chassis with RGB lighting.

Lenovo's Legion lineup of desktop PCs has been updated with a new RGB look, bringing inside up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8700K CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD coupled with a 128GB PCIe SSD. You get all the ports needed for VR, and a keyboard and mouse are included in the package to sweeten the deal.

Best HP

HP OMEN 880

The gem of HP's gaming lineup.

The power and style to match your VR setup, available in a few different configurations based on price and performance.

Redesigned for 2018, HP's OMEN 880 gaming PC is available in plenty of configurations, starting at about $1,250. Get inside up to an 8th Gen Core i7-8700K liquid-cooled CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD coupled with a 2TB HDD, and an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti GPU. The sizeable case makes it easy for future upgrades, and black color is offset with red accents for an aggressive look.

Best Acer

Acer Aspire GX-281

A powerful PC for lovers of AMD Ryzen.

Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 1700X eight-core CPU, the Aspire GX-281 is great for those who wish to eschew Intel in their VR rig.

Alongside the AMD CPU, you get 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and a 256GB SSD coupled with a 1TB HDD. It should have no issues with Rift and WMR, and while it is near the lower end of Vive PCs, it should still deliver a quality experience. It has all the ports needed for an easy VR connection, and it's all contained in a chassis a gamer can appreciate. Included is a keyboard and mouse so you can start gaming as soon as it arrives.

Bottom line

The Alienware Aurora has plenty of VR-ready configuration options up for offer, all contained in a stylish chassis that enough ports for all your headsets and sensors. You get a sturdy warranty, support is available if needed, and you can easily upgrade your PC for years into the future thanks to a tool-less design.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time you can usually find him practicing guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.

Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

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