Best Desktop PCs for VR Windows Central 2019

In order to fully enjoy a PC-based VR experience, you need a computer that has certain hardware that can meet certain performance requirements. If you don't want to go through the hassle of building a completely new PC to get there, we've rounded up some great pre-built desktop PCs, like the Alienware Aurora R8, which is built from the ground up with performance and unique design in mind, making it your best bet for an ultimate VR desktop.

Best Overall: Alienware Aurora R8

There are quite a few configuration options available for the Aurora R8, with a high-end model sporting up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards (GPU), a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR4-2933MHz RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 2TB hard-disk drive (HDD). This is no doubt some serious overkill even for a stellar VR experience, and a mid-range option is in your best interest.

Spending about $1,519 will get you a PC with 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9700 CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4-2666MHz RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. That's significantly cheaper than the high-end model, and you're still going to get a killer VR experience.

The hardware is all contained in a sleek case that has a PSU swing arm, letting you upgrade or tweak everything with ease and mostly without the need for tools. Lighting on the outside of the case accents the lines and gives you some extra style to boot. These PCs are certified for Vive and Rift, meaning you won't be short on ports (there are 15 USB ports!) and you'll be ready for future VR headsets either from the start or with some easy upgrades.

Pros:

  • Powerful configurations available
  • Tool-less access
  • Has the right ports for VR
  • Programmable lighting
  • Sturdy, unique chassis

Cons:

  • Can find cheaper alternatives

Best Overall

Alienware Aurora R8

Style, power, and ports

There plenty of configuration options that will handle VR content, and no matter what you choose inside, it all comes in an attractive case.

Runner-up: Lenovo Legion T730

Lenovo's Legion lineup of desktop PCs has been updated with a new RGB look, bringing the hardware inside up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, 32GB of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, and a 2TB HDD coupled with a 256GB PCIe SSD.

This is more than enough power to handle all VR headsets, but the price does climb quickly. If you'd like to save some dough, the entry T730 model starts at about $1,150 and includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8700K CPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD coupled with a 128GB PCIe SSD, and an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

You get all the ports needed for VR, including eight USB-A, and the PC stays cool thanks to plenty of vents and fans with customizable RGB lighting. If you prefer something a bit more traditional than what Dell offers with its Aurora R8, the Legion T730 should make a great choice. A keyboard and mouse are included in the package to sweeten the deal.

Pros

  • Attractive case with plenty of airflow
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Great port selection
  • Powerful hardware available
  • Toolless entry for tinkering

Cons

  • Not as many customization options available

Runner-up

Lenovo Legion T730

Lenovo's gaming lineup has a lot to offer

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

Best Value: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR

With a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400F six-core CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 120GB SATA SSD coupled with a 1TB SATA HDD, and an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM, this VR PC is ready to handle Vive, Rift S, and WMR headsets. The best part about it is that it costs only about $900, making it an affordable way to add an attractive PC to your VR space.

Unlike a lot of budget PCs, the Gamer Xtreme has a slick case absolutely dripping in RGB effects. Each fan lights up while it runs, a clear side panel allows you to show off your hardware, and the included gaming mouse even has RGB lighting to match.

Perhaps most important, aside from performance hardware, is the selection of ports, which includes everything you need for connecting the sensors, headsets, and accessories that go along with VR.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • RGB case with clear side
  • Keyboard and mouse included
  • Plenty of ports
  • SSD and HDD combo

Cons:

  • Limited configuration options
  • Not as powerful as other options

Best Value

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR

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

Price, performance, and RGB lighting come together in the Gamer Xtreme VR. if you're on a budget, this is a great pick.

Best Customization: Origin Chronos

If you'd rather not buy parts separately and put together your own VR PC at home, Origin is a great place to turn to. You start by picking color and lighting for a case, then move along and pick every single part that goes into it, including motherboard, power supply, cooling, and OS, as well as the more common bits like CPU, RAM, GPU, and storage.

Despite the relatively compact size of the case, you can pack quite a bit of performance; spec one up with an AMD or Intel CPU (up to Ryzen 9 3900X or 9th Gen Core i9-9900K), up to an NVIDIA RTX Titan GPU with 24GB of VRAM, and up to a 4TB SSD.

This definitely isn't the cheapest entry into VR and prices do climb quickly once you get into high-end hardware, but this will undoubtedly be your PC when it arrives.

Pros

  • Plenty of performance hardware available
  • Can choose lighting and colors
  • Has the ports needed for VR
  • Feels like you built it yourself
  • Relatively compact case

Cons

  • PCs get expensive quickly

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.

Best Mobility: HP OMEN X

This laptop-desktop combination can be used with a dock for a true desktop experience, or it can be strapped into a backpack setup to ride around on your back. Whereas you'd normally have cables running from your VR headset back to your desktop PC, here everything you need is contained on your person, giving you a lot more freedom to move around.

It comes with VR performance hardware — including Intel Core i7-7820HK four-core CPU, 16GB DDR4-2400MHz RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, and NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB GDDR5X VRAM — for a knockout experience, and because it's been around for a while, you can grab it for a lot less than the original $2,200 price. If you're tired of tripping over cables and want that extra bit of freedom, this is no doubt a great PC pick.

Pros

  • Awesome mobile design
  • Discounted price
  • Powerful hardware including GTX 1080
  • Dock included for true desktop
  • Plenty of ports

Cons

  • Hardware isn't the most recent
  • Pay extra for design

Best Mobility

HP OMEN X

Get around in your VR world

This compact VR-ready PC from HP is built to wear on your back to alleviate the issue of running wires back to a grounded PC.

Bottom line

When it comes to getting the perfect PC for VR, sometimes you don't want to have to build a new one from scratch. Luckily, there are plenty of pre-built PCs on the market that can handle the power of VR. You generally need a PC with a powerful graphics card, a mid-range processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and enough ports to handle the headset and any sensors.

The Alienware Aurora R8 has plenty of VR-ready configuration options up for offer, all contained in a stylish chassis with enough ports for all your headsets and sensors. You get a sturdy warranty, and support is available if needed.

There is a budget option available for well less than $1,000 that will get VR off the ground, but for a much smoother experience, we recommend a mid-range configuration. In any case, you'll be able to upgrade the PC to keep it relevant long into the future thanks to easy-access case and unique PSU swing arm that leaves plenty of room for tinkering.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

Daniel Rubino is the 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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