Best Desktop PC for VR Windows Central 2019

The Alienware Aurora R8 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 R8

Style, power, and ports

The Aurora sports up to dual NVIDIA RTX 2080 graphics cards (GPU), a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 2TB M.2 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 that will nevertheless handle VR content. 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 you're interested in Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), HTC Vive, Vive Pro, or Oculus headsets, 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 the device to use. It's been refreshed with the latest hardware, meaning it's stocked with NVIDIA RTX graphics options and 9th Gen overclockable CPUs from Intel. It's also pre-built so it comes pre-assembled, but you can easily get inside and change out hardware as needed, making this a suitable PC for the foreseeable future.

Reasons to buy

  • Powerful configurations available
  • Tool-less access
  • Has the right ports for VR
  • Programmable lighting
  • 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 an affordable price, which the Alienware Aurora R8 delivers. Starting at about $900 you can get a configuration with a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 CPU with six cores and clock speed up to 4.1 GHz, 8GB of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, an AMD Radeon RX 560X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and a 1TB HDD. This checks the boxes for entry-level VR performance, though if you're using a Vive Pro or just want optimal performance, there are plenty of other configurations available.

The Alienware Aurora R8 delivers the ports and performance for any VR system you're looking to experience.

Top-of-the-line configurations have a ridiculous amount of hardware available but also cost a ton of money, so going with a mid-range option is likely your best bet. A $1,700 model has an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, a 128GB SSD coupled with a 2TB HDD, and a NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which is enough power to deliver a stellar VR experience no matter what you play.

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 the next lineup of VR headsets either from the start or with some easy upgrades.

Alternatives to the Alienware Aurora R8

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

Budget pick

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR

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

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

With a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400F six-core CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 120GB SSD coupled with a 1TB HDD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM, this VR PC is ready to handle Vive, Rift, and WMR headsets. It's all contained in a snazzy case with plenty of RGB lighting and plenty of ports for connecting all sensors, headsets, and accessories that go along with VR.

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 RTX Titan with 24GB of 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.

Backpack PC

HP OMEN X

A PC you can wear on your back

This compact PC from HP is built to wear on your back to alleviate the issue of running wires back to a grounded PC. Everything you need is contained in the slim chassis, and it comes with shoulder straps and a dock for natural desktop use.

This laptop-desktop combination can be used with a dock for a desktop experience, or it can be strapped into a backpack setup to ride around on your back. It comes with VR performance hardware — including Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, and NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB GDDR5X VRAM — for a knockout experience, and you won't be tripping over cables since they only have to travel to the ports on your back. It's expensive, but it's also one of the most unique VR PCs we've ever seen.

Become Legion

Lenovo Legion T730 Tower

The 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 the hardware inside up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD coupled with a 256GB PCIe SSD. You get all the ports needed for VR, and a keyboard and mouse are included in the package to sweeten the deal.

Bottom line

The Alienware Aurora R8 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.

Our Pick

Alienware Aurora R8

Style, power, and ports

The Aurora sports up to dual NVIDIA RTX 2080 graphics cards (GPU), a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 2TB M.2 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 that will nevertheless handle VR content. No matter what you choose inside, it all comes in an attractive, unique case.

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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