November 21, 2016

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Microsoft announced a plethora of new virtual reality headsets back in October of this year, and promised that they would be focusing on lowering the cost to entry for those looking to get their hands on the new tech. With headsets that start at just $299 and spec requirements far below that of what HTC and Oculus have to offer, we were obviously pretty excited.

The company never actually gave us specifics on these requirements however, but promised that they would have more to share later this year. Now as we approach the end of 2016 Microsoft has finally unveiled what you’ll need in order to run one of it’s new headsets.

  • 4GB of RAM
    • This is a pretty basic requirement. Almost all PC’s at this point have 4GB of RAM, as it is essentially a baseline for those hoping to run modern browsers and applications without a crazy amount of hickups and stuttering.
  • USB 3.0 port
    • This spec is a tad harder to come by if you’re using an old PC, but newer computers started being fitted with these ports quite a few years ago, so as long as you’re not suing something made before 2008 you should be ok.
  • A graphics card with DirectX 12 support
    • As long as you have a dedicated GPU at all, this should not be an issue. Integrated graphics aren’t going to fly if you’re running an ultrabook or something similar, but even the most low end GPU’s can support DirectX 12. Heck, even NVIDIA’s GeForce 410M, a chip that was released in 2011 can run these things. As long as you have some kind of dedicated GPU in your laptop, you shouldn’t need to worry.
  • 4 CPU cores, or dual cores with hyper-threading
    • Again, this shouldn’t be an issue for many machines. If you’re running one of Intel’s i3 processors you may have a problem here, but most i5 and i7 chips have hyper threading built in. If you’re running a relatively modern desktop CPU, chances are you are working with 4 cores anyways, so don’t worry too much about this.

And that’s essentially it. Virtual experiences from Microsoft should be incredibly simple to run at decent frame rates, especially with newer machines. Many laptops released this year meet or exceed these requirements with flying colors, so if you’ve made a purchase in the last while you can probably take advantage of Microsoft’s new HMDs.

Are you looking to pick one of these up when they launch? $299 is quite a steal for a headset like this, and you can bet we’ll be covering them like no other. We’ll have more to share after Microsoft speaks more about these headsets in December.

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