The minimum hardware required to run Microsoft’s VR headset appear to be the most modest among desktop VR systems and might allow VR to become available to the masses.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14971 includes a tool called the “Windows Holographic First Run” to check if your hardware can run Windows Holographic, Microsoft’s VR system.
The tool shows that the minimum specs are relatively modest:
– 4GB RAM
– one USB 3.0 port
– quad-core CPU
– a graphics card that can run DirectX 12 (here’s a long list of NVidia cards that support DirectX 12 and here is AMD’s list)
By comparison, the Oculus Rift (reviewed here) and HTC Vive (reviewed here) require a powerful CPU and a VR-ready graphics card, which currently costs $200 for an entry-level VR-ready card. In addition, the Rift requires at least two USB 3.0 ports (three if you use the Oculus Touch) plus a USB 2.0 port for the gamepad.
Microsoft’s modest requirements plus its relatively low $299 starting price may give it a significant advantage in the desktop VR battle and may allow VR to reach a larger percentage of users.