Do VR Headsets Work with Gaming Laptops?

Here is the short answer, the average consumer laptop can’t handle a VR headset’s demands, but gaming laptops, specifically made for high-end games or heavy content creation, have no problem running VR content.

In recent years, gaming laptops have improved, while their prices have dropped to an affordable range, making them a good choice for VR headsets.

Keep reading to learn more.

Best VR Headsets For Gaming Laptops:

Valve Index VR Full Kit
Editor Choice
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System - PC/Mac/Linux
Budget Choice
Oculus - Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset - Black - Touch...
Valve Index VR Full Kit
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System - PC/Mac/Linux
Oculus - Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset - Black - Touch...
$1,439.99
$855.60
$719.00
-
-
167 Reviews
646 Reviews
157 Reviews
Valve Index VR Full Kit
Valve Index VR Full Kit
$1,439.99
-
167 Reviews
Editor Choice
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System - PC/Mac/Linux
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System - PC/Mac/Linux
$855.60
646 Reviews
Budget Choice
Oculus - Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset - Black - Touch...
Oculus - Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset - Black - Touch...
$719.00
-
157 Reviews

Last update on 2021-10-27 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

Whether you’re new to the world of VR gaming or a professional gamer, you might be wondering if particular gaming laptops work with VR headsets.

With a high-quality gaming laptop, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone. You can conquer both the video gaming universe and the virtual reality world.

Read on to find out if you can use gaming laptops with VR headsets.

Do VR Headsets Work with Gaming Laptops?

PC VR headsets need to connect to powerful computers to work without glitches. Most big VR brands recommend gaming desktops capable of handling complicated and heavy games as well as VR content.

Building a robust desktop set may seem like a good option for professional video gamers who want to use VR headsets. However, not everyone has a use or space for bulky desktops.

Most people prefer not being tethered to a stationary desktop. 

The next logical choice is a laptop.

The average consumer laptop can’t handle a VR headset’s demands, but gaming laptops, specifically made for high-end games or heavy content creation, have no problem running VR content.

In recent years, gaming laptops have improved, while their prices have dropped to an affordable range, making them a good choice for VR headsets.

Does VR Use RAM?

Yes, PC VR headsets use your computer’s RAM. RAM capacity is actually an essential part of your PC specs for VR games.

A few VR headsets, like the HTC Vive Cosmos, require at least 4GB of RAM. However, most headsets ask for a minimum of 8GB. That said, you should aim for 16GB of RAM if you don’t want to experience any lags. 

If you plan to store multiple VR games on your PC and play them a lot, or if you use your computer to do other RAM-intensive operations, 32GB of RAM will be ideal. 

Check 3 Compatible VR Headsets with Minecraft

What Does VR-Ready Mean on A Laptop?

A VR-ready laptop is a device with advanced components that can support high-end complex VR headsets and process detailed graphics quickly. These components include Graphic Cards or GPUs, Processors or CPUs, RAMs, and storage (either SSDs or HDDs).

Best Cheap Gaming VR-Ready Laptop:

Dell G3 Gaming Laptop - 15.6" FHD, 8th Gen Intel i5-8300H...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8300H Processor (Quad Core, 8MB Cache, up to 3.9 gigahertz w/Turbo Boost)
  • 8GB 2666 megahertz DDR4 up to [32GB], (additional memory sold separately)
  • 256 GB (SSD)

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) applications all put a great deal of strain on the computer.

The headset, the sensors that track your hand and head movements, the hand controllers or gloves, and other accompanying devices send a lot of data to the computer.

It has to receive and process these data and input them into the game. As you can imagine, a regular computer with minimal capabilities can’t handle this load. 

Different VR headset manufacturers set different minimum requirements for their products.

If your laptop meets those requirements, it can support the processing and graphics intensity of VR content, like games or industrial and educational apps. In other words, your laptop is VR-ready.

Read Do VR Headsets Come With Games?

How to Know If Your Laptop Is VR-Ready?

For your laptop to be VR-ready, there are specific specs you need to check, which could vary for every VR headset.

However, the minimum requirements stay pretty the same for most PC VR headsets. We talked about RAM requirements earlier in the article, so let’s get to other essential features.

Graphics Card or GPU

The GPU is the most critical part of a VR-ready laptop, and here’s why: regular games run at 60 fps or less, but VR games need a frame rate of 90 fps or higher, or else you’ll get a narrow image, followed by motion sickness and overall an unpleasant experience.

A proper GPU can provide 90 fps or higher, immersing you in the virtual reality world. Most VR headsets require NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 for decent gaming.

The GTX 1070 or higher will give you a better chance of high quality for more complex games.

Processor or CPU

Most VR headsets require at least an Intel i5-4590, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X, or AMD FX 8350. Of course, the latest generations of processors and higher models, like the Core i7, are ideal.  

Storage

Since VR apps and games occupy large amounts of storage, a 1TB hard drive is recommended for the laptop.

If you want to get a laptop with less storage, you can always keep some of the data on an external drive. 

Also, consider buying a laptop with at least 250GB of SSD storage. Solid-state drives are much faster than regular hard drives and dramatically reduce your load time.

Even if your laptop is an older model, you can have a technician install an SSD for you. You’ll see the benefits instantly! 

Ports

USB port requirements on VR headsets tend to be a mess. For instance, the Oculus Rift needs three USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port, but the HTC Vive only needs one USB 2.0 port. So, be sure to check the headset’s manual.

You should also think about the additional accessories you may want to connect to your laptop, including gloves, steering wheels for car games, or external headphones. Plus, you probably need to consider the headset’s headphone and mic requirements.

Video Output

When looking for a matching laptop for your favorite VR headset, checking out the Video Output compatibility is just as important as the ports. Some headsets only require an HDMI 1.3 or 1.4 port, but some need a Display port, as well.

Best VR Headsets for Gaming Laptops

Valve Index

Last update on 2021-10-27 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

The Valve Index is a PC VR headset with the great build quality and comfortable cushioning. It’s the most expensive headset on this list, but it also offers the most impressive VR experience. 

It has the highest refresh rate and widest field of view display among the headsets on this list. The image resolution is also very high.

The LCD panel lets you customize the refresh rate to match your PC’s GPU capabilities.

Valve Index’s controllers are brilliant and futuristic. They’re customizable to your hand shape, and they can track each finger individually.

The device uses lighthouse boxes to track your movements externally. The headset also features attached headphones with crystal clear audio.

Pros

  • High image quality and best-in-class refresh rate.
  • Wide and crisp field of view.
  • Customizable refresh rate.
  • Intuitive hand controllers.
  • High-quality headphones.
  • Dual noise-canceling mics.
  • Comfortable.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Needs a constant wired connection.

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

Sale
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System - PC/Mac/Linux
646 Reviews
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System - PC/Mac/Linux
  • Lighthouse tracking - base station 1.0 provides up to 160 sq. Feet of play space for those that demand the best in Vive VR gaming.
  • Crystal-clear graphics - see the virtual world through a 2880 x 1700 combined Pixel resolution. All-new LCD panels reduce the...
  • Flip-up design - go easily between reality and virtual reality with the flip-up design, without disrupting your VR journey.

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is an improved version of the HTC Vive Cosmos but with the exact core specifications. They both have excellent image resolution and refresh rate.

Both the Cosmos and Cosmos Elite come with smart hand controllers, attached headphones, and integrated speakers that ensure clear audio quality. Both are comfortable, made with high-quality materials.

Their main difference is in their tracking methods. The original HTC Vive used external Base Stations placed around the room for tacking your motions.

The Vive Cosmos eliminated external trackers and replaced them with built-in sensors. 

However, the Vive Cosmos Elite brings back the Base Stations to track your head and hands more accurately. This feature increases the price, but some people prefer precise tracking methods.

Pros

  • Great resolution and refresh rate.
  • Base Stations for more precise tracking.
  • Integrated mic.
  • Attached headphones.
  • Comfortable.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Needs a constant wired connection.

Oculus Rift S

Oculus - Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset - Black - Touch...
157 Reviews
Oculus - Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset - Black - Touch...
  • Custom-designed Fresnel lenses with LED display; 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye with an 80 Hz refresh rate.
  • Headphones-Free 3D Positional Audio: With positional audio built directly into the headset, you can hear your teammates or what's...
  • Built-In Room-Scale Oculus Insight tracking: removes the need for external sensors to convert movements into virtual reality.

Last update on 2021-10-21 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

The Oculus Rift S is a light and comfortable PC VR headset. It provides an excellent resolution and refresh rate. The headset has built-in inside-out tracking sensors, which eliminates the need for external trackers.

The Rift S comes with intuitive touch controllers and speakers integrated into the headband with excellent sound quality. The library of games that Oculus offers for this headset is pretty impressive.

You can consider the Oculus Rift S headset as a mid-level VR headset suitable for people who want a good VR experience but don’t want to pay too much for it.

Pros

  • Good resolution and refresh rate.
  • Built-in tracking sensors.
  • Integrated speakers.
  • A deep library of games.
  • Light.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Low refresh rate compared to other high-end headsets.
  • Needs a constant wired connection.

What Is the Cheapest VR Ready Laptop?

High-end gaming laptops with the hardware to run VR games can easily cost over $2000. However, there are VR-ready laptops in the $1000 price range. 

One of the cheapest models is the Dell G3 Gaming laptop. It has an 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB memory and 256GB SSD. Its graphics memory card is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050.

Dell G3 Gaming Laptop - 15.6" FHD, 8th Gen Intel i5-8300H...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8300H Processor (Quad Core, 8MB Cache, up to 3.9 gigahertz w/Turbo Boost)
  • 8GB 2666 megahertz DDR4 up to [32GB], (additional memory sold separately)
  • 256 GB (SSD)

Last update on 2021-10-08 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

At 15 inches, it’s the thinnest laptop in the Dell G Series line. The dual fans ensure your system stays cool under heavy gaming pressure.

It has a 2nd generation USB 3.1 and an HDMI 2.0 port that enables 60Hz 4K output.

The Dell G3 may fall short in some of the specs that high-end VR headset models require, but you shouldn’t expect much more at this price.

Can Alienware Laptops Run VR?

Most Alienware laptops, especially the latest models, including the m15 and m17, are VR-ready. They meet the necessary expectations and even go beyond what’s expected. Dell, who owns Alienware, has said: “We’ve worked with both Oculus and HTC to test systems and make sure they can experience VR flawlessly.”

Alienware is one of the most top-rated brands for gaming laptops. The company’s products are solid and robust, packing all the required specs for professional gamers who play high-end games.

From CPU and GPU to intuitive cooling systems, these laptops are fantastic beasts in their industry.

Final Thoughts

Although gaming laptops have been around for a long time, virtual reality headsets have been trying to find their place in our lives in the past few years.

It’ll take some time for the manufacturers to combine these two worlds to reduce the amount of research and effort you go through when matching them together.

However, until then, we hope this article helps you manage the process!