Can my PC run VR? Valve offers quick and easy test to find out

24 Feb 2016

As we enter the era of true commercial virtual reality (VR), one of the gaming platforms to heavily feature such content, Valve, has created a handy program that will tell you if your gaming system is up to it.

One of the most likely questions to be put into Google in the upcoming months is “can my PC run VR?”, with many of the first commercially-available VR headsets to enter the market in the coming months.

And while the Oculus Rift will be the first of the major headsets to hit the market, Valve will be most interested come April when the HTC Vive is launched, otherwise known as the Steam VR, as it will be Valve’s VR platform.

To help would-be VR enthusiasts looking to buy the headset, Valve has launched a piece of free software that acts as a VR performance test for the person’s gaming setup.

It does this by running a two-minute sequence from Valve’s Aperture Robot Repair VR demo.

VR demo

The VR demo used as part of Valve’s system test. Image via Valve

Once it’s gathered all the performance data, it determines whether your system is capable of running VR content at the optimum speed of 90fps and whether the VR content can reach the recommended levels.

Afterwards, it gives you a pretty easy explainer, whereby your computer’s performance is shown on a colour-coded chart.

Unlike other game performance testers, which will tell you that your system might struggle to play a game at its best performance, this system will effectively determine whether you can play VR games at all.

For example, the need for 90fps speeds is crucial for VR games as, otherwise, motion blur will be an issue, which could lead to all sorts of nausea-inducing problems.

What we do know is that Valve says the minimum system requirement is 4GB of RAM with a graphics powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 card equivalent or greater.

HTC Vive image via Nvidia/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic