Best Graphics Cards for Virtual Reality (VR) Gaming in 2017

The craze for Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming more and more pronounced these days whether it is VR gaming or watching movies in VR environment. Virtual Reality can be experienced at best by connecting a VR Headset and other VR devices such as sensors and controllers to your computer. Virtual Reality Kits requires a lot of processing power especially in the graphics department. Top VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have high system requirements and needs a fast processor, powerful graphics card and lots of RAM.

oculus-rift-vr-headset

There are many applications of Virtual Reality but the most common ones include gaming and watching movies. VR has gaining much popularity and now you can see more VR content being developed. You may also watch regular movies or play regular games in VR but to have the best VR experience you will need content that is being optimized for VR whether movies or games. As a powerful graphics card is the top requirement for VR, so here in this post I am listing down the best graphics cards for virtual reality.

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Top VR Graphics Cards for Best Virtual Reality Performance

Here are the top VR Graphics Cards to get the best Virtual Reality experience on your PC.

GeForce GTX 1060

GeForce GTX 1060 is a higher or topmost mid-range graphics card in the current Nvidia gaming graphics card series lineup. GeForce GTX 1060 comes in two variants, one with 3GB GDDR5 memory and other one with 6GB. Besides having lesser memory the 3GB version of GTX 1060 also comes with lesser number of CUDA Cores as compared to the 6GB one. This results in slight bit of performance decrease. The 3GB GTX 1060 comes with 1152 CUDA Cores and 6GB one comes with 1280 CUDA Cores. The memory interface on both these variants remains same at 192-bit.

Geforce-GTX-1060

GTX 1060 is based on the latest Pascal GPU architecture from Nvidia that delivers superior performance and lesser power consumption. Both these variants are VR Ready but personally I would recommend 6GB GTX 1060 because it has more memory and processing power. If we talk about the VR Performance then GTX 1060 is about 3X times better than GTX 960 in VR Barbarian benchmark. On GTX 1060 you can play latest games on Very high/ Ultra settings at 1080p.  You can get GTX 1060 graphics card under 300 dollars which I think is the best affordable VR graphics card.

GeForce GTX 1060 Specifications
CUDA Cores 1152 / 1280
GPU Clock 1506 / 1708 MHz
Memory Clock 8 Gbps
Memory Size 3 GB / 6 GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 192-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, Dual Link-DVI

Buy GeForce GTX 1060

GeForce GTX 1070

GeForce GTX 1070 is a high-end graphics card from Nvidia and is the bigger brother of GTX 1060. It has about 40% higher performance than GTX 1060. GTX 1070 is truly a gamers’ card and you can play all the latest games including VR games at Very high / Ultra settings at 1440p. You can also play latest games on 4K but for this you have to lower down some of the in-game graphics settings.

GeForce-GTX-1070

GeForce GTX 1070 comes with 8GB GDDR5 memory having 256-bit interface. The card consists of 1920 CUDA Cores and supports DirectX 12, Vulkan and OpenGL 4.5. For high-end VR Games like Overwatch etc., it is one of the best graphics cards you can buy.  GTX 1070 is around 2.5 to 3 times faster than the older GTX 970 in VR performance. Unlike GTX 1060, GTX 1070 is a SLI Ready card which means you can use these cards in multi-GPU setup on the same motherboard. It also supports Nvidia G-Sync display technology. You can get GTX 1070 graphics card under 500 dollars and it is available from different manufacturers like EVGA, MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte etc.

Must Read: Best GeForce GTX 1070 Graphics Cards for 1440p Gaming

GeForce GTX 1070 Specifications
CUDA Cores 1920
GPU Clock 1506 / 1683 MHz
Memory Clock 8 Gbps
Memory Size 8 GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, Dual Link-DVI

Buy GeForce GTX 1070

GeForce GTX 1080

GeForce GTX 1080 is the high-end or flagship graphics card from Nvidia which is based on the Pascal GPU architecture. It is one of the fastest graphics cards available today and is only behind Nvidia TITAN X (Pascal). GeForce GTX 1080 is a top-end gaming card and you can play latest high-end demanding games at Ultra setting on 1440p and 4K resolutions. For 4K gaming you may have to lower down some of the advanced graphics settings but still it would not affect the beauty of the games.

GeForce-GTX-1080

GeForce GTX 1080 comes with 8GB GDDR5X memory which is even faster than the GDDR5 memory used in the other powerful graphics cards  listed here. It has got 2560 CUDA cores and is around 20% faster than GTX 1070. The card supports Nvidia SLI, Ansel and G-SYNC. The VR Performance of GTX 1080 is around 3X times of GTX 980. On GTX 1080 you can really have the best next generation VR experience. It is a expensive card and it costs around 600 – 700 dollars. You can get the best GTX 1080 for your VR ready gaming PC from the link given below.

Must Read: Best GeForce GTX 1080 Cards for 1440p & 4K Gaming

GeForce GTX 1080 Specifications
CUDA Cores 2560
GPU Clock 1607 / 1733 MHz
Memory Clock 10 Gbps
Memory Size 8 GB GDDR5X
Memory Interface 256-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, Dual Link-DVI

Buy GeForce GTX 1080

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the bigger brother of GeForce GTX 1080 and is the fastest graphics card in the world as of now. GTX 1080 Ti is almost 35% faster than GTX 1080 and is even faster than Nvidia Titan X (Pascal).

geforce-gtx-1080ti

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti comes with 3584 CUDA Cores and 11 GB of GDDR5X memory which has almost double the bandwidth of GDDR5 memory. On this top-end graphics card you can play latest games on Ultra settings at 4K resolution with comfortable frame rates. This is unarguably the best graphics card for Virtual Reality (VR) and is around 3.5 times faster than the older GTX 980 in VR benchmarks. The card supports SLI, G-Sync and all the latest gaming APIs including DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, Vulkan etc.

The maximum powerful consumption of the card is 250W and it requires one 6pin and one 8pin PCI-E connector and minimum of 600W PSU for its working.  So if you do not have budget constraints and want the best graphics card for VR then this is the card you should get.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Specifications
CUDA Cores 3584
GPU Clock 1580 MHz
Memory Clock 11 Gbps
Memory Size 11 GB GDDR5X
Memory Interface 352-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, DL-DVI

Buy GeFroce GTX 1080 Ti

AMD Radeon RX 480

The only latest AMD graphics card that I find good for VR Gaming is Radeon RX 480. This is the fastest graphics card from AMD based on the latest Polaris GPU architecture. It comes in two memory configurations, one with 4GB GDDR5 memory and other one with 8GB GDDR5 memory. It is better to buy 8GB variant because it has higher memory and the price difference is also not much between the two variants.

Radeon-RX-480

Radeon RX 480 has got 2304 Stream Processors and comes with AMD LiquidVR technology that delivers beautifully rich and immersive VR experiences with advanced comfort and is compatible with all the popular VR headsets. The performance of RX 480 is comparable to that of GTX 1060 from Nvidia. RX 480 supports AMD FreeSync, DirectX 12, Vulkan and OpenGL. This is one of the best graphics cards to play Doom. You can get RX 480 at under 300 dollars and it is one of the best affordable VR graphics cards out in the market.

Radeon RX 480 Specifications
Stream Processors 2304
GPU Clock 1266 / 1120 MHz
Memory Clock 8 Gbps or higher
Memory Size 4GB / 8 GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0, Dual Link-DVI

Buy Radeon RX 480

AMD Radeon RX 580

Radeon RX 580 is the latest and most powerful graphics card in the newly launched Radeon RX 500 series which is also based on the Polaris GPU architecture. Radeon RX 580 is an upgrade over the Radeon RX 480 card and has slightly better performance over it. It also comes with 2304 Stream Processors and is available in 4GB / 8GB GDDR5 video memory variants.

Gigabyte AORUS Radeon RX 580 8GB

This is a high-end VR Ready graphics card and you can play latest games or AAA games on very high / ultra graphics settings at 1440p. This graphics card offers an amazing VR Experience and comes with features like AMD FreeSync, AMD LiquidVR Technology, CrossFire, AMD Eyefinity Technology, Vulkan. Currently this is the best VR graphics card from AMD and is priced under 300 dollars.

Radeon RX 580 Specifications
Stream Processors 2304
GPU Clock 1257 / 1340 MHz
Memory Clock 8000 MHz
Memory Size 4GB / 8GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports DisplayPort, HDMI

Buy Radeon RX 580

Radeon RX Vega 56

Radeon RX Vega 56 is a high-end graphics card from AMD built on the latest Vega GPU architecture. This card comes with 3584 Stream Processors and 8GB HBM2 memory. The gaming performance of this card is better than the GeForce GTX 1070 from Nvidia. This is a VR Ready card and you can play latest games on Ultra graphics settings at 1440p smoothly. Main features include FreeSync2, CrossFire, AMD Eyefinity, AMD XConnect. The card has higher power consumption at 210W and requires two 8pin PCI power connectors and a 650W PSU for its working.  

Radeon RX Vega 56 Specifications
Stream Processors 3584
GPU Clock 1156 / 1471 MHz
Memory Clock 1.6 Gbps
Memory Size 8GB HBM2
Memory Interface 2048-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports HDMI, DisplayPort

Buy Radeon RX Vega 56

Radeon RX Vega 64

Radeon RX Vega 64 is the most powerful gaming graphics card from AMD that is built on the latest Vega architecture. This high-end AMD flagship graphics card comes with 4096 Stream Processors and ultra fast 8GB HBM2 memory having 2048-bit interface. The performance of this card is slightly better than GeForce GTX 1080 from Nvidia but lower than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Radeon RX Vega 64 is available in both Air cooled and Water cooled variants.

The card packs lot of advanced features and is an ideal for VR Gaming and VR applications. This card can run all your latest AAA games on highest graphics settings at 1440p and 4K (with some graphics settings lowered). Main features of this card include FreeSync2, CrossFire, AMD Eyefinity, AMD XConnect The card requires two 8pin PCIe power connectors from the PSU. The power consumption of this card is on the higher side and it requires a 750W power supply for its working.

Radeon RX Vega 64 Specifications
Stream Processors 4096
GPU Clock 1247 / 1546 MHz
Memory Clock 1.9 Gbps
Memory Size 8GB HBM2
Memory Interface 2048-bit
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Output Ports HDMI, DisplayPort

Buy Radeon RX Vega 64

Final Words

Virtual Reality is a very enjoyable experience but it does need some good amount of investment in hardware category. These above mentioned graphics cards are best for Virtual Reality and you can play demanding games like Overwatch, Watch Dogs 2 etc. in VR without any lag. For any queries please leave a comment below to connect with me.

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