Room-Scale VR Buying Guide

The equipment needed for Room-scale VR (being able to walk around, pick up and use items, and generally physically interact with the world) costs $1500 to $5k (plus tax)* depending on the level of graphics needed, portability, travel cases, and commercial warranty coverage.

*Note: We’ll try to keep this article updated, but prices are likely to drop going forward.

VR Hardware

The Rift is cheapest, but doesn’t support as large of a play area, which is why we recommend Vive. It’s generally not too hard to port software from system to another, but it depends on the application. The main advantage of the Pro is higher resolution and a headset that fits more heads and glasses. The new base stations in the Pro Kit support a larger play area and multi-user VR. We recommend the Vive Pro Start Kit for most applications.

  • Oculus Rift ($400) + extra sensor $59
  • Vive original ($500) + audio strap ($99) – currently out of stock everywhere
  • Vive Pro
    • Starter Kit ($1098), Pro headset + original base stations
    • Pro Kit ($1399), Pro headset + new base stations
    • Commercial use warranty ($200 – $300) – supports large user use at trade shows & training stations, also provides faster hardware replacement in case of problems
  • Tripods ($46)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Mini-DP video cable ($8) – needed for Vive on laptops
    • Extension cord ($20) – 25ft, 3 outlet end saves on needing another power strip
    • Power strip with USB charging ports ($21) – supports international voltages and sockets
    • Replacement face cushion / mask ($29) – the stock foam on Vive is hard to clean makeup off and sponges up sweat.
    • Gaffer tape ($17) – often you have to run a cord across a doorway — we always tape down cords as a safety precaution.
    • Alcohol wipes ($10) – we wipe off the face cushion regularly, especially after someone with makeup.
    • Backup base station ($139) – The Vive is pretty reliable, but the base stations have moving parts and are more at risk of breaking. If it’s important, we travel with two complete setups.
  • Travel Case ($428) – Pelican Air 1615 with Trekpak dividers – fits the stands, laptop and Vive, and even gets under the 50lb weight limit. After 50+ trips around the world, we can’t recommend enough.
Vive-Pro-Pelican-Case

Two Vive Pro Systems fitted comfortably in a Pelican Case

Computer

At a minimum, we recommend a GTX 1070 graphics card and i7-7700K processor. Get a GTX 1080 and i7-8700K or i9 processor for better graphics (realism) and future proofing. If you’re going portable, be sure to get a 15″ laptop to save on weight and fit in the pelican case we recommend above.

  • Desktop ($1349) – GTX 1070 + i7-8700 – this brand is our goto inexpensive desktop
  • Desktop high end ($1800) – GTX 1080 TI + i7-8700
  • Laptop low end ($1499)) – MSI with GTX 1070 + i7-7700HQ
  • Recommended: Laptop mid-tier ($1850) – Alienware with GTX 1070 and i7-8750H
  • Laptop high end ($2749) – Alienware with GTX 1080 and i9-8950HK