Deciding what you need, when it comes to hardware, for a Virtual Reality (VR) system, is like deciding what car parts you need for the car you are about to buy.
See, it is helpful if you either already have the car, or you have decided why type of car you will be buying. Otherwise, you could be getting VW (Volkswagen) parts for a Rolls Royce or something else, just as ludicrous.
As an example, if you are building (or putting together) an Oculus Rift system, you will need a system that has a halfway decent graphics card. Examples of graphics cards that will work for this set up may include GeForce GTX 970 (affiliate) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (affiliate).
There are certainly better graphics cards that are available, but you will want to do at least a minimum of research and ensure that you are able to obtain the best graphics card that you are able to afford. At the same time, you will want to ensure that it (i.e. the graphics card) is the correct one for your system and compatible with what you are putting together for your VR system.
The hardware choices may not be an inexpensive path to follow. Granted, it is less expensive if you choose to use your smartphone technology and something like Google Cardboard.
Because of this, many VR newbies start with the do-it-yourself Google Cardboard route before choosing to invest their hard-earned money into a more expensive VR system setup.
For those of you who understand computer systems, you know the challenges.
For example, you know that with a high-end graphics card comes the need for a decent amount of memory. Without a decent amount of memory, your system will crash and burn. At best, you will not have very functional 3D virtual reality characters and engagements. For any basic computer system, even running Microsoft Word, you will want at least 8GB of memory. In reality, if you are able to get more than that, it is that much better and your VR experience will benefit.
Also, you will want to ensure that you have the basics. Those basics include USB ports, wireless access, video ports, microphone, and camera-capability (if not already built into the system). You will want to ensure that the core CPU can handle all that you have to throw at it.
Similar to choosing that car and then buying the parts, you will want to decide what type of system you are building and then do your homework. Research what it is that you need. Use online review systems like Amazon’s rating system and discussion forums, for starters, when it comes to starting your research process.
In addition to the online resources, be sure to avail yourself of your friends and family, especially if they are into VR as well. Likely you have some who are interested in virtual reality. Maybe you all meet up at the pool house at the end of a busy week or you meet online. If so, use the opportunity to ask questions. Be sure to ask the hard questions and find out what it is that you need for your VR system.
Remember this. Hardware is hard. In other words, you will need to dish out some cash for that decision. Also, be prepared for a high price tag. Or, go for the smaller one, by way of the smartphone inserted into the more economical viewer. That option is easier. Also, going “small” is a great option to follow while taking the time to decide what system it is that you will ultimately want to build with your hard earned money.