Does Ram Affect VR?
VR system requirements for PC games have consistently increased the strain on our PCs. As we proceed to new generations of components, you’ll observe that more and more RAM appears to be required. With that said, does RAM have a vital role when utilising a VR headset?
RAM is vital because your system can access data faster than obtaining information from your primary storage device. When launching a VR game on a PC with low RAM, your PC will be unable to store game information required to operate effectively, resulting in poor frame rate and performance.
With that said, it’s still not the most important piece to complete the VR puzzle. The two main components that impact your VR experience are the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and the CPU (Central Processing Unit). So, let’s look at how RAM plays its role and how much RAM is required to be in the safe zone.
How Does RAM Affect Your VR Experience?
Memory requirements for virtual reality experiences vary greatly. However, because you primarily use your PC’s hardware to navigate your VR gear, the majority of VR systems require your computer to have between 2 and 8GB of RAM.
On the other hand, newer programs and games are pushing further, and many users may also wish to run additional software in the background.
As a result, gamers’ general recommendation is 16GB for most PCs to have enough capacity for programs to be running simultaneously and a level of futureproofing. We recommend 32GB or more for VR developers, depending on the software utilised.
So, RAM’s purpose is to store the short-term data that a computer needs to function effectively. However, unlike a hard drive or SSD (solid-state drive), which can retain data permanently, RAM is reset every time the system is rebooted.
In contrast to a “non-volatile” HDD or SSD, RAM is “volatile memory,” which means it only saves data when it has power. Programs are momentarily loaded into RAM while in use, but they are permanently stored on a storage device until deleted.
Computers require immediate access to temporary data to run programs or perform tasks with your VR. Modern VR PC games, for example, require the ability to quickly navigate and retrieve art assets for the VR game being played.
Because it is orders of magnitudes quicker than accessing data on a storage device, VR games read and write data to RAM like many other PC games. However, it does not mean that the more ram you have, the better the performance.
16GB of RAM is more than enough to operate a smooth VR experience, given you have the two most vital components; the GPU and CPU mentioned before. With that said, to better understand this topic, let’s look at the PC requirements for the Oculus Quest 2, which is currently the best VR gear in 2021.
The Recommended PC Requirements For An Oculus Quest 2
- The Recommended Processor (CPU):
The Quest 2 requires an Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU or greater for the best performance.
- The Recommended Graphics Card (GPU):
The Quest 2 requires a GTX 1070 / AMD Radeon 5000 series or greater to run at the best graphics, smooth out the texture, for better performance, and increased framerates.
- The Recommended Memory (RAM):
8GB or more is recommended for the Oculus Quest 2; again, 16GB is the sweet spot if you have multiple programs running and futureproof your setup. Ram assists in loading up the artwork and texture files and communicates with the rest of your hardware to execute the game files accordingly.
- The Recommended Operating System (OS)
Oculus does not support Windows operating systems below Windows 10, so be sure that you have Windows 10 or 11.
- The Ports Required For The Quest 2:
The Quest 2 requires a 1x USB Port to plug into.
Now that you have a more clear understanding of the requirements of one of the best VR headsets available today let’s take a closer look at the two most important components for the VR headsets; the CPU and GPU.
How Does The Processor (CPU) Affect Your VR Experience?
Virtual reality experiences, whether educational, entertaining, or actual interactive games, are similar to standard PC game requirements. VR is an engineering that is still in its infancy, but the software we’ve seen so far is very comparable to current PC gaming.
Frequency (clock speed) is more crucial than the number of cores since it affects each core’s calculations per second. As a result, specialized virtual reality systems are generally best served by a CPU with a modest core count and the maximum available clock speed.
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8 Core is one of the fastest CPUs available, ranking towards the top of the charts for single-core performance and VR or gaming applications. If you need additional cores for multitasking or multi-threaded programs, the Ryzen 9 variants in this series are also suitable.
- Intel Core i7 10700K 8 Core – Intel’s counterpart to the aforementioned Ryzen CPU is not nearly as quick in real-world performance, but it shines in one area: availability. AMD’s new Ryzen processors are in high demand and have limited availability, so if you don’t want to rummage around or wait for weeks (or months), this is nearly as quick.
Computers used to create virtual reality material, on the other hand, may frequently benefit from more CPU cores. Of course, it depends on the software packages utilized, but many 3D manipulation and rendering tools scale nicely with several cores. Stereoscopic video editing needs a significant amount of processing power as well.
Many developers and artists will also run several programs simultaneously. They may require debugging tools or other apps to be operating at the same time while they test their VR software.
It’s important to remember that you don’t want to compromise too much clock speed if you go with a more significant core count CPU.
Because of the near-universal adoption of “turbo” modes on recent CPUs, base speeds don’t matter much anymore, but ensuring that your CPU will sustain at least 3.4GHz under stress is vital. When evaluating a VR experience, ensure you have enough speed for the few cores being used.
How Does Your Video Card (GPU) Affect Your VR Experience?
A strong video card is essential for virtual reality performance since it directly affects the computer’s ability to keep up with the high resolution and frame rate required for a decent VR experience. The Valve Idex VR and Oculus Rift’s original release versions contain twin screens, one for each eye, with a resolution of 1080×1200.
These operate at 90Hz, which is 50% faster than the typical refresh rate of monitors, and the viewpoint of each eye is somewhat different, resulting in two unique perspectives rather than a single, more extensive display.
Some VR head-mounted displays also require off-screen rendering of a region around the real display that each eye is given, requiring additional video card resources.
More realistic-looking visuals, often achieved by having more polygons in 3D models and more complex textures, place additional strain on the video card. It is also affected by the number of things displayed on the screen at the same time.
A more significant number of more complicated models presented consumes more of the video card’s memory buffer, influencing how much VRAM is required. Finally, turning up the quality settings in a VR experience to get more realistic shadows or reflections or smooth down rough edges of graphics increases the GPU’s burden.
That said, The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB is a relatively safe starting point into VR under NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX range.
Suppose you want to crank up the graphics settings or be better prepared for future VR headsets with greater resolutions. In that case, the RTX 3000 Series enhances performance even more and has much improved real-time ray tracing capabilities.
Because of the nature of rendering two distinct views, one method under development is OpenGL multicast, which sends the same scene to two different GPUs and displays it from two distinct perspectives.
However, as of this writing, very few if any programs, if any, support it. For the time being, a single high-speed card is the best answer.
Whether you have 8GB’s or 16GB’s of RAM, you’ll now know that you are perfectly fine to experience your VR to the best of its ability in terms of RAM requirements, now that you know what it does and how it affects your VR experience.
In visual experience and interaction, the CPU and GPU play a crucial role. If you have all the recommended PC requirements (or better), you’re ready to travel into the creative dimensions the VR gear can give you.