I completed a PCVR build back in January 2020. Being out of the PC building scene for over two decades, it took a little while to research all the various components and making sure they all worked well together. But I am pleased with the end result and it hasn’t put any sweat on when running PC VR titles at maximum settings.
Check out the video below for a brief overlook of the rig I built. Specs below the video if you are interested in building a similar rig.
Custom NZXT Mini-ITX PC VR Build Spec:
- Case: NZXT H210 White
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 AORUS Pro WiFi Mini-ATX
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- Cooler: NZXT Kraken X52
- GPU: Gigabyte NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC 8GB White Edition
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz White
- PSU: Corsair SF750 750W Full Modular
- Cable Extension: Antec White PSU 30cm Cables
- Primary Storage: Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 250GB SSD
- Secondary Storage: Samsung 860 QVO 1TB SSD
I’ve very happy with the end result and it was good to build a PC once again after all these years of swapping to Apple hardware nearly two decades ago. The thought of using Oculus Link with my MacBook Pro via an External GPU over BootCamp was just too daunting and it had a high risk of potential problems and issues. It was just easier to drop a little more money on a dedicated PC VR rig – and I am glad I did.
The machine runs cool and plays perfectly well over Oculus Link using the USB 3.1 port on the top of the NZXT case and an Anker PowerLine+ cable. It plays all the game’s I have tried without any issues in performance and after a long session, the case runs pretty cool afterwards.
Why build than buy something off the shelf?
I heavily considered buying a pre-built PC machine. There are a number of great sites out there that allow you to order pre-build PC machines, with Windows OS fully loaded on it, so you can rip it out the box and get started right away.
For me, I wanted a small and discrete, yet powerful, PC VR machine. Many off-the-shelf solutions were limited in one component or another, and the majority of the time, the cases weren’t great or small enough for my liking.
There was one solution from a particular PC builder using the same NZXT 210 I was interested in, but it was an Intel-based setup. They had an AMD 2700 Super inside it, so I knew this case was possible to contain one. I also knew the AMD Ryzen gave you the best bang for your buck, so I decided to revisit my old PC building days, and with the help of some PC compatibility sites, I was able to pull together the best components and get the satisfaction of saving a few hundred pounds by finding the cheapest places online and build it myself.
What would I do differently today?
Over half a year with this rig and there are a few things I would have done differently with this install. Initially, I was on a budget, building this rig for under £1440 in January, some of these components could now be purchased for a lot less today, and the graphics card will take a huge drop once NVIDIA showcases their new graphics cards on September 1st.
NZXT released a newer, even smaller, mini-ATX case – the H1 – a few months after I had completed my build. I was gutted. I really wanted a small case and although the H210 is perfect, it’s not as small as the H1. If I were to build again, I would likely buy the H1, but I am not sure how the cooling is with this rig when running PC VR titles.
With bigger VR titles asking for 16GB RAM as standard, I would consider upping this to 32GB RAM. But at least for another year or two, 16GB is still just fine if you were to build today.
I would consider upping my primary and secondary storage today. With PC and PC VR games asking hundreds of gigabytes for their installed games, even with 250GB M.2 and a 1TB SSD I am now finding myself uninstalling titles I have finished or less interested in playing. If you can increase the M.2 to 512GB or 2GB for the secondary, I would do that to give you a little more breathing space for titles you wish to keep on your system.
Other than that, my little snow-white PC VR rig is solid. I don’t think I need to upgrade the GPU any time soon, the 2070 Super is able to tackle everything I have thrown at it, in max/ultra settings, including Half-Life Alyx, Lone Echo and The Walking Dead Saints and Sinners.
Playing over Virtual Desktop has been solid also. I know a router has a large part to play here too, but with the PC VR doing the heavy lifting, I played the entire campaign of Half-Life Alyx over Virtual Desktop without any issues and the tether-less nature that Virtual Desktop offers, beings jaw-dropping visuals to the mobile Oculus Quest, it really is the best of both worlds – if you can afford it.
If you’re looking to build a PC VR machine, the above components makes for a sweet mini PC rig, if space is small or a minimalist setup is desired in your office/gaming den. If the thought of building worries you, there are a ton of online guides and tips on building your own PC, and using these, it is very satisfying to build your first PC and pressing the power button for the first time. There is something very Frankenstein “IT’S ALIVE!!” about it. But if you want less hassle, then buying something off the shelf from specialist PC builders or from sites like Amazon, these will get you up and running over Oculus Link in no time.