Building a VR Workstation

Working in VR is a new and novel experience for many people.  It is a medium that has its own unique requirements.  Chief among them is a powerful PC that is required to provide high frame rates to make the VR experience smooth and comfortable.  A slow PC can provide a choppy experience that is unpleasant and nauseating.  The target for comfort is normally rendering 90 frames per second when displaying content in the VR headset.

A VR workstation will have requirements similar to a typical CAD workstation.  A fast CPU, plenty of RAM, and a solid state drive are all key components.  The one component where the workstations could differ is the graphics card (GPU).  CAD packages such as Solidworks typically prefer glorified workstation GPUs (such as the NVIDIA Quadro series) that have certified and stable drivers.  These cards run design packages smoothly but at an inflated price.  Workstation cards can often be woefully underpowered when compared with similarly priced GPUs.

A software package such as Unity would benefit from a more cost effective gaming GPU.  A gaming GPU will offer a high level of performance for VR presentation purposes but may have stability issues when working with a CAD package such as Solidworks.  NVIDIA offers workstation cards that can handle VR graphics but at a tremendous cost.

 

ProcessorIntel I7-6700K– New Skylake processor from Intel, will offer excellent performance.  Includes a closed loop cooler.

MotherboardMSI Intel Skylake B150 LGA 1151 – Modern and a solid foundation for the workstation.  Great BIOS screen for easy setup.

Graphics CardEVGA GeForce GTX 1080 – This is a cost effective gaming GPU that will offer great performance when viewing VR content in Unity.  If you’re interested in certified support for a CAD package on the same workstation consider one of the new Quadro GPUs such as the Quadro M6000.

MemoryKingston HyperX FURY Black 32GB – Plenty of RAM to keep the workstation running smoothly without caching.

StorageSamsung 850 EVO – 1TB – Solid state drive for the workstation, this will make a tremendous difference in speed across the board.

CaseCorsair Carbide Series 200R – A basic but professional looking case.

Power SupplyRosewill 650W ATX12V – A solid power supply with modularity to support future upgrades and a variety of GPUs.

OS Windows 10 Pro USB –Arrives on a USB stick for easy installation.