The official launch details and recommended system specs for the HTC Vive have arrived, and as you'd expect its commiserations for bank balances across the globe. Understandably the Vive has attracted significat interest thanks to its affiliation with Valve and SteamVR, with the HTC Vive seen as the biggest competitor to the Oculus Rift. 

HTC's Vive offers a very different experience to the Rift, with room-space VR and impressive motion controllers right out of the box. In every way it's being marketed as the more premium product, and that comes at a cost. The HTC Vive is going to launch at $799; $200 more than the already hugely expensive Oculus Rift. It's a massive purchase then, so before you hand over that cash you want to be sure you've got a rig capable of running it. Find out all this and more with the HTC Vive recommended system requirements. 

HTC Vive Recommended System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 or newer
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB System Memory
  • GPU RAM: 4GB Video Memory or greater
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290
  • USB Ports: 1x USB 2.0 Port
  • Output: Compatible HDMI 1.4 Video Output or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer

Just to get a feel for the position the HTC Vive occupies, here's how it stacks up to the competition:

Oculus Rift Recommended System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 Or Newer
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB System Memory
  • GPU RAM: 4GB Video Memory or greater
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290
  • USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 Ports and 1x USB 2.0
  • Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 Video Output

As you can see these system requirements are pretty much blow for blow identical. You're looking at a decent quad-core Haswell processor or the AMD FX-8350. In terms of bottlenecking the frame rate a processor shouldn't be too much of an issue. Any CPU in this region isn't going to be holding things back, and the onus is really on the graphics card to deliver those rock solid 90FPS+ frame rates. 

Againt the GTX 970 or the Radeon R9 290 are recommended. The former is the most popular graphics card on Steam so there's already a sizeable audience with a rig out there capable of performing to Valve's expectations. Presumably the 0.5GB slower VRAM on the GTX 970 shouldn't be an issue, but we'll have to wait and see. 

That's what remains the same then, but the crucial aspect is where the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift differ. Vive needs half the memory, touting 4GB RAM as recommended. If you've got 4GB RAM and you're considering spending $800 on a virtual reality headset, slotting in at least another 4GB for $30 should be a top priority anyway. 

Then there's the game changer for me - the HTC Vive will need just a single USB 2.0 port to work. Compare that to the 3x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 2.0 and you've got a clear advantage. On my rig I haven't even got enough ports to use the Rift, with the Vive I'm going to have zero issues. For many I'd imagine that could swing the purchase.

No surprises in terms of needing a decent rig then, but the all-in cost is certainly beginning to tot up. Get a rig with these recommended system requirements and your looking at a $2000 ($1200 for PC + $800 for the HTC Vive) sunk cost to hit the recommended HTC Vive specs at launch. Is that a bit too expensive for your tastes? Or is being at the forefront of VR worth the outlay?