The 8 Best GPU For VR Gaming: Graphics Cards for Virtual Reality

The graphics card is critical to having a VR PC setup that can run all the latest games. In this list, we break down the top 8 GPUs for VR gaming available today.

There are as many graphics cards on the market as there are VR titles to choose from. We’ve put together a user-friendly guide below to help break down the best for you.

Let’s get started.

UPDATED: September 1st following the official announcement of the new Nvidia RTX 30-series! Check out the updated list of best GPUs for VR below.

What is a GPU?

gpu for vr gaming nvidia amd

The graphics processing unit (GPU) is responsible for rendering graphics on your PC. It performs millions of calculations each second to render scenes, motion, and commands. The graphics card takes stress off of the CPU, which focuses on distributing commands to all areas of your computer.

For high-end games such as virtual reality, a good GPU is key to rendering games in high quality in your VR headset.

GPU Requirements For Virtual Reality Gaming

If you look at the minimum hardware requirements for a VR game, you’ll know what your graphics card specifications need to be. Half Life: Alyx recommends at minimum the NVidia GTX 1060 6 GB or AMD RX 580 8 GB.

These two GPU for VR meet the following specifications:

NVidia GTX 1060 6 GB

  • 6 GB DDR5 Memory
  • Dual fans
  • 1809 MHz clock speed
  • 1 USB 2.0 port

AMD RX 580

  • 8 GB DDR5 Memory
  • Dual fans
  • 1386 MHz clock speed

While these two GPUs will be good for Half-Life today, requirements change when a new game comes out.

Our list of GPU for VR below contains 8 options that exceed these minimum requirements by a lot. You’ll be able to run any VR game on your desktop PC for the next few years.  

8 Best GPU For VR

  1. AMD Radeon RX 590 – Best GPU for VR with reasonable price
  2. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – Best GPU for VR with good specs
  3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 – Best GPU for VR with impressive performance
  4. AMD Radeon TC 5700 XT – Best GPU for VR for VR enthusiasts
  5. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super – Best GPU for VR with strong performance
  6. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 – Best GPU for VR with powerful graphics card
  7. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 – Best GPU for VR with good speed
  8. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti – Best GPU for VR with excellent VR gaming performance

Comparison Of The Best GPU For VR

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Best Overall
ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 8GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, Military-Grade Certification, GPU Tweak II)
Best Budget
XFX RX-590P8DFD6 Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ 1580MHz DDR5 3xDP HDMI DVI Graphic Cards
Best Graphics Card
ASUS ROG STRIX NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Graphics Card- PCIe 4.0, 24GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Axial-Tech Fan Design, 2.9-Slot
Best Entry Level
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6G OC)
Best Performance
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Graphics Card
Title
ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 8GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, Military-Grade Certification, GPU Tweak II)
XFX RX-590P8DFD6 Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ 1580MHz DDR5 3xDP HDMI DVI Graphic Cards
ASUS ROG STRIX NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Graphics Card- PCIe 4.0, 24GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Axial-Tech Fan Design, 2.9-Slot
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6G OC)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Graphics Card
Prime Status
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Star Rating
-
-
-
-
-
Reviews
-
-
-
-
-
Memory
8 GB
8 GB
24 GB
6 GB
11 GB
Video Output
DisplayPort, HDMI
DVI, HDMI
DisplayPort, HDMI
DisplayPort x 3 (V1.4)/ HDMI 2.0B x 1
DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI
Price
$1,440.00
Price not available
$3,270.00
$699.00
$2,099.00
Best Overall
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ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 8GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, Military-Grade Certification, GPU Tweak II)
Title
ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 8GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, Military-Grade Certification, GPU Tweak II)
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Reviews
-
Memory
8 GB
Video Output
DisplayPort, HDMI
Price
$1,440.00
Best Budget
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XFX RX-590P8DFD6 Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ 1580MHz DDR5 3xDP HDMI DVI Graphic Cards
Title
XFX RX-590P8DFD6 Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ 1580MHz DDR5 3xDP HDMI DVI Graphic Cards
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Reviews
-
Memory
8 GB
Video Output
DVI, HDMI
Price
Price not available
Best Graphics Card
Thumbnail
ASUS ROG STRIX NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Graphics Card- PCIe 4.0, 24GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Axial-Tech Fan Design, 2.9-Slot
Title
ASUS ROG STRIX NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Graphics Card- PCIe 4.0, 24GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Axial-Tech Fan Design, 2.9-Slot
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Reviews
-
Memory
24 GB
Video Output
DisplayPort, HDMI
Price
$3,270.00
Best Entry Level
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MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6G OC)
Title
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6G OC)
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Reviews
-
Memory
6 GB
Video Output
DisplayPort x 3 (V1.4)/ HDMI 2.0B x 1
Price
$699.00
Best Performance
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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Graphics Card
Title
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Graphics Card
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Reviews
-
Memory
11 GB
Video Output
DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI
Price
$2,099.00

#1. AMD Radeon RX 590

XFX RX-590P8DFD6 Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ 1580MHz DDR5 3xDP HDMI DVI Graphic Cards
  • XFX RX 590 graphics card brings the latest and greatest features for PC gamers: Capture, stream, share, optimize and fine-tune your games with ease. Exceptionally smooth and fast out-of-the-box gaming experience powered by Radeon software; 2304 stream processors
  • XFX OC+ capable - While true clock locks in a super-fast optimal speed on a hardware level, RX Series cards with an OC+ rating are tested at the factory to go even beyond XFX true clock. We encourage you to try these factory tested speeds by using the simple to use AMD wattman utility, letting you squeeze every last bit of performance out of your card
  • XFX true clock technology - Software controlled clock speeds can be hindered by overall computer performance. XFX true clock however is hardware controlled clock speed performance optimization, so your card is always running at an optimized performance level

AMD’s Radeon RX 590 brings the performance you need for smooth VR at a reasonable price. It can handle 1440p gaming when not in virtual reality, so anything you need in VR. The 590 has a quiet blower design and it uses a low amount of power. This keeps everything cool under load, which is essential for any gaming PC.

The AMD Radeon RX 590 is a sweet spot GPU for VR gamers. It’s got a great price and works on any VR game. You may have to tune back the graphics for some higher demanding options, but not by much.

Additionally, it has 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM and support for PCIe 4.0. For ports, you get a single HDMI and three DisplayPort. It features a 256-bit memory bus and a boost clock up to 1,755MHz. You won’t get the same features found on AMD’s RTX cards like ray tracing. However, you do get FreeSync Premium Pro support for compatible monitors. This helps remove the choppy gameplay and frame rate drops.

Pros

  • Runs quiet and cool
  • Strong GPU for VR gamers
  • Reasonable price
  • Lots of display outputs

Cons 

  • Unable to hold rated core clock rate in a closed case
  • Not as power efficient as Nvidia’s GeForce line

#2. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Black Gaming, 6GB GDDR6, HDB Fan Graphics Card 06G-P4-1261-KR
  • Real Boost Clock: 1770 MegaHertZ; Memory Detail: 6144MB GDDR6
  • Single HDB fan offers higher performance cooling and much quieter acoustic noise
  • Built for EVGA Precision x1 EVGA all new tuning utility monitors your graphics card and gives you the power to overclock like a Pro

Like the AMD RX 590, the GTX 1660 Ti is a great starter GPU for VR. It’s our first recommendation for anyone partial to NVIDIA hardware. Its specs are higher than what is recommended for Half-Life: Alyx. The GTX 1660 will also save you a load of money compared to high-end hardware too.

The GTX 1660 has dual fans to keeps things compact. This allows it to fit into more PC cases. For ports, it has three DisplayPort and one HDMI port for VR headset and monitors connectivity. It has 6 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, a 192-bit memory interface, and a boost clock up to 1,860MHz for solid performance.

If you want to keep things affordable and prefer NVIDIA, this Gaming GTX 1660 Ti is a great choice. 

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • 6 GB VRAM
  • Dual fans
  • Three DisplayPort, one HDMI port 

Cons

  • Might be low quality in 2 years

#3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6G OC)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Boost Clock: 1710 MHz. Power consumption: 160 W
  • Memory Interface: 192-bit

The NVidia RTX 2060 is an excellent choice for those looking at a higher-end graphics card. Investing in a brand-new graphics card can be a tough process, but the RTX 2060 is a near-perfect choice. It also comes in way cheaper than a top-of-the-line card, which can be overkill. RTX cards are also great for times when you’d rather enjoy 2D games on a standard monitor.

The RTX 2060 GPU delivers optimal VR performance for smooth frame rates. You shouldn’t have much issue getting into intensive tasks like supersampling. Take advantage of the 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, a 256-bit memory bus, and a core clock up to 1,815MHz. The RTX 2060 has three Windforce fans for excellent cooling.

As well, it has a great selection of ports including USB-C VirtualLink. This allows you to connect VR and standard monitors without much issue.

Pros

  • Impressive VR performance
  • Three fans run quietly
  • 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • One HDMI, three DisplayPort, one USB-C (VirtualLink) port

Cons

  • Might not fit all PC cases
  • Price may be restrictive for some

#4. AMD Radeon TC 5700 XT 

XFX RX 5700 Xt Thicc III Ultra 8GB Boost Up to 2025MHz GDDR6 3xDP HDMI Graphics Card (Rx-57XT8TBD8)
  • Introducing the new XFX thicc III ultra 5700 XT. Built with style and dynamic cooling power in mind to yield lower temperatures and heightened performance that adapt to the intensity of the moment.
  • Get the very best FPS the 5700 XT series can deliver. Thanks to the 2.90 millimeter fans and 100 millimeter fan, the thicc III ultra stays cool and quiet, allowing you to achieve higher boost clocks.
  • The XFX RX 5700 XT is built for high-performance and high resolution gameplay. Experience smooth gameplay performance at 1440P and 4K. With support for 8K you are ready for next-gen displays. See everything in mind blowing detail without sacrificing performance.

The AMD Radeon TC 5700 XT offers ridiculous performance, which VR enthusiasts can take advantage of. No matter what VR headset and game you want to use, the 5700 XT is ready. It has 11 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, boost clock up to 1,665MHz, and a 352-bit memory interface. 

The 5700 XT has a quiet three-fan cooling system, the same as the Nvidia 2060 above. The port selection includes two HDMI, two DisplayPort, and USB-C VirtualLink for easy connectivity of multiple monitors and VR. 

As long as you have the budget and a properly-sized PC case, this is an outstanding option for those who can afford it.

Pros

  • Absolutely ridiculous performance
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Three quiet fans
  • Two DisplayPort, two HDMI, one USB-C (VirtualLink) port
  • 11 GB GDDR6 VRAM

Cons

  • Might not fit all PC cases

#5. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super sits in a bit of a sweet spot when it comes to price and performance. It was the number one GPU for VR gamers in 2019. The RTX 2080 can run 8K games and graphics with ease. It can also process 120 fps for long periods. The entire graphics card is a revolution in gaming realism and performance.

The 2080 Super has 11 GB of GDDR6 memory, three DisplayPort, and one HDMI port. You get the all extra benefits of RTX cards including:

  • Ray tracing
  • Deep learning super sampling (DLSS)
  • AI-Accelerated features
  • Rasterization
  • Simulation 
  • Asset Interchange Formats

The 2080 Super has a 192-bit memory bus and the 1,710MHz boost clock is certainly a performer. The RTX 2080 is the Cadillac of graphics cards and will won’t need to be replaced for years.

Pros

  • Strong performance
  • Three DisplayPort and one HDMI port
  • Dual fans and compact size
  • 11 GB GDDR6 VRAM

Cons

  • Low overclocking availability

#6. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

ASUS ROG STRIX NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming Graphics Card- PCIe 4.0, 24GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Axial-Tech Fan Design, 2.9-Slot
  • NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors: The building blocks for the world’s fastest, most efficient GPU, the all-new Ampere SM brings 2X the FP32 throughput and improved power efficiency.
  • 2nd Generation RT Cores: Experience 2X the throughput of 1st Gen RT Cores, plus concurrent RT and shading for a whole new level of ray tracing performance.
  • 3rd Generation Tensor Cores: Get up to 2X the throughput with structural sparsity and advanced AI algorithms such as DLSS. Now with support for up to 8K resolution, these cores deliver a massive boost in game performance and all-new AI capabilities.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is the most powerful graphics card ever created. It is Nvidia’s flagship hardware and is a dream for any PC gamer. The main reason it’s not our #1 best GPU for VR is because of its price. The card retails at $1499, which is just too expensive for most users.

Those who can afford the card will not be disappointed. The 3090 leads the way in nearly every spec: 10,496 CUDA cores, 24GB DDR6X memory, 19.5 GB/s memory clock, 384-bit memory bus, 936 GB/s bandwidth, 328 Tensor Cores, and more. It also has second-generation ray tracing technology.

Pros

  • The most graphically advanced GPU ever created
  • 24GB DDR6X RAM
  • Dual axial flow design to keep GPU 10 times quieter

Cons

  • High price point
  • Three fans and large size
  • High power supply requirements

#7. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 V2 OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 10GB GDDR6X, LHR, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, Military-Grade Certification, GPU Tweak II)
  • NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors: The building blocks for the world’s fastest, most efficient GPU, the all-new Ampere SM brings 2X the FP32 throughput and improved power efficiency.
  • 2nd Generation RT Cores: Experience 2X the throughput of 1st gen RT Cores, plus concurrent RT and shading for a whole new level of ray tracing performance.
  • 3rd Generation Tensor Cores: Get up to 2X the throughput with structural sparsity and advanced AI algorithms such as DLSS. Now with support for up to 8K resolution, these cores deliver a massive boost in game performance and all-new AI capabilities.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is an awesome compromise on price versus the 3090. You get the second more advanced GPU ever created for less than half the price – $699. All RTX features are included: second-generation ray tracing, third-generation tensor cores, and more.

The 3080 comes with 8,704 CUDA cores, 10GB DDR6X memory, 19.0 GB/s memory clock, and 760 GB/s bandwidth. It is double the power of the 2080 Ti card, which is comparable to the RTX 3070. The toughest thing about this card is that it will be tough to find stock for the first few months after its September 17th release date.

The RTX 3080 is the best GPU for VR in 2021 and maybe even beyond.

Pros

  • Awesome memory, speed, and bandwidth for its price
  • 238 FLOPS performance
  • Tri-fan cooling solution

Cons

  • Large size
  • High power requirements

#8. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti

ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 8GB GDDR6X, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, Military-Grade Certification, GPU Tweak II)
  • NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors: The building blocks for the world’s fastest, most efficient GPU, the all-new Ampere SM brings 2X the FP32 throughput and improved power efficiency.
  • 2nd Generation RT Cores: Experience 2X the throughput of 1st gen RT Cores, plus concurrent RT and shading for a whole new level of ray tracing performance.
  • 3rd Generation Tensor Cores: Get up to 2X the throughput with structural sparsity and advanced AI algorithms such as DLSS. Now with support for up to 8K resolution, these cores deliver a massive boost in game performance and all-new AI capabilities.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is a perfect GPU for an enhanced VR gaming experience, and it is a must-have for avid gamers. The deep learning super sampling (DLSS) acceleration boosts the number of frames rates rapidly, which makes the gameplay lag-free.

Nvidia built sufficient inventory for both the GPU and memory for this launch. The visual experience is really incredible for gamers whose focus is on the resolution and clarity of the VR game. Also, they use dedicated AI processing tensor cores, which enhances the image quality.

The RTX 3070 Ti offers more performance than the 3070 from last year for the same price. It is an easy upgrade choice for those looking at 2021 GPU cards. However, stock is hard to find.

Pros

  • Excellent VR gaming performance
  • Reliable cooler
  • Adapter is included
  • Lag-free gameplay

Cons

  • Consumes more power
  • No USB-C

Why are there different brands for the “same” GPU

If you’ve done any looking at a GPU for VR, you’ve probably noticed that multiple brands sell the “same” model of GPU. For example, a quick search on Amazon for “RX 590” shows results from XFX, Sapphire, Gigabyte, MSI, and more. What does this mean?

Well, AMD and NVidia are the two most popular GPU chip creators. The GPU chip by itself cannot be plugged into your computer and used. AMD and NVidia license and supply these GPU chips to other companies, which add a number of other components:

  1. Memory
  2. Power supply
  3. Factory overclocking
  4. Cooling fans
  5. Ports for plugging in hardware
  6. Warranty and support

In general, the GPU chip will perform the same on any overall graphics card it is placed on. The amount of memory provided by the card and the warranty are the only other two factors to consider.

If you want to understand common GPU terms better, we’ve explained some of them below!

GPU Common Terms

Below are some common specs listed when you are searching for graphics cards. These are important factors to finding a card that will be able to run what you need it to.

Memory

The memory is responsible for storing all the graphical information. This information is shown on the output screen. Most contemporary graphics cards come with memory ranging between 512 MB and 11 GB. The most common type of memory for such cards is DDR3 and GDDR5. 

When it comes to playing games, you certainly should check the memory of your card. Better GPU for VR comes with higher memory. This helps the card perform at an optimum level.

Clock Rate

Measured in MegaHertz, the GPU operating frequency measures millions of cycles per second. The higher the clock rate you have, the higher the number of pixels that can be processed by the graphics processor every second. 

GPU units are designed to operate at varying frequencies. This helps in enhancing performance and making sure your GPU doesn’t overheat. So it’s important that your graphics card has a high clock rate, but can also adjust it on the fly as needed.

Fill Rate

Fill rate is the ability of a graphics processor to draw pixels. They can be one of two types: pixel fill rate and texel rate. The pixel fill rate depends on the operating frequency of the raster operations pipeline. It enhances the speed of drawing pixels on an output screen.

The texture fetch rate is a characteristic of the texel rate. It is affected by the number of texture units and operating frequency. If the pixel fill rate of a card is higher, it means that the graphics card draws pixels faster. If the texel rate is higher, it means that the graphics card fetches textures faster. In the modern gaming scenario, both factors are equally important. 

Pixel Processor

A pixel processor is a component on the graphics chip devoted exclusively to pixel shader programs. These processing units only do calculations regarding pixels. Because pixels represent color values, pixel shaders are used for all sorts of impressive graphical effects.

Cooling

Graphics cards with higher specifications will run hotter over long periods of time. That’s why it is important that your graphics card has sufficient cooling in place. For most cards, two fans are good. However, you need to make sure that you have a PC case that supports the size of your GPU for VR.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What GPU is the best for VR?

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti are the newest and best GPUs for VR available on the market. The specifications are great, and the overall visual experience is pretty good.

Which is the lowest cost GPU for VR?

The AMD’s Radeon RX480 is the lowest cost GPU and VR-capable graphics card available on the market. You can go with this if you are looking for a GPU with a low price tag.

Is a GPU necessary for VR?

Yes, it is. As one of the main components, graphics cards further improve the image quality and resolution of the VR for a great visual experience during the gameplay.

Which VR game has the best graphics?

Half-Life is the first-person virtual reality game with the best graphics when compared to most games. Built especially for VR, Half-Life has received a lot of attention from the media.

Can you run VR on a laptop?

There should be sufficient ports to connect the VR glasses to the laptop, in addition to the graphics card. You require 3 USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port, and sufficient RAM to run the VR on your laptop.

There you have it! Which of the above GPUs is your favorite? 

Comment down below and let us know which GPU for VR you have.

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