Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets are being bundled with specially-built PCs from several manufacturers and will be available for preorders starting Feb. 16 to give VR fans the right gear to get started in the world of virtual reality.
The bundles, which will include an Oculus-ready PC and a Rift VR headset, were announced on the Oculus Blog on Feb. 9. The special PCs will be built by Asus, Alienware and Dell.
"These PCs have been battle tested and certified by Oculus to deliver an incredible Rift experience," according to the blog post. The PC and Rift bundles can be preordered from Best Buy, Amazon and the Microsoft Store beginning Feb. 16 at prices starting at $1,499 for a limited time, the company said.
Each bundle will include an Oculus-certified PC and a Rift and its accessories, including a sensor, a remote, an Xbox One controller, and the EVE: Valkyrie Founder's Pack and Lucky's Tale games. The bundles are expected to ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions from retail partners starting in April, according to Oculus.
Asus will offer its Asus G11CD machine with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB hard drive at a bundle price of $949 or an Asus ROG G20CB machine with an Intel i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD at a bundle price of $1,349. Also available will be an Asus ROG G20CB machine with an Intel i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 1TB hard drive at a bundle price of $1,599.
Alienware will offer the Alienware Area 51 PC with an Intel i7 processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 128GB SSD and 2TB hard drive for $2,549 or an Alienware X51 R3 machine with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $999. Also being offered is an Alienware X51 R3 machine with an Intel i5 processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD for $1,499.
Dell's bundled machine is the Dell XPS 8900 SE, which includes an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $999.
Customers who have already preordered a Rift headset will be eligible to buy an Oculus Ready PC at a discounted price, the company said. Discount offer codes will appear on customer order status pages starting Feb. 16.
Computers that will be used with a Rift device should be equipped with a minimum Intel i5-4590 processor (or its equivalent AMD CPU), at least 8GB of RAM, and a minimum Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics card.
In January, Oculus began taking preorders for its $599 Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, which will ship starting in May. Oculus also posted a Rift compatibility tool on its Website to allow prospective buyers to download and run it to be sure that their Windows computer will be compatible with the hardware and software.
In June 2015, Oculus revealed more details about Rift's features and components, including that it is equipped with dual active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) displays that are designed to provide users with incredible visual clarity as they explore virtual worlds with the device. The Rift also uses an infrared LED constellation tracking system that provides precise, low-latency 360-degree orientation and position tracking for users for accurate and fluid control and operation when playing games and simulations.
Each Rift ships with a wireless Microsoft Xbox One controller so that video game fans can play next-generation games with the device right out of the box.
The Rift VR system is an all-in-one integrated unit that includes dual low-persistence AMOLED displays that are designed for virtual reality activities. They are worn on a user's head and have an appearance similar to a scuba diving mask, but with darkened lenses.
Rift users will be able to see and experience a wide variety of virtual reality games and simulations through the device, as well as play with Rift users from around the world through an online gaming community of Rift players.
When wearing a Rift VR headset and incorporating an optional Oculus Touch control set, game players will be able to "see" and participate in VR games from anywhere.
The competition in the VR viewer marketplace has been growing in recent months.
Last fall, Samsung launched its own $100 Gear VR virtual reality headset, which allows users to view video games, movies and more in immersive new ways, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The Samsung Gear VR is a consumer version of virtual reality headsets made by Oculus. The Gear VR works with Samsung's latest smartphone models—the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge—with their Super AMOLED displays giving users a richer virtual reality experience.