The 6 Best Graphics Cards for VR in 2023

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Oct 19, 2023

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Best Graphics Cards for VR

Virtual reality (VR) gaming perhaps hasn’t caught on as much as many of its early adopters expected. However, it’s still a fun and engrossing way to experience games. Whether you’re interested in native VR experiences or VR mods for non-VR games, you’ll want the best GPU for VR that your budget allows.

VR gaming is a demanding pursuit, so you won’t be surprised that our list contains some high-priced heavy hitters. But we’ve also tried to keep the average builder in mind with some solid mid-range options. Let’s get started.

Short on Time? The Best Graphics Cards for VR at a Glance

The Best Graphics Cards for VR

Before we start, a couple of points are worth mentioning here. VR performance hinges on what sort of games you play and the resolution of your VR headset, so no benchmarks can cover the entire gamut of options available to the PC VR gamer.

A graphics card that works for one gamer’s setup may not work for another, so it’s all about knowing what you want and need from a GPU. But let’s not bog things down here; if you want to know more, skip to our buying guide first.

1. Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC

Best High-End GPU for VR

Boost Clock2535 MHz
Memory16 GB GDDR6X
Ports• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1x HDMI 2.1a
Power Consumption~320 watts
Dimensions13.46 x 5.91 x 2.95 inches

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080 may not be Team Green’s most powerful GPU, but it’s still a beast capable of handling VR without breaking a sweat. Unless you know you need extreme performance, this is the most we recommend spending on a VR GPU.

BabelTechReviews put the Nvidia RTX 4080 through its paces with a Valve Index headset, which sports two 1440×1600 displays running at 90 Hz. At this resolution, the RTX 4080 handles VR gaming without issues, hitting the maximum refresh rate and offering perfectly smooth gameplay with consistent frame times in most VR games.

BabelTechReviews also recorded unconstrained FPS numbers, which are the GPU’s maximum performance when not limited by the headset’s refresh rate. Highlights include 118 FPS in Assetto Corsa: Competizione, 200 FPS in F1 2022, 159 FPS in No Man’s Sky, and 200 FPS in Project Cars 2, all at the highest possible settings.

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC

Source: Gigabyte

These performance numbers show that you should be able to increase your refresh rate to 120 Hz in most games with room to spare. Of course, this much grunt also means you can increase the rendering resolution or pair the RTX 4080 with a higher-resolution headset like the Meta Quest 2.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay up for this level of performance, with cards like this Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC setting you back just about $1200. But if you want an excellent, trouble-free VR experience with headroom for even more demanding games or mods in the future, this is the best graphics card for VR.

2. Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

Best High-End GPU for VR Alternative

Boost Clock2535 MHz
Memory24 GB GDDR6X
Ports• 2x DisplayPort 2.1
• 2x HDMI 2.1a
Power Consumption~370 watts
Dimensions12.32 x 5.27 x 2.07 inches

AMD hasn’t always had the best time with VR, but recent driver updates have made the Radeon RX 7900 XTX a compelling “bang for buck” option for high-end VR gaming. However, some potential software issues mean the AMD card still plays second fiddle to Nvidia’s offering for now.

The RX 7900 XTX’s raw performance has always been solid, albeit not quite on par with the RTX 4080, as shown by BabelTechReviews’ VR tests with a Valve Index. Notable results include 185 FPS in Elite Dangerous, 156 FPS in F1 2022, and 194 FPS in Project Cars 2, all at maximum settings. These are all great results, albeit noticeably behind the RTX 4080.

But it’s not all rosy: games such as No Man’s Sky (108 FPS vs. the RTX 4090’s 159 FPS) and Assetto Corsa: Competizione (85 FPS vs. 118 FPS) perform relatively poorly on the AMD card at maxed-out settings. Of course, this won’t matter much if you don’t play either game, but it’s still an issue when you’re spending around $1000.

Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

Source: Sapphire

The main issue with the RX 7900 XTX used to be performance and visual glitches in VR. Thankfully, AMD has fixed many of the problems with its Adrenalin 23.7.1 drivers. These include tearing and stuttering in games such as Half-Life Alyx, which now runs perfectly without issue.

However, the RX 7900 XTX still suffers from blurry video when connected to headsets like the Meta Quest 2. Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing AMD can do about this, and it’s up to Meta to fix the issues. If you use a Meta headset, Nvidia RTX GPUs will likely serve you better.

So, while the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a much better VR GPU now and is finally competitive with the RTX 4080, we think the Nvidia card offers a better overall experience and is still the slightly better option. That said, the Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX’s roughly $1000 price does give it the value edge, especially if you’re on a headset that will only do 90 Hz.

3. PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

Best Mid-Range GPU for VR

Boost Clock2581 MHz
Memory12 GB GDDR6
Ports• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
Power Consumption250 watts
Dimensions8.98 x 4.29 x 1.54 inches

AMD’s RX 6000-series cards may be old news by now, but their age comes with the benefit of significant price cuts designed to keep them competitive. The Radeon RX 6700 XT is a perfect example: cards like the PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT are now available for around $350, making them excellent mid-range options for VR gaming.

BabelTechReviews put the RX 6700 XT through its paces with a Valve Index. They recorded some impressive framerate numbers, albeit at reduced settings compared to the higher-end cards. For example, Assetto Corsa: Competizione manages 171 FPS here, but on the VR Low preset.

Similarly, F1 2022’s 141-FPS average came on the game’s medium settings, as did No Man’s Sky’s 101-FPS average. So, while the RX 6700 XT can still put up great numbers, you’ll have to compromise on settings and perhaps even resolution scaling to achieve ultra-smooth performance.

PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

Source: PowerColor

Unlike higher-end GPUs, you’ll likely have to adjust your resolution scaling to suit the game when using the RX 6700 XT. VR headsets benefit from running at higher resolutions than the screen displays to reduce lens distortion, but you may have to live with native-resolution visuals in some games here.

That said, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you’re trying to get into VR without breaking the bank. We think some extra distortion is an acceptable tradeoff when shopping in the sub-$400 price range, which is where the PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT excels.

4. Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC

Best Mid-Range GPU for VR Alternative

Boost Clock1695 MHz
Memory8 GB GDDR6
Ports• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
Power Consumption200 watts
Dimensions8.74 x 4.55 x 1.5 inches

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti may have been superseded by the RTX 4060 Ti, but it’s still a great mid-range GPU. Sure, you lose out on DLSS Frame Generation, but that’s not a technology we’ll likely see in many VR titles. Thus, the older and cheaper 60-series card makes much more sense here than in other situations.

BabelTechReviews’ testing sees the RTX 3060 Ti trade blows with AMD’s RX 6700 XT when tested with a Valve Index headset. Assetto Corsa: Competizione manages 170 FPS at the game’s VR Low preset, 131 FPS in F1 2022 at medium settings, and 118 FPS in No Man’s Sky at similar midrange settings. Some games had dropped and reprojected frames, but the RTX 3060 Ti kept both to a minimum in all situations.

However, one benefit of the RTX 3060 Ti is access to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), which can offer higher-quality upscaling than AMD’s equivalent. DLSS may not always work perfectly in VR due to occasional ghosting in some games, but it is a valuable option with better-quality visuals than AMD’s FSR.

Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC

Source: Zotac

The RTX 3060 Ti also consumes less power than the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, which can be a boon if you’re upgrading an older rig or trying to minimize your spending on other components like your PSU.

Overall, RTX 3060 Ti cards like the Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC remain solid options for specific builds, especially those unlikely to benefit from the RTX 4060 Ti’s frame generation capabilities. If you need a mid-range VR GPU for the here and now, get this and upgrade once eight gigabytes of VRAM starts feeling way too limiting.

5. Asus Dual GeForce RTX 3050 OC Edition

Best Entry-Level GPU for VR

Boost Clock1852 MHz
Memory8 GB GDDR6
Ports• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
Power Consumption~130 watts
Dimensions7.87 x 4.84 x 1.50 inches

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 is not the company’s most exciting GPU, but it’s a great way to get into VR gaming on the cheap. If you want to spend less than $250 on a VR-capable graphics card, then the Asus Dual GeForce RTX 3050 OC Edition is precisely what the doctor ordered.

Now, let’s be clear: you won’t get blazing-fast framerates with the RTX 3050. However, pairing it with a lower-resolution VR headset like the Valve Index or original HTC Vive Pro at 100% resolution scaling will yield decent results in many VR games.

For example, BabelTechReviews’ test of the RTX 3050 hits a decent 97 FPS in Elite Dangerous at VR Medium settings, albeit with some reprojected frames, which is a technique VR headsets use to generate frames when the GPU isn’t fast enough. No Man’s Sky is a bit beyond the RTX 3050 at native resolution, but enabling DLSS Performance pushes the game up to 82 FPS. However, nearly 50% of the frames here were reprojected frames.

Asus Dual GeForce RTX 3050 OC Edition

Source: Asus

However, lighter, less-demanding games such as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners will run fine on the RTX 3050. The GPU manages 151 FPS in the former and 165 FPS in the latter, with no reprojected frames required.

No, the RTX 3050 isn’t the only option if you want to get into VR on the cheap. However, it’s better than pre-RTX Nvidia or AMD cards because it has DLSS, the best way of boosting framerates on lower-power GPUs. Given how close your eyes are to the screen in VR, the cleaner image quality of DLSS makes the RTX 3050 the ideal entry-level choice.

6. Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition

Best Premium GPU for VR

Boost Clock2565 MHz
Memory24 GB GDDR6X
Ports• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 2x HDMI 2.1a
Power Consumption~480 watts
Dimensions13.71 x 5.91 x 2.86 inches

If you want a “set-and-forget” GPU that’ll handle any VR workload you throw at it and then some, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is the GPU for you. Yes, it’s costly, but those who want a GPU that’ll do it all (and have the cash to splash) will want to consider this.

The RTX 4090 easily outpowers the Valve Index that BabelTechReviews uses to test GPU VR performance. VR at 90 Hz is a cakewalk here, with the RTX 4090 delivering perfect 90 Hz VR gameplay in every game they tried.

A locked 120 Hz VR experience is eminently possible here, with even the punishing Assetto Corsa: Competizione running at 164 FPS on the RTX 4090 at high settings. Other standout results include 254 FPS in F1 2022, 202 FPS in No Man’s Sky, and 253 FPS in Project Cars 2. As you might expect, the RTX 4090 handles all these games without dropping or needing to generate frames.

Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition

Source: Asus

This much power means you shouldn’t have any issues increasing the resolution scale (which can reduce lens artifacts) or going with a higher-resolution headset outright. Even the HTC Vive Pro 2 and its dual 2448×2448 displays shouldn’t be an issue for the RTX 4090.

Of course, this much raw power comes at a cost. You’ll be lucky to grab cards like this Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition for anything less than $1700, with prices usually sitting closer to $1800. That’s more than some gamers spend on their entire rigs, which is a sobering thought.

But if you’re building a no-expenses-spared, monster VR rig, this is the only GPU you should look at. Just make sure you have enough room in your case!

Before You Buy

Buying a GPU for VR depends a lot on the rest of your setup and what games you play. So while many of the standard tips in our graphics card buying guide are still relevant, there are a handful of VR-specific topics we think are worth discussing here.

Headset Specs

Virtual reality headsets run two screens—one for each eye—to create the illusion of reality. This means that your system is essentially a dual-monitor setup, so knowing your VR headset’s resolution is essential when deciding what GPU to go for.

There’s a huge difference between the Valve Index’s two 1440 x 1600 screens and the high-resolution 2448 x 2448 displays of the HTC Vive Pro 2. The former is like running two 1080p monitors (or thereabouts), while the latter is about the same as trying to run a game at 5K. Both are demanding, but the latter is significantly more punishing and requires much more graphical grunt.

Valve Index

Source: Valve

Remember that most gaming VR headsets run at a minimum of 90 Hz, which is much more demanding than the 60 Hz that you’re likely used to. Of course, VR headsets have ways of making this easier to achieve on mainstream hardware. One such method is reprojection which generates new frames by adjusting old frames to fit the user’s current head and view position. So you get a perceptually smooth experience even if the game isn’t hitting framerate targets.

However, you’ll still want a video card capable of producing as many “real” frames as possible to reduce  visual artifacts that can result from these reprojected frames. That’s why VR can be so pricey, especially for those who want to run with high graphics settings or increased resolution for better visuals. But the immersiveness of VR experiences can be worth it, especially for racing and flight sim enthusiasts.


Intel CPU

Source: Intel

While VR gaming relies heavily on your GPU, it also demands more from your CPU than standard gaming. Two displays mean two times the objects the game needs to render, increasing the load on your CPU. There’s also all the head tracking and other processing inherent to VR gaming, which, again, puts an extra burden on your CPU.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a top-end CPU like the Intel Core i9-13900K. But it does mean that you can’t cheap out and buy a budget CPU. A modern six-core CPU like the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X or Intel Core i5-13600K is the bare minimum, although more (and faster) cores certainly won’t hurt.

If you want guaranteed VR gaming performance, CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D or Intel Core i7-13700K are a safe bet. They’re not the cheapest CPUs, but the extra headroom and potential performance are worth it for higher-end systems.

Closing Thoughts

Virtual reality is a relatively niche aspect of the PC gaming landscape, but sim titles like Assetto Corsa: Competizione, Project Cars 2, and Microsoft Flight Simulator show that it’s here to stay. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in VR, as long as you have a rig that can handle it.

If you have the money, graphics cards like the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC and Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX are the ones you want. These have a ton of power on tap and will handle anything you throw at them. That said, there’s nothing wrong with more affordable midrange options like the PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC, provided you’re aware of the compromises you’ll have to live with.

Want some more possible VR-ready options? Check out our list of the best 1440p 144 Hz GPUs.

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