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  1. #1
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    Default Gaming/VR Build Advice

    Looking to build a VR rig for home and hoping that some of the local experts here can chime in.

    I'm trying to figure out what I can salvage from my existing machine; both to keep costs down and also to remove clutter as I dont really want two full size towers around.

    Goal is to build a tower that can easily power either the HTC Vive or Valve Index at high frame rates on new titles, with a thought toward future proofing here as well. Id prefer to have the machine be capable of powering a pair of headsets for Co-Op play, but reading online suggests that this is a challenge currently.

    My current machine is going strong, but is definitely old as it was built for the release of Starcraft 2. Its main specs are as follows:

    Processor: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07Ghz, 3068 Mhz, 4 Cores, 8 Logical Processors
    Mobo: Asus Sabertooth X58
    Primary Hard Drive: Samsung 840EVO SSD
    Ram: 3 x 2GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3
    Video Card: AMD Radeon HD 6950
    Power Supply: Cooler Master SilentPro 850W
    DVD Drive: LG Bluray Drive
    Case: Full Size Cooler Master (unknown model, but its huge)

    Not really a computer guy at all, but initial thoughts were that I could maybe salvage the following for a new build:
    - Power Supply
    - Harddrives
    - Case and Fans
    - Bluray Drive
    - Windows 10 License

    Assuming that most of the heavy lifting for gaming/VR will be put on the video card - does it make sense to try and use the same processor/mobo/ram and just upgrade the video card itself? I was kind of going on the assumption that Id need to upgrade the processor (and with it mobo/ram) but happy to be told otherwise and save the cash.

    Coming up on Black Friday, appreciate any input on components that would be well aligned with this at a good price.

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    I had a similar build, was running the i7-970 basically for the release of SC2.

    You're pretty much bang on about the salvageables. New processor will need a new mobo and RAM.

    The only other thing I would consider is the half life of a PSU so a new one may be a good idea.

    As for a VR-oriented build, I'll let someone else answer that question but I would say your system is due for an overhaul. You're coming up on a decade with that processor.

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    For either a Vive Pro (I assume you meant Pro) or a Valve Index you are going to need the tippy top of the video card heap to run them at full frame rate. If you look at the reviews on the valve index it was hard to run above 90hz, and even hard for it to do that on most titles.

    If you read most reviews you could run them pretty well in most games with a 2080 Super, but if you want to get 120 hz out of the Index you probably need a 2080Ti and even that may struggle based on what I have seen.

    Maybe it is worth getting a cheaper VR headset to see if it is something you want to do long term because the system required to run those out at full spec will be quite pricey and you may find you are just as happy with a Rift S which could be run by a lesser video card.

    The Samsung Odyssey+ is $300 right now at the Microsoft store as well if you wanted a higher resolution generation 1.5 headset. It does have inside out tracking if that is a concern though.

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    Out of all that, I might keep the SSD (assuming its in decent shape, some of the earlier Samsungs had issues) , the BR drive and the case.

    If you had a ultra high end PSU, like a platinum series, I might have kept it.

    You can get a lot of good priced stuff off Kijji but this means knowing exactly what you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rx7boi View Post
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    I had a similar build, was running the i7-970 basically for the release of SC2.

    You're pretty much bang on about the salvageables. New processor will need a new mobo and RAM.

    The only other thing I would consider is the half life of a PSU so a new one may be a good idea.

    As for a VR-oriented build, I'll let someone else answer that question but I would say your system is due for an overhaul. You're coming up on a decade with that processor.
    Thanks appreciate the input and agreed on the overhaul - just hate throwing something away that’s working well. On the power supply front - is it a risk or just hassle issue? I have never had a power supply fail so not sure if failure would take out other components or just leave me needing a new power supply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cagare View Post
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    For either a Vive Pro (I assume you meant Pro) or a Valve Index you are going to need the tippy top of the video card heap to run them at full frame rate. If you look at the reviews on the valve index it was hard to run above 90hz, and even hard for it to do that on most titles.

    If you read most reviews you could run them pretty well in most games with a 2080 Super, but if you want to get 120 hz out of the Index you probably need a 2080Ti and even that may struggle based on what I have seen.

    Maybe it is worth getting a cheaper VR headset to see if it is something you want to do long term because the system required to run those out at full spec will be quite pricey and you may find you are just as happy with a Rift S which could be run by a lesser video card.

    The Samsung Odyssey+ is $300 right now at the Microsoft store as well if you wanted a higher resolution generation 1.5 headset. It does have inside out tracking if that is a concern though.
    Thanks for the insight on the headset options. Was trying to benchmark Vive Pro and Index simply as a future proofing step but didn’t realize there was such a disparity in cards required to drive them. Almost all of our VR time to date has been on Vive’s (@VRkade) so was looking to create a similar experience at home.

    Not familiar with the Samsung headsets but may be worth considering if they offer a similar experience to the Vive?

    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    Out of all that, I might keep the SSD (assuming its in decent shape, some of the earlier Samsungs had issues) , the BR drive and the case.

    If you had a ultra high end PSU, like a platinum series, I might have kept it.

    You can get a lot of good priced stuff off Kijji but this means knowing exactly what you want.
    Unfortunately my knowledge won’t be up to deal hunting on kijiji I don’t think.

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    You're definitely going to need a full build. That processor won't cut it anymore. I have a vive (non pro) and have the following setup
    I5 6600k overclocked to 5.0ghz
    16GB DDR4 ram (forgot speed and make, think Corsair)
    850w psu
    RTX2060
    Samsung 960 Evo nvme ssd

    It runs most games perfectly, some I will get the occasional studders. If possible I'd go up to a 2070 or 5700xt, and for today's costs vs performance, ryzen can't be beat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrknFngrs View Post
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    Thanks for the insight on the headset options. Was trying to benchmark Vive Pro and Index simply as a future proofing step but didn’t realize there was such a disparity in cards required to drive them. Almost all of our VR time to date has been on Vive’s (@VRkade) so was looking to create a similar experience at home.

    Not familiar with the Samsung headsets but may be worth considering if they offer a similar experience to the Vive?
    I wouldn't be as concerned as the VR investment as I don't really feel like we have seen a true second generation headset. The limiting factor is the GPUs currently available. Right now to run the Valve Index at full spec you need a $1500-2000 GPU and even that GPU will not likely run the next gen headset which will be higher resolution, or higher frame rate.

    So, that's why I suggest either an HTC Vive which you can get certified used for $400, or second hand on kijiji, or the Rift S. The Vive is something you are use to, and will run at 90hz, with a lower resolution, has lighthouse tracking as well. The Rift S you are getting a higher resolution at 80 hz for $550. Both could be run by mid level gaming PC, which could vary in price to build, but you could upgrade your video card in just a few years to run the next gen headset when they come available and so do the proper GPUs for them.

    Basically that will get you close to the experience you get at VRkade for the right value.

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    The only thing I would salvage personally looking at that is any storage drives you have (not the OS drive). The thing is that really important components are so cheap these days for brand new that I think you would just be doing yourself a disservice not doing that. Even the case, I would just get a new one unless you love that one and it has USB 3.0/C etc. to keep you going for a bunch more years.

    I have a Rift S and I love it. It's not that hard to run (my 1080Ti handles max settings on every game easily so far), and I've played what I think are all the popular titles and I have literally not once noticed it missing one of my inputs - the tracking is insane, I don't know how they make it so precise. Based on my experience and ease of support, I would recommend that headset. None of the current VR headsets have even close to high enough resolution for a truly immersive experience, so you might as well just get what works well, is well supported, and your PC can easily run. Not having to set up beacons, use a million USB ports, run cables everywhere, and dedicate an entire room to VR is probably the single biggest perk of the Rift S IMHO. Just my $0.02 there.

    As already mentioned, your biggest single cost is probably going to be the GPU. You need to decide if you want to try and "future proof" yourself now with a beastly card, or get something more modest and then upgrade only if necessary down the road (probably what I would do).

    Here's what I would buy if I had to go out and buy a budget/bang for the buck VR Rig tomorrow:

    https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/list/BtjW4n


    I assumed you will use your own storage drives, your old case, and will use a $10 eBay Windows Key or similar solution.

    If you want to spend more: Change CPU to 3800X, change GPU to RTX 2070 Super, 1TB OS drive (if you need the space), bump PSU to 750-850W if upgrading CPU/GPU or doing a big OC.

    EVGA's G3 PSUs based on the SuperFlower Leadex II platform are arguably the best in the industry, and the 10 year no-hassle warranty is a bonus. I'd go EVGA too for the GPU because their warranty/support is second to none.

    CPU comes with it's own fan that is actually pretty good - if you want to OC, you will probably want a better one.

    Black Friday typically is nothing special at all for PC components other than maybe a slightly cheaper SSD/HDD.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 11-27-2019 at 11:36 AM.

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    Appreciate the build comments, definitely helpful for level setting what I would need to be buy. Sounds like I'm looking at atleast processor/mobo/ram/video card in terms of upgrades (and potentially PSU for convenience/safety at the same time). Some quick browsing suggests that this is likely a ~$1500-$2000 endeavor?

    I'm OK with spending a decent chunk on a system if it gives me a good VR experience and is also decently future proof, but the talk here about current headsets and supporting GPU's being v1-1.5's makes me wonder if its an awkward time to try and build a system for VR in general?

    Doing a bit more reading this morning, the Oculous Quest is interesting now that Oculous Link is in beta. I know that I'd be sacrificing a fair bit in terms of title selection if I'm not using Link, but maybe there is an argument for buying a Quest, letting headsets (and supporting GPU's) get to v2 and then rebuilding a computer at that point?

    Anyone here using a Quest and/or Oculous Link? Comments online are suggesting Link is a PITA to setup currently, but that it has effectively killed the Rift S.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    The only thing I would salvage personally looking at that is any storage drives you have (not the OS drive). The thing is that really important components are so cheap these days for brand new that I think you would just be doing yourself a disservice not doing that. Even the case, I would just get a new one unless you love that one and it has USB 3.0/C etc. to keep you going for a bunch more years.

    I have a Rift S and I love it. It's not that hard to run (my 1080Ti handles max settings on every game easily so far), and I've played what I think are all the popular titles and I have literally not once noticed it missing one of my inputs - the tracking is insane, I don't know how they make it so precise. Based on my experience and ease of support, I would recommend that headset. None of the current VR headsets have even close to high enough resolution for a truly immersive experience, so you might as well just get what works well, is well supported, and your PC can easily run. Not having to set up beacons, use a million USB ports, run cables everywhere, and dedicate an entire room to VR is probably the single biggest perk of the Rift S IMHO. Just my $0.02 there.

    As already mentioned, your biggest single cost is probably going to be the GPU. You need to decide if you want to try and "future proof" yourself now with a beastly card, or get something more modest and then upgrade only if necessary down the road (probably what I would do).

    Here's what I would buy if I had to go out and buy a budget/bang for the buck VR Rig tomorrow:

    https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/list/BtjW4n


    I assumed you will use your own storage drives, your old case, and will use a $10 eBay Windows Key or similar solution.

    If you want to spend more: Change CPU to 3800X, change GPU to RTX 2070 Super, 1TB OS drive (if you need the space), bump PSU to 750-850W if upgrading CPU/GPU or doing a big OC.

    EVGA's G3 PSUs based on the SuperFlower Leadex II platform are arguably the best in the industry, and the 10 year no-hassle warranty is a bonus. I'd go EVGA too for the GPU because their warranty/support is second to none.

    CPU comes with it's own fan that is actually pretty good - if you want to OC, you will probably want a better one.

    Black Friday typically is nothing special at all for PC components other than maybe a slightly cheaper SSD/HDD.
    Just missed this post when I was typing out my reply above.

    Thanks for the Partpicker link - that's actually a fair bit lower in cost than I had expected. Think you'd still lean toward the S vs Quest if you were buying today? I had concerns about tracking on the Rift system since there is no lighthouses, but the convenience of not having to wire them would be a plus for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrknFngrs View Post
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    Just missed this post when I was typing out my reply above.

    Thanks for the Partpicker link - that's actually a fair bit lower in cost than I had expected. Think you'd still lean toward the S vs Quest if you were buying today? I had concerns about tracking on the Rift system since there is no lighthouses, but the convenience of not having to wire them would be a plus for sure.
    You're welcome.

    And yes, I bought my Rift S when the Quest was available. It's simply a better unit in terms of graphics and game library, as long as you don't mind a cord going to your PC. There are some very popular games the Quest cannot play due to it's weak smartphone-grade hardware (Stormland and Lone Echo if I am not mistaken are two of them). The Quest uses mobile-grade hardware and there is no way you can get the same experience as a Rift S hooked up to the appropriate PC. The value proposition of the Quest is the convenience and full wireless freedom, which is a legitimate advantage depending on what you want. You also need to charge the Quest, where obviously a full wired headset just works indefinitely. I believe the quest has physical pupil distance adjustment, the Rift S is software based in that regard, but it has a pretty big acceptable range (I'm actually just outside the range and it's 100% fine for me). The Rift S can also be adjusted for glasses wearers.

    Personally I rarely even notice the wire - I used a Velcro strap to run it to the back of the headset so it's down my back, and I very rarely even remember that it's wired. For room-scale FPS games and such, it's not hard to see the appeal of full wireless, but it's not bad with a cord. A better games library, better graphics and better/smoother overall experience is worth dealing with the cord IMHO. There is also a headphone jack so you can use your own headphones since the built in speakers are pretty terrible on all current VR headsets.

    Keep in mind I also already had a VR capable PC, so the cost of the Rift S itself was not even a consideration (same cost as Quest pretty much). In your case I understand that you also need to consider the cost of an appropriate PC, but if you need a new PC anyway then you can look at it more as a sunk cost or something you were going to do anyway.

    If for some reason you decide to buy both to try them, note that the only place I know of that will let you return it is Amazon because of hygiene policies at places like BestBuy and Memory Express.

    EDIT: Looks like this is on sale, so you can save $75 if you're willing to OC rather than buy the "X" version fo the 3600, though if you need to upgrade cooling to do so, would largely negate any savings:

    https://www.newegg.ca/amd-ryzen-5-36...r9O9nfDydAV_tQ
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 11-27-2019 at 01:08 PM.

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    That's interesting on the Rift vs Quest front - my understanding from the reviews online was that the Oculous Link basically lets the attached computer do all of the work, negating any performance impact related to the mobile hardware in the headset itself and just using the headset for its screens/cameras. Maybe I'm missing something though?

    I'd likely try to avoid needing to overclock unless there is a really good reason to do so.

    In the Part Picker link above, there seems to be a bios driven compatibility warning between the Mobo and Processor. Given that I wouldn't have another processor that I could mount and use to update the bios - any thoughts on a solid alternative mobo that would be plug and play?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrknFngrs View Post
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    Appreciate the build comments, definitely helpful for level setting what I would need to be buy. Sounds like I'm looking at atleast processor/mobo/ram/video card in terms of upgrades (and potentially PSU for convenience/safety at the same time). Some quick browsing suggests that this is likely a ~$1500-$2000 endeavor?
    $1500-$2000 sound about right based on the VR requirements I read through.

    In terms of savings, I wouldn't go with the Kijiji route as someone mentioned. However, I did keep an eye on Amazon prices. Between RAM and SSD, you'd likely save a good $150 which basically nets you a brand new PSU.

    I also scoped out parts over a 3 month period so you may not have that luxury. In any case, buying PC parts is just like having a car addiction. Costs a boatload of money and in several years it's worth jack shit You can only future proof so far but luckily for me the only games I play are SC2, Diablo, and pre-rendered games like COD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrknFngrs View Post
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    In the Part Picker link above, there seems to be a bios driven compatibility warning between the Mobo and Processor. Given that I wouldn't have another processor that I could mount and use to update the bios - any thoughts on a solid alternative mobo that would be plug and play?
    To my knowledge, Oculus Link still requires a cable attached to the PC which negates the Quest advantage in that particular implementation, however you would still have the option of going full wireless with the compromises listed above. It's still in Beta and I haven't tried it so I can't give you any reliable information on how well it works. Just quickly checking Reddit, people say the Rift S is still the best PC based experience between the two so take it for what it's worth. Whether or not that USB cable can move the same amount of data as USB 3.0 + Displayport on the Rift S, I am not sure how that plays into it but Oculus will apparently have a fiber optic solution coming soon too.

    All that compatibility warning means is that depending on the build date of the Mobo, you might need to update the BIOS before it will recognize a Zen2/3000 series CPU. Depending on the mobo, you can update the BIOS without a CPU, or AMD will mail you an AM4 CPU to do it yourself. Alternatively, if you buy everything from Memory Express, they will mount it for free and update the BIOS. It's pretty much a non-issue. If I spec'd a X570 mobo you wouldn't see that warning, but they are more expensive, most of them have chipset fans which you typically do not want, and you'd be paying for features that you probably won't need for a long time. Certainly that is up to you though.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 11-27-2019 at 03:43 PM.

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    The concept behind Oculus Link seems to be the way to go in the future. It's hard to see a current crop of GPUs supporting what it's going to take to increase resolution and frame rate to make it a good experience. So it would seem logical that the hardware would use a combination of it's own ability plus a PC to drive it.

    My position is that if you want to get into VR then I would keep the cost down of the VR system. I don't see the value proposition in the Valve Index and Vive Pro when they both cost more than double the Rift S or a certified used Vive. It's part of the reason I bought the Odyssey+ on sale. I know it's a compromise, it's better than the CV1 and Vive for what I will use it for. It's also only $300 new.

    It really seems that the only limitation in the current set of PC components for a next generation headset is the GPU, so as long as you leave yourself the ability to upgrade that in the next 2-3 years then I think you would be ok to build a system now.

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    Hmm while the convenience and ability to link up the Quest to a PC is attractive, maybe it’s just a distraction from where I want to be overall which is a PC quality experience.

    The “build now, upgrade GPU later” approach mentioned by quite a few folks here seems like the best path forward given the current pricing for GPU’s and headsets.

    On the build front - the part picker link above makes sense to me. If I want to dodge the potential bios update issues to simplify things, is something like this Mobo the best bet? (Wouldn’t mind having on-board wifi as well, will reduce some cable clutter)

    https://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX77774

    Any idea if Memory Express is decent about price matching if I go in with a Partpicker sheet and just buy everything there? I feel like they used to be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrknFngrs View Post
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    Hmm while the convenience and ability to link up the Quest to a PC is attractive, maybe it’s just a distraction from where I want to be overall which is a PC quality experience.

    The “build now, upgrade GPU later” approach mentioned by quite a few folks here seems like the best path forward given the current pricing for GPU’s and headsets.

    On the build front - the part picker link above makes sense to me. If I want to dodge the potential bios update issues to simplify things, is something like this Mobo the best bet? (Wouldn’t mind having on-board wifi as well, will reduce some cable clutter)

    https://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX77774

    Any idea if Memory Express is decent about price matching if I go in with a Partpicker sheet and just buy everything there? I feel like they used to be?
    That's a completely fine mobo - I actually use a TUF series as well in my X299 build. Honestly it's hard to find a bad mobo these days but anecdotally I prefer Asus over Gigabyte or MSI as I have never had an issue with an Asus product in my life (knock on wood) and their engineers are active on support forums. You won't have to do a BIOS update with X570 (though it is a non-issue really), and you will have PCI 4.0 and USB 3.2 Gen2 for the future which is the primary draw. Many of Asus' mobos actually allow you to update the BIOS without a CPU or memory installed as well. Currently you would need two RTX Titans to overwhelm a single PCI 3.0x16 slot. The downside aside from being more expensive is that most X570 boards have a built-in fan for the chipset that adds noise and a failure point. X570 also does not support the first generation Ryzen CPUs but I can't imagine that ever being a problem. Note AMD is retiring the AM4 socket after 2020 for Zen3, so future-proofing in terms of socket won't really be worthwhile until AM5 or whatever they call it for the next 4-5 years. We're not talking huge dollars here anyway, so it's not a big deal.

    Memory Express won't match Black Friday pricing but they will for any 'normal' sales. The only difference now is that the staff has gone downhill big time (at least who I have dealt with) - tons of misinformation and all they seem to care about is their commission and shoving IPR down your throat (which is overpriced and not nearly as good as it used to be). Last time I bought a PC there they told me the CPU couldn't be used at stock clocks without water cooling in an attempt to up-sell me If you go in there knowing exactly what you want though you'll be fine and you won't have problems with price matches if you follow their rules, you just may have to put up with some heavy sighs and foot stomping haha.

    The advantage of buying at least the CPU and Mobo at memory express is they offer free mounting & testing, and for that they need to update your BIOS. So I don't think you would have to worry about that at all even if you went with a B450/X470 board.

    If you're going all out, I would buy a new case
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 11-28-2019 at 12:31 AM.

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    Sounds like the hunt is on - I'll talk to the Memory Express guys and see if they can get me price-matched once I lock down the Partpicker link.

    The TUF motherboard option seems to be throwing warnings with the proposed power supply (suggesting that the mobo has an additional 4-pin ATX power connector but that the power supply doesn't). Any thoughts on an alternative mobo with wifi?

    Tempting me with the case suggestion, just really don't feel like having another tower around my place! ha-ha

    The comments above on the up-selling are exactly why I'm trying to get things relatively locked in before talking to the sales people - thanks again for everyone's input.

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    I ended up building a new PC for general use, then ended up clearing out one of the spare offices in our basement for a dedicated 12x12 VR room (also will have a TV on the wall and some speakers for music and movies in my own space. But it will be perfect for setting up lighthouses and such. I'm really considering the Valve index - not sure if there will be anything better coming down the pike any time soon. I've had all of the Oculus's since DK1, and currently run a CV1 Rift. But I realized it is 3 years old now! time flies.

    Anyway.

    New system:

    - 3800x
    - 2070 Super (bought a Palit based on noise reviews)
    - 2tb nVME ssd
    - 32gb ram, 3600mhz
    - MSI x570 gaming plus motherboard

    I saw that the index now comes bundles with lighthouses, controllers and Alyx, finally avilable in Canada.

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    I'm surprised at how long the Valve Index has been out of stock.

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