What should I upgrade


Nov 26, 2016
i purchased a htc vive for my son for Xmas

His system is an i7 3.2ghz, 8 gig, SSD, 290x video card.

He hasn't mentioned any issues with his VR but I wonder if it would look even better with in particular a video card upgrade. I've only personally tried a Star Wars demo. If I were to upgrade would a 1080 be worth it given the price drops of 1070s and is it really worth either increasing ram or a newer processor.

Thx for any advice
What model/generation of i7 is it? Nehalem's gonna be a lot weaker than the current Skylake/Kaby Lake architecture, for instance.

Even if that's a reasonably recent architecture, there are a few games that would stand to gain a good boost from a new graphics card. Raw Data and Elite: Dangerous come to mind, for instance. Also, SteamVR asynchronous reprojection (the Vive equivalent of Oculus Asynchronous Timewarp) doesn't work on AMD cards for some dumb reason AFAIK, so going NVIDIA would help out there.

If the game in question is DCS World, though, then you're kinda hosed. The engine itself just doesn't benefit much from even a GTX 1080; it wants single-threaded CPU performance and lots of it, especially on the front lines with lots of units blowing each other up.

Note that while most games don't have much in the way of in-game graphics options (barring stuff like Raw Data that needs to scale down to people with just 970/980 and R9 290-class graphics cards), having a better graphics card generally means you can turn up the supersampling and still keep your framerate above 90 FPS. It's not a perfect solution to limited HMD resolution, but it helps mitigate any perceived aliasing and makes distant details (especially within cockpits) all the more readable.
Thank you for your post. I ran CPU-z to be sure my memory was correct which of course it wasn't.

He has an i7 4790k at 4ghz Haswell, MB is z97x, 16 gig of memory and the 290.

So would a processor be worth switching out?

Looks like I need to fully commit to a 1080 instead of a 1070?

Again thanks
Processor and RAM are just fine. I personally would not touch them. It's the 290 that's the weak link in the chain. Upgrading to a GTX 1070 would make everything very solid for VR. A GTX 1080 even more so, however, a GTX 1070 for ~$380 is probably all that's needed - the 1080 is going to run closer to $600.
I'm trying to decide if that 1080 is worth it then. Seems like the next gen nvidia cards wont be until at least aug.
Vr is much more video card dependent. It adds surprisingly little cpu overhead but has to push more pixels.
The 4790K is more than fine, really. It's not worth spending a lot of money on Skylake/Kaby Lake for minor performance increases at best, certainly not enough to avoid frame drops in titles like DCS and ArmA III that will choke on any system today once you pile on the AI and turn up draw distance.

Keep in mind that most VR games do not support multi-GPU at this time, with only a few exceptions. You want the fastest single-GPU card you can reasonably afford, but the GTX 1080 is past the point of diminishing returns. I just wish AMD would bring out Vega so NVIDIA would be pressured to release a 1080 Ti and give us a GP102 option that isn't the obscenely-priced Titan X Pascal, hopefully pushing the 1080 and 1070 prices down in the process.

I'd say the 1070 would get you most of the way there already, and the 1080's some very expensive icing on the cake. It's up to you if you want to spend that kind of money on a card that's going to depreciate hard in just one or two years.
Yeah I woauld updat the GPU for sure.

I run a GTX980ti and you can get a used one for a good price or get a 1070. You can also wait on AMD which is releasing some new cards supposedly this month or next along with the new CPU AMD Ryzen.
I would vote videocard. But honestly, I've been running my Rift on 390x and everything runs great, and its pretty cheap.
CPU looks very good and memory as well.

I would say the 1070 as a minimum which for the most part will do very good in VR, 1080 would be better and of course the Titan XP just blows away VR titles currently. If you have the bucks to spare I say get the 1080 or above, if not the 1070 will do fine.
I would vote videocard. But honestly, I've been running my Rift on 390x and everything runs great, and its pretty cheap.
Looking at the prices, I would highly suggest going with a GTX 1070 if you can at $400. There have been some great deals on the 390X, but those have been spotty, and quite simply the support is not there yet for VR with AMD.