Cyber-Ready? Valve Release SteamVR Performance Test

2016 is the year when the wealthy shall ascend into virtual reality, leaving the rest of us behind to refill their tubes of nutrient paste, massage their feet, and empty their buckets. The Oculus Rift is launching in March for $600/£500, while the HTC Vive coming in April for $800 (plus, probably, tax and shipping), and they demand a hefty PC to power ’em too. Our lad Jeremy has talked about the hardware needed for cybergoggles but now there’s a simple way to test if your hogbox is up to it.

Valve have released the SteamVR Performance Test, a program which shows some Portal-y scenes to rate your performance.

The SteamVR Performance Test takes two minutes to run through a sequence from Valve’s own Aperture Robot Repair VR demo, then at the end will tell you if your PC is up to it. Like so:

If you, like me, have a laptop with multiple GPUs, do be aware that the test doesn’t properly understand them. Remember to set your swish GPU to run the test, then ignore the message at the end saying your Intel Graphics GPU isn’t good enough – the text and numbers should make it clear enough.

This is no guarantee that even the initial wave of VR games will all run on your PC, but it will at least tell you fairly bluntly “Nah mate, don’t even bother” if you need to hear a hard truth.

Here’s how the test looks, though the quality is auto-adjusting down low to keep FPS up (thanks, recording overhead!):


  1. ran93r says:

    I’m borderline capable/ready, being held back by my rock solid GTX 970. No plans to upgrade that any time soon.

    • protorp says:

      I’m at the lower end of ready (6.4 average fidelity) with a GTX 970, despite the rest of my system being quite old now (Core i7 950 @ 3.8GHz). Interested, but nowhere remotely near enough to pony up the kind of cash they want at this juncture.

      Unless they pull the ultimate coup and release Half Life 3 as launch day DLC for it, then hmmmm no probably still not…

      • Duke Flipside says:

        In a similar boat here; GTX 780Ti + i7 4930K = low end of “VR Ready”, 6.4 average fidelity apparently.

    • feday says:

      Landing in the middle of capable (with low fidelity) with a GTX960 and a 6 year old AMD Phenom cpu. Frankly I assumed “not ready” with the cpu being the main bottleneck, but it tells me to upgrade the gpu.

    • Minglefingler says:

      Hmm, I was close to the top end of ready with a 970 and an i5 4960k.

    • Ragnar says:

      Yeah, that GTX 970 is a real dog. Titan X or GTFO!

      Oh, I guess that means me…

      /goes back to playing happily on his GTX 670.

  2. Plank says:

    Any chance that you could message Valve and ask them what games we can play on the Vive Alice? Not those Wii Sports-a-like tech demos. And before anyone says “You can play the games you already have”, no thanks, I don’t want to spend $/£800 to play games that I’ve already played: dedicated VR games please.

    • hollowroom says:

      This is the $64,000 question.

      Aside from already VR capable titles like Elite Dangerous (which I must admit, I’m looking forward to playing in VR) which original games are we expecting?

      • mavrik says:

        Expecting games to be developed only for VR is extremely optimistic. Even for other controllers / peripherals you don’t get dedicated games – driving simulations can still be played with keyboard, flight sims as well, etc.

        So I expect future games to have support for VR but not be exclusively playable only with it.

        • laiwm says:

          From what various devs have been saying, it sounds like VR requires a quite different approach. There are a few games that can bridge the divide like you mentioned, but they’re almost exclusively games where your character is sitting down and interacts with the world through a dashboard. I suspect it’ll play out a lot like the mobile market – there will be a select few games which can be easily ported between formats but the majority exist in one world or the other.

          • frightlever says:

            Motorway Service Station Cashier simulator, here we come!

        • Unsheep says:

          I don’t think they’ll have the sales numbers to back a VR exclusive title when it comes to triple-A games. Unless the game itself is very short.

          Indie developers might have a go at making games exclusively for VR. However, the problem with this is that the use of VR won’t be particularly optimized, since so much of its attraction lies with having immersive graphics, meaning gorgeous and realistic modelling (= very expensive !).

          In any case it translates into some rather expensive games, if you make them VR exclusives worthy of the initial investment.

          • Shuck says:

            With VR’s price and hardware requirements, we’re looking at a user base that will be small enough that it won’t support much beyond single-developer indie games (and maybe not even much of that). In terms of AAA games, the best we’ll see is VR support for games designed to be played on screens – i.e. mostly sub-otimal experiences, except for (some) sims.

    • RealoFoxtrot says:

      really it’s going to be down to the developers.

      Some of the most anticipated ones are Hover Junkers, which turns your room into a floating ship as you search for salvage, and fire revolvers across at other ships.

      Budget Cuts is another interesting one. A Stealth game with teleporters and robots. Oh and throwing knives.

      The Preorder game is one called Job Simulator, and I’d not turn my nose up at it. From what i’ve seen, the VIVE Version is what it is designed for, and has a lot of really good lessons on VR Developement

    • Cinek says:

      If you expect dedicated, VR-only games than you are missing the point. Most of these dedicated games will always be some sort of “experience”, puzzle game or just a tech demo. Where VR shines are things like racing games or anything with HOTAS. And there’s absolutely no reason to make these games dedicated for VR.

      • Reapy says:

        Right – O!

        I’m trying to figure out which ww2 flight sim I want get when the oculus arrives. Torn between the new il2, or bargain bin cliffs of dover, or a DCS world one. I think i’m more interested in flying past cool scenery with a realistic flight model/cockpit than combat and the like, so maybe should look into something else too, choices choices!

        As a wishlist I really wish they would do a sequel to grow home that has a few more levels and oculus support. The heights and crawling around that giant tree in that game would be pretty immersive. Also, dying light with good oculus support is kind of an idea that makes me drool.

        I’d also like to see things like vanishing of ethan carter or even some of the survival games done in oculus, ones where you want to get immersed and don’t feel to rush from point a to point b.

        Arma 3 might be pretty sweet too.

  3. RealoFoxtrot says:

    On the note of Laptops and GPUs… Laptop Graphical Chipsets have to be passed through the motherboard. The process of this messes up a lot of things which VR headsets require to keep vection (where what you do and what you see doesn’t match) to a minimum

  4. Unsheep says:

    I think VR and what seems to be an increasing number of hardware-intensive games might increase the gap even further between richer and poorer PC gamers. The concern for me is that triple-a developers and publishers will target a wealthy minority of gamers rather than the majority.

    • laiwm says:

      Unless they’re going to up the price of their games by an order of magnitude, I don’t think it makes any sense for them to do this. I think we’ll see a few VR-only studios do well, and the big publishers will probably spin up in-house VR studios too, but it’s not going to have anywhere near the impact on the industry that mobile has had.

    • SpinalJack says:

      The last steam survey showed that the most popular graphics card was a GTX 970 which is VR ready.

      • Shuck says:

        Most popular with only 4% of the audience, though. Even an audience two or three times that size isn’t remotely a big enough group to to exclusively target it with anything that requires the expenditure of significant resources.

    • Donjo says:

      This will obviously be a consequence of the technology, you’re only fooling yourself if you think otherwise. There will be other ways people use the tech though – I think VR could provoke a resurgence in arcade style game play, short VR experiences for small amounts of money in public places seem like a very likely application.

      • C0llic says:

        It’s cool to see someone else say this. I brought this up as a possibility when talking to a friend about VR a while back. It seems like a good route for the technology to go down; remove all the needed compromises with VR in the home, and provide an experience you’d struggle to replicate. The entire reason arcades used to be a thing.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        Its already out there, I spent an hour running round an empty warehouse shooting zombies with friends a couple of weeks ago.

    • C0llic says:

      I can’t see that happening myself. There’ll be showcase, super high fidelity VR games (and only one I can think of currently, EVE Valkerie), but the majority will be quite simplistic graphically. If you look around at some of these first VR games they are all quite simply textured and rendered.

      Developers aren’t stupid. They aren’t about to go limiting the audience who can play their games even further than the expensive VR hardware already does. More high fidelity stuff will probably happen, but I wouldn’t expect that until the next wave of new fancy GPUs come out; the ones rumoured to be quite a lot more powerful for an eventually similar cost. Even then, it will take time.

    • Ragnar says:

      Unless publishers have suddenly developed an aversion to money, I don’t see why they would ever do that.

      Look at what’s been happening in games for the past decade, games are designed to run on consoles, the lowest common denominator, with better graphics available on PCs. They won’t even fund games that don’t promise huge returns, which is what led to the current Kickstarter trend.

      With VR having such a high cost of entry, the worry is not that they’ll switch all development to VR, but that they won’t even bother catering to such a niche market.

  5. AngusPrune says:

    Well, I ran it. To my disappointment it didn’t say “That’s a laptop mate, are you having a giraffe? You stick with your XCOM 2 there, that’s more on your level.” or use the webcam to detect I’m wearing glasses so it can tell me that VR isn’t for the likes of you speccy four eyes.

    • SpinalJack says:

      The vive has a slot for glasses to fit in

      • Cinek says:

        Yep. VR headsets are adjustable. As long as you don’t have some horribly, horribly bad eyesight – you should be fine, no glasses needed.

      • Buttless Boy says:

        Note that this may apply if you’re not a hipster and/or have alternate pairs of glasses. My enormous hipster glasses won’t fit at all in my Rift DK2, and it’s a blurry mess without them even though my eyesight isn’t all that terrible.

        Oh the price we pay for fashion.

    • Shuck says:

      Funny, when I tried to run it, all my computer did was issue a sound that resembled derisive laughter…

  6. kael13 says:

    Well that stroked my ego in the best of ways. A good thing too, because I built the bloody thing for the express purpose of VR. It’s a good time to be a hardware enthusiast!

  7. lokimotive says:

    I was going to try this out, knowing full well that my laptop almost certainly wouldn’t be able to work with it, but then I glanced at the prices again and realized, oh, that’s right, my budget isn’t compatible with this.

    • Donjo says:

      Solid nope for me on both fronts too. I’m not economically viable!

  8. Herzog says:

    i3 4160 + gtx750ti = not VR ready

  9. Ethaor says:

    All these expensive high-end rigs needed for all these high-end niche unaffordable VR hardware…

    Someone should really start a kickstarter to bring affordable VR to the masses.


  10. C0llic says:

    Well, I tried this out of curiosity and the results weren’t as bad as I imagined. I’m in the green, but only just, so I’d still judge my system as borderline in real terms. Here are my results and hardware for the curious – it’s a pretty unremarkable system (with 16GB of ram and an SSD since those stats aren’t displayed in the summary.

    link to

  11. grimloki says:

    That video is a stereogram!

    If you sit at the right distance and cross your eyes, you’ll see a composite image show up as a ‘third’ image. That 3rd image is 3D

  12. LionsPhil says:

    Those buckets are getting emptied straight into the nutrient tubes and you know it.

  13. fish99 says:

    Apparently my desktop (GTX 970 / 3570K) is 3D Ready. 0 frames below 90 fps. My laptop on the other hand, crashed the app :)

    Still not getting one until they’re cheaper and there’s more to play on one.

  14. Raoul Duke says:

    I’m quite looking forward to an era where game engines are tuned towards super silky movement/frame rates rather than stupid post-processing gumph. I already play everything I can at setting that give me a lowest frame rate of 60fps, but it would be nice if this was the default expectation that developers cater to.