Oculus Rift hardware specs send Mac and Linux support into stasis

Oculus has 'paused' its non-Windows development lines, as the virtual reality (VR) headset maker focuses on Windows exclusively.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Along with needing some presently high-powered hardware to use the Oculus Rift VR headset, users will also need to use Windows instead of either Mac or Linux operating systems, Oculus has announced.

"Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content on Windows," said Oculus chief architect Atman Binstock in a blog post. "We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don't have a timeline."

While announcing that the company would focus purely on Windows development for the short-term, Oculus also revealed the hardware baselines for Rift headset, which the company said it intended to support over the lifetime of Rift.

Oculus is specifying an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 chipset or greater to handle the graphics, over 8 gigabytes of RAM in the computer, and at least an Intel i5 4590 CPU. A system capable of the "full Rift experience" will also need Windows 7 SP1 or greater, two USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI 1.3 output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture.

Binstock said that the HDMI 1.3 requirement would be tricky for laptops users to determine, and that almost no current laptops have the performance needed to met the specification.

"Many discrete GPU laptops have their external video output connected to the integrated GPU and drive the external output via hardware and software mechanisms that can't support the Rift," he said. "Since this isn't something that can be determined by reading the specs of a laptop, we are working on how to identify the right systems."

With a recommended spec, Binstock said it would give developers a known target, and expects more users to be capable of fully using the Rift over time.

Earlier this month, Oculus said that it would begin taking pre-orders for its first consumer VR headset model later this year, and begin shipping in the first quarter of 2016.

Facebook picked up Oculus last year in a deal worth approximately $2 billion, consisting of $400 million in cash, and 23.1 million shares in the social network.

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