The Alienware Aurora R8 is built from the ground up with performance and unique design in mind, making it your best bet for an ultimate VR desktop.

Our Pick

Alienware Aurora R8

Style, power, and ports

The Aurora sports up to dual NVIDIA RTX 2080 graphics card (GPU), a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 2TB hard-disk drive (HDD). There are also plenty of configuration options if you don't need this amount of power. No matter what you choose inside, it all comes in an attractive, unique case.

Who should buy this VR-ready PC?

Scraping the bare minimum system requirements for VR, whether you're interested in Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift, will often result in a sub-par experience full of judder and tearing. This PC is for anyone who wants enough power for unbridled VR and for anyone who wants their rig to remain relevant into the future through easy upgrades.

Is it a good time to buy this PC?

If you want to get into VR now, this is the device to use. It's been recently refreshed and now has the R8 modifier, meaning it's stocked with the latest graphics from NVIDIA and processors from Intel. It's a pre-built, but you can easily get inside and change out hardware as needed, making this a suitable PC for the foreseeable future,

Reasons to buy

  • Plenty of powerful configurations available
  • Tool-less access and easy modifications
  • Has the right ports for VR (and more)
  • Programmable lighting for style
  • 24/7 support available
  • Sturdy, unique chassis

Reasons not to buy

  • Can find cheaper alternatives

Immersive VR demands a powerful PC

When shopping for a pre-built PC for your VR rig, you want a combination of power and affordable price, which the Alienware Aurora R8 delivers. Starting at about $1,500, you can get a configuration with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9700K eight-core overclockable CPU, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, a 2 TB HDD coupled with a 128 GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU with 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This is more than enough power for a Rift or Vive, and checks the boxes when it comes to Windows Mixed Reality Ultra as well.

The Alienware Aurora R8 delivers the ports and performance for any VR system you're looking to experience.

The top of the line configuration has a ridiculous amount of hardware in it if you only plan on using it for VR, so stick with low-end or mid-range models to save a good chunk of money. Anyone interested in taking advantage of the new 20-series NVIDIA cards can get a model with RTX 2070 for about $1,850, which otherwise has a Core i7-9700K CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB HDD coupled with a 256 GB SSD.

The hardware is all contained in a sleek case that has a PSU swing arm, letting you upgrade or tweak everything with ease. There's also lighting on the outside to give your rig some style. If you're a Rift or Vive owner, know that these PCs are certified. As for ports, you're looking at everything you'll need for a hassle-free VR experience, including a whopping 15 USB ports.

Alternatives to the Alienware Aurora R8

Alienware certainly isn't the only manufacturer making VR-ready PCs, and there are plenty of alternatives if you'd like something cheaper, more expensive, or with different hardware inside.

Budget pick

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme

A sub-$1,000 VR-ready PC with AMD GPU

Designed from the start with affordable VR power in mind, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme has a lot to offer and costs quite a bit less than our top pick.

This desktop PC from CYBERPOWERPC was designed from the start to deliver Rift, Vive, and WMR Ultra performance at a low price. You get an 8th Gen Intel i5-8400 six-core CPU, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card with 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Enjoy a 1TB HDD to hold your expanding library of games, and take advantage of the included gaming keyboard and gaming mouse. Despite the price, the attractive case with red lighting and clear cutout on the side make it seem like a premium build.

Best customization

Origin Chronos

A pre-built PC that feels like you built it

Origin will build you a desktop PC capable of VR from a huge range of options that fit both your budget and your desires.

Each PC is built to order and the Chronos packs an enormous amount of power into a fairly small box. You can spec one up with an AMD or Intel CPU, and for graphics, choose from either an AMD Radeon RX 570 all the way up to an NVIDIA Titan V with 12 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Origin also lets you customize virtually every aspect of the PC, including adding 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, painting the outside, and having RGB lighting installed inside. It's not the cheapest entry to VR, but this would definitely be your PC. Grab one whether you're interested in the Vive, Rift, or Windows Mixed Reality Ultra.

Best Lenovo

Lenovo Legion T730 Tower

The refreshed gaming lineup from Lenovo has a lot to offer

A couple of VR-ready configurations are available from Lenovo's gaming line, coming in an updated chassis with RGB lighting.

Lenovo's Legion lineup of desktop PCs has been updated with a new RGB look, bringing the inside up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU with 8 GB of VRAM, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1 TB HDD coupled with a 256 GB PCIe SSD. You get all the ports needed for VR, and a keyboard and mouse are included in the package to sweeten the deal.

Best HP

HP OMEN 880

The gem of HP's gaming lineup

It has the power and style to match your VR setup, and is available in a few different configurations based on price and performance.

Redesigned for 2018 with a black finish and red accent, HP's OMEN 880 gaming PC is available in plenty of configurations, starting at about $720. Choose from AMD Ryzen or Intel Core CPUs, upgrade to 20-series NVIDIA RTX GPUs for extra power, and take advantage of a sizeable case that makes future upgrades easy.

Best Acer

Acer Nitro 50

An affordable pre-built with NVIDIA graphics

Considering the sub-$1,000 price, this PC stocked with 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, and 8 GB of RAM is a great deal if you're looking to run Rift, Vive, or WMR.

Alongside the 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8400 CPU, you get 8 GB of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and a 256 GB SSD. It has all the ports needed for an easy VR connection, including USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, and DisplayPort, and it's all contained in a chassis a gamer can appreciate.

Bottom line

The Alienware Aurora R8 has plenty of VR-ready configuration options up for offer, all contained in a stylish chassis that enough ports for all your headsets and sensors. You get a sturdy warranty, support is available if needed, and you can easily upgrade your PC for years into the future thanks to a tool-less design.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time you can usually find him practicing the guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.

Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

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