The 3 Best Graphics Card for VR in 2021

Planning to enjoy a top-notch VR experience with your old PC?  Have you chosen the right GPU?

When you want the best visual fidelity and performance while playing VR games, the integrated entry-level graphics card isn’t going to cut it. 

If you want a truly mind-boggling 1080p gaming experience, you need a powerful GPU. Besides, a powerful GPU is also essential to match up with the top-end VR headsets. The reality is, for an immersive virtual reality experience, you can’t depend on a mobile device. So a high-end mainstream headset is a must.

Quite simply, the performance of the graphics card is vital.

In this article, we are going to review the three best graphics cards for VR on the current market. In addition, we will also answer some of the common questions that you may have about them.

What if you are on a budget? 

No need to worry. There are a few options that will allow you to enjoy the VR games without losing out on much of the fun.

We have tried and tested some of the top options to list the pros and cons. 

Our objective is simple. We want to help you in making the next choice for the best VR experience without emptying your pockets.

So let’s get down to business.

Best VR Headsets For VRChat At A Glance

1. MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 (Editor’s Choice / Best For Gaming)

Clock speed: 1710 MHz | Memory: 4GB GDDR6 | Interface: PCI Express x16 3.0 | Cores: 896 Units | Manufacturer: MSI

This is one of the best graphic cards that feature the special Turing architecture. The result is a faster, cooler, and quieter gaming experience. 

Point to be noted- The GTX 1650 is the entry-level graphics card in this product portfolio. 

The card is built on TSMC’s 12nm lithography which makes it compact. There are two display ports and one HDMI connector.

Beyond that, you also get 1.4x times more power efficiency.

When it comes to performance, the GPU is significantly faster. The reason is larger memory bandwidth and more CUDA cores.

It easily crosses cards like GTX 1050 and the GTX 1050 Ti in terms of speed.

The point is, if you are looking to enjoy full HD 1080p gaming, this card is a good choice.

However, if you need high frame rates at 2560×1440 resolution, you need to look elsewhere. This is an entry-level card that’s best suited for gaming at 1920×1080.

What about temperature control?

Well, it comes with the TORX Fan 3.0 technology. The curved fan blades direct more air to the heat sink which results in effective cooling. Besides, the heat sink is aerodynamically designed for better heat dissipation.

We also liked the fact that it’s a whisper-quiet performer even when it’s being overclocked. The idle-fan-stop feature effectively shuts off the fan as needed.

On the whole, if you need a moderate gaming pc, the GTX 1650 is an affordable option. And the best part is…

Being a silent and power-efficient performer, it’s perfect for long hours of gaming.

Value for Money7
Graphics card clock speed8
Bandwidth7
Space & Cooling8
Connections/Interfaces8
Overall Score  /10076
A competent mid-level GPU that’s a reliable and quiet performer

Why we liked this product:

  • Real-time hardware monitor
  • Minimum fan noise
  • Effective heat dissipation
  • High clock speed
  • Small form factor

What we didn’t like:

  • An expensive option
  • Not the fastest in this range
  • No backplate

2. EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 (Best Value/Best For Developers)

Clock speed: 1830 MHz | Memory: 6144MB GDDR5 | Interface: PCI Express 3.0 | Cores: 1408 Units | Manufacturer: EVGA

At a first glance, you’ll find the GTX 1660 SC as a slightly larger unit. One reason is a larger heatsink and a metal backplate.

We always prefer a backplate though. It enhances the overall structural strength and also aids in cooling.

In terms of connectivity, you get DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports. Keep in mind that there isn’t any RGB lighting in this card,

What we liked is the dual-fan cooling system. It results in faster cooling but the noise levels are very well controlled. The fans will stop spinning automatically when the card isn’t active. Another practical feature that we appreciate.

The device packs an adaptive shading technology, thanks to the Turing shaders used. This also results in a much quieter performance.

Other than that, the overall power draw is also optimized.

The heat sink comes with a fin stack with dual copper heat pipes. Admittedly, that does an efficient cooling job even after an hour-long gaming session.

When it comes to gaming at 1920×1080, the performance is good. The overall VR experience is also impressive.

We also exceeded speeds of 80 fps with it. So paring it up with a monitor having a high refresh rate isn’t a problem.

However, the fan performance makes this a noisier option than the competitors. We wish EVGA had included VRM cooling in this unit.

To sum up, the GTX 1660 SC offers excellent value. Quite simply, it’s one of the best picks from the Nvidia Turing range of GPUs.

Value for Money7
Graphics card clock speed7
Bandwidth7
Space & Cooling8
Connections/Interfaces7
Overall Score /10072
One of the best VR ready mid-range cards that you can pick

Why we liked this product:

  • A fast performer
  • Advanced overclocking
  • Hydro dynamic-bearing fans
  • Full metal backplate
  • 3-year warranty

What we didn’t like:

  • Lacks a few RTX features
  • Number of ports limited

3. MSI GeForce GTX 1050 (Runner’s Up)

Clock speed: 1392 MHz  | Memory: 4GB GDDR5 | Ports: DisplayPort x 1, HDMI x 1, Dual-link DVI-D x 1 | Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 It | Manufacturer: MSI

Basically, this card belongs to the GeForce GTX 10-series of cards. However, the main differences are the lower power requirements and an affordable price tag.

On the inside, it comes with a 14nm node from Samsung that makes it an efficient performer. Next, there’s  4GB of GDDR5 memory stacked on a 128-bit memory interface) and 768 CUDA cores.

Additionally, you also get a faster 112GB/s of bandwidth.

Now, the thermal design power (TDP) is just 75W. That means it can run from the motherboard’s PCIe slot without any external support.

As a mid-range video card, it supports gaming in virtual reality. However, for the best experience in VR games, you need to look at the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 and beyond.

Note that it can support games running on DirectX 12 (DX12) and DirectX 11 as well. We tried 1080p gaming with the card and the overclocking results were impressive. 

The performance was also good at 60fps during 1440p gaming. The maximum resolution supported is 2560 x 1600.

The top clock speed was 1850 MHz. The good news is, even under high loads, the unit never got uncomfortably hot. The fans did a good job of cooling it without getting too noisy.

To sum it up, the GTX 1050 TI is one of the best midrange cards for 1080p gaming. It’s an easy choice for upgrading any office PC into a gaming rig for a wide variety of games.

That said, it’s not the best GPU card for VR out there. But for gamers on a budget, it’s a good choice to cover the basic needs.

Value for Money7
Graphics card clock speed8
Bandwidth7
Space & Cooling8
Connections/Interfaces7
Overall Score /10074
This entry-level GPU for VR is a good choice for the casual gamers

Why we liked this product:

  • A fast performer
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • A silent performer
  • Twin Frozr cooler 
  • No PCIe power connector required

What we didn’t like:

  • It is expensive
  • Limited overclocking range

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. What are VR ready graphics cards?

So you are planning to use a top-grade virtual reality headset like Oculus Rift or the HTC HMD to play something like Half-Life Alyx. Then you need to choose from the best graphics cards for VR to support it. Keep in mind that a high refresh rate and a smooth frame rate matter a lot during VR games. 

So a graphics card like the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is the minimum requirement that you need to choose. But choosing budget graphics cards for VR games may not be a future-proof option. If your budget permits, some of the high-end options are AMD Radeon RX 5700, MSI GeForce RTX 2070, and the GeForce RTX 2070 super. Keep in mind, you will also need a high-end CPU to balance the capabilities of the GPU muscle power while playing VR games. 

Q. What are the power supply requirements for VR graphic cards?

The truth is, a modern high-end graphics card for VR can be a power-hungry piece of tech. For example, the flagship GeForce RTX 3090 can consume around 350 watts all by itself. An AMD Radeon RX 6900 can consume around 850 watts to run smoothly. On the other hand, a basic desktop computer doesn’t have a high power supply to match these figures.

In order to install some of the best graphics cards, you’ll need to upgrade your computer’s power supply to account for the higher wattage. The process is quite simple though. Basically, you need to consider the existing power requirement, add the extra power required by the graphics card for VR. On top of that, add an extra 100 Watts as a safeguard.

Our Final Verdict

Time to take a look at how our top graphics video cards scored. We have ranked them based on their overall performance.

Best Total Marks Out of 100
MSI GeForce GTX 1650 76
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 TI74
EVGA GeForce GTX 166072

Drumroll Please: The Best Graphics Card For VR  

So it all adds up to this…

When you are playing a VR-intensive game, it’s the GPU that does most of the heavy lifting. A good GPU for VR will run those complex 3D graphics smoothly at a high refresh rate.

Now, our job is to provide you with the best buying advice. So here are the three top options we have chosen.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1650 is the Editor’s Choice in this category. It has plenty of pros including a fast speed and an efficient thermal design on a consolidated software platform.

When it comes to the best Value Pick the Evga Geforce GTX 1660 graphics card emerged as the best candidate. Quite simply, the best use of Turing shaders at an affordable price point.

As the Top Pick, we have the MSI Geforce GTX 1050 TI card. It’s a reliable performer with optimized power consumption.

All in all, these are three excellent picks for newbie and intermediate gamers who need the right bang for their buck.

If you really want the best graphics horsepower for your PC, it’s time to give it a go.