Virtual reality enthusiasts looking forward to the $799 HTC Vive have long been wondering if their computers are powerful enough to run the hardware, and today Valve has released a 1.9 GB free tool that should help answer that question.
"The SteamVR Performance Test measures your system's rendering power using a 2-minute sequence from Valve’s Aperture Robot Repair VR demo," the official page states. "After collecting the data it determines whether your system is capable of running VR content at 90fps and whether VR content can tune the visual fidelity up to the recommended level. For machines that are not VR Ready the tool can help determine whether capabilities are bound by Graphics Card, CPU, or both."
While Oculus offers a tool that gives you a straight "yes" or "no" when it comes to your system, Valve's test is a bit more granular. It will tell you if your system is fine, if it can run VR games but maybe not that well, or if you're not even close.
The tool isn't limited to the Vive as much as it's testing to see if your system can handle "high fidelity VR" at 90 frames-per-second. The tool also warns that different headsets may require more or less CPU power for positional tracking and "processing-intense applications." It also doesn't test for the right amount of USB ports for each headset.
It will also give you some idea of what you'll need to upgrade to get ready for virtual reality.
I ran the test on my own system, and was told that my system was "ready," so I'm in a pretty good mood. You can pre-order your HTC Vive on Feb. 29, with the hardware launching in early April. The Oculus Rift will be released this March for $599. You can test your system right now.