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Construct the Greatest PC for Half Life Alyx (90Hz Necessities)

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Really helpful CPUs and GPUs for 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz (Low – Extremely Settings)

Final Up to date: September 27, 2021

If there ever was a recreation worthy of upgrading or constructing a gaming PC for, Half Life Alyx is it. As a Half Life fan who fondly remembers HL1 as one of many very first PC video games I ever performed as a teen, and likewise as a agency believer in VR (and AR) being the inevitable way forward for primarily all leisure, when Alyx launched to overwhelmingly optimistic reactions I used to be relieved and so glad Valve lived as much as the massive pre-launch hype.

Not that I ever doubted them, as they’re in Uncommon firm as builders in any case (a reduce above the remaining). Nonetheless you have a look at it, the sport is a masterpiece that does not come round usually, and a must-play whether or not you are a Half Life fan or not. It takes lots to set off me, however should you personal a VR headset and have not performed it, I am actually triggered. 

However on a critical notice, Alyx is properly and really the finest VR recreation of all time (up to now). For those who have been ever on the fence about VR and its future, experiencing it first-hand will certainly shift your perspective and open your eyes to the limitless potentialities of this thrilling new medium (watching gameplay movies does not rely, because it simply can’t do the expertise justice).

See Additionally: Greatest PC VR Gaming Headsets

Even drawing in Half Life Alyx is kind of surreal and tremendous sensible (you’ll be able to even play a piano)

However let’s reduce the hype earlier than I begin sounding like I am auditioning for Valve’s advertising and marketing crew, and let’s get into particular {hardware} necessities for all ranges of efficiency. Regardless of which body fee you search, and at which visible settings, I’ve completed the intensive analysis so that you can share my findings on selecting the most effective worth elements for a clean Alyx expertise (beginning with 90Hz which is what most VR headsets run at, after which 120Hz and 144Hz for the headsets that assist these quick modes). In order for you full PC construct examples primarily based on the present market to associate with this information (not simply CPU and GPU suggestions), try the finest PC builds for the cash sequence alongside this information.

Minimal Necessities for Half Life Alyx

Let’s first go over the official naked minimal specs offered by Valve themselves if you wish to merely run the sport. A GTX 1060 6GB or RX 580 graphics card, paired with a modest i5-7500 or R5 1600 processor and at the least 12GB of RAM will help you run the sport comparatively okay-ish on low settings. However to keep away from dropped frames and stuttering, you undoubtedly need to intention at the least a little bit greater along with your {hardware} in any other case it isn’t going to be clean all through.

That mentioned, one of many million nice issues about Half Life Alyx is Valve have expertly optimized it very properly to run surprisingly properly on mid-range setups, so relying on the efficiency degree you are after (90FPS, 120FPS, and so forth), you could not want as beefy a PC as you may think. Relative to how visually beautiful the sport is with its painstaking consideration to element and meticulously crafted environments, the sport runs like a champ.

Half Life Alyx System Necessities

Minimal CPU: Intel Core i5-7500 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600

Minimal GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB or AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB

Minimal VRAM: 6GB

Minimal RAM/Reminiscence: 12GB

Exhausting Disk Storage Area: 67GB

Working System: Home windows 10

Supply: Steam

Double Delight: The Greatest VR Sport But is Additionally One of many Most Nicely Optimized

Funds PC Builds for Half Life Alyx (90Hz Low/Medium)

The commonest refresh fee for PC VR gaming today is 90Hz, which is supported by all of the present finest PC VR headsets. Due to this fact, reaching 90FPS efficiency must be your goal, and ideally you need to keep above 90FPS always to keep away from dipping underneath. Everytime you dip underneath your VR headset’s refresh fee when gaming, the software program briefly permits a VR interpolation approach known as asynchronous reprojection that principally cuts your body fee in half and renders the sport at half your headset’s refresh fee to keep away from enter lag (so, 45FPS if gaming at 90Hz).

Not the top of the world in case your recreation kicks reprojection into gear each every now and then, nevertheless it’s not perfect if you need the smoothest VR expertise as some folks will discover the distinction between 90FPS and a reprojected 45FPS, particularly should you’re liable to movement illness. Dropped frames in VR is extra noticeable general in comparison with flatscreen gaming, which is why you need to use the precise settings in your specific {hardware} to keep away from it as a lot as you’ll be able to.

Valve lists a GTX 1060 6GB and RX 580 8GB as minimal advisable GPU for Half Life Alyx, together with an older Ryzen 5 or Intel i5, however these specs won’t offer you a pleasant clear 90FPS and above always within the recreation (not even on the bottom settings). For 90FPS on low settings, you may want a greater graphics card.

Talking of decrease settings, don’t fret as a result of Alyx appears to be like completely incredible irrespective of the graphics settings, and it is genuinely arduous to inform the distinction between them except you actually cease and actively search for the distinction, which may really nonetheless be tough to discern in most scenes except you are evaluating say low vs extremely settings.

In different phrases, low vs medium settings, or medium vs excessive settings – it is impossible you’ll discover the distinction. Even low vs excessive and low vs extremely is hard to identify, and I converse from expertise right here. Once I performed via the sport final yr, I used a RTX 2060 Tremendous, and although I may simply run medium settings decently, I settled on low settings to keep away from reprojection all however fully, and each single facet of the sport regarded simply superb. Once I examined different settings – even extremely – I hardly observed a distinction in visible high quality.

Half Life Alyx appears to be like phenomenal irrespective of which graphics settings you utilize

Have in mind this isn’t the case with most video games (VR or common), therefore why I am making some extent about it in order that persons are conscious to not be scared off by avoiding or suspending taking part in Alyx just because your PC is not ok to run it at excessive or extremely (within the concern that you will “spoil” such a monumental recreation). In lots of PC video games that boast lovely graphics, there can certainly be a stark distinction between settings the place taking part in on low may bitter the expertise considerably. However in Alyx, because of Valve, that is simply not a factor.

I had that concern stepping into, as I really feel a recreation as uncommon as this must be treasured and skilled to its full potential, however that concern was rapidly squashed as soon as I fastidiously in contrast low vs medium vs excessive vs extremely settings. Decrease settings took nothing away from the immersion: the environments, textures, results, character fashions, and so forth all look beautiful irrespective of which settings are used.

So, primarily based on the present era of graphics playing cards – RTX 3000 and RX 6000 sequence – for flawless 90FPS efficiency on medium settings, the most effective GPU for Half Life Alyx is a RTX 3060 or RX 6600 XT. These newest mid-range playing cards from NVidia and AMD also can do excessive settings fairly properly, however not flawlessly (you may get the occasional dropped frames and slight reprojection). For low settings, a RTX 2060 Tremendous or RX 5700 XT will probably be flawless, although you possibly can use these for medium should you do not thoughts the occasional dip underneath 90FPS.

Greatest Worth Alyx Specs for 90FPS (LOW/MEDIUM)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or Intel Core i5 10400 / 11400

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 / RTX 2060 Tremendous or AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT / RX 5700 XT

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz)

Going additional down within the graphics chain to a RTX 2060, GTX 1660 Tremendous, GTX 1660 Ti, RX 5700, or RX 5600 XT can be okay for low settings if you cannot afford a 3060 or 6600 XT (or 2060 Tremendous or 5700 XT), particularly if it is the 5700 or 2060 that are the quickest playing cards of that bunch.

But I am unable to suggest these cheaper playing cards if you wish to assure a really clean expertise all through the sport, and likewise with the unbelievable mods that are extra demanding than the principle recreation since they’re much less optimized (and the mods are completely to not be missed for my part and I think about them integral to the general Alyx package deal). As a result of Alyx can actually eat up that VRAM simply, playing cards with 6GB of VRAM are high-quality if on a good finances, however 8GB playing cards are extremely advisable if you need the most effective expertise.

As for selecting the most effective CPU for Half Life Alyx and getting probably the most bang in your buck, I extremely suggest a Ryzen 5 3600 or a latest Intel Core i5 just like the 10400 or 11400 (not a lot distinction between the 2). These CPUs are greater than sufficient for a constant 90FPS in Alyx, so no want for a stronger CPU except you are eager to run 120Hz or 144Hz. As a substitute of spending extra to purchase a greater CPU than the 3600 or 11400, I might use that cash on a greater graphics card as an alternative (once more, except it is for 120Hz/144Hz during which case your CPU necessities are greater).

The truth is, you possibly can go cheaper on the CPU should you wished and nonetheless have a clean experience in Alyx for probably the most half, corresponding to getting a Ryzen 3 3300X or Intel Core i3 10100 since these processors aren’t far behind the Ryzen 5 3600. However personally, I might not, since these CPUs solely have 4 cores and for Alyx I undoubtedly suggest a 6-core processor. Half Life Alyx makes efficient use of a number of cores, and may preserve a 6 and even 8-core CPU busy.

You particularly do not need to go too low cost in your CPU if you wish to play all the nice mods after ending the principle marketing campaign, as a result of Alyx mods will be extra CPU intensive since most modders understandably lack the optimization prowess (or time) of the geniuses at Valve.

Greatest PC Builds for Half Life Alyx (90Hz Excessive/Extremely)

For those who’re planning the best possible PC construct for Half Life Alyx at 90Hz, to achieve that golden 90FPS and above all through the sport on excessive or extremely settings, under are the most effective worth GPUs to get you to that promised land. CPU suggestions keep the identical as they have been for low/medium settings above, as a result of greater graphics settings predominantly place extra load in your GPU, and if a sure CPU can hit 90FPS on low settings it will be high-quality to do the identical at greater settings.

In most VR video games, at 90Hz having a CPU bottleneck is unlikely when utilizing any half-decent trendy CPU corresponding to a Ryzen 5 3600, and also you’re nearly all the time going to be GPU-bound (as in, restricted in efficiency by your GPU, which is what you need). In different phrases, a Ryzen 5 3600 or equal CPU is completely high-quality to max out Half Life Alyx, and won’t bottleneck a RTX 3070 or RX 6800, so there isn’t any must spend extra in your CPU except you need flawless 120Hz or 144Hz efficiency (put that cash in the direction of the graphics card as an alternative).

Greatest Alyx Specs for 90FPS (HIGH)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or Intel Core i5 10400 / 11400

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti / RTX 2070 Tremendous or AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz)

Greatest Alyx Specs for 90FPS (ULTRA)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or Intel Core i5 10400 / 11400

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 / RTX 2080 Tremendous or AMD Radeon RX 6800

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz)

HLA is an element shooter, half horror, so save a few of your finances for spare underwear

Final PC Builds for Half Life Alyx (120Hz/144Hz)

Whenever you transfer to 120Hz VR gaming – supported by the Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index – you need to have a look at investing in a quicker processor if doable as a result of hitting such excessive body charges in Alyx would require a stronger CPU than is required for 90Hz. Particularly for a comparatively CPU intensive recreation corresponding to Half Life Alyx. 

Positive, Alyx is way more GPU intensive than CPU intensive general, and there are VR video games which might be a good bit extra CPU intensive than Alyx (like Boneworks). However hitting 120FPS constantly throughout the board throughout the entire of Alyx’s marketing campaign will take a reasonably quick CPU. The Ryzen 5 5600X is the most effective worth high-end gaming CPU general proper now, and is sufficient grunt for 120FPS in Alyx from what I collect. Paired with an RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT and also you’re golden, even on maxed settings.

Greatest Alyx Specs for 120FPS (ULTRA)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X or Intel Core i7 11700K

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, 3200MHz)

Aiming to achieve a constant 144FPS within the Valve Index’s unique 144Hz mode will increase each CPU and GPU necessities additional, so for the most effective expertise to keep away from dipping underneath 144FPS it is merely, and fairly clearly, a matter of getting the most effective gaming CPU and GPU you’ll be able to afford.

Greatest Alyx Specs for 144FPS (ULTRA)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X or Intel Core i9 11900K

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti / RTX 3090 or AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2x16GB / 4x8GB, 3600MHz)

Observe on VR Decision Settings: 

Please remember all suggestions on this information assume you aren’t rising both the SteamVR render decision setting or any in-game decision scaling setting. For those who enhance these past their defaults, your GPU will probably be hit tougher and you’ll require beefier specs than those I recommended.

Simply one of many many must-play customized maps within the Alyx mod workshop to take pleasure in after beating the sport

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Cybersecurity is turning into an more and more vital difficulty within the digital age, and putting in a VPN is one straightforward means to enhance the safety and privateness of your PC. VPNs also can assist for gaming. NordVPN is the one I take advantage of and may suggest. For extra on VPNs see my gaming PC software program information.

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About Me

Indie recreation dev at the moment engaged on an atmospheric VR FPS journey with Unreal Engine (to be introduced quickly right here and right here for anybody enthusiastic about VR FPS’s). Additionally likes writing about gaming and {hardware}.

Favs of all time are OOT, Excellent Darkish, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, THPS3, WC3, HL1, HL2, and KOTOR, with the latest addition to my record of immortals being the VR masterpiece Half Life Alyx. – Julz

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