The Mac Pro 5,1, despite its age, still can run many modern GPUs, so it shouldn't be a big surprise that the Mac Pro can use VR headsets for gaming (under Windows 10). The Oculus Quest 2 is probably the most attractive option as it's inexpensive at $300, includes VR controllers, now supports higher refresh rates/hand controls, and functions as a stand-alone game console. There are a few considerations that you need to be aware of.

  • Windows 10
  • Oculus Link Software
  • Steam VR
  • SteamVR Performance Test: Before taking the plunge, you can test your computer to see if it is VR capable in Windows using the free SteamVR Performance test software.
  • USB 3.0 card that provides enough bandwidth: Cards with one controller for four ports may not provide enough bandwidth. The Oculus Link software will continue to work (with warnings), but you will experience blurred visuals due to higher video compression
  • Proper USBc Cable: This might seem trivial, but USBc cables are not created equally. Many USBc cables use the charging spec but run at USB 2.0 speeds. Finding the correct cable is a huge issue. Oculus recommends its own $80 cable or the Anker Powerline+ USB C to USB 3.0 Cable.
  • Active USB extension cable: Longer cables experience signal degradation over long distances. Active USB cables draw power from the USB bus to amplify the signal so data rates can be maintained. I personally used the CableCreation Active USB Extension Cable, but there are other options.
  • GPU: Higher-end = better. I have a Radeon VII, but the Radeon 5700 XT is an equally viable option. The Vega 56/64/FE are also decent. Some people have posted usable results with the RX 580. If/When macOS is updated to support later model AMD GPUs, those will be the preferred option

Personal Thoughts

Tethered VR feels like a big step back from untethered, and regardless, VR still feels like it's in its infancy/gimmicky. This is partly because of the low resolution, and I imagine even when we get to 120 Hz and 8k per eye, it'll still feel low resolution. The Quest 2 works pretty well and is easy enough to set up, but with the space considerations, cost, and limited titles, it's hardly a must-have. I tried Skyrim VR, and I have to say, I found it nauseating trying to navigate the world to really bother trying to play it at length. The nausea effect differs person-to-person, and I seem to experience it worse than the average person. Games that do no feature 1:1 real-world movement are almost a no-go.

One of the most exciting features of VR is the ability to exercise while gaming. Boxing games are a huge workout. I found myself hitting 170 BPM while dancing around and swinging wild haymakers. When VR gets better, I can easily imagine many VR gamers being relatively fit.