What Do I Need to Use HTC Vive?

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By Valerie Becker

If you’re interested in virtual reality (VR) gaming, you’ve likely heard of the HTC Vive. This high-end VR headset is known for its impressive graphics and immersive experience. However, before you dive into the world of virtual reality with your new HTC Vive, there are a few things you need to know.

Hardware Requirements

First and foremost, you’ll need a PC that meets the minimum hardware requirements for the HTC Vive. These requirements include:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or better
  • RAM: 4GB or more
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB Port: One USB 2.0 port or newer
  • Operating System: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or later, Windows 10


It’s important to note that these are just the minimum requirements. For optimal performance, it’s recommended that you have a higher-end PC with a more powerful graphics card and processor.

The Headset and Controllers

Once you have a compatible PC, you’ll need to purchase an HTC Vive headset and controllers. The headset features two OLED displays with a combined resolution of 2160 x1200 pixels and a refresh rate of up to 90Hz.

The controllers use SteamVR Tracking technology to provide accurate motion tracking and intuitive controls for your VR experience.

The HTC Vive is not a standalone device; it requires both a compatible PC and external sensors to function properly.

External Sensors

The HTC Vive requires two external sensors, called Lighthouse base stations, to track your movements in 3D space. These sensors use infrared light to track the headset and controllers, allowing for accurate and responsive motion tracking.

It’s important to properly set up these sensors in your play area to ensure optimal tracking performance.

Software and Content

To use the HTC Vive, you’ll need to download and install the SteamVR software on your PC. This software provides the interface for launching VR games and experiences.

Additionally, you’ll need to purchase or download VR content from sources such as Steam or the Viveport store. There are a variety of games and experiences available for the HTC Vive, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

Be sure to check that any content you purchase is compatible with the HTC Vive before downloading.


In summary, using an HTC Vive requires a compatible PC, the headset and controllers, external sensors, and appropriate software and content. While it may seem like a lot of equipment and setup is required, it’s worth it for the immersive virtual reality experience that the HTC Vive provides.