Oculus Link beta turns the Quest into a PC VR headset and is available now

(Image credit: Oculus)

Oculus Link software is now available in beta form, which means it's now possible to play any game developed for PC VR, and the Rift headset, on the Oculus Quest. It starts with plugging the Quest into your PC.

This is a welcome upgrade to what we already viewed as the best VR headset (when factoring in bang-for-buck). That's assuming Oculus Link works as advertised. We have not yet had a chance to test it ourselves, but this opens a potentially exiting door for VR gaming.

"As the VR ecosystem grows, developers continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible by leveraging the full power of a gaming PC on Rift. And while Rift S offers the highest fidelity gaming experience available, Oculus Quest is making it easier to get into VR than ever before. Oculus Link adds new depth and breadth to the experiences you can have with Quest while also helping PC developers reach the broadest possible audience for their work," Oculus says.

According to Oculus, the Oculus Link software works with most "high-quality" USB 3 cables. You will also need a PC that meets the minimum requirements, as outlined below:

  • Processor—Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
  • RAM—8GB+
  • OS—Windows 10
  • USB ports—1x USB 3.0

What about the GPU? Unfortunately, the beta release only supports Nvidia graphics cards, including the Titan X, GeForce RTX 20 series, GTX 16 series, GTX 1080, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060.

No AMD cards are supported at this time (Oculus says they will by the time Oculus Link exits beta), and the same goes for Nvidia GPUs not listed above, including the Titan Z, GTX 1060M, and GTX 970 (all three of which Oculus specifically lists as "not currently supported"). Even on supported cards, Oculus is not guaranteeing compatibility—that's just how it goes with beta software sometimes.

As Oculus noted in September, it plans on releasing a custom optical fiber cable later this year, so you don't have to guess what constitutes a high quality USB cable. While the cable is not yet available, we have some specs to share. Here they are:

  • Length—5 meters
  • Outer diameter—4.6 millimeters
  • Weight—224 grams
  • Color—black
  • Type—USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
  • Bandwidth—5Gbps
  • Connectors—right angle USB Type-C (headset) / straight Type-C (PC)
  • Bend radius—20 millimeters
  • Infrared signal loss tolerance—<500mV VBUS @ 3000mA ; <250mV GND @ 3000mA 
  • Power supply—3A
  • Cable exterior—TPU 0.5 millimeters (low friction, durable, flexible)
  • Shielding—high quality spiral shielding

Riveting stuff, right? I don't know about you, but that infrared signal loss tolerance rating sounds sick.

The timing of this beta release is smart. It arrives right as Black Friday deals are about to come into view. Depending on how things shake out, this gives people looking to buy a VR headset another reason to consider the Quest, especially if it ends up getting discounted next week.

If you don't want to wait, the Quest is available now for $399 (64GB) and $499 (128GB).

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).