Getting into Mac VR : Required Hardware

The first hurdle to getting into Mac VR is having capable hardware. After the recent WWDC announcements, there are a few possibilities. Apple doesn’t make it obvious which of its computers support VR, so I’ve done some of the research and collected it here.

All options will require macOS High Sierra, currently in developer beta.

Use an External GPU (eGPU)

The first option is to bridge the hardware gap with the Apple developer eGPU. The unit is $599 and requires thunderbolt 3.

What kind of mac supports thunderbolt 3?

Macbook Pro 13 or 15”, 2016 and beyond

  • 2016: refurb entry level $1189
  • 2017: entry level $1299

iMac, 2017

  • 21”: starting at $1099, add $200 for SSD and $200 for 16gb ram

So minimum investment here is about $1800-$2000.

VR Ready iMac

The VR demos during WWDC were driven off the top of the line 27” iMac.

Unfortunately, that’s the only machine capable of VR experiences. From Radeon’s release:

VR capabilities available on iMacs equipped with Radeon Pro 580 graphics

Currently the 580 is only found in the top of the line 27” iMac which starts at $2,299. But really, who’s going to get one without an SSD, so let’s say, $2,499.

Side Note: 27” iMacs also have the benefit of user accessible ram

I’m Greg and I work as a freelance developer building new music technology with artists, startups, and institutions. I love connecting with other folks, so please follow, recommend, or add your thoughts in a response.