(Pocket-lint) - The Quest 2 is a great virtual reality headset for a number of reasons. If offers you the freedom of wireless VR, it has a great catalogue of virtual reality games and it's affordable too.
We're exploring the various ways you can connect this VR headset to your PC to help you get started.
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Connecting with a cable (Oculus Link)
The best way to connect your Quest 2 headset to your gaming PC is with a wire. Sadly this loses the freedom of wireless, standalone virtual reality but it also ensures the lowest latency and the best connection.
Firstly though you need to be sure that your PC meets the basic requirements for Oculus Link (as it is called) and is VR ready. The minimum specs required are:
- Processor: Intel i5-4590/AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
- Graphics card: GeForce Nvidia 9 series and above (see exceptions here)
- Memory: 8GB or more of RAM
- Operating system: Windows 10
- USB ports: 1x USB port
Higher specifications will naturally give you better results. Virtual reality games on PC require more processing power for better visuals - Half-Life: Alyx, for example, needs a bit of oomph to run nicely.
The right cable for Oculus Link
In order to connect to your headset to your PC you'll ideally want to use a fast USB-C cable. There's an official cable you can purchase from Meta which isn't cheap but is guaranteed to do the job. It's a flexible 5-metre cable which means you have plenty of length to get your game on without issue.
You can alternatively purchase a fast cable which meets the USB 2.0 specification. Ideally USB-C to USB-C, assuming you have a USB-C port on your gaming machine.
Install the software
To set up Oculus Link in wired mode you'll first need to download the Oculus setup software. This software is a necessary part of the installation and acts as a bridge between the Quest 2 and your gaming library. Once downloaded and installed, launch the software and click through the various steps.
- Connect your headset using your USB-C cable
- Turn the headset on to establish the connection
- Click continue to finish the process
- Put your headset on and click the prompts to allow the connection
Once that's done you have the choice of buying games from the Oculus Store, launching games you already have there or running games via Steam VR in Oculus mode. The best games that work with Rift S and other headsets should play nicely with Quest 2 as well.
It's worth noting that you can activate and deactivate the Oculus Link connection from within the headset too - assuming the cable is connected and properly detected.
In order to do so just navigate to settings by clicking on the cog icon from the navigation bar within the headset. Under those settings, you should then see a section marked "headset" and from there you'll also have access to a button to disable and enable Oculus Link.
Obviously, you can also do this from your desktop machine, but the headset seems to play nicely when you give it commands directly.
The Quest 2 has some decent onboard processing power. That's why you can play games wirelessly without being connected to a gaming PC. But when you are connected to a more powerful machine it means you can take advantage of extra things.
One of those is improved refresh rates. The Quest 2 is capable of operating up to 120Hz in some instances. You can turn this on via the Oculus setup software once that's installed and your headset is connected.
To do so follow these steps:
- Open the Oculus setup software on your PC
- Click on "devices" from the left-hand menu
- Click on the Quest 2 headset and open a right-hand menu bar
- Look for "advanced" settings and graphics preferences
- Click there and set your chosen refresh rate - we'd suggest 90Hz would be a good test option
- Restart the headset to put it into that mode
- Don the headset and enjoy
You can also adjust the rendering resolution in these settings too, which is ideal if you want to make the most of your high-end graphics card.
Play Steam VR games
To run PCVR games from Steam simply open your Steam games library as normal. If you haven't done so already, you'll need to install both the SteamVR app (within Steam) and buy or download some Steam VR games.
Once that's done, navigate to the VR games you have installed already and click to launch. When you do that you'll usually get a prompt asking whether you want to launch in VR mode or standard mode. Sometimes this prompt will also ask if you want to play in Quest mode.
There are two ways to do this. You can launch the games from your PC desktop directly but you can also do it from within the Quest 2 headset.
To do this look for the option to see your desktop on the Quest 2's navigation menu. Click that and you'll then get a view of your PC desktop and you can then click to launch games on Steam. This makes it easy to run games but also switch between games when you want to try something else.
Connecting wirelessly (Air Link)
As well as connecting your Quest 2 headset to your PC using a cable, you also have the option to connect wirelessly. This gives you back some of the freedom of the wireless headset but it comes at the price of performance. It also requires good hardware in order to run.
You'll need a solid home Wi-Fi network for a start. Air Link, as it's called, allows Quest 2 owners to play Oculus Rift-compatible games wirelessly, without needing to be tethered directly to a gaming PC. The company does note though that you'll need a "strong and secure Wi-Fi network" for the best experience and ideally to be within 20 feet of your router.
It's also suggested that you do the following for the best results:
- Ensure your gaming PC is connected to your router using an ethernet cable (not wirelessly)
- Connect your Quest 2 to your Wi-Fi using 5GHz rather than 2.4GHz
How to connect Quest 2 wirelessly
The first step here is to open the Oculus setup software and go through the steps there, but the majority of the work needs to happen in the headset itself:
- Pop the headset on and click on the navigation to find the settings
- In those settings scroll all the way down until you find the section marked "experimental"
- Click to open that and you'll find Air Link listed under the experimental features heading
- Click to activate it
- Click on the PC you wish to connect to in the following prompts
- Then launch Air Link
Once that's done you can then launch PCVR games directly from your gaming PC or you can open the desktop view on the headset and do it from there.
Windows 11 issues
Some users have reported issues with stuttering when using Air Link on Windows 11. There is a workaround to fix this problem until it's fixed with later patches if you have the issue.
- Open the Oculus setup app as normal
- Open the OculusDebugTool by navigating to C:\Program Files\Oculus\Support\oculus-diagnostics
- Run the tool and click "service" in the top menu navigation
- From there click "toggle console window visibility"
- Then click to restart the Oculus service
- You'll need to keep this running while playing to stop the issue.