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Oculus Rift and PC bundles open for preorders February 16th, starting at $1,499

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The Oculus Rift still isn't coming until the end of March, but Oculus has announced a preorder date for bundles that will include the company's VR headset and a PC that's certified to run it. On February 16th at 11AM ET, Amazon, the Microsoft Store, and Best Buy will all start accepting orders for "Oculus Ready" PC bundles from Asus, Dell, and gaming-focused Dell subsidiary Alienware. The bundles will start at $1,499 for "a limited time," with prices topping out at over $3,000.

Oculus Ready PCs

The Oculus Rift headset costs $599 on its own, but finding a PC capable of rendering VR footage smoothly is a barrier for many people. The bundled machines are all high-end gaming devices, with the cheapest — a large $1,499 Asus tower — featuring a Skylake Intel Core i5 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card, and 8GB of memory. The specs only get higher from there, with the most expensive bundle — Dell's $3,149 Alienware Area 51 desktop — featuring a Core i7 processor from the earlier Haswell generation, 16GB of memory, and a GTX 980 graphics card.

While the Oculus Rift headset will begin shipping March 28th, these bundles look to be coming later. Amazon and Best Buy both give shipping dates of April 23rd, and Oculus says that the preorders will ship to "select countries" in "limited quantities" that month. That's still earlier, however, than the expected shipping date for people who order an unbundled Rift — Oculus currently says new orders will go out in July. For people without a gaming machine, it can also amount to a discount; Dell, for example, is selling its bundle for $200 less than buying a PC and Rift separately. If you've already preordered a Rift, discounts for unbundled PCs will be available through Oculus' site starting February 16th.

The competing HTC Vive headset, which ships in April, will also require a high-end PC; while it hasn't released exact requirements, we've been told they're roughly comparable to the Rift. Preorders for the Vive will open on February 29th, with the price still unknown.

Oculus Rift: Hands-on at E3 2015