The Meta-owned Reality Labs, formerly Oculus, has been pushing wireless virtual reality as a major feature of its VR headsets for several generations. While its classic Rift headsets never offered it as a feature, the more-accessible successors, like the Meta Quest, and Quest 2, as well as the more recently unveiled Meta Quest Pro, all operate wirelessly by default. But they can connect to desktop PCs using a USB-C connection, too.
As much as wireless virtual reality is fantastic for immersion, it forces users to have to contend with battery life, and in the case of standalone headsets like the Quest 2 and Quest Pro, they are limited to their onboard processing capabilities. But they don’t have to be.
Meta’s Quest line of headsets can also connect to a gaming PC using the official Quest Link cable, or with any high-quality active USB-C cable. This unlocks all kinds of benefits, from in-use charging, to the ability to play PC VR games, to unlocking the sheer power of a gaming PC for even better in-game visuals and higher frame rates.
But even Quest 2 and Quest Pro users who aren’t interested in PC-grade VR gaming need a Meta Quest 2 cable of some kind. A Meta Quest 2 USB charge cable comes as standard with the headset, but that doesn't support the Quest Link which requires a high-quality USB-C cable capable of supporting superspeed data and power. If you want a cable that can both fast-charge your Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets and handle the Oculus Link connection for improved in-game visuals, you need a high-quality USB-C cable. Cable Matters has a few excellent solutions.
What are the benefits of an Oculus Quest 2 to PC cable?
Like its predecessor, the Meta Quest 2 is predominately designed to be used as a standalone headset, with no need at all for external processing or tracking. That doesn't mean it can't benefit from the former, though.
By using a high-quality, active USB-C connection you can turn your Meta Quest 2 into a PC spec VR headset, which, if you have the right CPU and graphics card for the job, unlocks amazing performance potential. That can lead to more consistent frame rates in the kinds of games you already play, as well as support for higher detail settings.
It also gives you access to an even more expansive game library. There are hundreds of PC exclusive VR games that were originally designed for the Oculus Rift PC VR headset. Many of those can be played on your headset using a Meta Quest 2 cable to connect it to your PC. That makes using a Meta Quest 2 cable the ideal way to appreciate the full capabilities of your new VR headset, and enjoy a greater array of games than ever before.
Although the Meta game library is impressive, it is dwarfed by what’s available on Steam using the SteamVR runtime – especially if you’re looking to play games. Steam might have greater competition today than it had in the past, but it’s still the premier platform for PC gaming and has the largest catalog of VR games, too. Quality control isn’t as stringent on Steam as it is in the Oculus Store, but you can always use user reviews and ratings to find the diamonds in the rough.
The Quest Link cable, or a viable USB-C cable, can also be used for charging your headset. It won’t provide enough power to actively increase your battery’s charge while you’re playing, but it will massively extend your playtime. While the Quest 2 is designed to last around two hours of VR gaming, having the Quest Link cable connected to the headset and a high-power USB port can mean you get many more hours of gameplay, without completely depleting the battery.
You can also use that Quest Link cable to charge the headset when you aren’t using it, giving you a single charging and PC gaming solution for your Quest 2 or Quest Pro VR headset.
The Best Oculus Quest 2 Cable
The standard Quest Link cable is a high-quality USB-C cable, but it does come at a premium price. If you don’t want to spend that much, there are plenty of alternative options you can choose from, helping you to save money, and get a longer and more capable cable in the process.
Any Meta Quest USB-C cable needs to be both high-quality and well-made. Excellent shielding prevents degradation of the signal, and an active connection using a re-driver chipset helps the cable reach greater lengths, making it easier to enjoy room-scale VR experiences while still tethered to your PC. It might not have the same freedom as wireless, but making sure you get the longest, quality USB-C cable possible means you’re less likely to encounter any kind of immersion-breaking interaction with the cabling.
Cable Matters makes and sells a number of Quest 2 compatible USB-C cables that would make wonderful alternatives to the official Quest Link cable. There’s an active USB-A to USB-C cable for the Quest 2 VR headset – although it will work with any compatible USB device. It comes in 16.4 and 24.6 feet lengths and features a right-angled USB-C connector so that it’s easy to plug into the Quest 2 while keeping the cable tidied away.
It has full USB 3.1 Gen 1 5Gbps bandwidth, giving you all the bandwidth you need to deliver high-end visuals from your PC to your Quest 2 or Quest Pro. This cable doesn’t support charging while playing, but it can charge the headset separately when plugged into a compatible charger.
It’s also available in a USB-C to USB-C cable, if your PC features that kind of connector. Indeed, many recent-generation graphics cards include a USB-C port for just such a connection.
These cables allow you to access the processing power of your gaming PC while still having plenty of range for large playing space. Both cables feature an angled connector to easily plug into the headset, just like the Oculus Link cable, at a fraction of the price.
These cables can also be used on Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connections for other devices if you want a multi-purpose cable. That makes them great for connecting USB-C monitors or other compatible devices at a distance – especially the longer 24.6-foot cable.
What do you need for an Oculus Quest 2 PC experience?
The Meta Quest 2 is entirely stand-alone with all of its own processing power, but if you're connecting to a PC with a Quest 2 Link cable, or even using the wireless Air Link connection option, you need a compatible PC.
The official minimum system requirements for a Meta Quest 2 to PC experience is an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU, 8GB or more of memory, and Windows 10. Graphics card support is wide-ranging, though there are a few caveats. On the Nvidia side of the aisle, Quest Link cables are supported by All of the new RTX 40-series GPUs, and most of the RTX 30-series as well, with only the RTX 3050 laptop, and 3050 Ti desktop GPUs not being recommended for use. The RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series are also supported (apart from the GTX 1650), as well as most of the GTX 10-series, outside of the 1060M.
As for AMD GPUs, the RX 7000 and 6000 series are fully supported, with only the RX 6500 not recommended for use with Quest Link cables. RX 5000 series GPUs should all work just fine, as well as AMD’s older 500 and 400-series graphics cards. Anything older than that, however, either lacks the performance for Quest Link VR or isn’t officially supported.
If you want to use your connection as a Meta Quest 2 charging cable too, you'll also need a compatible USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port that can handle 3A of power. A 1.5A or 0.9A port will be able to help maintain battery life, but won't be able to stop it from de-charging – albeit it at a much slower rate. You can still use them for charging when the headset is not in use, but you’ll get the fastest charge from higher-wattage ports and from dedicated USB wall chargers.
Along with the active USB-C cable itself, you may also want to make sure you have a viable playspace around your gaming PC. If you have 3m or 5m of USB-C cable, you'll want to try to create that much room to play in, too. Making sure this playspace is free from items and debris – as well as any pets or young children who might be wandering around while you’re playing – is incredibly important. Tripping over something not only breaks immersion but can even endanger the health of the user and the headset itself. Prepare, and be careful.