Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift is the coolest bit of VR tech around and all but the latest update by the company detailing the kind of firepower you will need to power this contraption might be quite shocking to say the least. What’s more, there are some bad news about gaming laptops too.

First, we take a look of the recommended specs:

Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater , Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater , 8 GB+ RAM, Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output , 2x USB 3.0 ports and Windows 7 SP1 or newer.

While the specifications are not exactly the God-Tier of the PC gaming but it is certainly resides squarely on the upper level of “enthusiast” levels of gaming rigs. The blog stated that “The goal is for all Rift games and applications to deliver a great experience on this configuration. Ultimately, we believe this will be fundamental to VR’s success, as developers can optimize and tune their game for a known specification, consistently achieving presence and simplifying development.

To soften the blow, Atman Binstock, chief architect of Oculus insisted that if a player has this kind of setup, it is good for years, “The recommended spec will stay constant over the lifetime of the Rift. As the equivalent-performance hardware becomes less expensive, more users will have systems capable of the full Rift experience,” he wrote. “Developers, in turn, can rely on Rift users having these modern machines, allowing them to optimize their game for a known target, simplifying development.

Laptop users will rue the fact that Oculus is not laptop friendly for now as it needs a GPU featuring HDMI 1.3 output supporting a 297MHz clock via direct output architecture. Even Binstock conceded on this point, “The last bullet point is tricky: many discrete GPU laptops have their external video output connected to the integrated GPU and drive the external output via hardware and software mechanisms that can’t support the Rift. Since this isn’t something that can be determined by reading the specs of a laptop, we are working on how to identify the right systems. Note that almost no current laptops have the GPU performance for the recommended spec, though upcoming mobile GPUs may be able to support this level of performance.

Now the question is why is the requirements so high?

On the raw rendering costs: a traditional 1080p game at 60Hz requires 124 million shaded pixels per second. In contrast, the Rift runs at 2160×1200 at 90Hz split over dual displays, consuming 233 million pixels per second,” Binstock wrote, “At the default eye-target scale, the Rift’s rendering requirements go much higher: around 400 million shaded pixels per second. This means that by raw rendering costs alone, a VR game will require approximately 3x the GPU power of 1080p rendering.”

In other words you are going to need tons of money to upgrade the desktop PC for the Oculus Rift.

via Oculus Rift Blog

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