Oculus Rift Can Now Run On A Cheaper PC

Competitors of the Oculus Rift include the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Google Daydream ViewImage: Supplied

Oculus wants to attract more users to its Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset by lowering the minimum PC specs required to run it. According to Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, you can now run it on a US$500 PC. This move is likely motivated by a drastic increase in competition since Oculus Rift first launched earlier this year. Competitors include the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Google Daydream View. Here's what you need to know.

Oculus first announced the minimum hardware specs for the Rift in mid-2015 and it was evident that you needed a power, not to mention expensive, PC to run it. Considering the headset itself would set Australians back just under $1000 at launch, the headset was only appealing to enthusiasts.

The price of the Rift has gone down a bit (now selling for around $800), Oculus has lowered the minimum hardware specs for the VR headset. This is possible thanks to a new "asynchronous spacewarp" technology that's baked into the Oculus API which allows games to run at an internal 45 frames per second but still providing 90 frames per second to the headset, according to Iribe who spoke at the Oculus developer conference. It can't replace a full-blown native 90Hz output, but it's good enough.

The new minimum hardware requirements are as follows:

  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 960 or higher (previously Nvidia GTX 970)
  • CPU: AMD FX-4350 or Intel Core i3 6100 dual-core or higher (previously AMD FX or Intel Core i5 quad core)

To put things in perspective, a Nvidia GTX 970 costs around $550 and upwards on PC parts price comparison website Static Ice. A Nvidia GTX 960 is around $350.

Similarly, you can score an Intel Core i3 6100 dual core processor for around $150. An Intel Core i5 6400 quad core will set you back around $250.

Oculus hopes by lowering the Rift's minimum spec requirements it will open doors for more people to adopt the headset. Iribe has noted that there is a new $US499 Oculus Ready PC from CyberPowerPC and AMD, although we're not sure if this will be available in Australia (and the price will likely be higher if it ever comes Down Under).

HTC Vive is gaining a lot of traction in the VR space and has garnered a lot of positive feedback. Google has just announced that it will be bringing out a comfortable VR headset called Daydream View that will work with its new Pixel smartphones this week. Sony will be releasing its PlayStation VR headset for its PlayStation 4 gaming console next week.

The VR scene is heating up and its now a race for VR vendors to get their headsets on as many heads as possible.

[Via Ars Technica]


Comments

    Meanwhile most are waiting to see which platform gets either the content or the affordable headset. After all its just some plastic lenses and half a mobile phone with a high end screen. I think the google option will take off, using their kickass wifi thing to stream from your pc to your phone with a proprietary high speed short range low latency wifi protocol to ease the load on the phone. Basically use the pc to render a 360 degree movie then do the head tracking and some sprites in the phone. I am happy to spend over $1500 on this, but I dont want to be left holding the betamax.

    Last edited 07/10/16 10:42 am

      After all its just some plastic lenses and half a mobile phone with a high end screen.Like how a telescope is just a metal tube with some glass in it?

        Once you've worked it out. Yes exactly. A tube of X length. Lens of this shape in this end. Lens of that shape in that end. There is nothing in the headset but a good screen, an accelerometer chip and a pair of lenses which, although they have a compound profile, are not difficult to manufacture. You can get some pretty funky multifocal eyeglass lenses mass produced for a few dollars. There is only a single optic element in each lens. A 50mm SLR lens usually has 5-7 elements of different refractive indices and focus motors and you can buy a really good one of those for $150. Once they are mass producing high DPI low latency screens these headsets will be $600 AUD.

          Seems excessively reductive. I mean a house is just a pile of mud and sticks, but they still manage to be pretty expensive.

          How much does it take to hit "mass adoption" numbers anyway? I mean GearVR has passed a million units out there from memory, and Cardboard would be well beyond that too. But I think Rift and Vive combined would only be around half a million this year, if that. Though given the tech you envisage in that first post maybe by the time that rolls around they will have spread far more widely :P Seems odd to expect such longevity out of an item in the cutting edge tech field, unless I'm misinterpreting what you were getting at.

            He's not exactly wrong and neither are you. The price is as high as it is because a) you are also paying for the development and b) it's not a mass produced item (which also makes a) worse). Sure, if they built millions of them the price would fall dramatically, but since they aren't making nearly as much nor is development done the price is what it is.

            Wait a few years and these kind of 3d headsets/glasses/whatever will be much cheaper.

            As to the hw requirements...... honestly even the original ones weren't that high considering the price of the Rift.

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