“If you can afford $600 – $800 for a VR Headset, then you can afford an expensive, powerful PC.” – this statement has been bandied about in forum posts and comment sections of various VR-releated review sites, and is both kinda sad (if you can’t afford to shell out hundreds of dollars) and boastful (if you can). Oculus has minimized the gap of the “cans” and “cannots” with a recent development in video rendering technology.
Oculus calls it asynchronous spacewarp (I’m already convinced just hearing the name) and it works by pre-rendering frames based on previous, already displayed frames and inserting these frames to maintain 90 frames per second in the Rift headset.
The reason it must be 90 fps is due to the problem that affects a huge percentage of VR users – nausea from motion sickness. According to Oculus (and from my own experience with mobile VR and attempting to play on an underpowered PC), even a few dropped frames causes juddering and unnatural movement that is instantly noticeable by the user. Motion sickness comes just a few seconds later.
With asynchronous spacewarp, the PC only has to produce 45 frames per second – an eminently more attainable framerate, and something that can be reached by a relatively more affordable GTX 960 and Intel Core i3 6100 combo (or equivalent), instead of the previous minimum of GTX 970 plus an Intel Core i5 4590 (or equivalent).
With judicious mixing of PC components and some compromises in less important areas like maybe sound, storage, and enclosure, a VR user can get the PC side down to half the price of a Oculus unit. Oculus also showed a PC created in collaboration with CyberPowerPC priced at $499.
Originally published: Engadget
Source: Oculus Connect