Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Truth About Those $500 "Virtual Reality Ready" Gaming Computers

You may have read about the "Big News" out of this year's CES that a company (not us) will offer "sometime in the future" a "Virtual Reality Ready Gaming PC" capable of powering an Oculus Rift headset for under $500. You may have even noticed that this company is calling this machine the Gamer Xtreme, yet again plagiarizing from us and coming close to violating our Trademarks in the process (yes we hold the Extreme Gamer Trademark for our Psyborg Extreme Gamer PC). That Oculus is a party to this plagiarism and violation of us is disturbing but not all surprising. Google has ignored these incidents for years. So to clarify, this "Gamer Xtreme" is not our offering, we would never build such a cheap machine. We take pride in the quality of our machines and what we put in them.

Forgive the rant. The real reason for this post is to examine the truth behind the technology. While Oculus and other PC makers may cry "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," just like Dorothy we are going to pull it back and expose the Wizard for what he is. The truth is that now ANY PC even low end ones can run Oculus Rift VR, well sort of. It doesn't really run it like it was originally designed to do. It doesn't run it on high specs smoothly powered solely by the hardware of the computer. The truth is that on a low end machine, it is all smoke and mirrors. And you could take that quite literally. Oculus Rift didn't come up with new hardware or even change their current device. The trick, and it is a trick, is in the software. The new software is designed to sense when a computer's hardware just can't keep up and is about to drop a fame. When it senses that, it substitutes a copy of the previous frame in to compensate. A neat software trick, mirroring the previous frame to appear as though the computer is doing its job. It is also designed to blur edges on the periphery on low end machines to save CPU and GPU cycles, that's the smoke part. So on a low end machine you get mirrored frames and blurry images, but you do get Virtual Reality.

So there you have it, the truth behind the curtain. Remember that the next time you see an article hyping these low end machines. Smoke and mirrors are great for magic tricks, but do you really want them in your technology?

The Extreme Gamer folks @ Psychsoftpc

Psyborg Extreme Gamer PC