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HP and MSI cut the cord, showcase backpack PCs for VR use

By Shawn Knight
May 27, 2016
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  1. Virtual reality has officially arrived but it’s still in its infancy. Early iterations will likely look amateurish in just a few years but right now, it’s all we’ve got. And what we’ve got is a serious issue as it relates to powering these VR experiences.

    Best-in-class systems like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive rely on a powerful PC for processing duties. What that means is that you’re tethered to a desktop which of course, limits movement in the virtual world. I suppose one could strap a high-end gaming laptop to their back… which is kind of what HP and MSI are proposing with their latest creations.

    The new VR system HP is showcasing is designed to strap directly onto a user’s back. More of a proof-of-concept at this stage, the Ghostbusters-style pack tentatively known as the HP Omen X VR PC Pack is essentially a gaming PC in a backpack form factor.

    As CNET notes, the current iteration relies on a special belt containing two batteries that connect to the machine via cables. The batteries provide about an hour of play time but fortunately, they’re hot swappable (the system runs on a third, smaller battery while you’re swapping out the primary batteries).

    The VR headset of your choice still remains tethered but with the PC now on your back, you’re free to move around without the risk of tripping over cables or pulling your computer off the table.

    MSI’s system, the MSI Backpack PC, looks to be a bit bulkier. All we know at this hour is that it’ll be powered by a “high-end” Intel Core i7 processor alongside an Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card (no GTX 1080 love, MSI?).

    HP plans to publicly demo the concept sometime within the next month (likely at Computex) with MSI confirming that it will indeed be at Computex.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,558   +598

    OK - this VR stuff is getting pretty goofy now.

    If they want people to be able to walk around tethered-free, they should make them wireless.
     
  3. IAMTHESTIG

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 954   +273

    Wireless just doesn't have the bandwidth and real time processing speed to handle the VR displays yet. That is why this workaround is a good idea and will have a market.

    I can't imagine the HP one will be powerful enough for the graphically intensive games... but the MSI one looks about right. Looks like a good direction. Now we just need a huge warehouse and lots of motion tracking sensors throughout.

    Have you guys seen this demonstration of VR in large open space so you can walk? Freaking sweet...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibsFh_z0MGY
     
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,506   +498

    Ok you posted the girl posing so.... more behind if you want to sell it guys, like... a backpack that rests on her behinds without any straps, even if it had a 5 minute battery would sell like hot pancakes!

    I don't know I mean, you do need to put an additional ventilation system normally for high end gaming notebooks because you do have a video card generating heat + an i7 or something similar in a really small factor, I don't see myself attaching something hot to my back + a headset that covers part of your head + doing some mild form of movement, considering how un-fit the average gamer is that's like... pig sweating season incoming
     
  5. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Guru Posts: 198   +272

    LOL. That stuff will take off when each unit comes with a $500,000 voucher that'll let you trade in a small cramped apartment for a large mansion that happens to have a spare indoor basketball / tennis court just lying around unused. Until then, it's dorky and niche as hell and an ongoing exercise in the almost complete disconnect between convention center salesman demo's and the "spare" space in the average person's residence...
     
  6. DKRON

    DKRON TS Guru Posts: 567   +25

    They are already doing it in Australia for 2 years now, zero latency is what its called. Also wireless works in the way minecraft servers work, still process graphics on the backpack but send data back to track the user walking around, thats how they do it
     

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