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.