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'Asynchronous Timewarp' enables Oculus Rift to run on slower PCs

By Shawn Knight
Nov 10, 2016
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  1. Facebook-owned Oculus VR during its Oculus Connect 3 event last month briefly touched on a new imaging technology aimed at reducing system hardware requirements without compromising image quality.

    That technology, called Asynchronous Spacewarp, has now been launched.

    Asynchronous Spacewarp builds on top of the smoothing experience delivered by Asynchronous Timewarp. Whereas Asynchronous Timewarp deals strictly with smoothing a user’s head rotation by generating extrapolated frames from previous frames generated by a VR application, Asynchronous Spacewarp works to smooth out everything else including character movement, Touch controller movement, camera movement and the player’s own positional movement.

    In layman’s terms, when the frame rate in an application drops below 90 frames per second, these two technologies automatically go to work to deliver a visual experience that’s nearly as good as running natively at 90 frames per second.

    The more capable your PC is, the less likely it is that these technologies will ever kick in. Conversely, machines with far less horsepower can lean heavily on these technologies, thus opening the doors to VR gaming for a class of computers that previously weren’t able to drive the experience.

    There are a few tradeoffs, however, which you can read more about over on Oculus VR’s website.

    Oculus VR up to this point recommended an Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD 290 or equivalent graphics card and an Intel Core i5-4590 or equivalent processor. With the new imaging technologies, the requirements have dropped to a GTX 960 / Radeon RX 470 or comparable video card and an Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD FX-4350 or equivalent CPU.

    To drive that point home, Oculus points to a pre-built PC from CyberPowerPC that’s certified Oculus Ready and priced at just $499. That's down from the average starting price of $1,000 for a capable system at launch.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,414   +882

    Dropping the price of the entry PCs is fine and dandy, but in the end it's the price of the headset that needs to drop if they want to sell more. It needs to appeal more to people who already own a PC that can run it.
    Evernessince likes this.
  3. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,792   +1,009

    Pretty much this. The average PC gamer is only going to spend $200 - $300 on a monitor and that's what they should be targeting for mass appeal. Of course, they still need to convince people they need VR because as of right now it doesn't replace your monitor, it's merely another accessory.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,805   +1,540

    Configurations that will run on older machines is a smart business move, but cost factor is just as big. New technology always has somewhat of an uphill battle towards acceptance and VR is no different. When the price point gets to $200 - 400 it will much more accepted than at $500+ .... obvious, the lower the cost the greater the volume of buyers. There was a comment yesterday about issues using mouse+keyboard in VR sessions and difficulty in doing just that. There is a large group of people using PC's that still prefer that method of input for their games so flexibility in the user interface where the user can pick one of many different configurations will go a long way toward making VR more of an everyday feature than a novelty. The successful companies will figure that out and adapt, the stubborn ones might just end up like a few others we have seen quickly come and go.

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