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Valve's latest utility determines your PC's VR readiness, pinpoints bottlenecks

By Shawn Knight ยท 27 replies
Feb 22, 2016
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  1. You've made the decision to invest between $600 and $800 on a premium virtual reality platform but do you know if your computer is up to the task? It's a concern that at least a few will fail to address and wonder why their new toy is riddled with lag.

    Fittingly, Valve has released a new utility that takes the guesswork out of the equation and determines if your PC is capable of powering a premium VR setup like the HTC Vive. It's called the SteamVR Performance Test and you can give it a try right now although you'll need the Steam client to do so.

    The description says the utility measures your system's rendering power using a two-minute sequence from Valve's Aperture Robot Repair VR demo. After collecting the necessary data, the utility will indicate if your machine is capable of powering virtual reality content at the target 90fps and how much "eye candy" you'll be able to get away with.

    Should your system fall short of the recommended threshold, the utility will let you know if it's the CPU, GPU or a combination of both that's the bottleneck.

    If you'd rather not fool with the utility, note that HTC recommends an Intel Core i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent processor or better, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater, at least 4GB of RAM, an HDMI 1.4 / DisplayPort 1.2 video output or newer, at least one USB 2.0 port and Windows SP1 or newer to get the best experience out of the Vive VR.

    Oculus calls for nearly the exact same setup for its Rift with the exception of at least 8GB of RAM and two USB 3.0 ports.

    Those in the market for a new computer to handle VR duties can save a few bucks by purchasing an Oculus Rift PC bundle (assuming of course that the Rift is your VR platform of choice). You may be able to save even more money by upgrading your existing system or building one from scratch but understandably, that's not an option for everyone.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,497   +670

    " and Windows SP1 or newer to get the best experience out of the Vive VR."

    Forgot which version of Windows in there... I'm assuming Windows 7?

    I took the test - required remembering my Steam account, which I haven't used in ages... I passed on very high, but it did note that it can't anticipate all CPU limitations as those vary from title to title.... it also mentioned that it doesn't test the USB port - but that should be academic for 99% of all users these days.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    I think you are correct.
  4. mccartercar

    mccartercar TS Booster Posts: 140   +26

    So my FX4350 is not going to cut the mustard eh?
    I see, though that Oculus does not list an AMD processor at all as HTC is doing.
    Do I really need to opt for the intel platform or could I get away with just buying a 970 video card and get an FX8350?
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    The Fidelity frame rate is double what I require. My God why are they recommending VR at 90 FPS? Recommending is fine but failing a card that doesn't hold 90 FPS quality?

    I downloaded the tool just to see where I stood with an i7 2600 and GTX 660. Half the frame rate would be fine for me. Yet the application failed my GTX 660 for not holding 90 FPS. It is my machine and I think I should be the judge. And I say my machine is capable, judging by the test I watched scoring no less than 67 FPS at any one time.

    I say this application is trying to suggest VR needs more powerful gear than is necessary.
  6. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 2,838   +560

    Ran the test - result=> 'woefully inadequate' - and then it chuckled at me...
  7. JPSika08

    JPSika08 TS Rookie

    I got 'Very High' result, with an extreme i7 and GTX 980 Ti I expected that, though, Oculus sent a 'Your order is Cancelled' email to me today :'( so much for having the required PC.

    Looking into the HTC Vive now.
  8. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Well my computer is ready for VR, unfortunately VR is still not ready for me yet.
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  9. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,919   +1,115

    I think that's just valve playing it safe. They don't want people to spend a boatload of money to find they cannot enjoy the VR games. Some people get sick really quick with a VR helmet when it's under a certain frame-rate so I can understand the frame-rate requirement.
  10. Arturo

    Arturo TS Member Posts: 81   +26

    All that money for VR? They will realize soon that people are not interested, for the most part, in virtual reality. I am completely sure. When most people cannot stand using 3D glasses, I cannot imagine those people using that disgusting headgear. VR will be successful whe they remove the headgear somehow, and when the prices are more affordable. With that price, if people had the money, they would invest in a 980ti, I guess.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,270

    Mine correctly assumed I wasn't ready to shell out for VR until prices dropped drastically and VR was considered mainstream.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,270

    Soon you'll be able to indulge yourself in VR at your PC using nothing more than a cheap, simple pair of glasses but first you're going to have to invest in a 25K monitor costing around the same. There's always an expensive catch...
    Arturo likes this.
  13. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,823   +630

    I don't know about you, but testing VR with decade old Valve software doesn't seem very appropriate, if I can run Portal in the 200FPS range than this test will be meaningless. If you really want to test your system Futurrmark has a VR test in their latest release, even if you run 3DMark 11 it'll tell you how well you will fare in VR, that test I pass on the extreme preset. I'll need to get this new one to test, and I might as well run this joke of a test from Valve.
  14. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Get rid of the need for the glasses and I'm in, whatever the cost.
    Arturo likes this.
  15. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,206   +1,882

    Wow .... wouldn't it be nice if Valve would have produced this utility for ALL games & computer capabilities a few years ago!
    Adhmuz likes this.
  16. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,270

    Unfortunately unless medical science can rewire your eyes to focus naturally in VR that ain't ever going to happen.
  17. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,823   +630

    This is where the Holodeck comes in (y), but I have a feeling that may be a few years away. That would get me excited, wearable VR on the other hand, meh, it's as thrilling as going to the movies and wearing glasses that make everything too dark and distracting.
    Arturo and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  18. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Yes, my Wife and I have the topic come up a lot in conversations lately, and we keep thinking about how it could be developed to work with existing tech. There would be a lot of workarounds until the replicator is brought online though. :)
  19. Arturo

    Arturo TS Member Posts: 81   +26

    The software was very glad with my Titan X and core i7. Unfortunately I am not glad with VR regarding price and headgear :D
  20. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,823   +630

    You have a Titan X and your worried about the price of the headgear? Right....
  21. MSIGamer

    MSIGamer TS Rookie

    Well that app appears to be a lie.
    I monitored the framerate while it was running and it was above 90fps at all times, while the app claimed 20% was below 90fps. And besides that, SLI was not working, so if that kicked in I'd surely be "VR ready". I guess it's purely because my BIOS says I have a 670GTX that it's not deemed VR ready? :\

    Wouldn't it be very easy to support SLI for VR anyways? You have two eyes, use one graphics card to render each image, why isn't implemented by default? :\
  22. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,823   +630

    With DX12 this will be even simpler "(split-frame rendering) SFR can break each frame of a game into multiple smaller tiles, and assign one tile to each GPU in the system." That's from the DX12 Multi GPU review just posted today. But it may only work with current DX12 cards and not the 600 series, time will tell.
  23. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,417   +3,434

    I can only imagine it would be easier to sync the images if the cards were working together instead of independent.
  24. MSIGamer

    MSIGamer TS Rookie

    Wow, ok "VR SLI" in google first result:

    "VR SLI provides increased performance for virtual reality apps where multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to dramatically accelerate stereo rendering. With the GPU affinity API, VR SLI allows scaling for systems with >2 GPUs. VR SLI is supported for DirectX and OpenGL."

    This app doesn't even have that implemented, what a fail. And even without SLI it runs at >90fps and still says my system isn't VR capable, who designed this fake crap? >.<
  25. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    lol A titan x is a lot more useful that a VR headset and more versatile making the cost per use a lot lower.
    Arturo likes this.

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