In August, Microsoft announced plans to bring its Windows Holographic shell to 'mainstream PCs' as part of its next major update to Windows 10 - and we now have our first indication of the kind of specs that will be required to power those experiences.
While Microsoft already offers its own $3,000 HoloLens headset, the company said last month that it is working with some hardware partners to launch more affordable virtual reality headsets for Windows 10, priced as low as $299. It added that these budget-friendly VR headsets will offer different experiences based on their price and specs, as well as the specs of the PCs to which they'll be tethered.
With its rollout of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14971 last week, Microsoft said that it had included the Windows Holographic First Run app as part of that release - and as Thurrott.com reports, that app has revealed a basic set of minimum PC specs that will be required to power the Windows Holographic VR experience:
- 4GB of RAM
- A graphics card that supports DirectX 12
- Quad-core CPU
- 1GB of free storage
The app recommends a system with USB 3.0 support too, although that doesn't appear to be a mandatory requirement; the app simply warns that "you may experience issues" if your PC doesn't have a USB 3.0 port.
The First Run process also advises on 'preparing your room' to be able to safely use the VR headset. Unlike HoloLens, the low-cost Windows Holographic headsets on the way will be opaque, with no view of the 'real' world when in use, as well as being tethered to a Windows 10 PC by wire.
"Make sure you are in a safe place with no tripping hazards," the app advises. "Move obstacles and furniture so you have lots of room to move around while using your headset." As WalkingCat (@h0x0d) pointed out on Twitter, the app recommends that you have an area of at least 1.5 x 2 meters in which to move round.
The full Windows Holographic shell will be released as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, which will roll out early next year. But we should find out a lot more about Microsoft's virtual reality platform, and the affordable new headsets on the way from its partners, at an event next month.