The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are pretty amazing devices, being the first high-end virtual reality headsets available on the market. Unfortunately, they also require some high-end PCs to power the 90 frames per second that the devices need to display. But now Oculus has lowered the minimum specs required for its headsets, all with software magic.
Up until now the Oculus Rift needed an Nvidia GTX 970 or equivalent graphics card and an Intel i5-4590 processor, but thanks to the company’s new “asynchronous spacewarp”, the barrier to entry is lower than ever. What’s really impressive is that Oculus, owned by Facebook, managed to do this all without changing the hardware in its devices.
Asynchronous spacewarp works by allowing games to be rendered at a comfortable 45 frames per second, while the Rift headset still displays the 90 frames per second required to avoid nausea and give a realistic 3D effect. The system takes previously rendered frames and analyzes the differences between them, interpolating an artificial frame based on the user’s head movements, essentially pushing up the framerate.
Oculus executives were very insistent that this isn’t a replacement for having the ability to natively render 90 frames per second with powerful hardware, but the system does seemingly get the job done. In fact, it apparently works so well that Oculus felt comfortable lowering their minimum required specs down to an Nvidia 960 GTX with an Intel i3-6100 processor.
That lowers the cost for a capable PC significantly, while also bringing VR capabilities to many more laptops and mobile devices. Combined with the wireless headset that the company demoed at last night’s event, it’s clear Oculus is trying to get its technology into the hands of as many users as possible.