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VR Ready Laptop for $999, HTC Vive for $699 (100 dollars off)
Written by Micah Blumberg, November 27th, 2016, VR Matrix http://vrma.work
Right now there are over 800 VR apps on the SteamVR store for VR headsets like the Vive, Rift, and OSVR. That combined with the fact that a VR Ready laptop went on sale today for $999 is significant for several reasons. So is the fact that we are beginning to see sales for VR headsets like the HTC Vive ($699) Will sales for the Oculus Rift/Touch bundle follow?
These might be temporary sales but the significance for the VR Industry is pretty big. As the cost of high end VR experiences continues to drop we get closer and closer to a point when the mass market decides that their next PC will be a VR Ready PC.
Getting to that point will bring the VR Industry past the threshold that other technologies like 3D televisions never crossed.
In the early part of this year VR Ready Laptops were going for as much as 5,000. (And they still are but they just weren’t available at this price, the cheapest one might have been just over 3K)
Before you buy it consider that the GPU only has 3GB, not the usual 6GB associated with the GTX 1060. The harddrive is also the slower older kind, not the newer SSD, and the i5 processor will miss out on some of the high end rendering features in newer VR games like Arizona Sunshine.
But I think it is good simplifying the setup of a VR booth at an event, or setting up VR in your hotel. It’s good for being your secondary VR demo station at work, when you are not looking to invest in a whole new computer workstation, and you want to be able to move it, or put it away and bring it out again quickly.
If you have a VR company, *bam*, suddenly it’s faster and easier to get a VR capable machine into the hands of one more developer working for you. If you have friends and family, you are one step closer to being able to get them set up with something that lets them try out Oculus Touch and HTC Vive experiences in their living room, without it needing to take over their whole living room full time with tons of wires.
Here are the links, this price may change or the product may sell out by the time you read this
One reason this price shift is significant is that at VRLA this year in August 2016 they announced the first VR Ready desktop computer that could reach the low price of $719 dollars.
It means that all these PC companies are now in a race to the bottom to get the lowest priced VR Ready PC on the market.
That $719 PC used the new AMD GPU and it was fine for VR, but it was not portable. It’s not exactly easy to throw a midsize tower and a monitor keyboard and mouse into a luggage bag and travel with it.
A low end low cost VR ready laptop changes that equation.
Those of us who follow a lot of VR news know that there a great number of companies working on new technologies to upgrade Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality headsets far beyond what went on sale in 2016 with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Playstation VR.
So what this means in part is that the PC industry is racing towards the inevitable $500 dollar VR Ready Laptop. Then the $300 dollar VR Ready laptop.
Maybe within a year, the cheapest laptops sold will match VR Ready specifications. I mean except for Apple laptops of course.
This $999 VR Ready laptop is still more than twice as powerful as the most expensive Macbook Pro that you can buy today (for Virtual Reality applications). You still might want your Macbook Pro for it’s faster hard drive, high end display, operating system, and numerous other features. But the one thing Macbook Pro isn’t yet set up to do is VR.
For now, people who like to use the Apple Macbook Pro can consider having a second PC just for VR. It is plausible also that there will be Thunderbolt 3 external GPU chassis available for connecting a high end gaming GPU to the Macbook Pro for future VR applications. That may cost about $500 for the eGPU chassis, and between $200 and $1200 for a GPU that will be VR Ready.
At the same time we found out this year that companies like Oculus have been finding ways of lowering the computer requirements required for VR so that older computer systems can run current VR software at acceptable frame rates. I guess it’s possible that the new Oculus Asynchronous SpaceWarp technology will make something like the new Macbook Pro with the Pro Radeon 460 VR Ready, I’m not saying it will happen but the Pro Radeon 460 might be comparable to the GTX 950, and if it is that could mean that with a Windows partition a Macbook Pro could run the Oculus Touch apps, but it’s doubtful and it remains to be seen.
Regardless of what will or won’t be possible on Apple’s platform the point is that today VR got one step closer to mass adoption.
Not only because of the price, but also because of the convenience that a laptop offers over a midsize tower.
Maybe some of this is happening because of the availability of the Playstation VR, and maybe these sales are happening because it’s the Holiday sales season right now in the US but its a good sign for the VR industry. A lot more people will be packing a VR Ready laptop with a Vive or Rift & Touch set up because of simple changes like this one. This will mean more people get to try VR, and it will increase the speed of awareness and adoption by the masses.
Also when you have a VR ready laptop, you have the precursor to a VR Ready back pack. Just think about that one for a second.