Keeping games chugging along at 90 frames per second (fps) while rendering modern graphics is a tall order, which is why building a VR-ready computer is pretty much impossible with less than $600. Well, now the minimum spec—at least for Oculus—seems to be a little more affordable, more so than their previously stated GTX 970 – Core i5 4590 ‘recommend spec’ that is.

Announced today on stage at Oculus Connect 3, the company’s annual developers conference, CEO Brendan Iribe revealed a new feature that the company says will help lower-end systems get into VR.

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Oculus’s new minimum spec is in large part due to asynchronous spacewarp, a sort of ‘sequel’ to asynchronous timewarp, a technique unveiled at last year’s Connect to reduce judder and deliver consistently low latency.

But as Iribe says “timewarp is great, but it’s not a silver bullet. It’s great for looking around, but it doesn’t work for positional movement.”

Asynchronous spacewarp is Oculus’s new solution to fix judder caused by positional movement in the playspace. As explained by Iribe, spacewarp takes the app’s two previous frames and analyzes the difference, and then calculates that difference to extrapolate and generate a new synthetic frame. This helps smooth moving objects, even the entire scene, so when you’re moving your hands or body, you won’t have judder or ghosting images. In short, it does this by halving the app’s framerate to 45 fps when it hits a snag and sandwiches in a synthetically generated frame to return it to 90.

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spacewarp-oculus

This, he says, makes it easier for lower-end machines to power VR experiences, principally because it’s built into the runtime, and hence every app on Oculus Home.

The company worked with AMD and Nvidia, making the spacewarp available to both GPU manufacturers.

“This will expand the audience. With lower CPU and GPU requirements, people can get into VR at a lower cost, on a wider range of hardware,” said Iribe.

Is Min-Spec Oculus Ready, or Just VR-Ready?

There’s no word from Oculus yet whether they’ll be retaining the recommended spec despite the new minimum, but they have struck a deal with Cyberpower PC to produce a new, AMD-based ‘min-spec PC’ for $499.

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Now, Iribe says, Oculus has worked with 11 partners to certify over 40 ‘Oculus Ready’ machines, lowering last year’s median price of $1,000 down to “less than $700.”

“Less than $700” however isn’t specifically $499, so we’ll have to wait and see whether the new ‘min-spec PC’ will carry the ‘Oculus Ready’ badge or not.

  • Good idea. ATW is great and this sounds even better. Meanwhile nothing like this over on vive.

    • RipVoid

      Steam’s core customer is hardcore pc gamers. They will probably stay focused on the high end and not try to appeal to the masses.

      • They are already set on widening the target audience and one of the key ways is reducing the cost of the pc. CV1 is priced way beyond the reach of that wider audience though so they will have to use cv2 for that.

      • exbagboy

        I’m sure they will have something similar on Vive, this benefits high end rigs run games at higher specs.
        PSVR has this which is why they can even run VR on consoles so it’s not just an Oculus proprietary feature.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        oh please, Steam’s core customer is still the midrange to lowrange gamers… Yeah you want it to be the high end, but it sure isn’t.. Valve wants more people to be able to buy stuff from their Steam platform, and therefore they target the wider audience, not the tiny highend/hardcore pc gamers..

      • Get Schwifty!

        Oh the poor unwashed masses :)

        I could preach on about “Democratization” of the VR space, but that’s not FB/Oculus’ goal here it is really about establishing tech to help drive VR into areas where people traditionally don’t buy very much hardware, the typical Facebook addict most likely. This is after all a company deeply driven social media and (like Google) marketing of user-based behavioral analytics…gaming support is really just a byproduct of that but they realize that gaming also contributes to the social media world which is why they even care…

    • rabs

      Well, on the Vive ATW equivalent is called Reprojection.
      ASW equivalent will maybe called “Reprojection with prediction”, or something like that, as far as I understand it.
      Valve dev conference is next week, we’ll see…

      • Reprojection does nothing. It doesn’t prevent judder as ATW does so well on octopus.

        • rabs

          After further reading, you’re right, reprojection don’t do as much as ATW.
          It locks the framerate to a stable 45fps, so it’s better than spikes up/down. When turned off, there is an obvious difference in perceived judder (that’s why I thought it was doing more).

          It’s stable, but not smoothed out by prediction, that cause minor graphical artifacts (mostly unnoticeable especially with ASW, it seems). Though that’s one of the reason why Valved pushed to adaptive rendering instead of prediction tricks.
          Maybe they didn’t push it enough, or wanted something more perfect than most people need.

          Here is an in-depth explanation
          https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/56hznv/in_march_at_gdc_2016_valve_presented_some_of_the/

  • Espritt

    I really hope this drives Valve and HTC to work on their own similar solution, because if anything’s keeping VR from being more popular it’s the pricetag. My rig isn’t currently ‘VR Ready’ (R9 380 over here), but according to this it’s ‘Oculus Ready’. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t make me want to buy a Rift over a Vive for the moment.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Or make sure the HTC Vive works with the Oculus runtime, then problem solved, which would also mean the Vive owners can get anything from the Oculus store (which requires the runtime).

    • Ryun Patenaude

      After I upgraded my computer for VR the ‘Is your computer VR Ready’ software that I ran for both the Oculus and HTC vive both said my computer didn’t meet the specs. I have both and they work fine for me though.

  • David Herrington

    Mainly this makes me feel a little jaded at Oculus. First you tell me I need a certain level of hardware. I purchase said hardware. Now you tell me that was unnecessary… That I could have used my old hardware….. So basically I wasted money??

    • Steve Biegun

      Let’s not assume that they artificially bloated the requirements. Are you suggesting they delayed the announcement of async spacewarp just so GPU makers would sell more product? If that were the case, they wouldn’t add async spacewarp at all – ever.

      This is how progress happens with computing. Everything gets cheaper and more efficient over time.

      • David Herrington

        No no, I think they suggested specs on what they thought was necessary at the time. Why would I think that they had a special deal with GPU makers? I have no idea why you brought that up. No, mainly I’m upset about them stating that something was necessary, then going back on their word, causing many to spend unnecessarily.

        • exbagboy

          This will benefit high end rigs as well, you can run games at much higher specs now without fear of dropping frames. People with 980ti are already seeing a much smoother frame rate in open world games. (this feature is already out for nvidia hardware)

          • yag

            Yeah it’s Christmas before time for everyone ! (well, at least for every Rift owners)

          • beestee

            I completely agree with this. Gen 2 hardware should be higher resolution so this is not bad news at all since it all but guarantees that we have hardware that will be capable for gen 2 and possibly beyond.

          • David Herrington

            Ok guys. I’m not upset anymore. You have showed me the benefit for high-end systems. Higher performance in game is always better and hopefully this will mean more time before I have to upgrade my GPU in the future!

          • Get Schwifty!

            Are you sure, I thought I read somewhere that it only kicks in if performance is lackluster enough… but I could be wrong about that and simply inferred it…

          • exbagboy

            I am, I’ve been talking to guys with higher end systems and they can run Project Cars, DCS and other games at higher settings now and much smoother. From what I understand, the Rift Spacewarp works by natively forcing the game engine to run at 45 fps no matter what but it skips one frame and the algorithm fills in that frame at a much lower rendering cost. They say it works really well, there are some motion artifacts sometimes but it’s hard to notice.
            The asynchronous timewarp, which is something else, works only when the game start chugging. Spacewarp is not the same as timewarp.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Dude – it’s a new tech change that is aimed at helping people with low powered systems do some (mainly social VR). Why is this hard to grasp? if you still want the best possible VR experience you need at least a GTX 1070 or higher and a current decent CPU/MB. That has not changed in the slightest.

          • David Herrington

            Hehe. A little late to the convo, Schwift, I already conceded my point. “Ok guys. I’m not upset anymore. You have showed me the benefit for high-end systems.”

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But it was needed when the headsets came out, development progressed, developers got ideas and insights into how they could optimize stuff, you can’t predict something like that..

    • No.. That’s a dumb statement from you. These new features from oculus aren’t as good as having higher spec hardware. It’s kind of like comparing digital image stabilization to optical stabilization on a camera. Since you bought a higher spec pc you will get better performance than the compromise of ATW or the new system.

  • Francesco Caroli

    The oculus price is always higher then the computer

  • victor

    Tracking already works great as far as I’m concerned (using GTX970), what is not running smooth is maintaining 90fps(or even 75 for that matter). IT’s sooo annoying when the fps drops and have stutters in VR. These stutters have nothing to do with head movement since it happens even with head perfectly still.
    I really hope this will not just fix tracking/judder issues for lower spec PC’s but the awful stutters too(that even higher end PC’s experience)!

  • WyrdestGeek

    Is there any chance some of this new render engine tech can trickle down to my crappy Gear VR? The thing can only seem to go for about 5 minutes before it overheats. When the warning pops up about having to degrade the quality, that generally kicks me out of whatever app I was in at the time.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.