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Looking for more? View all our Virtual Reality case studies.
Virtual Reality Basics and Use Cases
The experience of VR comes primarily from wearing what is called a head mounted display. This is effectively two screens, one for each eye, inside a housing that is designed to fit comfortably on the human head. Augmenting this there may also be headphones for audio and motion controllers for interacting with the environment.
There are many places virtual reality is being used today, and even more being worked on by companies around the world. Here are some examples of how VR can be used to entertain and innovate:
Gaming is one of the more prominent markets for VR experiences, and was the driving force behind the Oculus Rift kickstarter campaign. As fun as gaming on a normal computer monitor or large-screen TV is, virtual reality takes you from looking at the game world to being inside of it. Wearing a head mounted display allows you to freely look around within a game by moving your head, rather than a controller or mouse, and going to the next step with room-scale mobility like the HTC Vive offers makes it feel like you are really inside the game world.
Immersing yourself in a virtual world isn't just for gamers. There are many places which are hard or impossible to go in real life, but which can be simulated in virtual reality and then experienced in a more visceral and intuitive way than other media can provide. Exploring mount Everest and the surface of Mars are two examples of that which were demonstrated at GTC 2016, and there is a ton of potential for using this technology to educate and learn about the world. Soon medical students will be able to practice virtual surgeries and astronomers may be able to walk on other planets!
Being able to view objects or places in true 3D and physically interact with them will also be a boon to many professions. Imagine being able to walk around a building before constructing it or experiencing what it would be like to sit in the driver seat of a car before the first model rolls of the assembly line. Practical business applications often lag behind gaming or simpler educational experiences, but to see an example of how virtual reality is already being used in a professional setting check out our VR case study with NASA.
Virtual Reality Systems FAQ
Q: What VR headsets will these systems work with?
Q: What specs are important to providing a good VR experience?
A: VR experiences are very similar to games in terms of overall system requirements, so both the CPU and GPU are important - but because of the need to run two displays (one for each eye) at very high refresh rates the demands on the video card (GPU) are more intensive than average games. A high clock speed (3.5GHz+) quad-core processor and high end video card should do the trick, though, and you can find more details about this in our Hardware Recommendations section.
Q: Will these systems handle long sessions of VR usage?
A: Yes, these computers have been tested under heavy load for extended periods. We do similar testing with every computer we build, to ensure that they will operate under stressful usage without overheating.
Q: How much system RAM do I need?
A: The minimum RAM requirement listed by both HTC and Oculus is 8GB, but we strongly recommend having a little extra for future-proofing. 16GB should be a solid amount now, and these systems can have even more added in the future. If you are also going to be doing content and VR creation, then bumping that up further is a good idea.
Q: Do I need a solid state drive (SSD)?
A: Technically no, but we strongly recommend using solid-state drives on all computers these days. They have a huge impact on every aspect of computer usage, from faster boot times to more responsive operation. Inside of VR experiences you won't see much difference, but how fast VR titles launch will be directly impacted by the speed of your drive.
Q: Should I get an overclocked system?
A: Overclocking is really not needed for VR, as the stock clock speeds on many modern processors are plenty fast enough for a smooth experience.
Q: Will these systems work for non-VR applications and games too?
A: Yes! Any system that can handle VR will also do well with normal games and a variety of other standard applications. Programs that are more specialized in the hardware they use might not perform best on this sort of computer, though, so if you are uncertain please contact our consulting staff for help designing the right computer for your needs.
Puget Systems offers VR Ready computers running the latest GeForce video cards, which have been tested in-house with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Learn more about what specs are well suited to running virtual reality in our Hardware Recommendations.
Why Choose Puget Systems?
Rather than getting a generic workstation, our systems are designed around your unique workflow and are optimized for the work you do every day.
We make sure our representatives are as accessible as possible, by phone and email. At Puget Systems, you can actually talk to a real person!
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