MSI's GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K; a gaming laptop almost as impressive as its name

Subject: Mobile | September 22, 2016 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: msi, GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K, gaming laptop, VR, GTX 1070M

At 15.6" the IPS screen on the MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K is just big enough for a 4k resolution to make sense.  The mobile variant of the GTX 1070 inside the laptop is powerful, with 128 more cores than the desktop model and slightly lower clocks but it will strain powering some games at 4k.  The rest of the components are equally decent, an i7-6820HK, 32GB of DDR4 and a 512GB PCIE GEN3 NVMe SSD for your OS and software backed up by a 1TB HDD for storage.  Kitguru mentions in their review that they have seen this laptop running an HTC Vive so VR support is a given.  Drop by to see how the laptop did in their benchmarks and power testing.

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"MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K has an absurdly long model name that gives us a fair amount of information about this impressive gaming laptop. The GT part tells us this is a chunky chassis that can dissipate a fair amount of heat, VR shows support for your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and 4K is, obviously, the number of pixels in the screen."

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Source: Kitguru

ASUS ROG Announces the Strix GL702VM

Subject: Mobile | September 21, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: VR, Strix GL702VM, ROG, gaming laptop, g-sync, asus

It does not yet show up on the ASUS page (there it is) but those looking for a gaming laptop with both G-SYNC and proper support for VR headsets can consider the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM.  The 17.3" screen is 1080p with full G-SYNC support, though there is no mention of the maximum refresh rate.  Your keyboard will not click but the 30-key rollover should be good for everyone who is not a feline seeking warmth.  It sports a single USB 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, along with three USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI and DisplayPort out which ensures your VR headset will work with the laptop.  Check out the full PR just below.

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Fremont, CA (September 19, 2016) -- ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the immediate availability of the ROG Strix GL702VM VR Ready gaming laptop, featuring an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, Intel core i7 CPU, and a Full HD G-SYNC display for smooth and stutter free gaming. The GL702VM also packs next gen connectivity with a USB 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, capable of lightning fast data transfer speeds and Ultra HD display output.

Portable and powerful gaming
The ROG Strix GL702VM delivers powerful performance in a light and portable package capable of fitting snuggly in messenger bags or backpacks. The GL702VM employs a 6th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB GDDR5, 16GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM, and a vibrant 17.3” Full HD display. The anti-glare matte display features G-SYNC technology to create beautifully smooth gaming experiences, eliminating tearing, and reducing stutter and lag.

The GL702VM uses a specially engineered triple fan cooling system. The cooling system features independent heatsinks, heatpipes, and fans for the CPU and GPU, while a third fan is positioned to provide additional cooling to the GPU during lengthy gaming sessions to prevent performance throttling due to heat and maximize framerates.

Built for gamers, featuring the latest technologies
The ROG Strix GL702VM features an anti-ghosting tactile gaming keyboard with 1.6mm of travel distance and up to 30-key rollover protection, ensuring each keystroke is accurately recorded. The keyboard features highlighted WASD keys and neon orange accents throughout, complimented by an aluminum lid with a hairline texture finish.

The G702VM is also outfitted with a USI 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, for single-cable data and signal transmission rates of up to 40Gbps, while also capable of serving as a display output, or for future performance upgrades through external GPU enclosures, such as the upcoming ASUS XG Station II.

ROG Gaming Center
The ROG Gaming Center is available on all ROG gaming notebooks and is a portal to ROG utilities, apps, and tools. System monitoring, overclocking settings, setting macro keys, display and audio tuning, lighting effects, network optimization, and more are available via the ROG Gaming Center software.

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Source: ASUS

Podcast #417 - Maximus VIII Forumla, MoCA adapters, GFE logins and more!!

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2016 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: VR, video, tesla, Silverstone, podcast, nvidia, msi, MoCA, Maximus VIII Formula, MasterLiquid, holodeck, GFE, geforce experience, euclideon, cooler master, asus, actiontec

PC Perspective Podcast #417 - 09/15/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Maximus VIII Forumla, MoCA adapters, GFE logins and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:36:39
  1. Week in Review:
  2. This episode is brought to you by Casper! (Use code “pcper”)
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  5. Closing/outro

The holodeck down under, an update from Euclideon

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2016 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: VR, holoverse, euclideon

It is hard to believe but it was indeed five years ago when Euclideon first started talking about their Unlimited Detail technology and how it can be used to create a holodeck.  You can now visit their first hologram entertainment centre, assuming you can get to Australia where the centre is located.  The video that [H]ard|OCP posted along with their interview looks very impressive, though it is difficult to get a feeling of what it would be like inside the room.

Ryan sat down (virtually) with the CEO of Euclideon, Bruce Dell, to talk about the recent updates to their Euclideon Unlimited Detail engine, the addition of animation capability and the opening of virtual reality hologram entertainment rooms based on the tech.

The technology used to create the rooms is fascinating and very different from the polygon based rendering techniques we are accustomed to.  They have named it Unlimited Detail and describe it as using 'trillions of little computer generated atoms' to create flat images on the wall or 3D holograms inside the room. Their UD engine can also stream 3D graphics from hard drives at a speed which does not need a cache, essentially giving them unlimited video memory which they use to project the equivalent of 20,000,000 converted polygons per square metre.  Check out the article as it is well worth looking at.

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"It's been five years since we last heard from Bruce Dell of Euclideon about its Unlimited Detail Technology and how he saw it changing the gaming world. Since then Bruce has not been sitting on his hands, and are now delivering the Holoverse VR / AR experience to the folks Down Under. And a new video showing this off!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

It's not a Proton Pack, it's the MSI VR One backpack PC

Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 12, 2016 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: VR One, msi, VR, backpack, htc vive

MSI released some more images of their VR One backpack PC designed to give you more freedom of movement when playing around in VR and to make it easier to cart around to show off to friends and relations.  We know very little about the internals as of yet, it will have an unspecified overclocked CPU and a GTX 10 series graphics card and will weigh 2.2kg empty, 3.6kg with a batteries installed; it ships with two which are hot-swappable.  At 1.5 lbs each, it will be very interesting to see which storage cell technology they used to reach the estimated 1.5 hours of full speed gameplay.  It also ships with an adapter so you can utilize mains power.

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The VR One is HTC VIVE optimized though in theory an Oculus should work as the connectivity includes an HDMI port, MiniDP and one ultra-speed Thunderbolt 3 port, aka USB 3.1 Type-C as well as four USB 3.0 ports.   Cooling is provided by two 9cm ultra blade fans and 9 heat pipes which should only produce noise 41dBA which is good as the system will be on your back while you are using it.

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Not all the flashing lights on the backpack are for show, LEDs will tell you the status of your battery to let you know when to swap it out.  This can be achieved without shutting the system down, presumably there is a physical switch on the armoured shell of the backpack to allow this feat as it would not accomplish much simply doing it in VR.  You can pop by MSI for more information on the MSI Dragon Center system software and the SHIFT Technology, aka the fan controller.

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Source: MSI

Podcast #416 - Intel SSD 600p, Leaked Zen Performance, new iPhone and PS4 and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: Zen, VR, video, ssd, sony, qualcomm, ps4 pro, ps4, prodigy, power9, podcast, phanteks, logitech, iPhone 7, Intel, IBM, gtx 1050, geekbench, Enthoo, corsair, carbide, amd, a10, 600p

PC Perspective Podcast #416 - 09/08/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Intel SSD 600p, Leaked Zen Performance, new iPhone and PS4 and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:48:53
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. Razer PAX 2016
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Onward Mil-Sim; more VR game testing

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2016 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: gaming, onward, VR, htc vive, Downpour Interactive

Next up in [H]ard|OCP's series of VR game testing is Downpour Interactive's Onward, currently in early access and only available on the HTC Vive.  As with previous testing this is not about benchmarking the greatest GPU for the game but focuses on the experience you will have playing the game on different GPUs.  Frames dropping out or lagging on a monitor is mildly annoying but can completely ruin your day when using a VR headset.  This one turned out to be quite a challenge, even the GTX 1080 had significant frame reproductions.

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"Downpour Interactive is the company behind the Early Access Game, Onward. It is a self-proclaimed Mil-Sim shooter title. The big thing about this is it looks to be the first VR game that has solid support for multiplayer missions. HTC Vive currently required. What video card do we need this time around for best performance?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Build Log, in VR!

Subject: Systems | September 1, 2016 - 05:43 PM |
Tagged: system build, htc vive, oculus rift, VR

Over at The Tech Report is a new build log, taking you through the steps of building a VR Ready machine.  The intent is to build a machine capable of giving you very good performance on a Rift or Vive, while leaving you with enough money to purchase said headset and accoutrements.  If money is no object then by all means pick up a couple of Titans or 1080s, but you don't necessarily need to.  As with our guides the components included are to give you a guide as to what you will need, if you have a preferred vendor you can substitute all you desire.

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"The arrival of Oculus' Rift and HTC's Vive VR headsets is as good an occasion as any to build a brand-new PC, so we tapped MSI and Corsair to help us assemble a system worthy of those headsets' stiff system requirements. See how it all came together in our build log."

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Qualcomm joins in VR fun, designs VR820 reference platform and HMD

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 1, 2016 - 10:30 AM |
Tagged: VR, snapdragon 820, snapdragon, qualcomm

After Google's unveiling of its pending VR platform, it would follow that the major players in the technology field would toss various hats into the ring. We saw Intel announce a reference head mounted VR system at IDF last month called Project Alloy. Today Qualcomm takes the covers off its own reference head unit, creatively called VR820.

The reference platform is built on exactly what you would expect: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with the Adreno 530 graphics subsystem in place to handle 3D rendering. Thanks to the heterogeneous computing capability of the QC platform, the VR820 integrates an impressive array of data input including the standard gyro and accelerometer. VR820 adds in dual front-facing cameras to allow for spacial tracking and 6-degrees of freedom for movement (left/right, up/down and forward/backward, pitch, yaw and roll) and to integrate see-through or augmented reality applications. Most interesting to me is that the VR820 is among the first platforms to integrate internal eye tracking, ostensibly to allow for tricks like foveated rendering that allow the system to dynamically change quality levels based on where the users' eyes are actually focused. 

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The VR820 is a reference platform so you'll likely never see a Qualcomm-branded device on the market. Instead VR820 will be available to OEM out for product and resale as early as Q4 of this year, meaning there is a SLIGHT chance you'll see something based on this for the holiday.

Despite being built on what is essentially a smartphone, the VR820 will allow for higher performance on the CPU and GPU courtesy of the looser thermal constraints and the larger battery that will be built into the device. Qualcomm stated that they expect the device to allow for "a couple of hours" of use in it's current implementation. That doesn't mean a partner wouldn't decide to implement a larger battery to expand that time frame.

The current display in this device is a 2560x1440 single screen, though the SD820 and Adreno 530 could address two independent displays should a partner or future reference design call for it. Looks like Qualcomm switched up and implemented a 1440x1440 display per eye in this reference platform. It is an AMOLED display so you should see amazing color depth though I am a bit concerned by the 70Hz refresh rate it peaks at. Both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift are targeting 90Hz as the minimum acceptable frame rate for a smooth and high quality user experience. Though I will need hands-on time with the product to decide either way, I am wary of Qualcomm's decision to back off from that accepted standard.

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That being said, with the low latency AMOLED screen, Qualcomm tells me the VR820 will have an 18ms "motion to photon" latency which comes in under the theoretical ~20ms maximum for an immersive experience. 

The current iteration of VR820 is running Android, though other operating systems like Microsoft's Holographic OS should be compatible if the ecosystem buys in. 

It's clear that the goal of untethered VR/AR is the target for mass market experiences. I personally have doubts about the capability of something like VR820 or Intel's Project Alloy to really impact the VR gaming market without being attached to much higher end processing like we see with the Rift and Vive today. More mainstream activities like movies, conferencing and productivity are within the grasp of a processor like the Snapdragon 820. But how well will it handle games that try to emulate Job Simulator or Eve: Valkyrie? Will eye tracking capability allow for higher effective resolution gaming?

There is still a lot to learn about Qualcomm's entry into the dedicated VR space with the VR820, and though pricing will obviously depend on the specifics of the OEM that licenses the design and what modifications may occur, QC thinks the reference platform as we see it here should be in the $500 ballpark.

Check out Qualcomm's full press release after the break!

Source: Qualcomm

Creatively testing GPUs with Google's Tilt Brush

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2016 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, Tilt Brush, VR

[H]ard|OCP continues their foray into testing VR applications, this time moving away from games to try out the rather impressive Tilt Brush VR drawing application from Google.  If you have yet to see this software in action it is rather incredible, although you do still require an artist's talent and practical skills to create true 3D masterpieces. 

Artisic merit may not be [H]'s strong suite but testing how well a GPU can power VR applications certainly lies within their bailiwick.  Once again they tested five NVIDIA GPUs and a pair of AMD's for dropped frames and reprojection caused by a drop in FPS.

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"We are changing gears a bit with our VR Performance coverage and looking at an application that is not as GPU-intensive as those we have looked at in the recent past. Google's Tilt Brush is a virtual reality application that makes use of the HTC Vive head mounted display and its motion controllers to allow you to paint in 3D space."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP