Chances are you do not have an Intel modem in your iPhone 7

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2016 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: apple, Intel, iPhone 7 Plus

You have likely heard rumours of some iPhone 7 Plus models having network connection issues and that Intel is being blamed.  The good news is that only the UK models seem to have an Intel modem, most other markets are using a Qualcomm model which does not have the performance degradation.  The issue seems to cause the signal quality of Intel based models to degrade significantly more quickly as network conditions degrade when compared to models which use the Qualcomm modem.  So far The Inquirer has no news on an official statement by Apple or Intel; same as the lack of response about the storage performance on lower cost models.


"iPhone 7 Plus users in the UK will be affected by Apple's decision to source modems for the device from Intel. Only models sold in China, Japan and the US come with more tried and trusted modems made by Qualcomm."

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Source: The Inquirer

Doodads and dongles, check out these recommended peripherals

Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2016 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: peripherals

The Tech Report also occasionally posts their staffs favourite peripherals, from monitors to mice, through microphones to joysticks.  Indeed they recommend a variety of Freesync and G-SYNC monitors so you can jump immediately to the appropriate page.  You can check out their recommended racing wheels, speakers ranging from small desktop models to studio quality or even power line networking.  Pop on over to see if you want to add any of their choices to your wishlist.


"For this edition of our peripheral staff picks, we've refreshed our selection of displays, keyboards, mice, and more to account for the latest and greatest options out there for PC builders. Finish off your PC with this selection of great gear."

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The Phanteks Enthoo Pro M gets a temper

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: phanteks, matx case, Enthoo Pro M, Enthoo, enclosure, atx case

Sebastian reviewed the Enthoo Pro M back in August, a well received case with a layout similar to an EVOLV ATX or Fractal Design Define S.  Phanteks have recently updated the exterior of the case, replacing the plastic side window and panel with a side panel made completely of tempered glass.  You can see how the upgraded model looks over at Kitguru.  There is also a variant which looks the same as this model, but with an acrylic side panel for those concerned about the price or mistrusting of a glass side panel.


"The short version of this review is that Phanteks has given its Enthoo Pro M case a minor update and has changed the main side panel for a sheet of tempered glass. The slightly longer version is that Phanteks has revised its superb entry level Pro M case by replacing one of the few weak features, a flexible steel side panel with a so-so plastic window, with a gorgeous panel of tempered glass."

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Source: Kitguru

Close counts in this hotdogging VR game

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: VR, htc vive, H3VR, gaming

Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is a VR game built on Unity which features a "Authentic ‘Murican BBQ experience with obsessively detailed grilling simulation" as well as bocce, lawn darts and hand grenade skeet shooting.  [H]ard|OCP tested out the Early Access version of this Vive title on their usual GPU suspects, it is worth mentioning the i7-6950X @ 4.2GHz as well since the developer feels that CPU could also be an issue.  This title continued the unfortunate trend we have seen with AMD cards, RX 480 performance lagged behind even the GTX 1060 and there were several crashes during testing.  For the moment NVIDIA is enjoying unchallenged status in VR gaming, lets hope AMD can find ways to improve their offerings to compete at a price to performance level in the near future.

Don't forget to sign up for the Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party #14 on October 29th, we are up to 46 participants so you can be guaranteed to not only have a good time but to have a wide variety of active games to choose from!


"Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is more of a firearms simulation than it is a game. H3VR certainly does have some gaming and scoring modes of play and the developer is has been very busy increasing the H3VR content depth. If you have never handled a rifle of pistol, H3VR can be somewhat daunting, but certainly rewarding."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Expect to hear news from AMD's VR boffins

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 12:18 PM |
Tagged: amd, liquidvr, Radeon Pro WX 7100, loom

AMD's Polaris cards have been lagging behind NVIDIA's Pascal in VR performance, not completely surprising considering the deltas in price and 3D performance.  From DigiTimes we hear of some successes however; AMD is opening VR facilities in shopping malls, movie theatres and Internet cafes, currently focusing on China.  On might consider the price as being a major factor, AMD offers good enough performance for most at a price lower than the competition.  They are also focusing on the development side of the equation, discussing their Radeon Pro WX 7100 a solution for a number of providers.  Their Loom project should also see light towards the end of the year, bringing HD content and beyond to VR movie designers.  It will be interesting to see how AMD does against the competition on the design side of the market as opposed to consumer machines.


"AMD has launched several new projects for its virtual reality (VR) business including GPU certification. It has enhanced its software/hardware platform and established a VR supply chain, hoping to expand its presence in the VR market, and to regain share in the graphics card market with its new Polaris GPUs."

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Source: DigiTimes

Power efficient memristors could be showing up in your smart toaster

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2016 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: memristor, iot

Over at Nanotechweb you can read about research being conducted on memristor technology to reduce the power required to write to a cell to make this memory type more useful in low voltage applications, such as IoT devices.  Apart from the challenges of creating materials capable of remembering how much current has flowed through them in the past there is what the researchers refer to as the sneak path problem.  When writing to a memristor, current flows to the cell that is being updated, unfortunately it also flows into a number of other cells thus increasing the current required for each write cycle.  This team hopes to overcome this issue, so far having successfully reduced the current required to 8% of that in conventional crossbar circuits.  Check out more on the research in the full article.


"Researchers at Hewlett Packard Labs in California, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Seoul National University are reporting on a new low-current, self-rectifying memristor made from titanium ion electron traps in a niobium oxide matrix. The device might be used as an embedded memory on low-power chips and for storing data in Internet of Things (IoT) appliances."

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Source: Nanotechweb

NVIDIA GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Launch on October 25th

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2016 - 09:01 AM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050

NVIDIA has just announced that the GeForce GTX 1050 ($109) and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti ($139) will launch on October 25th. Both of these Pascal-based cards target the 75W thermal point, which allows them to be powered by a PCIe bus without being tethered directly to the power supply. Like the GTX 750 Ti before it, this allows users to drop it into many existing desktops, upgrading it with discrete graphics.


Most of NVIDIA's press deck focuses on the standard GTX 1050. This $109 SKU contains 2GB of GDDR5 memory and 640 CUDA cores, although the core frequency has not been announced at the time of writing. Instead, NVIDIA has provided a handful of benchmarks, comparing the GTX 1050 to the earlier GTX 650 and the Intel Core i5-4760k integrated graphics.


It should be noted that, to hit their >60FPS targets, Gears of War 4 and Grand Theft Auto V needed to be run at medium settings, and Overwatch was set to high. (DOTA2 and World of Warcraft were maxed out, though.) As you might expect, NVIDIA reminded the press about GeForce Experience's game optimization setting just a few slides later. The implication seems to be that, while it cannot max out these games at 1080p, NVIDIA will at least make it easy for users to experience its best-case scenario, while maintaining 60FPS.

So yes, while it's easy to claim 60 FPS is you're able to choose the settings that fit this role, it's a much better experience than the alternative parts they list. On the GTX 650, none of these titles are able to hit an average of 30 FPS, and integrated graphics cannot even hit 15 FPS. This card seems to be intended for users that are interested in playing eSports titles maxed out at 1080p60, while enjoying newer blockbusters, albeit at reduced settings, but have an old, non-gaming machine they can salvage.


Near the end of their slide deck, they also mention that the GTX 1050 Ti exists. It's basically the same use case as above, with its 75W TDP and all, but with $30 more performance. The VRAM doubles from 2GB to 4GB, which should allow higher texture resolutions and more mods, albeit still targeting 1080p. It also adds another 128 CUDA cores, a 20% increase, although, again, that is somewhat meaningless until we find out what the card is clocked at.

Update: Turns out we did find clock speeds! The GTX 1050 will have a base clock of 1354 MHz and a Boost clock of 1455 MHz while the GTX 1050 Ti will run at 1290/1392 MHz respectively.

NVIDIA's promotional video

Obviously, numbers from a vendor are one thing, and a third-party benchmark is something else entirely (especially when the vendor benchmarks do not compare their product to the latest generation of their competitor). Keep an eye out for reviews.

Source: NVIDIA

Google tests its Power and takes a shot at Intel

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2016 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: google, Intel, power9, zaius

Not too long ago Google revealed it had updated the code that runs behind its popular web based services to make it more hardware agnostic.  With a trivial tweak to the code their software can switch between running on Intel x86, IBM Power or 64-bit ARM cores.  On Friday Google Cloud's technical program manager, John Zipfel, provided more information on the OpenCAPI compliant Zaius P9 server that is in development and revealed it will use an IBM Power 9 chip.  As it will be OpenCAPI, it will use interconnects such as NVIDIA's NVLink or AMD's as yet unnamed fabric interconnect but will not leverage Intel's.  The Register has a bit more information on Google's plans and the Zaius here.


"Google has gently increased pressure on Intel – its main source for data-center processors – by saying it is "looking forward" to using chips from IBM and other semiconductor rivals."

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Source: The Register

Rumor: Newegg Acquired by Liaison Interactive

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2016 - 10:40 PM |
Tagged: newegg, liaison interactive

About a month ago, Newegg announced that Hangzhao Liaison Interactive Information Technology Co., Ltd. has agreed to make a “significant investment” in their company. That is not a rumor; it was officially acknowledged by Newegg. Their press release doesn't really elaborate on the specifics of the deal, though, except to note that Liaison Interactive is interested in Newegg because of their position in the VR and AR market. Got to love the PC gaming ecosystem.


Well, this month, the rumors are claiming that Newegg was outright acquired by Liaison Interactive. The United Daily News is reporting that the deal was 17.7 billion yuan (which Google mis-translated to 1.77 billion yuan for me) for 55.7% of the online retailer. It's unclear how the other 44.3% is split up, but Newegg is said to become a subsidiary as a result of this transaction.

The UDN story also expands upon the “why” question that was loosely touched upon last month. I can't tell, especially with Google Translate stripping a lot of context, how much of this is speculation, but the report suggests that Liaison Interactive is interested in Newegg as an extension of its supply chain. That is, more easily get their products to end-users world-wide.

Interesting. We'll hopefully get a new press release soon.

Strap a peltier to your DSLR so you can lengthen your exposure

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2016 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: DSLR, peltier

Peltier coolers have proven too inefficient to cool modern CPUs and have been relegated back to car seats and other traditional usages, until now.  A company called PrimaLuce will send you a Nikon D5500 with a peltier cooler strapped to the back which will cool your camera during long exposures which reduces image noise.  It will also prevent the camera from getting obnoxiously warm, a common complaint around the PCPer office.  This particular camera is intended for capturing the night sky, the inclusion of a anti-dewing system is very welcome.  Pop on over to Ars Technica to take a look.


"For €2,190 (£2,000/$2,400), the Italian company PrimaLuce will sell you a Nikon D5500 DSLR with a dual-Peltier cooler strapped to the back, called the Nikon D5500a Cooled. In addition to the cooler, the modified camera also switches out the standard low-pass filter in front of the sensor for something that is specially tuned to be more sensitive to astronomical wavelengths of light (specifically H-alpha deep red)."

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Source: Ars Technica

Think you can handle the Wang? NVIDIA is giving away $50,000 worth of Shadow Warrior 2 codes

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2016 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: shadow warrior 2, nvidia, geforce, geforce experience 3.0, giveaway

Shadow Warrior 2 is out today, bringing Lo brow humour and procedural gore back to PC gaming.  For those of you who have created a user at, you have a chance to win a copy of the game for free, all you need to do is install GeForce Experience 3.0 on your machine and you are entered to win.  If you haven't the desire you can pick the game up on GOG or Steam, but you will have to pay for it.  This new incarnation adds four player co-op to the game and the levels are described as procedural, theoretically places you have previously visited will not be the same if you head back.  More info on the contest in the PR below


Shadow Warrior 2 launched today, and GeForce gamers using GeForce Experience may be getting it free. We will be giving away $50,000 worth of codes for the over the top first person shooter Shadow Warrior 2 to random gamers registered with GeForce Experience 3.0. This marks the second game code giveaway this month and more are coming soon. Just download and log in to the new GeForce Experience 3.0 to be eligible. Shadow Warrior 2 is highly anticipated first person shooter that is focused on fun. But not to be missed behind the numerous weapon choices, over-the-top gore, and edgy sense of humor is an indie release that is loaded with next generation technology thanks in part to a collaboration between NVIDIA and Flying Wild Hog, the game’s independent Polish developer.

The developer of Shadow Warrior 2, Flying Wild Hog, along with Devolver sister company Gambitious, were a part of the NVIDIA Indie Spotlight Program launch with their game Hard Reset: Redux. So naturally working with them on Shadow Warrior 2 to expand the indie game partnership between Devolver and NVIDIA seemed like the natural next step.

PC Gamers count on GeForce Experience to get the most from their games. It keeps drivers up to date. It automatically optimizes game settings for more than 300 games. And it’s the easiest way to capture gameplay video, stream it to Twitch or YouTube, or share it with another player over the Internet using the easy-to-use in-game overlay tool.

And now it rewards you for playing on GeForce. Dating back to July, NVIDIA has thanked their loyal GeForce Experience gamers by giving away: MSI VR-Ready Notebooks, HTC Vive Systems, GeForce GTX 1080s, SHIELD Android TVs, alpha access codes to the game LawBreakers and $200,000 worth of codes for Dead by Daylight.

More than 75 million gamers can’t be wrong--GeForce Experience is the gateway to great PC gaming.

Source: NVIDIA

Microwave your RAM to make it faster?

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2016 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: terahertz, research, memory

You have probably recently heard of terahertz radiation used to scan physical objects, be it the T-Rays at airports or the the researchers at MIT who are reading books through the covers.  There is more recent of news on researchers utilizing the spectrum between frequencies of 0.3THz and 3THz, this time pertaining to RAM cycles and the possibility of increasing the speed at which RAM can flip between a 0 and 1.  In theory a terahertz electric field could flip bits 1000 times faster than the electromagnetic process currently used in flash memory. This could also be used in the new prototype RAM technology we have seen, such as MRAM, PRAM or STT-RAM.  This is still a long way off but a rather interesting read, especially if you can follow the links from The Inquirer to the Nature submission.

EM Spectrum.png

"Using the prototypical antiferromagnet thulium orthoferrite (TmFeO3), we demonstrate that resonant terahertz pumping of electronic orbital transitions modifies the magnetic anisotropy for ordered Fe3+ spins and triggers large-amplitude coherent spin oscillations," the researchers helpfully explained."

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Source: The Inquirer

It's time for another Fragging Frogs VLAN! Saturday Oct 29 @ 10:00 AM ET - Virtual LAN party #14

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 07:10 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, gaming, fragging frogs

It's time to load up your Flak Cannon, squirrel away a Redeemer, tune up your Rocket car and feed your pet dinosaur because the Fragging Frogs are hosting their 14th VLAN party on the last Saturday of this month.  There will be games, there will be prize giveaways and there will be fun!  If you have attended a VLAN in the past you know the drill but if you have yet to take part in one of these events with the best group of gamers around then you can follow these steps to ensure you have a spot.

  • You must be a registered member at the PCPer forums (register here)
  • You must post to this thread stating your intention to attend the VLAN event
  • You must meet the eligibility requirements (if any) of the individual sponsors below
  • Your shipping address must be in the Continental United States or Canada (for prizes)
  • Lastly, you must join Teamspeak and participate in the VLAN event by playing games with us and having fun !!

You will need to supply your own snacks and beverages so make sure to stock up as the party kicks off at 10AM Eastern and doesn't stop until the last Frog drops, which is often sometime on Sunday.  The games we play are up to you, post suggestions in the thread if you don't see your favourites already listed, if we can find interested bodies we are happy to play anything. 

Prizes are not yet announced but you can expect some great hardware, software and possibly even some interesting collectibles.  Keep your eyes on the thread for more announcements and make sure to thank Lenny for all the effort he puts into organizing these events. 

Join up and have some fun on Saturday, you might just find yourself becoming a regular participant in the Fragging Frogs weekly gaming sessions too!


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Introducing the XG-U2008 switch – 10G networking for only $249

Subject: General Tech, Networking | October 12, 2016 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: asus, XG-U2008, unmanaged switch, 10 gigabit

Planning an upgrade to your network or looking to build one that will last into the next generation of NICs?  ASUS has just made an unmanaged 10 gigabit switch available at a price far below the average asking price of the devices currently on the market.  $250 is still a steep investment for a switch but is less than half of the competitions, albeit without the management features found on those switches.  The LEDs on the front will glow amber if the cable you use is not up to the new standard, otherwise expect green for go.  It will support Jumbo Frames of up to 16 KB just like the more expensive models.  It is a compact 9.44x4.92x1.06", so you should easily be able to find a home for it.  PR below the snazzy product shot, technical details from ASUS here.


Fremont, CA (October 10th, 2016) -- Outside the enterprise market, the transition from Gigabit to 10-Gigabit Ethernet has been rather slow. While there are growing small-business and prosumer demands for the additional bandwidth that 10G networking provides, the cost of entry is high. Until now, the availability of compliant devices has been limited to enterprise-class products that are built with corporate networks in mind, with pricing for 10-Gigabit switches starting at $800. That certainly isn’t expensive by corporate standards, but for the rest of us, it relegates adoption to cases of absolute necessity and the upper echelon of enthusiasts.

While it’s advisable to plan ahead and overprovision your network for scalability, paying extra money for ports or features that you’ll never use doesn’t make sense. So, there’s a clear need for 10G networking devices that are suitably tailored for the small business, prosumer, and enthusiast markets. Cue the ASUS XG-U2008, an unmanaged 10G networking switch available for only $249.99.


The VR Pool game has finally arrived

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: VR, unreal engine 4, pool nation vr, htc vive, gaming

Pool Nation VR for thr HTC Vive is an Unreal Engine 4 game and takes advantage of one of that engine's NVIDIA only features, Multi-Res Shading.  This gives NVIDIA a performance advantage at high settings over AMD, though not so much that the GTX 1060 gets a recommendation from [H]ard|OCP.  Unfortunately, neither thev R9 Fury X nor RX 480 managed decent performance from this game, if you want to shoot VR pool you are looking at a GTX 1070 at the very least.  Check out the full review and hope that mods arrive to make the game more interesting.


"If shooting pool is a passion of yours, then Pool Nation VR should be on your list if you own an HTC Vive. Even if you are not a pool shark, this title will likely lure you in to spending many hours shooting stick. But to make it look stunning, you will need a heavy duty GPU up to the task. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Internet of Things can make you a cup of tea ... in 11 hours or so

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: iot, iKettle

If there is one thing that the IoT excels at, it is making simple things more complex.  It opens up new toaster based DoS attacks and can turn the act of boiling water into a day long activity.  An English software developer had a very interesting time attempting to make his morning cup of tea and being a technically inclined individual he was not about to simply give up; instead he started troubleshooting the issue.  The issue started with the iKettle dropping its connection necessitating the rest of the of the base station for the kettle but escalated to the point it was interfering with the Hadoop cluster he happened to be running in his garage.  The Register captured his debugging trials in the search for a substance that was  almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.  To ensure that there was salt added to his wounds, his Hue decided to perform a firmware update later that evening.


"Our story starts simply enough: a kettle. The iKettle to be precise, an IoT device that is coveted by most INQ writers for reasons they cannot entirely explain."

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Source: The Register

Turn that Note 7 off, it won't work in your Gear VR

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2016 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, recall, gear vr, galaxy note 7

It is official, Samsung has called a halt to production of the Note 7 and not just because it is likely impossible to insure a building in which they are manufactured or stored.  The recall of 2.5 million handsets was damaging to the company and its reputation but the incidents of replacement batteries suffering the same catastrophic failure have spelled the end of this device.  Samsung suggests you immediately power down your device and contact your provider or retailer for a refund or for credit on a different handset.

Ars Technica also spotted a pertinent message on the current update to the Gear VR headset which states that support for the Note 7 has been discontinued and you are no longer able to install the app on a Note 7.  Thankfully there have been no reports of a battery failure while a Note 7 was inside of a Gear VR and this move should prevent that from ever happening.  Expect more statements from Samsung on this topic throughout the week.


"Oculus and Samsung have obviously realized this and has pushed out an update preventing the volatile phone from working with the Gear VR headset."

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Source: Ars Technica

Ubisoft Has Some Games for Free

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2016 - 07:33 AM |
Tagged: ubisoft, pc gaming, free games, free

This has apparently been going on since June, but I just found out that Ubisoft was giving away some of their older titles for free. Like EA's “On the House” promotion, you can keep the title, but only if you add it to your UPlay account before the cut off date. We're just before the change in months, so, for the next few days, you can add The Crew. Then, starting on October 12th, you can pick up the original Beyond Good and Evil for free.


As expected, you will need to have a UPlay account for this to work. Still, it's an otherwise free game, and a cult classic at that. While this promotion is officially for Ubisoft's 30th anniversary, and two games will go free after Beyond Good and Evil, Ubisoft took the opportunity to announce that a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil is being developed. I guess this means that we'll only have a couple more E3s where journalists write top ten “I want to see announced” lists containing Beyond Good and Evil 2. Yet another thing that will probably be released before Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

Source: Ubisoft

Like matte rubber on your mice? Check out the Dream Machines DM1 Pro

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: dream machines, gaming mouse, DM1 Pro

Dream Machines is not a well known brand but do have a line of computer equipment including the newly released DM1 Pro gaming mouse.  The mouse uses a Pmw3310dh optical sensor with DPI ranging from 400 to 5000 and indicates your current setting in a unique way, the colour displayed by the LED indicates the current sensitivity.  There are six buttons present, including the sensitivity toggle, with thumb buttons positioned for right handed users.  Kitguru liked the mouse but were disappointed by the complete lack of software to customize the mouse, take a peek and see what you think.


"The latest mouse to come in for review is the Dream Machines DM1 Pro. A Polish company, you would be forgiven for not having heard of them. However, they supply laptops, speakers and mice so we were pleased to be sent the DM1 Pro mouse. Priced at £39 in the UK, it sports an ambidextrous design and optical sensor – but how does it fare in the real world?"

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Source: Kitguru

Accessorize your Oculus, if you are still interested in the Rift

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: oculus rift

The Rift just got a lot more expensive to set up for those of you who prefer it to the Vive.  The kit has expanded its requirements and prices for those who would like the ability to move around in VR and those who want something more accurate than the basic remote.  To upgrade your remote is $199 and the additional sensor to track your body movement is $79.  While that is not too bad as they are additional features it seems that Oculus had the incredibly bad taste to use a proprietary audio connector.  That means if you want upgraded audio that is receiving from the same source as your video you need to fork over an additional $49.  As The Register points out, this is somewhat more than the originally quoted $350 price tag for a functional VR headset.


"It's bad enough that the basic system costs $599 – almost double the expected price of $350. Today, the Facebook-owned biz revealed a range of accessories that will push its cost even higher."

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Source: The Register