Hardwere

Games

First look and Performance Tests in Sky Sanctuary

First look and Performance Tests in Sky Sanctuary In this weeks video I take a look at Sky Sanctuary its a Samurai training simulator available now on steam for the HTC Vive The creator Glitchr Studio have created a futuristic Shinto shrine type of environment (Red Japanese temple/castle) where you will learn the ways of the Samurai you will be trained with the Katana (traditionally Japanese swords) and the Yumi (Japanese Bow) you also get to play with throwing stars smoke grenades fireworks and play Japanese style drums.   Video and Tests We recorded the Sky Sanctuary Video using the MSI Aegis TI  and also tested the MSI GE62VR and Budget PC with the RX-480 and used the Frame timing data to show you how all 3 stack up. CPU Performance Sky Sanctuary is an open map Sandbox game and due to the size of the map is extremely CPU instinctive I found on lower end VR PC’s like the GE62VR  and our budget PC  CPU performance was off the scale and the budget PC was unplayable due to the lack of Asynchronous reprojection for AMD GPU’s that will all change with the next Driver update from AMD and we look forward to testing it out. The GTX 1060 in the GE62VR made Sky Sanctuary playable but frustrating as it often miscalculated the tracker position but I was able to break the world record for one of the Katana tests that took over an hour to complete I only ended up failing due to fatigue.       More than combat. You get more than Archery and Sward fighting mini games in Sky Sanctuary you also get to shoot off fireworks and play drums and just mess around in this futuristic Shinto shrine type environment Little floating droids will guide you on your journey and even be a target dummy for you but you may end up pissing them off… It’s not all ridged combat training the developers have added a comical element to it in the form of chicken shooting. who said chickens cant fly? all they need is a cannon to be shot out of!    If you have a VR PC that can handle it head on over to steam now!

Games

Kyle Bennett from Hard-OCP introduces INSIDE VR

Long time friend and editor of Hard OCP Kyle Bennett took to the stage at AMD’s Capsaicin & Cream Event at GDC 1017 ti introduce his new Digatal TV series INSIDE VR. Kyle and I have been talking about VR and the HTC Vive from day one of the Vive hitting the market. It was Kyle that gave me the final push to jump on board the HTC Vive train back in may last year. I have lost count of the amount of beers and fun times I have had with Kyle over the years and he is always the first guy to try somthing new whether it be holding a bunch of balloons next to a huge fan at oktoberfest or cutting a hole in a beige PC case in 1999 to keep it cool when overclocking Kyle is your man! Hard OCP and EDGETV‘s INSIDE VR will take you behind the scene of VR with Developer tips Game and tech news and community reactions. Game Developers will also give you VR game tips to give you the edge when playing the latest VR game.   In the trailer for Inside VR we see Darrel a Delivery Driver Playing Space Pirate Trainer while the guys at Inside VR monitor his heart rate with a live graph on the screen.     Watch the full clip below and keep an eye on Hard OCP for the latest news on INSIDE VR  

Hardwere

AMD to get Asynchronous reprojection in next Driver update.

It has taken a while but AMD just announced that Asynchronous Reprojection will be included in the next Radeon Crimson drivers.   Asynchronous reprojection HTC Vive now also has asynchronous reprojection if you have an Nvidia GPU AND Now AMD GPUs With the next driver update. A red line will  appear when the system enters asynchronous reprojection but it will be at the bottom of the frame data window and you will also get a white line in the CPU window.The idea is to maintain smooth motion on head orientation when the framerate drops below 90fps. With asynchronous reprojection, a slight drop in performance will not trigger the halving of frame rate that you get with interleaved reprojection, instead picking up the previous frame and displaying it again, shifted to match the updated orientation data. The overall result is a major improvement to smoothness and comfort, as situations where frame rate is fluctuating just below 90fps are very common. It has also eliminated dropped frames. In our tests even crazy settings only increases the amount of asynchronous reprojection and we have not yet seen any dropped frames when using asynchronous reprojection. But what this means is although we can run everything at max setting, even with the GTX 1060 and now the RX-480 in a budget PC, what happens is we end up seeing the same frame over and over. During a non VR game experience if you put the settings up to max but your PC can’t handle it, you get a really low frame rate. With VR gaming, and asynchronous reprojection, if you put the settings up to max and your PC can’t handle it then you will just get lots of asynchronous reprojection time and that equals lots of repeated frames. That reduces the visual quality in the heads up display. The higher the amount of asynchronous reprojection, the lower the visual quality. So you have to find a balance between quality settings and GPU/CPU delay. You want to spend as little time in asynchronous reprojection as you can. I find that if I use settings that are too high it gives me a headache after about 15 minutes. It’s like I have to focus my eyes harder and things look blurry. You do get a better output to the companion window (on the desktop, not what you see as you game) but that’s not where you want it. It’s as pointless as using the companion window to test your FPS. AMD RX 480’s will now support asynchronous reprojection with the next Radeon Crimson driver update of  so we all can say goodbye to doped frames!

RX580 Benchmarks Hardwere

GDC 2017: Summer of Radeon Sneak Peek RX580 benchmarks

As I work on tests showing how AMD have fallen so far behind in VR due to the lack of Asynchronous reprojection we get a sneak peek at RX580 Benchmarks and  we get this news from AMD: Capsaicin Livestream “Capsaicin is the legendary component in chili peppers that adds that indescribably addictive kick to spicy foods. It elevates your favorite meal and propels your taste buds into overdrive. We love Capsaicin because it reminds us of the magic that game and VR developers craft every day when they turn raw code into exciting, memorable and addicting experiences. On February 28, kick off your GDC with an exclusive glimpse into the Summer of Radeon and beyond! Our feature-packed show will be highlighted by the hottest new graphics and VR technologies propelling the game industry forward – with previews of the summer’s hottest PC games and VR experiences from the biggest names in the business. AMD’s Capsaicin Livestream kicks off at 10:30AM PT and you won’t want to miss it. Be sure to come back here for the livestream.” I was told by AMD a month ago that somthing was coming to fix the lack of  Asynchronous in VR but will it be a fix for current RX480’s or will we have to upgrade to RX580? We will find out in less than a day! I hope I will be putting my RX480 back in my budget PC RX580 Benchmarks Benchmarks have leaked out for the RX580 and RX560 and it looks to be about %15 faster than the RX480 the RX580 Benchmarks were posted online by someone who is believed to  work for AMD in India. Is this a RX580 Benchmarks or is it an overclocked RX480? We might find out next week I will be up at 5:30AM my time to see if the RX580 Benchmarks are real and if I need to upgrade my RX480.

VR laptop , MSI GT73VR 7RE TITAN SLI Games

Enthusiast level VR laptop with MSI’s GT73VR 7RE TITAN SLI

First look at MSI’s GT73VR 7RE TITAN SLI When MSI told me they had a new VR Laptop for me to look at, that was boasting the new Kaby Lake i7 7820HK, I was expecting the new GE62VR 7RF. After our look at the GE62VR 6RF I was excited to see what Intel’s latest i7 could do to improve the VR Laptop experience with the HTC Vive. But the box that showed up on my doorstep was bigger, a lot bigger! It was the GT73VR 7RE TITAN SLI, one of MSI’s top of the line desktop replacement VR laptop. Let’s have a look at it:   GT73VR 7RE TITAN SLI Specifications 7th Gen. Intel Core i7 7820HK processor Chipset Intel HM175 Intel CM238 Windows 10 Pro GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 SLI with ultra performance DDR4-2400, 4 Slots, with 32GB installed (Max 64GB) 17.3″ Full HD (1920×1080), 120 Hz Refresh Rate and 5ms response time panel Exclusive Cooler Boost Titan Technology The X Boost function from MSI technology supports faster storage access speed. Dragon Center provides six functions to get a total control of your personal computer 512GB SSD’s in Exclusive Super RAID 4 (Dual NVMe M.2 SSDs by PCIe Gen3 X4 in RAID 0) 1TB 7200RPM 2.5″ SATA HDD Thunderbolt™ 3 supporting 40Gbps ultra speed data transfer rate, 4K@60Hz monitor output, and portable charging power up to 5V/3A with USB Type-C universal plug Easy Overclocking with MSI SHIFT Technology by Dragon Center Exclusive ESS SABRE HiFi DAC for lossless, high-quality audio Nahimic 2 Sound Technology delivering 360⁰ immersive audio experience Sound by Dynaudio system True Color Technology for increased color contrast and greater image detail Keyboard by Steelseries with full color backlighting SteelSeries Engine 3 with GameSense to personalize your play style Exclusive Silver Lining Printed keys Killer DoubleShot Pro (Killer Gb LAN + Killer 802.11 a/c WiFi) with Smart Teaming Upgraded Killer Gigabit LAN Controller with Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 and Killer Shield Matrix Display supporting surround mode and 4K output up to 3 external monitors Brushed-metal lid and aesthetics line design imprinted with MSI iconic Dragon Tattoo, unleashing the true dragon gaming soul Dimension (WxDxH) 428 x 287 x 24~49 mm Weight (w/ Battery) 4.14 kg  2x 230W AC Adapters (Weight 2.1 kg)   So as you can see this is an extreme-end laptop. It’s not just an SSD it’s 2 512GB SSDs in RAID. It’s not just one gaming GTX 1070, it’s SLi GTX 1070s. I had 4 days to play around with the Titan and I installed lots of VR games and spent about 10 hours experiencing the performance in VR. It’s a no brainer that the GT73VR tromped all over our Budget VR PC and even the GE62VR but is the price gap worth it?

Hardwere

MSI Press Release VR Laptop with the Latest 7th Gen Intel i7

VR Laptop with the latest 7th Gen i7 I’m Excited to get my hands on the new VR Laptop GE62VR and GE72VR with the latest 7th Gen i7 from MSI after seeing our tests on the VR Laptop  GE62VR  you can understand why! This is the latest Press Release from MSI. But if you’re not looking for VR MSI has you covered with the GTX 1050Ti/1050 GPU’s . I’m in the middle of testing the MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X in out Budget PC and it’s looking good! Back to Testing for me! MSI Press Release MSI is Bringing You the Latest GE72 and GE62 with 7th Gen. Intel® Core i7 Platform and New GeForce® GTX 1050Ti/1050 to Reach New Heights for Smoother and Faster Performance Gaming. New CPU, New Improvements, New Heights [Taipei, Taiwan] MSI GE series always gives plenty of gaming features for gamers to enhance their gaming experience, unlike many others notebooks that only compete in specs. With the new Intel® 7th Generation Core i7 CPU, codename Kaby Lake, gamers are expected to experience up to 15% in CPU performance boost, stronger VR gaming, 4K gaming and 4K video transcoding.  Added with the latest GeForce® GTX 1050Ti/1050, gamers can expect their notebook to actually run triple A titles like never before. In CES 2017, MSI will be launching its GE72MVR, GE62MVR, GE72VR, GE62VR, GE72 and GE62 series into the market; moving forward together with Intel and nVIDIA for all users who desire better gaming experience and smoother 4K video experience in early 2017.   Just what improvements are we expecting from the new CPU? -increased arithmetic processing, -4K Video, Multimedia -4Ktranscoding Three of the four specified fields(arithmetic, 4K, multimedia) are practically used in everyday operation for most PC users. Increased performance translates to faster response, operate heavier workload, as well as operate multiple heavy-loading applications simultaneously. With that being said, this welcoming enhancement greatly benefits all fields; including casual, professional, and gaming applications; giving them a more snappy responses from MSI notebooks. Read on here:

Games

Budget GPU Test: Serious Sam VR the First Encounter – AMD vs NVIDIA

Serious Sam VR the First Encounter is like a perfectly restored classic muscle car that has all the features you love and includes modern performance enhancements and creature comforts. We Benchmark this diehard FPS on two Budget GPUs, the AMD-RX-480 and the NVIDIA GTX 1060 on the HTC Vive. Serious Sam the First Encounter (SSTFE) was originally released in 2001 by Croteam as a demonstrator for their engine. It was priced at less that half of other FPS games of that time to help it achieve market saturation and it worked. It was a staple disk to have in your LAN party CD folder. SSTFE was an instant hit and I have spent hundreds of hours playing solo, deathmatch and co-op, eating pizza and drinking beer to all hours of the morning. It was the game that you started up just as the LAN party was fading out at 1 or 2am and the last standing 4 gamers got a new wind of excitement as they joined forces to fight untold evils together. It always started as one quick last game and for the new unsuspecting gamers who thought bed was thirty minutes away, they found themselves trapped in an epic battle with the last four gamers for the next four hours. Fast forward 15 years and we now have a full offical port of SSTFE into VR.  Serious Sam VR the First Encounter is not like other VR hacks of old games such as Doom and Portal. This is an official remake with well thought out settings for graphics, interface and movement. It’s like someone gave Serious Sam to West Coast Customs and they handed back a restored masterpiece!

HTC Vive 2, CES 2017, Vive Accessories, Hardwere

HTC Upgrading the Vive with 2 new Accessories at CES 2017

Some thought that we might see a HTC Vive 2 at CES and if we did I would have been shocked and I’m glad the HTC squash the rumors but with today’s announcement  HTC Vive is starting CES 2017 with a bang introducing two new accessories and new services that is a way is giving us a new Vive Experience. Good news for us Vive owners comes in the way of upgrades to our current Vives,  available in Q2 2017, the Vive Tracker and Vive Deluxe Audio Strap are all new accessories that will improve your Vive experience, not to forget the KwikVR  and TPCAST  wireless accessories available this year. The Vive Tracker, available in Q2 this year, let’s you add motion tracking all sorts of new items like baseball bats guns and gloves and we cannot see that causing destruction in anyone’s home Nooo…  The Tracker weighs just under three ounces (90g) and is 99.65mm (Diameter) x 42.27mm (Height). The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap  with adjustable headphones, elimates one more nuisance I have with the Vive for I am forever catching my headphon cord when I try to get an arrow out of my back quiver or get my backpack .   The headstrap features integrated headphones and a new customizable sizing dial for quickly adjusting the fit  The Deluxe Audio Strap will also be available in Q2. Pricing for both the Tracker and Deluxe Audio Strap will be announced by HTC soon.  

Hardwere

Scalable Graphics KwikVR Cutting the VR cord at CES With HTC Vive wireless

A 2nd company had entered the HTC Vive wireless market to free VR user from the tether the first on the scene was TPCAST and now we have Scalable Graphics KwikVR . The KwikVR will début at CES next week. I don’t know how well any wireless solution will work with current hardware given the ” under 12 ms” times this might be fine for slow-moving experiences but jump into any fast FPS game and it might be like the video/audio is just a bit out of sinc. I do notice a slight sluggish in games that are GPU capped at 14ms but you do just live with it. the Question is, will the 12ms + 4ms to 14ms from your GPU  be too much of a burden? Or will cutting the cables be worth it?

Can you VR on a Laptop? Evaluating the MSI GE62VR, Benchmark, Test, HTC Vive, Games

Can you VR on a Laptop? Evaluating the MSI GE62VR

Can you VR on a Laptop ? To find out we are Evaluating the MSI GE62VR, a month ago I got to meet MSI at Pax Australia and on the MSI booth I had a nice long chat with Ivy Hsu from MSI who was excited to show me the latest MSI range of VR laptops – some sleek and some desktop replacements. I was curious as to how well a laptop can handle some of the games available on Steam for the HTC Vive. After spending 2 months using a budget PC for all my VR needs I wanted to know if a laptop could really handle it. Ivy was kind enough to send me the GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro for a month of testing. The  GE62VR is one of many VR ready laptops from MSI and it’s a true mobile laptop with a weight of just 2.4 kg. That’s just over double the weight of my Surface 3 in its protective case. It’s way lighter than any performance laptop I have ever had the pleasure of using. Let’s have a look at the full specs:

Games

Budget VR PC Test: Final Approach VR

Next up in our Budget VR PC Test we are looking at Final Approach VR, a game I got on sale a month ago and for some reason did not play for over a month. The videos and screenshots on Steam do not do this game justice. It’s way more fun and in depth than I ever thought from the info on the Steam store page. The story is hours long and mixes things up to keep it interesting. You get to do everything from landing planes and helicopters to sorting luggage and shooting down jets with a 50cal and missile launcher. But with all this going on can our Budget PC handle it? Is the MSI RX-480 up to the task?

Games

Budget PC Test Island 359

When I first watched the trailer for Island 359 I was excited, the idea of hunting dinosaurs from my own home in VR gave me a big smale then I thought about it and started to worry if my AMD RX-480 was up to it.  So I lashed out and got it worst case would be that I would have to run it on low setting right?