A Look at the HTC Vive: Part 1 - The Costs

A Look at the HTC Vive: Part 1 - The Costs
 
 

As Aladdin once did for Jasmine atop a magic carpet, so to have HTC and Valve done with the Vive - they’ve shown me a whole new world.

Over a couple of articles titled “A Look at the HTC Vive”, I’ll be writing about my initial experiences with the HTC Vive, and where I think both the device, and more importantly Virtual Reality could go, but first, I thought I’d give the NZGamer.com audience an idea of the actual costs involved for an average Kiwi to get into this space.

For those who may not be aware, there’s something of a competition going on within the Virtual Reality space. This has seen several major companies with ridiculously large pockets attempt to bring about the next generation of interactive experiences, and they all seem to be doing an interesting job.

Facebook has purchased and is funding the Kickstarter darling Oculus Rift; Samsung have also teamed up Oculus Rift to bring mobile users the Gear VR; StarVR is being helmed by the crew at Starbreeze; Sony has the Playstation VR coming to market in a few months for the Playstation 4; and finally Valve has teamed up with the Taiwanese tech company HTC Corporation to bring us the HTC Vive - this will be the beast I am talking about.

Back in March, I was among the first groups of people to lay claim to a Vive when official pre-orders for the retail unit began. I didn’t have the cash, and wasn’t quite sure how much it would actually end up costing me, but I knew I wanted to see what this technology had to offer; was it truly as good as so many people had claimed?  I come before you now saying an enthusiastic YES! But, this is really just the beginning (it has flaws).

Let’s go back a bit. Mid-way through last year as we were beginning to see that at least two of these Virtual Reality headsets were going to be available in 2016 - the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, I decided that I would need a machine capable of running them when they’re released. So I set out to put together my current rig.

The recommended minimum system requirements for the HTC Vive are as follows:

  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or better
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-4590/AMD FX™ 8350 equivalent or better
  • RAM: 4 GB or more
  • Video output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB port: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
  • Operating System: Windows® 7 SP1, Windows® 8.1 or later, Windows® 10

Just to be sure I’d be able to see things as well as I could for a sizable, yet affordable amount of money, I figured I’d go a little further. For just under $3480.00 (which included a warranty, setup, OS configuration, and secure delivery) I put together a machine that I hoped would get the job done (and it does quite nicely):

  • CASE: NZXT H440 Mid Tower Case - Razer Special Edition
  • MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming Intel Z170, DDR4, ATX, LGA1151 Motherboard
  • COOLING: Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler with NF-F12 PWM
  • STORAGE: Intel 535 Series 240GB 2.5" 6Gbps NAND Flash SSD OEM (SSDSC2BW240H601)
  • GPU: Gigabyte GV-N98TD5-6GD-B GeForce GTX980TI 6GB GDDR5 PCI-E3.0
  • CPU: Intel Skylake Core i5-6600K 3.50Ghz
  • RAM: Corsair CMK16GX4M2A2666C16 Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2666 CL16
  • POWER: CoolerMaster VS-Series V750S 750W Modular Power Supply 80PLUS Gold
  • OS: Windows® 10 Pro 64-Bit

It’s no hardcore, elite gaming rig, but it’s a damn fine machine for me. Throw another 980TI in there - or maybe pick up one of the newly announced 1080TIs, and it’ll be 4k ready… What can I say, one can dream.

For those wondering, if you’re looking for a new PC that’s compatible with the tech, you can check out the Vive Optimized PCs from HP, Alienware, and MSI that are linked on HTC’s website. However, I suggest you look around at your local or NZ online PC stores - who knows, you may find a decent build, or the few parts you need to upgrade in order to get you going at a fraction of what I paid, or what the pre-built models cost.

Continue reading on page 2.





 

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Comments Comments (12)

 
Posted by toner
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 3:29 PM
3
Great read. I feel like I'd need a second mortgage to get a PC and Vive.... and I won't regret it for a minute.
 
 
 
Posted by LukeB
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 3:32 PM
3
17 May 2016, 03:29 PM Reply to toner
Great read. I feel like I'd need a second mortgage to get a PC and Vive.... and I won't regret it for a minute.
I'm actually still paying off my PC (as part of a much larger loan), but the Vive I've completely paid for - just took a few months of being A LOT more frugal than I'd rather be :P
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 4:41 PM
1
Hahaha I stayed after Aladdin and Jasmine. And then I found Mark Watney.
Excellent excellent Mr Smithers.

Ew is that a Razer box?
 
 
 
Posted by LukeB
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 5:09 PM
1
17 May 2016, 04:41 PM Reply to Bank
Hahaha I stayed after Aladdin and Jasmine. And then I found Mark Watney.
Excellent excellent Mr Smithers.

Ew is that a Razer box?
It is indeed a Razer case that I chose to house my PC's innards, but it's not a Razer branded PC :)
 
 
 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 6:57 PM
2
Man, I think I'll just wait for PS VR, seems A LOT more straightforward lol Excellent read, had absolutely NO idea on the cost of these things and how much trouble you have to go through just to get them here and set them up. Thanks for this Luke, very informative and highly entertaining :-)
 
 
 
Posted by BlakeyNZ
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 6:57 PM
1
Great read and real eye opener!
While I would LOVE to have a go on one I cant help as though I wouldnt move my head in fear it would fall off.
Really looking forward to reading the other articles as I'd love to compare it to my Gear VR
 
 
 
Posted by predatorhunter
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 11:05 PM
1
Well figured it would cost lots. Good thing i have no plans on stepping into the VR realm. Couldnt afford ut anyway.
 
 
 
Posted by Goonertron
On Tuesday 17 May 2016 11:53 PM
4
It seems the HTC Vive completely killed the Oculus Rift in the PC space. Watching streams is way more entertaining with people playing the vive they are moving around the room, crouching behind cover and holding up the controllers like guns. Where as the Oculus is just a dude sitting in a seat with a Xbox controller.

Looks like Oculus will make way more money in the mobile space with GearVR.
 
 
 
Posted by guido
On Wednesday 18 May 2016 10:33 AM
3
Great write up thanks! Sure shows you need to have large piles of cash lying around if you want to get into the VR game currently! :-D

Sony are really going to expand the VR market in a big way which will be to the benefit of all players as it will massively increase the sales potential for cross platform titles. For less than the cost of the Vive headset alone (especially when count up all the "hidden" costs) you can get a PS4 (Neo?), PS VR, camera and Move controllers! I have no doubt the Vive will provide a superior VR experience but I'm equally sure that PS VR will be more than good enough for the average person who wants to experience virtual reality on a reduced budget.
 
 
 
Posted by CoffeeAddict
On Wednesday 18 May 2016 10:23 PM
2
Wow and I thought getting the PSVR is expensive. This really is an eye opener. Could not avoid any other option than the PSVR.
 
 
 
stutank
Posted by stutank
On Thursday 19 May 2016 10:35 AM
1
Cheaper to buy a gtx 1080 and stay with normal gaming. I bought a vr holder for my phone and thought the experience was pretty cool. Also the wife would probably disapprove of the anti-social nature of VR gaming.
 
 
 
Posted by LukeB
On Thursday 19 May 2016 1:36 PM
1
19 May 2016, 10:35 AM Reply to stutank
Cheaper to buy a gtx 1080 and stay with normal gaming. I bought a vr holder for my phone and thought the experience was pretty cool. Also the wife would probably disapprove of the anti-social nature of VR gaming.
Glad you enjoyed the mobile VR experience. I've yet to try it myself, but I hear it's pretty cool.

Depending on the rest of your machine, getting a 1080 would certainly be a good option for upgrading your machine, and would most likely make your machine more than ready for VR (should you one dey decide to upgrade).

And as far as your wife's possible disapproval VR gaming, what the player is looking at can be seen in a window on the desktop, and are a few games that allow non-headset wearing people to play with them (like "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes"), or titles that allow VR-players to play with one another (like the multiplayer game "Hover Junkers"). But I would also say it's a technology that should be experienced before completely dismissing, or calling anti-social, and as everything in life, it should be used in moderation :)

Thanks for the comment :)