Microsoft's Windows 10 Lowers Requirements For VR

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With Windows 10, Microsoft lowers the requirements for VR capable hardware.
Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At the opposite end of the spectrum to the HTC Vive and other VR hardware that requires high-end PC configurations, the good news is that you won't need a very powerful PC to run VR headsets on Windows 10.

Windows 10 VR Requirements

According to Tech Radar, Microsoft has revealed the PC specifications required for Windows 10 VR headsets on Wednesday night, Dec. 14, at its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China. The company has co-developed the specs for the headsets together with Intel. These gadgets will be able to run on a very affordable PC.

The Windows 10 VR specs call for a minimum of a dual-core with hyperthreading Intel Core i5 mobile processor in case of the presence within the system of a dedicated graphics card. For PCs with only integrated graphics such as Intel HD Graphics 620 (GT2) or better (DX12-capable) it is required at least a Skylake processor or better.

Users of VR headsets under the Windows 10 operating system will also need 100 GB SSD (an SSD is labeled as preferred, but a hard drive is also fine) and 8 GB of system RAM. When it comes to connectivity, it is required a DisplayPort 1.3 with 2880 x 1440 and 90Hz, a HDMI 1.4 or HDMI 2.0 port with 2880 x 1440 and 60Hz.

The PC will also need a Bluetooth 4.0 for accessories and USB 3.0 Type-A or USB 3.1 Type-C port with support for DisplayPort Alternate Mode. Surface Studio is one such example of PC that is VR ready, passing all these requirements.

Contrast With Requirements For HTC Vive And Oculus Rift

Overall, these requirements under Windows 10 are in contrast to the demands of the high-end VR headsets like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. However, users need to be aware that Microsoft's published VR requirements represent only a bare minimum spec that could just ensure running Windows VR stuff. They will likely not be enough for running much more demanding games.

Among the VR hardware supported by Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system are included headsets coming from HP, Acer, Dell, Asus and Lenovo. These VR gadgets expected on the market in 2017 are very much designed with accessibility in mind. This will be reflected in the pricing as well as in the requirements.

Microsoft's Project Evo

With these low VR able PC requirements, Microsoft aims to help virtual reality to reach the mainstream. The company also introduced Project Evo at WinHEC in Shenzhen. According to the company's blog, the project represents a partnership with Intel with the goal to push forward in the field of mixed reality, as well as to make progress with Cortana, AI, advanced security and gaming.

Project Evo aims to bring in a broad range of innovations that will encompass elements such as better defenses against hacking, eSports and game broadcasting, "far-field" voice capabilities and advances in biometrics with Windows Hello.

According to PC World, Microsoft's WinHEC event was paused between 2008 and 2014. Now Microsoft, Intel and the PC manufacturers have started again to actively talk about their shared priorities.

The industry aims to redefine how we interface with computers and the PC's basic intelligence and that's what Project Evo is all about. On the other side, Microsoft and Intel have some virtual reality plans together that might inspire a return to the premium priced PCs.

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