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Since perception of something's worth varies by individual perception, it depends on your personal criteria and needs.

I'm an experienced high end computer owner ,builder, and a novice software engineer, and I've been looking at VR tech for over a year since my newest PC computers supposedly meet the hardware(primarily the CPU, Graphic ,RAM and input port) requirements for full compatibility and smooth operation of the current gen VR systems.

If there is a computer hardware, or software retailer in your area that may be a good place to start looking for a hands on trial in-store. That is where I highly recommend starting .Some Malls have hands on VR stations/cafes/kiosks, and they might also have more info on additional platforms other than PC . I have nothing to offer info  -wise on anything other than the 2 specific computer based solutions & with family entertainment as the intended purpose for use.

I got my first actual hands-on trial at a Best Buy after seeing it on display ,and making a random walk-up request while shopping for other items. I don't know if that was the result of a promotion or coincidentally getting a friendly sales rep, but I got to test the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift right on the spot.As I stated just above, both of those options were with use on my PC computers in mind, so making sure to have a powerful enough computer is the first priority of all if that is the platform you will be using it on.I just happen to be running 6th gen i7 CPUs, ,a sufficient amount of DDR4 Memory, and 1000  series NVidia GPUs in both my desktop (GTX 1080 Graphic Card)  and laptop (GTX 1070 Graphic Card).

Those are, respectively, just slightly below the very best single GPU computer based systems, but that doesn't really line up accurately with what the average computer owner has to run it on, or wants to spend, so it warrants mention.The combined cost is still a bit steep until some of the newest hardware out now is forced to a lower pricing point by future releases.When the combined cost for a sufficient computer, and VR systems w/ peripherals drops closer to $500 than $1000-$1500 combined, and a clear standard direction is established for the technology, I'm 100% going for it 

So it's already worth keeping in mind, IMO if not yet exactly worth risking the money to me..Are you simply intending to introduce students to the VR experience itself , or teaching with some specific form of software  ? You may or may not have difficulty finding abundance of relevant titles/media for your intended use and ultimate choice of hardware.

The concept and technology of VR itself is older ,yet mainstream hardware capable of providing a high quality experience has only recently begun approaching affordability for most people. As a result of the relatively sudden spike in interest over the past 2 or 3 years,, most developers and studios are/have only just recently gotten their feet wet on their first version releases, with other newcomers likely still in some part of the development phase for the near future.The status of both the Vive and the Rift could become quite fluid since no hardware maker has established enough traction to give one insurmountable separation in the general race to a solution that checks the most boxes on what people would want from the technology.For that reason,  I caution against making too large of an investment too soon, until something shows some staying power.That is , unless you have the money to risk and you accept the potential for widely varying quality in the titles of software you can find for each.

After hours of my own research on the subject and after taking weeks to process so much info on dozens of forums,articles, and youtube vids, I didn't find anything ideal by what I expect ,but that could change with the next generation of systems.

For the sake of condensed info on the topic, and in the event you don't have a hands on trial option nearby,Tom's Hardware website, where they cover a lot of different questions related to all things computing has mostly knowledgeable members who have shared more in depth(not to mention more experience based) info than I can possibly provide without having owned any of it myself.

Here is a link to the VR topic portal of that forum:  http://www.tomshardware.com/t/virtual-reality/   You will find the opinions both there , and pretty much everywhere else widely vary as one would expect.The pool of actual owners is quite limited so at some point a leap of faith with the investment you choose to make appears to be inevitable.

Personally I like where it is headed, and the HD quality was good + smooth. Still, due to the feeling of too many ,drawbacks to the tech itself , and too many give and take factors to choose one option above any other, I'm opting to wait to buy any of it until one of the competing companies gains a clear edge to the point their work becomes a new standard to elevate the quality of the entirety of the VR experience from.

For all I know one of the companies currently making VR systems now could supplant the other, or a completely new option could emerge.Until then everyone looking to start into VR right now,is in the same boat on finding and sorting their info ,forming their own opinion and coming to their own conclusion.

I hope you find your info and if any of that does anything to help point you in the direction to find the answers you seek , then I'm happy to have replied to this.

 

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23 hours ago, KoB2011 said:

I've got the cheap ones that come with a phone.  I think it's cool, not sure if a high-end pair would be worth it or not.  What are you trying to accomplish with them? 

I know there are some virtual labs for my chemistry classes, and I know I could find a handful of things for physics.  I guess I'm just curious about the experience of them.  My superintendent is really behind it, so I could probably get $3-4000.  I'd need about 20-25 for a class set.  I know that if I get something that is cheap and feels and looks cheap, the kids will use it once or twice and not care anymore and they'll be basically useless.  However, if the cheaper options are nice and an immersive experience, it would be fantastic to have a classroom set.

 

14 hours ago, jblaz13 said:

Since perception of something's worth varies by individual perception, it depends on your personal criteria and needs.

...

I hope you find your info and if any of that does anything to help point you in the direction to find the answers you seek , then I'm happy to have replied to this.

 

I've seen on Best Buy's website that they offer free demos of them, so I'm going to try to check that out over the weekend.  I'll probably try to go at a time when it isn't busy so I can maybe talk them into letting me try out a bunch of different ones.

I've briefly mulled around the idea of buying the components for a gaming PC to use with the Rift or Vive, and having our Coding Club (which I'm the sponsor of) build it.  The kid who is basically in charge of the club is a huge computer nerd, and his dad works on computers and builds them, so I think we'd be alright with that.  It could be a fun activity for the club, and it would probably save a few bucks.  Haven't really looked into that too much yet.

I'm curious when that drop off in price will happen.  It doesn't seem like there are any middle options between the Vive/Rift and the Google, Samsung, and other low priced alternatives.  Its either a phone + $100 or less for a headset, or about $1500 with the CPU included.  I think at some point someone will need to tap into that in between market.  There are some options that HTC and Google are discussing which would be standalone devices that don't require a phone or a PC.  That would be ideal, but no idea when those might release or what the cost will be.  Tough to wait for it when my boss has already asked me about it 3 times this week!  Hopefully she'll forget about it for a while so I have a little more time.

I guess one of my concerns is that I've never used one, so I have no idea how to do it.  For 360 Youtube videos I'm assuming they can be used on the phone based systems since I opened one on my phone and rotating the phone rotated the screen, but is it the same to view those on the Vive and Rift?  Just open the video on the PC and go to town?  Does the PC show anything while the headset is on?  I'd like it so I could hook it up to a tv/projector and allow everyone to see what is going on too.

I definitely appreciate the info!  It was very helpful!  What are some of the drawbacks that are keeping you from getting one?  I'm definitely going to check out that forum when I get a little time, so thanks for pointing me in that direction!

Edited by Leathernecks
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It's good to hear your ideas for your class and that you were able to manage to get a test set up at Best Buy. Between the jump in quality and cost management,  I definitely see your challenge . You can display the in-software 3rd person view on to an external monitor. Also the people who happened across my own test seemed pretty engaged from what I could hear. I was pretty immersed even with the rep occasionally commenting, and others who walked up commenting.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/358040?snr=1_4_4__132

You nailed the current general public frustration on the head.That lacking middle option is exactly what it comes down to for most right now.I only researched in home use. It seems you're fully aware of your options and thus the larger issue with the market itself. I do know the thought of it leads me to believe there would be a really enticing niche for either HTC or Rift developers to continue their most recently outdated version as a separate product by reworking the firmware and just leaving out the new goodies once they bring out newer hardware. Split their own market into affordability tiers may be the only way to get it under $200 sooner than later. The relatively short life cycle is best spurred by competition so both companies competition to gain an edge on market share is our best bet right now.For that reason the short nature of hardware life cycles may yet pay us dividends should the "leapfrog game" materialize.

Rift and Vive are duking it out for those leading title authors who make software and by means of becoming the feature product on Steam, the Vive is starting to establish a decent lead. This is new information to me, so I felt this length worth bringing up since Steam is in fact the gateway to the mainstream. They have the $ and frequently partner up with Authors to give good bargains. The question is will they now do this with the Vive itself at some point since they officially sponsor it now ... Rift may strike back better, but if not they either accept a similar market bargain status to AMD or go out of business..That business model already works with other electronics, especially in handheld and computing so it is more likelihood than speculation even with this yet to happen.. Hardware makers still sell their slightly outdated products and support them at lower prices ,so my guess is that is what we see next, even if Rift doesn't give up on the cutting edge..

We'll see if that actually happens or if a standalone headset comes along in the mean time. I am keen to your mention of it being in some phase of discussion or preproduction .Not sure how far into either .From  my familiarity of products I have personally owned at some point , I do get the feeling it's a matter of time.  NVidia has a handheld HD streaming in NVidia Shield already and prior to VR they introduced gaming/software 3D Vision, so it isn't a real stretch to work out a stable 3D VR combination of existing technology at all, even right now .I see it being them since they make the cutting edge low lithography  GPUs and they're directly coordinating research with both Rift and Vive since their GPUs operate both on PC..The current generation chip lithography is already pretty low since handhelds have multicore CPUs and increased onboard memory at lower consumption than past less powerful devices. The huge steps in higher computing power in proportion to decreasing size is what makes the current hardware so remarkable already. My laptop and Desktop are a small fraction of the size of most of my past machines with 20x the aggregate computing power.The laptop model I almost bought(Razor Blade Stealth) will be VR ready if it isn't now at  I believe either 11" or 13" and very flat and compact .It always comes back to the cost and the size and power factored together made the price outrageous. I can imagine what adding even more conveniences does with cost.The system with headset only would be groundbreaking itself if it was of sufficient quality. I lack faith that corporate greed would not win out on something of the potential you describe.

A lot of people actually like the VR now, which is why I didn't elaborate on my personal feelings much.I didn't want to come off picturing it too negatively ,since I'm very interested and would buy now if I caught a good bargain (@$250 or less) 

I am personally waiting until they get the motion compensation fine tuned better to make it less dizzying. I felt a little light headed moving while turning my head and when focusing on  some background items .It really has a huge scale feeling and you feel tiny from the point of view inside some VR environments. Considering space is currently an issue it would have taken near perfection for me to rush and try to fit it into my current place. I felt a little dizzy after using both, but in fairness not everyone does. I did read however, that is it commonly reported by those who have tried the current VR. Some say that effect lessens. For some it is a bit too much and when they sell used it is a believable reason for selling.I didn't find that to be a problem,so much as how it limited me in their smallish test area... I felt too aware of the dizzying discomfort since I was already nervous about falling on my face and it makes you alert in the virtual enviro as well, thus watching carefully .Kinda funny how it tricks your brain ,but I really think that got my eyes looking out a bit too much.  .Haha   which is my point on the variance from person to person. It was definitely new for me as things ive tried though and fun for sure !   I'm curious what your own personal experience will bring,so I wont spoil it too far with personal feedback without you having tried it out .. Please leave feedback from that, if you would be so kind. Thank you sir! :) 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jblaz13
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  • 5 weeks later...
On 10/25/2017 at 7:01 AM, jblaz13 said:

I got my first actual hands-on trial at a Best Buy after seeing it on display ,and making a random walk-up request while shopping for other items. I don't know if that was the result of a promotion or coincidentally getting a friendly sales rep, but I got to test the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift right on the spot.As I stated just above, both of those options were with use on my PC computers in mind, so making sure to have a powerful enough computer is the first priority of all if that is the platform you will be using it on.I just happen to be running 6th gen i7 CPUs, ,a sufficient amount of DDR4 Memory, and 1000  series NVidia GPUs in both my desktop (GTX 1080 Graphic Card)  and laptop (GTX 1070 Graphic Card).

Those are, respectively, just slightly below the very best single GPU computer based systems, but that doesn't really line up accurately with what the average computer owner has to run it on, or wants to spend, so it warrants mention.The combined cost is still a bit steep until some of the newest hardware out now is forced to a lower pricing point by future releases.When the combined cost for a sufficient computer, and VR systems w/ peripherals drops closer to $500 than $1000-$1500 combined, and a clear standard direction is established for the technology, I'm 100% going for it 

 

 

Found this really interesting. My son (20) builds his own computers too, has the GTX 1080 Ti in his. He builds mostly to game for fun. I was blown away by how much faster and smoother his home-built is in comparison to our desk tops (and ridiculously better than Xbox One). 

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15 minutes ago, Hoosierhoopster said:

Found this really interesting. My son (20) builds his own computers too, has the GTX 1080 Ti in his. He builds mostly to game for fun. I was blown away by how much faster and smoother his home-built is in comparison to our desk tops (and ridiculously better than Xbox One). 

That's cool your son builds his own too!  The 1080TI is a great GPU.The 1080TI is the best single card option on 4K displays for now. It would be overkill for anything I currently use it for, but that might change soon, so I've been looking at them again, recently.

High end PCs always have that lure of quality and performance.Seeing there is a new Xbox One supposedly selling for up to $800 due to supply not meeting holiday demand, console to PC clearly isn't the big financial jump it once was. It's interesting both the PC and console markets, respectively, are trending towards each other in design. PC's are becoming more compact, and  efficient. Consoles are trending towards more interchangeable components and increased computing power.

 

 

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1 minute ago, jblaz13 said:

That's cool your son builds his own too!  The 1080TI is a great GPU.The 1080TI is the best single card option on 4K displays for now. It would be overkill for anything I currently use it for, but that might change soon, so I've been looking at them again, recently.

High end PCs always have that lure of quality and performance.Seeing there is a new Xbox One supposedly selling for up to $800 due to supply not meeting holiday demand, console to PC clearly isn't the big financial jump it once was. It's interesting both the PC and console markets, respectively, are trending towards each other in design. PC's are becoming more compact, and  efficient. Consoles are trending towards more interchangeable components and increased computing power.

 

 

Yes that's an interesting trend for sure. Right now consoles are behind builds and high end PC's, but to run these multi-player high texture games (Destiny 2, Division, etc.) and to integrate into the general computer marketplace with TVs becoming more and more like to computers with Internet and movie streaming, consoles are moving towards greater functionality and processing power. At some point we're going to see households where the TVs are the computer, integrated fully into home systems and computing with your phone/hand held running everything. And I'm old enough to remember the first Mac Plus, lol 

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