VR Gaming And Its Importance In A Gaming Laptop
Last Updated on by Segun Ayo
Have you heard of VR gaming? If you have, you might be inquisitive about if you can use it on a gaming laptop. Well, if that is right, then you’ve stumbled on the right review. We would be looking at VR gaming and its importance in a gaming laptop. If you are interested in finding out, you should read through this guide.
What is Virtual reality (VR)
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games) and education (e.g. medical or military training). Other distinct types of VR-style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR.
One may distinguish between two types of VR; immersive VR and text-based networked VR (also known as “Cyberspace”). The immersive VR changes your view when you move your head. While both VRs are appropriate for training, Cyberspace is preferred for distance learning. In some cases, these two types are even complementary to each other. This page mainly focuses on immersive VR.
Currently, standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds, and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items.
The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology.
Virtual reality games can be played on standalone systems, specialized game consoles, or using advanced laptops and PCs that can power the leading VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Lenovo Mirage Solo.
There are subsets of virtual reality gaming that use related technologies called augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), where virtual elements are placed into the player’s real-world as viewed through a headset or camera. Lenovo Explorer uses the Windows Mixed Reality platform which, though still quite VR-focused, introduces new AR and MR experiences.
Different types of VR games
There are individual virtual reality games and multi-player, online virtual reality games. Some VR games (which for purposes of this FAQ include games based on VR, AR, and/or MR) place players in physical combat environments, while others involve less confrontational pursuits, such as auto racing and acrobatic flying. Other VR games challenge players – either alone or with others – to solve problems, move objects, or explore new places.
VR gaming laptops and VR-ready gaming towers are widely popular platforms, but there are different kinds of VR gaming depending on the type of computing device being used:
- VR Games on Pcs and Laptops: Games played on high-end computers provide the most detailed virtual environments and game options. Popular VR headsets for PCs and laptops in late 2018 include Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and our own Lenovo VR headset, Lenovo Explorer.
- VR Games on Game Consoles: These games are similar to those played on PCs but work only with game consoles from specific manufacturers. A leading example is the PlayStation VR headset/platform.
- VR Games on Smartphones: For mobile VR gaming, smartphone manufacturers are introducing their own headsets, controllers, and games (VR, AR, and MR). One such headset/platform is the Gear VR.
There are also standalone VR products like the Mirage Solo, which provides less detailed, but still entertaining VR gaming experiences.
So, a VR-ready gaming system must be able to receive and process data from multiple input sources and render it in real-time for gameplay. This means greater system requirements, versus a standard gaming computer.
Virtual Reality Gaming Accessories
The thrill of VR gaming comes from its first-person viewpoint and each player’s ability to manipulate the virtual environment. Unlike regular video games where the perspective is typically from behind and/or slightly above the player’s character, VR gamers often feel like they’re seeing the action directly from their character’s eyes.
This unique perspective and playability are primarily achieved using the advanced VR headsets or goggles that are part of nearly every VR gaming experience. For additional input and control, a variety of add-on devices may be used to translate the player’s real-life movements into on-screen action.
Here are some typical VR gaming devices and peripherals:
- VR Gaming Headsets & Goggles:
The most important VR gaming accessory is the one you wear on your head to immerse yourself in the game. The headsets/goggles category is expanding rapidly. Products range from high-end, motion-control VR headsets that capture and transmit your full head and eye movements, to more simple VR goggles that merely display the simulated 3D game environment.
- VR Game Controllers:
A VR controller translates your physical actions into game performance. Like traditional video games, most VR games utilize some kind of hand-based controller (joystick, gamepad, or even gloves) for pointing, firing, and sending commands. More advanced VR games also use a motion detector/controller to sense your real-life activities (walking, throwing, and so on) and recreate them within the game.
- VR Gaming Gloves:
Sensor-equipped VR gaming gloves have enabled a new level of detail in today’s newest VR games. Whereas VR motion detectors can sense broad, whole-body movements, VR gloves enable the detection of minute hand and finger movements, allowing developers to create a new generation of VR games that ask players to pick up small items, grasp and carry objects, and so on.
Can I Run VR on my PC or Laptop?
Not every laptop is suitable for playing VR games. When a laptop meets at least the following requirements, you can be sure that it is suitable for VR.
There are three main components that determine whether a computer is VR-ready: processor (CPU), graphic video card (GPU), and random access memory (RAM). Let’s walk through each one of them.
GPU VR Requirements for Running VR
The demands on GPU are particularly high because it has to render two displays to create a VR experience, one for each of your eyes. Add to that a much higher render resolution for VR apps and you’ll get the idea why an average graphic processor may not be enough.
We recommend purchasing at least a minimum recommended GPU to ensure a consistent 90+ FPS rate. A cheaper GPU might handle VR apps, but the lower FPS may cause nausea.
CPU Requirements for Running VR
Generally, most of the processors with four or more processors (Quad-Core) are recommended for enough computational power. Below are the minimum CPU requirements for the majority of VR headsets including HTC, Oculus, and Valve.
- Minimum CPU requirement for all models: Intel i5-4590 or greater [benchmark 1600+]
- Alternatives: AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 2200GE, AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE, AMD FX 8350 or better
RAM Requirements for Running VR
The majority of VR headsets require at least 8 GB of RAM. The only exception is HTC Vive Pro and HTC Vive Pro Eye that can run with just 4 GB. HTC Vive Cosmos also requires 8 GB+ RAM.
How To Easily Check If Your Current PC Is VR-Ready
Instead of relying on writing performance statistics, use a software test to determine whether your system is powerful enough. Download and use SteamVR Performance Test from the Steam store. The tool will automatically measure your system’s rendering powers using a 2-minute VR demo.
With this tool, you can easily determine whether your PC is capable of running VR smoothly at 90 FPS or whether any upgrades are necessary to your GPU, CPU, or both.
SteamVR Performance Test will identify your hardware and return a score based graph. This way you will know whether your desktop is good enough or whether you need to upgrade or even replace your computer system.
System Requirements For Different VR Headsets
System requirements for computers to support high-end VR headsets are more or less the same. The difference usually comes down to RAM requirements and in some cases, interfaces for the US.
At the same time, Pimax 8K headsets require roughly 2.5x more graphics power than Vive and Rift headsets due to a twice higher resolution.
What else should you keep in mind?
In addition to a video card, your laptop also needs enough ports to connect VR glasses. To connect the Oculus Rift, for example, you need 3 USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port. For the HTC Vive, you only need an HDMI and a USB 3.0 port. An Intel Core i7 video card and sufficient RAM for an optimal VR experience on your laptop are also important.
Improved VR Gaming on Desktops or Laptops
VR gaming will continue to improve as new technologies like eye-tracking and curved screens for more natural viewing angles come to fruition. In the meantime, the present VR ecosystem has plenty to offer. Whether you want to play the latest VR games portably on a laptop or on a desktop PC for VR in a dedicated VR room, VR has never been more accessible. However, you choose to explore VR, make sure your hardware can support the experience.
Knowing the requirements of your gaming laptops with regards to VR gaming is necessary. This would give you an idea of what to look for when getting a gaming laptop, and also a VR. We hope this review was helpful.