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Ah, Virtual Reality, VR, the closest we’ll ever get to a holodeck[i]. But if you’re like me, your hobbies tend to outweigh your checkbook, especially when it comes to technology. The good news is, you can build a PC that is capable of running VR, offers tons of features, looks great, and only costs around $650[ii],[iii], thus enabling you to dive into VR without breaking the bank. (Well, at least
not too much).

 

If you’re already bored and tired of reading then check out this video. If you have a general dislike for product videos that tend to take too long to get the point, (thank goodness for YouTube speed settings[iv]) read on below!

 

 

 

Testing VR performance is in its infancy, and utilities like FRAPS only measure the refresh rate of the mirrored window on your desktop, not the smoothness of the experience in the head-mounted display. Because of this, we tested the system the way you would: we turned it on and played a wide variety of game titles on it. We enjoyed excellent, playable VR experiences and
we were never disappointed when playing games like Elite Dangerous, Google Tiltbrush, Vanishing Realms, Hordez, Surgeon Simulator, and Space Pirate Trainer.

 

The ingredients:

  • We started with an AMD FX™ 6350 CPU ($126.50). The processor does an excellent job on nearly all VR titles, and in addition, DX12 enabled games can take advantage of the six cores. It comes with our new stock cooler, the Wraith, to help keep the system cool and quiet. You may see a compatibility warning pop up when using an Oculus Rift headset, but this is nothing to worry about – know that our CPU validation efforts with Oculus are underway!
  • For graphics, we’re using the 4GB version of the Radeon™ RX 480 graphics card ($199.99). It’s an ideal match of price to performance providing VR capability starting at SEP $199 USD, the
    most affordable solution for premium VR on the market today.
  • Our motherboard is the Gigabyte GA-970-Gaming-SLI ($98.99). This board is great for this system as it offers tons of features including USB 3.1 & 3.0 ports, which are crucial for supporting all the devices you need for VR. In addition, this board includes reinforced PCIe® slots, integrated lighting and is ready for M.2 storage.
  • Our case is the Corsair Spec Alpha ($64.99) which looks fantastic, is super easy to build with, comes with three case fans and is available in a few different color options. Note, pricing may vary based on color.
  • We’re using 8GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 memory ($38.99).
  • A Corsair CXM 550W Bronze Power Supply ($59.99).
  • And a Corsair Force LE 240GB solid state drive ($58.99).

 

In total that’s $649.34! Not too shabby for a PC that played VR for us just fine, as well as games, movies, just about anything you need. So what do you think? Are you jumping on the VR bandwagon? Would you use different parts? Let me know in the comments.

 

 


[i] At least in the next 12-18 months

[ii] Prices change and sales happen so this price may be higher or lower right now. These prices were current as of July 12th, 2016 from PCPartPicker.com and Newegg.com..

[iii] Price does not include keyboard, mouse, monitor, VR hardware (like a headset) or any software

[iv] https://www.google.com/?ion=1&espv=2#q=playback+speed+of+a+youtube+video

 

System configuration as tested: FX 6350, 4GB Radeon™ RX 480 GPU, 2x4GB DDR3-1866, 240GB SSD, Driver 16.7.2, Windows 10

 

CAUTION: INSTALLATION AND SERVICING OF COMPUTER COMPONENTS, AND CREATING CUSTOMIZED COMPUTER MODS CAN BE HAZARDOUS. ONLY TRAINED, QUALIFIED PERSONNEL SHOULD INSTALL, REPAIR OR SERVICE COMPUTER COMPONENTS OR CREATE CUSTOMIZED MODS. PLEASE ENSURE THAT BEFORE WORKING ON COMPUTER COMPONENTS THAT THE COMPUTER IS UNPLUGGED AND THAT ALL COMPONENTS HAVE BEEN FULLY DISCHARGED. BE SURE TO GROUND YOURSELF BEFORE TOUCHING SENSITIVE COMPONENTS WHICH CAN BE DAMAGED BY STATIC DISCHARGE. FAILURE TO EXERCISE APPROPRIATE CAUTION CAN RESULT IN SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY AND/OR DAMAGE TO COMPUTER COMPONENTS. AMD MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENTS OF THIS VIDEO AND ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INACCURACIES, ERRORS OR OMISSIONS THT MAY APPEAR IN THIS VIDEO. AMD SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT WILL AMD BE LIABLE TO ANY PERSON FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL OR OTHER CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING FROM THE USE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN, EVEN IF AMD IS EXPRESSLY ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. GD-73

 

Use of third party marks / products is for informational purposes only and no endorsement of or by AMD is intended or implied.

 

©2016 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.  All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, Radeon, and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Other product names used in this publication are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective companies.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided™ launched globally today, by developers Eidos Montreal and Square Enix.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided™, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution®, builds on the franchise’s trademark choice and consequence, plus action-RPG based gameplay, to create both a memorable and highly immersive experience.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided™ delivers enhanced visual fidelity through PureHair™ technology, Eidos Montreal’s and Square Enix’s hair simulation solution created in collaboration with AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group.

 

PureHair™ is an amazing example of what happens when you provide a talented developer with complete and open access to a 3D graphics effect like AMD’s TressFX Hair: they can reference it, modify it, and improve it to reflect their artistic vision.

 

Jensen_trenchcoat

 

Building on the massively-parallel processing capabilities of AMD TressFX Hair, Graphics Core Next (GCN) and Polaris architectures, PureHair™ integrates a life-like realism to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s™ characters’ hair without compromising on performance.

 

Performance Chart

 

Pick up a 6- or 8-core AMD FX™ processor and receive a free Deus Ex: Mankind DividedTM game code (Check out the terms and conditions here)!

 

deus ex - cpu bundle

 

1 Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of August 19th, 2016 on the AMD Radeon™ 8GB Radeon RX 480 and Nvidia 6GB GTX 1060 FE, on a test system comprising Intel i7 5960X CPU, 16GB DDR4-2666 Mhz system memory, Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver 16.8.3, GeForce Experience 372.54 WHQL and Windows 10 x64 using the game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the high preset. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. At 1920x1080, GeForce Experience 372.54 WHQL and Nvidia 6GB GTX 1060 FE running Deus Ex: Mankind Divided scored 54.3 and Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.8.3 running Deus Ex: Mankind Divided scored 61.7 on AMD Radeon™ 8GB RX 480, which is 12% faster performance. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. Test results are not average and may vary. RS-57

2 AMD’s product warranty does not cover damages caused by overclocking, even when overclocking is enabled via AMD hardware.

Back in March, my colleague Carl Wakeland wrote an excellent blog describing all the reasons why audio is so important in VR. It’s a long read but well worth the time. As he puts it so articulately, what we hear is vital to our perception of reality. And achieving lifelike presence in virtual reality demands audio that sounds as real as the graphics need to look. Suspension of disbelief.

 

Audio that Feels Real

Creating audio that feels real when you’re in VR – when you can turn your head in any direction with continuous visuals - requires both physical acoustics-based sound modeling, and concurrent real-time audio physics calculations and processing. Conventional pre-baked approximations can offer acceptable experiences, but will fail to create the true presence necessary for full immersion.

 

The way to achieve immersive VR audio is by enabling a significant number of audio sources and processing them with real-time dynamic physics at low latency. This process allows humanly-unnoticeable delays between an input being processed and the corresponding output. However, it requires achieving a level of real-time performance in gaming scenarios that is not possible on the CPU alone. Because of performance limitations, physics-based audio engines have been forced to rely on statistically-derived physics – until now.

 

Physics-Based Audio Acoustics Rendering

Enter AMD TrueAudio Next. As part of AMD’s LiquidVR™ technology initiative aimed at enabling a fully immersive and comfortable virtual reality experience, TrueAudio Next is a scalable AMD technology that enables real-time dynamic physics-based audio acoustics rendering. It uses Radeon Rays (formerly AMD FireRays) to enable the entire soundscape to be modeled physically, with more than 32 stereo 2-second convolution sources.

 

We are thrilled today to announce that the TrueAudio Next open-source library is now available on GPUOpen.

 

TrueAudio Next stands out from the crowd thanks to the Asynchronous Compute Engines enabled by Radeon™ GCN and Polaris graphics architecture. It is a conventionally-held belief that using a GPU to render audio can cause too much latency, while also interfering with graphics performance. However, TrueAudio Next has the ability to leverage the powerful resources of GPU Compute, safely allowing the GPU to accelerate audio rendering. This is mainly thanks to a core element of this technology: Compute Unit (CU) Reservation.

 

AMD’s CU Reservation feature allows a limited set of CUs* to be partitioned off and reserved for as long as is required, offering a flexible and predictable reliable audio acceleration solution – isolating audio usage from graphics usage. [Note: AMD delivers the CU Reservation feature to AMD approved partners via the driver. The TrueAudio Next library can be used with or without CU Reservation.]

 

We are excited about the potential of TrueAudio Next, as it truly has the capacity to deliver spatially- and positionally-accurate audio to millions of consumers. It enables developers to integrate realistic audio into their VR content in order to achieve their artistic vision, without compromise. Combining this with AMD’s commitment to work with the development community to create rich, immersive content, the next wave of VR content can deliver truly immersive audio – that will sound and feel real.

 

Watch the video on AMD True Audio Next GPUOpen: TrueAudio Next - YouTube

Find out more at http://gpuopen.com/gaming-product/true-audio-next/

 

Sasa Marinkovic is Head of VR and Software Marketing for AMD. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

 

*Discrete AMD Radeon™ and FirePro™ GPUs based on the Graphics Core Next architecture consist of multiple discrete execution engines known as a Compute Unit (“CU”). Each CU contains 64 shaders (“Stream Processors”) working together.

A major step toward enabling high-quality video streaming and recording, Advanced Media Framework (AMF) 1.3 is now open sourced, providing the structure for high quality video recording and live streaming. AMF 1.3 SDK will enable developers of Radeon™ graphics cards to create GPU-based game capture programs for high-quality multimedia streams on their favorite sites.

 

What is AMF?

Part of our GPUOpen initiative, the Advanced Media Framework (AMF) is an OS- and framework-agnostic multimedia API that enables developers to leverage the power of AMD hardware for real-time processing of multimedia, and building and accelerating complete multimedia applications.

AMF enables developers to take advantage of AMD Video Engines (VCE and UVD), including comprehensive APIs for video encoding, decoding, pre-processing, and post-processing. Accelerated encoding and decoding through CPU offloading optimizes access to AMD devices by using the CPU, GPU, and hardware accelerators for multimedia processing.

 

AMF 1.3 SDK

With the AMF 1.3 SDK, developers can create high-performance video editing, transcoding, and playback applications, enable enhanced user experience on highly efficient wireless displays and remote desktops. Succeeding Media SDK 1.1, AMF 1.3 has been updated with many new features, including a H.265 codec that enables higher quality video playback up to 4k UHD — at the same bitrate as H.264.

 

Open source, the new AMF 1.3 SDK is freely downloadable through GPUOpen, and available for any developer to use. The new no-cost AMF enables developers to easily integrate the SDK into their multimedia applications.

 

The new AMF 1.3 SDK also includes the runtime in the driver package, reducing maintenance for developers on application updates. Applications which leverage open source AMF 1.3 will create a significantly improved GPU-based game capture program that enables high quality encoding of streaming and recording on Radeon™ GPUs.

 

At AMD, our GPUOpen initiative is vital to creating and providing powerful tools for developers. AMD constantly strives to support collaborations with companies that share our vision. Please subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about our commitment to open source software — and discover how GPUOpen is helping developers create a superior customer experience for all gamers.

 

Find out more at http://gpuopen.com/gaming-product/advanced-media-framework/

 

Gurman Singh is a member of Software Marketing at AMD.