Virtual Reality & 3d

I’ve been thinking a bit recently regarding 3d and VR aka: Virtual Reality. Thinking if VR will go the way of 3d. That being dead.

Avatar made 3d a thing again in a huge way the 3d technology was much better than anaglyph days of the 80s’ and earlier.
To this day Avatar is best viewed in 3d watching it in 2d just doesn’t have that BANG! It really is an awesome example of what could be done with 3d when used in a artistic way not in the gimmicky ways of the past having actors use a shovel handle pointed at you.

The industry ate it up and then released Televisions that offered Active or passive 3d one required expensive battery operated shades the other passive just regular glasses with polarized lenses.
On top of that you also needed a Bluray player to play these 3d Blurays and if you wanted to connect to your surround system well then you needed a receiver that supported 3d as well.
Not to mention you needed the 3d movies which cost double the price of the standard Bluray and you needed extra glasses as well if you have a family or invite a few friends over to watch. And if you had an active 3d Television each pair of glasses could cost anywhere from $20 to $200 a pair. The passive glasses were cheaper much cheaper light weight and could get a dozen pair for $10.

As of now Oct 2017 there is not 1 TV manufacturer that has made a TV that has 3d capability not even the high end models.
They are concentrating on 4k and really concentrating on HDR HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG HDR & Technicolor HDR and a few others are out there as well.
LG was one of the last manufacturers to offer 3d and was only in their high end 2016 OLED television sets Curved models.
Curved another fading trend I never liked curved TV’s. Only reason I went with curved is because the 2016 curved LG OLED model was the only version that offered 3d in the 55″ range.
I’m actually a bit saddened that 3d is gone not that I watched it often as a matter a fact I rarely do. But when I do watch a documentary or movie in 3d I really enjoy it. When I am out looking to purchase a Bluray I look for 4k BR that includes the 3d and 2d versions because I like the option to watch in 4k w/HDR or 3d. Life Of Pi for example was another must see in 3d. Now the latest 4k Version has been up ticked nicely with HDR.
I couldn’t imagine watching TV in 3d all the time and makes me wonder if that is something others expected and did not get?

This got me thinking about VR: Virtual Reality which at this time is really gaining traction.
Could it die the sad death that 3d has?
I recently purchased the Oculus Rift with 3 sensors and hand controllers for interaction.
First I compare them.
Both require being worn
both are expensive
Both require software that supports it.

Then I looked at the difference.
VR is a personal experience and so is the software it uses “gaming”.
It is interactive and your in it not looking at it through a box.
3d movies are usually a shared experience and if not people lounge watching TV having glasses push into your face is annoying not to mention they darken the image.
There is absolutely no interaction with 3d televisions except for when you navigate the main menu to select Play or the Audio version.

I like 3d I really do like it once an a while but let me tell you that VR is plain awesome a totally different experience altogether.
This awesome factor isn’t enough to make everyone say it’s going to live on and change the way we use our computers and other devices.
I hope it does I‘m no fortune teller but stepping back and really looking at both technologies I think VR has a much better chance than 3d did or does.
Maybe I’m more hoping it does well because I love it so much. But I think anyone that gives it a chance and just tries it will see there is more to this VR than just gaming alone.

And I think after 3d is gone completely it will have it’s own community that will stick around to sell and trade 3d movies and hardware. If you do have a 3d TV & a Bluray player or PlayStation 3 may want to save it because you may want to go back and watch that 1 movie that was made in 3d back in 2010 because it was how the original print was meant to be viewed.

Just like the old anaglyph 3d movies that are out there that are still worth watching.
Freddy’s Dead was an absolute terrible movie but the way they implemented 3d “Freddy Vision” into it was ingenious. 

 

 

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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Experience

First off I should say that my interest in VR was very limited only due to the 90s’ experience. I’m talking about the VR setups that were in malls and sometimes even clubs back in the day.
That was until I saw an article with John Carmack he was wearing goggles that were the prototype of the now named Oculus Rift. This article is quite old now probably 2012-2013. He had left ID software to continue the development of the Oculus Rift.

John Carmack has a huge resume and if you play video games chances are you have played a game he created or a game engine he created.
Games we all know Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake III, Doom 3, Rage, Doom 4 aka: Doom 2016 not to mention he created the engines that run these awesome titles.
And did I mention he’s a friggin rocket scientist! He founded the Space program for space tourism.
The company is named  Armadillo Aerospace.

With all that said this is what piqued my interest in VR I figured this guy has to be making some excellent shit!
The Oculus started off as a $2 million dollar kick starter campaign 2 years later Facebook founder purchased the Oculus for $2 billion.
The initial price point for consumers was aimed at $199 unfortunately after time and more tech the price rocketed to $600.
Which I think hurt this technology at the start. Today you can get the Oculus with the Touch controllers for $399 which is an excellent price for the hardware and experience you will get.
Not sure if this is just a summer deal or if it is a permanent price drop to get more of these awesome kits to the masses.
There is also the HTC Vive which is the VR head set created by HTC and Steam
This headset was geared for Steam and has a 120 degree view point compared to the Oculus Rifts 90 degree.
That is the only difference between the Vive and the Oculus Rift the hardware is identical in every other aspect.
The Oculus is lighter and supports Oculus Dream Deck Store and Steam VR as well.
These apps are where you can purchase the VR games available to either or both VR headsets. Vive does not support the Rift Dream Deck.
I have found that the Rift is more compatible with games than the Vive is.
They both have exclusives but again it seems that the Rift works fine on HTC games where as the Vive doesn’t play well with Rift games.
And the HTC Vive is now selling for $599 instead of the $799 price tag.
Steam VR is a very small update to the Steam app that is already installed on your PC.

If you plan on buying a VR headset for your PC make sure you have the hardware to handle it.
My PC is pretty heafty and it failed the USB 3.0 hardware verification.
Which I then had to purchase a specific PCI-E to USB 3.0 card.
I have 3.0 but the Rift is not compatible with AsMedia USB hardware & Drivers.
The headset requires 1 USB 3.0 for sound & a HDMI out for the video this connects to your video card in your computer.
I did find that the sound USB works okay with the AsMedia USB 3.0. But the tracking sensors will need  supported USB 3.0 inputs.
The PCI-E card I purchased costs anywhere from $22-$30.
it’s the Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCIE to USB 3.0 this card is listed by Oculus to be 100% supported.
The headset uses a tracking sensor and the touch controllers use a tracking sensor so you will need 2 supported USB 3.0 inputs the gear will work on USB 2.0 but your going to have slow tracking which is something you do not want.

Once I finally got it running took me all week a few hours each day after work to get it 100% connected and games or apps installed.
If you have a free time it should be a pretty quick process connecting it up and installing drivers and software.

I have played a few games some that are not impressive and some that are mind blowing.
I found that the simplest app can be so much fun and just mind bending.
Oculus First Contact is just down right awesome. Your behind a desk with computers and a Robot that hovers around he is your VR friend and hands you discs to put in your Virtual PC to make things with it.
It’s interactive and he will have so much stuff bouncing around the room it is awesome!
Made a gun some rockets and other things as well.
Then there is VR desktop which is your PC desktop in Virtual Reality you can be sitting in the woods or in Space with planets and stars all around you.

The game I really enjoy is EVE Gunjack your in a gunner in a  turret and have to blast enemy spaceships down in deep space.
Where you look the gun points then you fire with your VR touch controllers.
When entering the Turret it’s mind blowing because your so small compared to the spaceship your in and the Turret housing really makes you feel like your in it.

Then there is a game from Crytek called Robinson: The journey this is game where your off planet and you can interact and move around freely.
Crytek also has a game called The Climb this I don’t own yet but hear it is absolutely amazing as long as you are using the touch controllers.

Can also play Alien Isolation in VR. This game was already full of suspense play it in VR and it’s down right chilling and scary.
originally this game only worked with the DK kits DK stands for Development Kit.
There is a mod that now allows it to work with the consumer Oculus.
can find the mod here.

Then there is Google Earth VR this requires you to use the Touch controllers.
But is again awesome and it’s free.
This is a must check out for anyone wanting to go around the world and see areas like your actually there.

There are entertainment apps as well just kick back and watch  awesomely made video’s from Disney and Discovery made specifically for Virtual Reality.

Did I mention Roller coaster rides? There are apps for those as well and some of them are really excellent.
You feel like your actually on a coaster.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here all I can and will say is it really is an amazing experience.
It messes with your mind in a good way because your seeing an environment like at the top of a sky scraper at it’s edge looking down and it’s dizzying or a Huge Dinosaur runs up to you and the spit from it’s roar is in your face and then Runs over you.
You know your in your house but what your seeing is totally different.
It has shown me how perception really is reality.

There are also multiplayer games like Star Trek Bridge Crew you and others control the Enterprise from the deck. And depend on each other to fly the ship and get out of bad situations.

The Oculus Rift is selling for $399 you get the Rift goggles and the touch controllers which include 2- tracking sensors.
It’s a great price point to get people into this great technology.
There are many free apps and games to give a try. Games start at 99 cents and go up to $50. The majority of high end games are $29.99.

The only down side I have found is the wires but it’s such a small issue that it doesn’t hinder gameplay or comfortability at all.
Behind my monitor on my desk is a wire mess anyhow what’s another 2 or 3 wires going to hurt?
I had to purchase some hardware to use the Oculus which cost me another $42
this was for the PCI-E to USB 3.0 and the Display Port to HDMI cord I needed to buy since my Video card only had 1 HDMI in which the Oculus used and the rest were Display ports which my monitor does not have.

Not to mention games I have spent around $75 total so far.
And I also purchased the Oculus Wireless remote I got that on Ebay for $24 which is normally $30.
In the end it cost around $600 for everything which isn’t all that bad considering all I got.
Only a week or 2 back $600 would of only gotten you the Headset and the Tracking sensor with Touch controllers.

I say if you have the extra cash and already have a PC that can handle it go for it you won’t regret it.
If you don’t have a PC that is capable I’d look into the PlayStation 4 VR.
The cell phone goggles are not the same thing and you won’t have same experience we get using the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

oculus_rift_201709_thumb800

AMD Video cards

I like to keep my options open so I never limit myself to 1 specific brand and say I am a die hard.
But the last few years AMD has been the brand I generally purchase CPU or Video cards.
Main reason for this is bang for the buck.
As far as CPU’s go I have only purchased AMD since they broke the 1ghz barrier back in 2000.
Sure I’ve purchased a few Intel CPU’s for HTPC builds but for my every day use Computer I choose AMD CPU’s.
Intel CPU’s are great but a top tier Intel CPU will cost you more than your mainboard ,Ram,Bluray drive & SDD or plain HDD put together.
Want to game well Intel plays best with Nvidia and like Intel Nvidia charges top dollar for their top tier graphics cards $700+ so for a Intel CPU and Nvidia card alone will cost you $2 grand for the 2 parts.
2 grand will build you one kick ass AMD PC.

The biggest issue I’ve had with AMD graphics cards is since they decided on Dual Bios cards.
Don’t get me wrong it’s great being able to flash your vcard to test other FW or even unlock you $200 card to the $350 card is great.
The dual Bios comes with different settings depending on which way the switch or button are.
1 will be a lower clock speed the 2nd will be a higher clock speed which means louder fans and more heat.
I have owned the HIS 290x and Now the Sapphire Radeon Fury Tri-x Nitro the HIS has the switch and the Sapphire has a button to switch bios versions.
And neither of them had any info on which bios version was attached to the switch so it’s just try and fly.
I went through the instruction booklets on both brands and not even a mention of the Dual Bios or what the switches are and do. There is not even a mention of the switch or button on the cards.
So it’s contact the manufacturers or search the nets and hope you get accurate info from forums.

The HIS 290x the switch clicked towards back of the case is the Turbo/Nitro Bios. Switch clicked towards front of the case is lower clock speeds better temps and quiet fans.

The Sapphire Fury Tri-X Nitro The button Clicked so light is on is Nitro setting this is max clock speeds lots of heat fans can get noisy. Button clicked Light off basic clock speeds less heat quiet fans.

These settings aren’t something you can see as you use your PC unless you have a setup that gives real time temps of the GPU as you use it.
This is something that should be explained some peoples setups are not good with heat dispersion so a max clock may just ruin the graphics card or the PC.
These manufacturers really need to include something in the paperwork to explain this.

Radeon Fury X or Geforce GTX 1070

Decided I am going to buy a new video card for my computer so I can give my son my old card which is still a great gaming card.

Just can’t decide if I want the Radeon Fury X or the Geforce GTX 1070.

I love my 290x and is one of the reasons I want to stay with AMD and just get the Fury X. It only has 4gb of memory but the memory is super fast HBM.

But the GeForce has 8gb of dedicated video memory. Just the standard GDDR5.
Will have to wait and see will make purchase tomorrow or maybe Friday.

Pre-ordered Gears Of War 4 would like to see if I can get it running in full detail @4k resolution.

Update: Went with the Sapphire Fury Tri-x graphics card. Put the order in this morning was waiting to see if it dropped a few more dollars but it did not.
Still got a really good deal on it. Was selling for $787 @ newegg but had a sick sale and was a little over 50% off. I did not want the water cooled version I wanted one using fan cooling which I got.
The card is huge! need a full size case to fit it.
furyx

It’s a good thing because now I can give my son my Radeon 290x which still can play any games I throw at it.
My only concern putting in my sons PC is if his power supply can handle the 2-8 pin GPU requirement. Most 290x cards are 8 and 6 pin go figure the one I have is the rare type 2-8 pin.

 

I haven’t thought about upgrading my PC at all until I got the gaming bug back from playing the new DOOM. The card I have now plays it fully at max resolution higher than 1080p.
But whenever I get the PC bug I start looking at upgrades oldest thing in my PC was the Vcard so it went 1st.
Now I patiently wait for AMD’s 12+ core CPU’s before I upgrade that;-)
Would love 32gb of high speed memory but that is more costly than a CPU or GPU right now.
I moved to SSD about a year ago that is an upgrade I suggest everyone does on their PC it is not expensive and is a major performance booster for PC’s that still use the old platter based HDD’s.
480gb SSD can be purchased for around $100 and it is a solid upgrade for low cost.

Mushkin Enhanced ECO3 2.5″ 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226792

One of my friends wasn’t so sure about buying the SSD as an upgrade on his desktop. After I installed I get a text following day saying that it made a huge difference and was a great upgrade.
It is one of those upgrades that you see such a huge change in performance. Unlike other upgrades where you can’t really see it. The SSD upgrade is the best upgrade to this day that I have done on my PC.
Love getting a new GPU but I won’t see performance gains like I did with the SSD.

Update 2: Now I have decided to upgrade my HTPC video card as well.
I now use the Radeon HD6570 which has been great but can only do a max resolution of 2560×1440 my tv does UHD so need one that supports higher resolution HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0 for 4k/60hz. It also supports HDR but very small concern about that right now.

Again was looking at Nvidia or AMD. It was a much easier decision with the HTPC AMD won hands down. For one it’s the only lower end models that support HDCP 2.2 and Nvidia cards are about $25-$30 more for cards in same range but lack the higher version of HDCP.
The Radeon RX460 is the card I like it can handle everything I need at a price point under $100.

powercolor-rx460
The Powercolor Radeon RX460 2gb Vmem.