HTC's Vive virtual reality headset is set to release in early April, shortly after the rival Oculus Rift goes on sale, which means we'll have a proper VR showdown on our hands. That's an exciting, albeit potentially very expensive development.
Like the Rift, the Vive will require some serious computer hardware to function. And with preorders beginning in just a few days, on 29 February, you'd better make sure you have the PC you need to run the Vive - or can afford to make the upgrades needed to bother buying the US$800 (about RM3,390) headset in a few short weeks.
HTC says you'll need an Intel i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 equivalent CPU or better, along with at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent GPU. You'll want at least 4GB RAM, too, along with HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2, a USB 2.0+ port, and at least Windows 7 SP1 installed. Obviously, the better your hardware, the better performance you should expect as a result.
Don't want to run through spec sheets? No worries: Valve just released a SteamVR Performance Test on Steam, which takes just two minutes to examine your PC's capabilities and tell you where any problems might emerge. It'll point out whether your CPU or graphics card is an issue, and suggest how your Vive experience might suffer without upgrades.
And it's a fun test, too: Valve's classic Portal provides the backdrop, as a short sequence from the Aperture Robot Repair VR demo runs to test your rig's strengths and weaknesses. ValveTime examined the contents of the Test and found references to supposed in-the-works sequels Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3 in the code, too - but as far as anyone can tell, only Portal is actually featured in the test.