HP Has Another VR Backpack, But It's A Workstation

During SIGGRAPH 2017, HP introduced a new workstation-class virtual reality system, with a twist: It's a backpack. The HP Z VR Backpack G1 Workstation, like its gaming cousin the HP Omen X VR Backpack, is a wearable backpack VR system, but it carries a workstation-class GPU and the manageability and reliability of a workstation.

The system has a lightweight, breathable harness that holds a dual battery system to facilitate hot swapping of batteries. It uses an Intel i7-7820HQ CPU and Nvidia's new Quadro P5200 GPU, and it offers up to 32GB RAM in a 10.25lb. package.

The package includes batteries (four, according to HP), the harness, and a dock and power supply for desktop use. It's ruggedized to MIL STDF 810G, in a package that provides manageability for commercial environments.

The unit is designed to work with most VR headsets but is available with integrated HTC Vive BE or the HP Windows Mixed Reality headset.

MORE: Zotac VR Go Backpack PC: A Stop-Gap For Tether-Free VR (Hands On)

HP's Commercial VR Strategy

HP sees VR as being useful for a variety of applications, including entertainment, whether at home or at a venue that offers public VR, but also for commercial and government use.

That includes training sims for situations that are dangerous, difficult, or impossible. Studies have shown that interactive training reinforces skills better than reading manuals or watching videos. The medical industry could use it to offer continuous training in updated techniques, for example, or product designers can use it to move away from things like sculpted clay models, or architects could walk through a full-scale rendering of a house or building they're designing, and so on.

When you include HP's VR-ready workstations, notebooks, and commercial desktops, it's apparent that the company wants to provide end-to-end solutions that are capable of giving users both VR authoring and immersive VR experiences.

Specs, Pricing, and Availability

The HP Z VR Backpack G1 is expected to be available in September, starting at $3,299.

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Header Cell - Column 0 HP Z VR Backpack G1 Workstation
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7820HQ with Intel HD Graphics 630 (2.9 GHz, up to 3.9 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, 8 MB cache, 4 cores)
ChipsetIntel QM175
MemoryUp to 32GB DDR-2400 (non-ECC)
Memory Slots2 SODIMM
Internal Storage256GB to 1TB
GraphicsNvidia Quadro P5200 16 GB
AudioRealTek ALC3866-CG with integrated DTS Headphone:X
NetworkLAN: Realtek RTL8153B 10/100/1000 MbWLAN: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2
Ports and ConnectorsHMD power portUSB 3.0 (4x)HDMI 2.0Mini DisplayPort 1.3Thunderbolt (USB Type-C connector)Headphone/microphonecomboDock connectorExternal battery power ports (x2)DC-in power connector
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro 64
SoftwareHP Performance AdvisorHP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) 7.1HP Client Security SoftwareHP VelocityHP Client Management SoftwareSuite
Power330W, up to 92.6% efficiency, active PFC
Dimensions13.11 x 9.29 x 2.39in.
Weight10.25 lb (includes backpack and batteries)
Warranty1yr limited warranty includes parts, labor and on-site repair