Update, 7/11/16, 12:10pm PT: Nvidia announced that it identified the Display Port and Vive compatibility issue and that the solution is coming in the next driver update, which is due this week.
"We are aware of user reports of an incompatibility when plugging HTC Vive into GeForce GTX 1080/1070 using the DisplayPort connector. We have identified a solution which is planned to be released in NVIDIA’s next Game Ready Driver targeted for later this week. In the interim, we recommend users connect HTC Vive to the HDMI port on GeForce GTX 1080/1070," read the statement from PeterS@Nvidia on the support forums.
Update, 7/6/16, 9:09am PT: Nvidia responded to our inquiry late yesterday:
"We are aware of user reports of an incompatibility when plugging HTC Vive into GeForce GTX 1080 using the DisplayPort connector. HTC and NVIDIA are investigating the issue. In the interim, we recommend users connect HTC Vive to the HDMI port on GeForce GTX 1080," said Bryan Del Rizzo, Senior PR Manager, Consumer Products.
We've reached out to HTC for more information.
Nvidia recently launched the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 to much fanfare and set a new bar for desktop graphics performance with its first Pascal GPUs. Virtual reality performance was a cornerstone of Nvidia’s marketing plan, but performance is irrelevant if your display interface is incompatible with the HMD.
Last week, a friend of mine contacted me looking for help getting his Vive working. He was trying to hook the Vive up to a GTX 1080 using the optional Display Port on the HMD's link box because the HDMI port on his graphics card was being used to display to a TV. I knew for a fact that this configuration works with a GTX 980 Ti because I’ve tested it already. We were both disappointed to find out that it doesn’t work with the 10-series cards.
Whether or not Nvidia will remedy the issue with a driver fix remains to be seen, but so far, Nvidia has been quiet about the issue. There is an ongoing thread on the GeForce.com community forum, and several people have chimed in to report the same problem. So far, the only comment from Nvidia in the thread came from Manuel Guzman on June 9, who said: “We are still investigating this issue.” It is nearly a month later we still don’t have a follow-up. There’s a similar thread on Reddit from around the same time warning people of the issue.
Of course, we didn’t want to take the word of a few people complaining online, so we tested this out for ourselves. We hooked up the Vive to our GTX 1080 using the same Display Port to Mini-Display Port cable that works with our GTX 980 Ti and confirmed that it doesn’t work. SteamVR does not detect that the HMD is plugged in, and it triggers the HMD display not found (208) error.
We tested the driver that Nvidia released along with the GTX 1080 (368.25) and the driver that it released with the GTX 1070 (368.39). It was the same story for both drivers.
We reached out to Nvidia for a comment, but so far, we’ve not heard a response from them. Hopefully Nvidia will resolve the issue with the next GeForce driver update, but for now, if you rely on HDMI for your primary display you might want to look for a VR specific model that has extra HDMI ports for VR HMDs, such as Asus’s GTX 1080 Strix. We will update the story with any relevant information if and when Nvidia replies.