Pre-orders for HTC’s Vive start a week from today. The kit will sell for $800 and will include the Vive headset, two tracked controllers and two lighthouse emitters that help track your movement in space. Along with the price announcement, the company revealed the recommended specifications, which are remarkably similar to the Rift requirements.
The minimum hardware specification was not discussed. Instead, Valve released a tool called the SteamVR Performance Test that will tell you if your PC can manage to deliver the performance needed for VR gaming on the Vive.
Oculus has a tool to check your PC’s minimum specs, but it doesn’t do any kind of benchmark. Valve takes the opposite approach and runs a demo clip on your PC and measures if the system can render the scene with upwards of 90 fps.
Valve uses its own Aperture Science robot repair demo, which has been shown to the press and on the HTC Vive tour bus, for the performance test. It runs a variety of scenes from that demo and then spits out a report at the end.
The report tells you the specifications of your system; the level of fidelity you can expect your system to handle; and whether your PC is "Ready," "Capable," or "Not Ready." It also tells you how many times, and what percentage of time, that the frame rate dipped below 90 fps, and each time the frame rate was limited by the CPU.
From the above image: “Please note that while your system’s rendering power isn’t limited by your CPU, this test doesn’t account for the varying CPU cost of positional tracking and processing-intense applications. Follow the recommended specs for each VR headset and piece of software.”
The Steam VR Performance Test is simply that -- a performance evaluation. It does not account for the available USB ports, nor does it check them for compatibility issues (the Oculus tool does). It also only accounts for rendering performance. The test does not take into account the extra CPU cycles needed for positional tracking. It does give you a solid idea of your rendering performance for VR, though.
The SteamVR Performance Test is available now through Steam. You can find it in the Tools section of your library, or in the Steam store.