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Razer OSVR Hacker Developer Kit 1.4 Review

The Razer OSVR HDK 1.4 offers VR on a budget. The HMD features a lower resolution than the typical VR systems, which lowers the GPU requirements for VR gaming, but can a 60Hz 1080p display really deliver a compelling VR experience?

How We Tested The OSVR HDK 1.4

Typically we test with an X99-based system with an Intel Core i7-5960K. But for this story, we went with an older build since our reference machine is configured for use with the Rift and Vive. It's based on an Intel Core i7-2600K, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600, a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD and a 2TB Seagate Barracuda plugged into an Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z mATX board.

We didn't bother benchmarking a lot of graphics cards. We're still working on a methodology for measuring performance in VR, after all. Instead, we used a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming to minimize graphics bottlenecks as we evaluated the OSVR hardware. And to test whether a GeForce GTX 660 could really drive this platform competently, we dusted off an old reference card to validate those claims.

ProductsGigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme GamingNvidia GeForce GTX 660
GPUGM200GK106
Shaders2816960
Texture Units17280
ROPs9624
Max Core Clock1216 MHz980 MHz
Max GDDR5 Transfer7.2 GT/s6.0 GT/s

VR Benchmarks

The VRMark latency test measures the time it takes between a draw call and an image to display inside the HMD, evaluated via external sensor. Software is then able to determine draw latency, response time and frame persistence. If you want to learn more about how the test works, see our VRMark preview.

The sensor that we use in conjunction with VRMark to perform the latency test can only measure one lens at a time, so each eye must be evaluated separately. When we tested the Vive in early May, we found that each screen achieved similar latency scores. In the Vive (and Rift), each eye gets its own panel. This allows both to initiate at the same time. The OSVR HMD has a single 16:9 display, so one eye will always draw slightly later.

In our case, the right eye turned out to be faster. We recorded 102ms of total draw latency, response time was 28ms, and frame persistence was 30ms. The fall time for the right eye was 11.22ms, which is roughly 4ms longer than the Vive.

The left eye was somewhat slower to react with a total draw latency of 111ms. The response time of the left eye was the same as the right at 28ms, and the frame persistence was slightly lower at 28ms. The fall time for the left eye was 2ms higher than the right, at 13.35ms.

  • Jeff Fx
    > can a 60Hz 1080p display really deliver a compelling VR experience?

    If you can get games to work with it, maybe, if you haven't experienced modern VR and aren't susceptible to VR sickness.

    I had an eMagin 800x600 per eye VR system a decade ago, and it was pretty good for people who don't get VR sick, until Nvidia dropped support and it became useless.

    I'd recommend saving up for a Vive, the only full-VR system available today. Buying a low-quality alternative to something nice rarely turns out well. you'll just wind up junking it and spending the money on what you really wanted later.
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    The only thing worse than having buyers remorse after buying an $800 VR setup like the Vive is having buyers remorse after doing the "responsible" thing and finding out that it isn't what you really want...then flushing that "savings" down the toilet when you go and buy what you should have bought in the first place...
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    Wish I could edit posts...just for the record, I have ZERO buyers remorse with the Vive!
    Reply
  • alidan
    Personally, all i want of vr is 3d, and track my head, that's it, no room scale no controllers, just simple sensors because what i want is a sit down experience with my head acting as a camera input, especially for racing games.
    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    Sounds like a "me too" effort by Razer. I don't see much point in any more VR systems right now because the technology cap has already been hit by Oculus/Valve. Until computer performance increases we probably won't see much better. Well we might, but this isn't it.
    Reply
  • caustin582
    I'm a Vive owner and while I have been pretty happy with my purchase, if there's one thing I could change it would be for it to have a higher resolution. Even at 1080x1200 per eye the individual pixels are easily visible and the image looks nowhere near as sharp as when I'm gaming on my old 1080p monitor. When the screen takes up such a wide field of view, the resolution needs to go way up in order to compensate.

    So it's kind of crazy to me that some companies think they can put out a good HMD that only splits a 1080p screen across both eyes. It might be worth it as a super-budget option for $99, but at $300 it's not all that cheap. Like it's not something most people are just going to buy on a whim and then happy forget about after they realize it looks ugly and makes them sick. Hate to be a downer but this really seems like the worst of both worlds. If you want a quick, cheap VR experience, you can build or buy a Google Cardboard. If you want the real thing, save up a little while longer and get an Oculus or Vive (or just wait until those are $300).
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Thanks for the review, but just skimming the first page, I'm surprised not to see any mention of the HDK2.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18272515 said:
    Wish I could edit posts...
    You can in the forums. Just follow the link at the top of the comments.

    18272741 said:
    Sounds like a "me too" effort by Razer. I don't see much point in any more VR systems right now because the technology cap has already been hit by Oculus/Valve.
    Um, it was more of a "me first" effort, with the initial version beating them to market by about a year. I think the author dropped the ball on explaining HDKs origin and backstory. Although it's touched upon, in the last page, I think the rest of the review would've been better served by covering it in a little more depth, right up front. Otherwise, it's not clear why the product compares so poorly with Vive and Rift. It was made to compete with Oculus DK/DK2-era hardware. And the whole review should've been prefaced with the caveat that they're basically reviewing an obsolete product (see above point about HDK2).

    I'm also puzzled as to why you feel there's only room for 2 players, in this young and dynamic market. Would you say that about any other aspect of computer hardware? (true that, defacto, we have 2 players in CPUs and discrete GPUs, but that's more an issue of cost to enter those markets vs. upside potential).

    I'm really glad to see a low-cost solution in between phones and the premium PC HMDs. Maybe 1.4 isn't yet a compelling value offering, but I think there's definitely room for other players and other segments in this market than Vive/Rift.
    Reply
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    Shoulda waited for the HDK2 to review really
    Reply
  • kamhagh
    Doesn't look good :S even my 2k note 4 looks ridicules, I know you can't compare them ut you can compare the pixels :S my view is filled with dots

    BTW: why are all vr games stupid space games? :|
    Reply