The tracking base stations are next and they are as intriguing as the Vive headset. If you decide to buy a HTC Vive, you will spend some time setting the tracking stations up, they need to see each other and should be mounted on your walls, just like satellite surround sound speakers. If line of sight is not achievable, HTC have included a very long sync cable.
The breakout box is colour coded on each side, and has markings to aid setup. The headset cabling is non-removable, or at least we didn’t try too hard.
The i7 LGA2011-v3 setup is basically a high end setup, this is our test setup for most of our reviews, compatibility permitting. The i7 Z170 setup is a more mainstream setup albeit with a GTX 980 Ti providing the graphical muscle.
Hardware used for basic SteamVR setup and testing;
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
- Processor: Intel i7-5820K
- Motherboard: Asus Rampage V Extreme
- Graphics: MSI GTX 970 GAMING Twin Frozr V
- Memory: 16GB Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 @2666Mhz
- Drives: Crucial BX100 500Gb SSD
- PSU: Corsair HX1000i
- Chassis: MicroCool Banchetto 101
Hardware used for Project Cars testing, previous test elements assumed, Windows 10 for example;
- Processor: Intel i7-6700K
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170 G1 Sniper
- Graphics: Zotac Amp GTX980 Ti
- Memory: 16Gb Crucial Ballistix Sport LT White DDR4
- PSU: EVGA 850W SuperNOVA G2
- Controller: Logitech G27 Racing Wheel
All updates to the Operating System, games and applications are assumed, and a full defragmentation on the SSDs after a fresh install before any tests are carried out. All components updated to the latest device firmware including the HTC Vive components. All driver settings are the default for all tests.
Let’s talk about what we tested and why. We have two basic hardware setups and two software tests. We ran this to gauge the differences in experience and performance. Our standard benchmark setup, the X99 chipset test system, will gauge the SteamVR and basic SteamOS experience. We always have this test system running so we understand it pretty well.
We also went for a more mainstream setup, the Z170 chipset from Intel. We are going to assume that most non-AMD fans will have a Z170 or a Z97 motherboard in their system, give or take a few older and other Chipsets. The main difference with the Z170 over the X99 chipset is the graphics. We included a GTX 980 Ti to help power the Intel i7-6700K. Not that it’s an underpowered CPU, but we wanted something a little more powerful than the GTX 970, basically just for fun.
What software did we test and why? We went for the SteamVR setup, The Lab and Audioshield for the X99 test system. A little lighter on the graphical demands we also got an “out of the box” feel on a system we know very well. By the way, the Lab is free on Steam, and if you are a Portal or Half Life fan, this is well worth a download. We moved to Project Cars, also on Steam, for the Z170 test system. A little more along the lines of our style of VR desires, Project Cars was one of the first to support the Vive and has a large number of Vive users simulating some driving pleasure already, so it is a widely known VR product these days. We also wanted to give anyone who is wanting a VR headset just from driving simulations another review to help with their decisions.