The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are curently the world’s most advanced consumer virtual reality headsets.
As of this week, they have both officially launched and consumers are deciding which system they will purchase. For some, this decision is simply too insurmountable and some early adopters are ordering both a Rift and a Vive. The obvious upside of having both systems is that you won’t have to decide between the unique benefits, content, and features of either system. But now, a surprising new benefit has been discovered: both the Rift and the Vive can be run at the exact same time using only a single specially designed computer.
Notable virtual reality Twitch streamer Zimtok5 – known by many simply as “Zim” – plugged both his Oculus DK2 and HTC Vice Consumer version into a single high-spec PC.
“I was just tinkering in back of my computer and I noticed the extra HDMI port. That’s when the thought first hit me and I thought ‘why not give it a try?’ So I plugged my new Vive and the DK2 into the ports that they required and I was able to run both Lucky’s Tale [Rift] and Job Simulator [Vive] at the exact same time,” Zim said via Skype.
According to Zim, his computer – while significantly more advanced than the average office desktop – is only slightly more advanced than any other VR ready PC. What makes his rig truly unique is the GPU setup.
Most VR computers are running a single NVIDIA GTX 970 GPU, but Zim’s uses two. These two cards are linked and their power is shared through a combined software/hardware “bridge” that is known as a Scalable Link Interface or SLI.
What makes this particularly notable for VR applications is that each NVIDIA GPU contains its own HDMI port. HDMI ports are essential for relaying audio and video data between the computer and the HMD (head mounted display).
Zim found that these simple additions to his computer allowed him to run both the Rift and the Vive concurrently with, “no visible latency whatsoever.”
“It just functioned,” he said.
The exact specs of Zim’s PC can be found below:
Processor: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0 GHz
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 x 2 (SLI)
Memory: 16 GB DDR3 RAM
Head Mounted Display: Oculus Rift DK2 & HTC Vive
Headset: Sennheiser PC 360 G4ME
Microphone: RØDE NT-USB
Racing Wheel: Logitech G27
Driving Glove: Bosch Gardening Gloves
Flight Stick: Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X
Chair Vibrator: ButtKicker Gamer2
Voice Bot (“Belle”): Voice Attack
The one caveat to this process when it comes to widespread commercial use is that Zim’s Rift was a developer kit, not the more advanced consumer version that recently began shipping. However, based on the results he is seeing and what he knows of the two headsets, Zim does not expect his results be any different if he was using the CV1 over the DK2.
Zim will be demonstrating his wife and himself taking advantage of this dual-running setup via a live stream on his Twitch channel on Sunday April 9 beginning at 9pm GMT.
Zimtok5 is based in Scotland and streams on Twitch every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday between 9pm and 12am GMT.