VR-Ready Laptop / Desktop Research

I settled on the HTC Vive as my VR Platform of choice after a really compelling demo at the MAXON US Offices. I put in my order, and expect my Vive to arrive in just a couple days. At the moment, I’m using a 2013 MacBook Pro – which just doesn’t have the horsepower to drive the Oculus or Vive. Which means, I need to drop MacOS and get a Windows PC. I love the form-factor, weight, and build-quality of my Macbook and that I don’t have to juggle work between a desktop and a laptop when I want to move from home to a cafe or to teach on-site.

Options

  1. Keep my MacBook and get a Desktop for VR development.
  2. Get a Razer Blade laptop with a semi-permanent external graphics card enclosure.
  3. Get a comically large laptop with a built-in desktop GPU.
Mac + Desktop Razer Blade + Razer Core Giant Laptop
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Most Power
  • Cheap Storage
  • Light & Portable for Office work.
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Upgradeable Graphics
  • One Machine
  • One OS
  • Files in One Place
  • Solid Portable Performance
  • GPU Can be Upgraded
  • Good Battery Life
  • One Machine
  • One OS
  • Files in One Place
  • Good Performance
  • Reasonably seamless VR workflow
Cons
  • VR Isn’t Portable
  • Mixed OS
  • Duplicate efforts
  • FileSync Issues
  • Aging Performance
  • Razer Core isn’t available yet
  • Most Expensive
  • Some hitches in VR workflow
  • Can’t do VR work Remotely
  • Expensive
  • Heavy as Heck
  • Terrible Battery Life
  • Not Great for Cafes
  • Can’t be Upgraded
Overall Low startup costs, upgradable, and best VR workflow. VR development only happens at my home office, and my laptop will slowly gather dust. If the kinks in the VR workflow get ironed out, this is probably the best option moving forward – but it means I’ll be buying a new laptop every 2 years instead of every 3-5.  This is a laptop in name only. The weight and battery life is such that I would be unlikely to take it with me, and that I would be forced to drive rather than walk a few miles w/ it strapped to my back.

Conclusion

There aren’t any good and portable laptops for VR at the moment – so give up on the belief that it should be possible right now. Buy or build an inexpensive desktop that meets the needs of the HTC Vive & Oculus Rift. Once the dust in the marketplace settles a bit, upgrade that desktop as needed and buy a laptop once a VR-Capable laptop is available and portable.

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