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Tested: The physical effects of low-end VR hardware

Gordon Mah Ung | Aug. 12, 2016
This is what happens when a nerd consumes a gross amount of food and then uses VR on a low-end PC.

The sub-spec box, meanwhile, was as laggy as you’d expect. Someone like Bye, who’s particularly sensitive to dropped frames, would surely rip off the head-mounted display in a matter of minutes. But I pushed on for a good 45 minutes.

Granted, I have an adamantium constitution. I rarely get sea sick. I can read in the back of a car going down California’s winding Highway 1, and I actually enjoy turbulence when flying. So did the sub-spec VR box do me in when paired with some gross foodstuffs?


But I have to confess, I got pretty damn close to hurling, and had to sit down after my VR session for a few minutes. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t play for another hour on that sub-spec box without having to call an Uber to drive me home.

My reaction, Bye said, is pretty typical. While simulation sickness can truly make you nauseated, only extreme cases—which I tried really hard to reach—might make one hurl.

The vast majority of people will be more like my co-worker, who was knocked on his butt for an afternoon.

Either way, I think the basic lesson is to build a box that can run VR comfortably for most people. I certainly wouldn’t want to use our sub-spec box as a showcase for introducing VR to friends, lest I be blamed for wrecking their entire day, or worse—making them hurl.


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