High-quality VR with headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require equally powerful PCs with beefy graphics cards. And that usually means you’ll be tethered to a PC tower indoors. A couple of PC makers have a solution for that: Backpack PCs that you wear.
HP and MSI both announced backpack PCs designed for use with high-end VR headsets. Zotac also announced a similar product last month. Though they go by different names, the idea is the same: cram powerful PC guts into a backpack powered by a large battery pack.
We don’t know how much any of these backpack PCs will cost, or even when they’ll be released, but it’s probably fair to say they’ll be a trend very soon.
HP Omen X
Part of HP’s Omen gaming PC lineup, the Omen X backpack PC concept is the sleekest of the trio. It weighs less than 10 pounds and has a battery that’s good for up to one hour; you’ll also be able to swap batteries in for uninterrupted VR.
Specs include either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and options up to 32GB of RAM. No details on what kind of graphics card this baby is packing, but it should be at least an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 or higher.
On the base of the PC are a couple of USB ports and an HDMI for outputting video to an external display.
MSI Backpack PC
Gamers already know MSI as a company that makes great PCs for gaming, and now it wants to make high-end VR portable as well.
The Backpack PC, as it’s currently called, will come with an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 980 graphics, according to the company. There aren’t details on the other specs and the only image we have is the tiny small low-res one you see above. From the looks of it, it could be a little clunky.
Zotac Mobile VR
Zotac’s VR backpack PC is based on its small-form ZBOX PCs. The company hasn’t provided any real specs, but you can see how the wearable PC looks like in the video below.
“This mobile solution not only removes the bulk of connecting to the large traditional computer towers of old, but also allows the user to roam freely in VR with their undivided attention,” states a post on Zotac’s blog. “This innovative solution includes a system powerful enough to drive VR, and a portable battery pack to keep you going.”
What do you guys think? Are backpack PCs silly or ingenious? Or maybe people should just stick to the Gear VR and upcoming Daydream-ready smartphones and headset-controller combo.
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