We already have a barebones tool for testing our PC’s VR readiness from Oculus, but Valve is upping the ante a bit, releasing a SteamVR Performance Test to the masses. It’s free, and you don’t need an HTC Vive VR headset (or any VR headset) to run the benchmark, though you will need to have Steam installed.
Valve’s test drops you into an Aperture Science robot repair facility (those of you who’ve played Portal 2 will instantly recognize the aesthetic) and simulates a VR perspective from multiple angles and with a ton of moving parts. While it’s specifically designed for the HTC Vive, it can be downloaded and executed on any PC.
As explained by AMD, the test employs a technique called dynamic fidelity, which automatically adjusts image quality as required to avoid the one big unforgivable sin in VR: dropped frames, which can disrupt the crucial sense of presence and even lead to symptoms like nausea (from motion sickness) or vomiting.
The readiness test also implements one of AMD’s LiquidVR features known as Affinity multi-GPU, which lets each GPU render a scene for just one eye. AMD does note, however, that while multi-GPU is working in the SteamVR Performance Test, it’s nowhere near being finished, although “significant uplift” in performance is possible over a single GPU’s performance.
Posting on his LinkedIn blog, AMD’s Roy Taylor writes that “all our Radeon R9 390 series and Fury series products, including the R9 Nano can achieve the highest attainable status: ‘Recommended for VR’. This performance is a validation of the work AMD has done with Valve and other technology partners to deliver the best VR experiences with our products through the LiquidVR initiative.”
In a clear jab at Nvidia, the blog post also states that AMD possesses a “wider selection of Radeons currently available that are capable of attaining the ‘Recommended for VR’ status than the competition’s offerings.”
I’m actually in the process of rebuilding my test bench, so the timing couldn’t be better to test that claim. Begun, these VR benchmark wars have!