Twitter tease indicates HTC could reveal a 4K Vive VR headset at CES

HTC Vive
What’s this? HTC is now teasing a New Year’s “resolution” on the official HTC Vive Twitter account just days before the company’s press conference on Monday, January 8. The teaser indicates that HTC may release an updated version of the Vive this year supporting 4K visuals, a significant boost from the 2,160 x 1,200 total resolution (2x 1,080 x 1,200) used in the current model.

Rumors of a 4K version of the HTC Vive isn’t anything new. Speculation once pointed to CES 2017 as the launch platform for the so-called Vive 2 sporting a 4K display and wireless connectivity. But HTC shot down that specific rumor just days prior to the show, stating that the company remained focused on expanding the ecosystem of the current headset. After all, the Vive was only eight months old at the time, thus releasing an updated version would be financial suicide.

At the time of its release, the HTC Vive, its two controllers, two base stations, and various accessories cost a hefty $799. Now that same kit costs $599 around 21 months later, thus HTC may very well be in a good position to launch a 4K model two years after the original Vive’s release. Even more, reducing the cost of the original Vive even further while selling the 4K model at $799 wouldn’t be a surprising move.

What is concerning is the hardware needed to run a 4K-based VR headset. For the current model, you need a PC that can handle rendering two screens with 1,080 x 1,200 resolutions each running at 90Hz. Here’s what you need at the very minimum to run that experience:

Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 or better (2013)
AMD FX 8350 or better (2012)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or better
AMD Radeon RX 480 or better
Memory: 4GB or more
Open video port: 1x HDMI 1.4 or newer, or
1x Display 1.2 or newer
Open USB ports: 1x USB-A 2.0 or newer
Operating system: Windows 7 SP1
Windows 8.1
Windows 10

As the specifications show, the processors can date back a few years, and the memory requirement is what you typically find in any modern desktop or laptop. But most of the muscle needed to render VR relies on the graphics card requirement, which isn’t exactly at the bottom of the barrel for either Nvidia or AMD. Again, that list is for the current Vive model, and will only increase in cost as the resulting resolution increases in size.

That said, if the updated HTC Vive will support 4K visuals, you may see a combined resolution of 3,840 x 2,133, or two screens running at 1,920 x 2,133 at 90Hz. To support these resolutions without dropping frames and producing buckets of vomit, the minimum hardware requirements will need to be higher on the processor and graphics front, at the very least. The GeForce GTX 1070 might handle the load, but we could see the GTX 1080 serving as the official minimum GPU requirement.

This is all speculation, of course. We managed to run the Vive using an old GeForce GTX 960 card with decent results. But no matter how you look at the tease, 4K VR experiences won’t come cheap.

Computing

3DMark’s Port Royal lets you benchmark ray tracing on Nvidia’s RTX cards

UL is adding another benchmarking utility to its popular 3DMark suite to help gamers measure their graphics card's ray tracing performance. You'll soon be able to measure how Nvidia's RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti stack up.
Deals

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some holiday shopping for a special someone, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Computing

Will Windows 95 be reimagined? Microsoft’s tweet hints at a throwback

The classic Windows operating system may just be getting a reboot of its own. Microsoft tweeted a cryptic message involving the Windows 95 logo and saying that it had a special announcement for its customers today.
Computing

Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Everything you need to know

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, this is a small update. If you've been eyeing a Surface Pro, you may want to wait…
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!
Computing

Want to make one hard drive act like two? Here's how to partition in Windows

If you don't want all of your files stored in one place but only have one drive to work with, partitioning is your best way forward. Here's how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, step by step.
Computing

Does Qualcomm's latest laptop processor hold up against Intel's Core i5?

Qualcomm has been nipping at Intel's mobile CPU heels for years and now it might finally have overtaken it. To find out whether it's new SoC can hold its own in mid-range computing, we pitted the Snapdragon 8cx vs. Core i5.
Photography

Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.
Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Computing

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.