The prospect of PC based Virtual Reality fun is an exciting idea, but certainly a costly idea. A setup that can handle VR doesn’t really come cheap.
Thankfully, The first graphics card based on AMD’s Polaris architecture arrives at the end of June. It promises the VR performance of a £400 GPU at a much cheaper press. Less than half, in fact.
The Radeon RX 480 aims to make VR an affordable and viable prospect for gamers everywhere. The 4GB version will be available on June 29 for $199 (so probably about £160).
Where Nvidia are going for a powerful, fairly expensive graphics card with the GTX 1070 and 1080, AMD seems to be aiming for the widest audience first.
AMD have described this as the “water drop” strategy, and it seems to be the exact opposite of Nvidia’s plan – We’ll have to wait and see if it’s a strategy that pays off.
The RX 480 isn’t looking to rival in the GTX 1070/1080 in terms of raw power. It’s more likely to deliver a similar level of performance to AMD’s Radeon R9 390X, or Nvidia’s GTX 980.
AMD call it:
A disruptive technology that adds rocket fuel to the VR inflection point, turning it into a technology with transformational relevance to consumers.
Of course, bringing down the entry cost of VR is all well and good – but there’s no getting away from the fact headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive still cost a fair wad of cash.
All the same, there’s no denying that Virtual Reality gaming just got a lot cheaper overall, and a much more viable prospect for a great many of us.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.