MSI is ramping up the virtual reality game. Instead of offering just another headset, like Microsoft’s impressive HoloLens (which is technically an augmented reality headset), MSI will this week debut their virtual reality backpack at the Tokyo Game Show.
The new VR backpack contains a full – and powerful – Windows 10 computer that is designed to keep up with the seriously demanding nature of virtual reality games. MSI has also built strong relationships with HTC’s VIVE team, combining forces and resources to create a mobile virtual reality platform that will seriously compete with other PC manufacturers who are creating traditional standalone units.
The MSI VR One is the thinnest and lightest backpack computer system ever developed – although given that’s not exactly the most common kind of computer, that’s not necessarily as impressive as it sounds. Weighing just 3.6kg, however, it’s certainly pretty good.
The two battery packs within the system will allow for only 1.5 hours of gameplay, which should come as no surprise to anyone who understands the level of consumption that comes with an overclocked CPU and a GeForce GTX 10 series graphics card. The setup means that virtual reality rendering performance should be amazing, especially combined with the user’s ability to walk freely dfuring the game.
One of the most impressive parts of the setup is how quiet and cool it stays. Despite having one of the most powerful graphics cards on the market, it can render virtual reality games with a noise level of under 40dBA.
The VR One comes optimized for HTC VIVE out of the box, with one HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort and even a Thunderbolt 3 port, via Type-C connectivity. These ports have all been added to the setup with ultra-high quality, dual 2K displays (one per eye), offering 90 frames per second to create one of the most realistic virtual reality experiences on the market.
There are also traditional USB 3.0 ports available – four to be exact – meaning that other VR headsets that require this connectivity can be used.
MSI’s new backpack system is substantially different to what is being offered by other manufacturers who are trying to build computer systems into the headsets themselves. The company has not released the pricing or availability of the backpack yet, but we know it won’t be cheap.