Virtual Reality – it’s coming to a room near you.

technology stuff for baffled parentsIt’s the next in our Tech Stuff for Baffled Parents series – where we try and help demystify the tech that your teen gamer is begging you for, and helping you make an informed choice on what to buy. This week we’re taking a serious look at Virtual Reality.
I know, I know. Anyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s thinks of VR as a Tron-like weird and clunky network view while you’re wearing a headset and gloves and stand on a raised platform.
We all got SO excited… and it never really lived up to it, did it?

Even in the 90’s (which my old, sad brain just realised is actually 20 years ago… *sobs*) Nintendo’s Virtual Boy came along and we all thought it was just a matter of time before virtual reality took over the world.

But it never really did.

Until now.

All of a sudden, Virtual Reality isn’t something weirdly futuristic and unbelievable – it’s here. Now. And you’re going to be able to buy it to use in your own living room.
And most exciting of all is that the potential for it beyond the gaming world is causing more of a rumpus than the gamer community could ever do. Of course it’s an awesome gaming experience for first-person shooters and exploring Victorian London as an assassin. But there’s already so much diversity – look how interactive and incredible Microsoft’s Hololens got with Minecraft at E3 this year, taking Minecraft out of the screen and letting you move around it

And think of everything outside gaming it’ll be fabulous for – those with mobility issues will be able to see the world, experience sky diving, go skiing. Surgeons can practice without a body to practice on. As awesome as it’ll make flying and driving games, it’ll be just as useful when practicing the real thing.

Last year the Oculus Rift blog featured an article musing on the future of VR “Virtual reality is a medium that allows us to share experiences with others in ways that were never before possible,”

And it’s coming to a shop near you really really soon. HTC says the Vive will launch December 8th, while the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PS4-based Project Morpheus will follow in early 2016. Samsung’s Oculus-powered Gear VR is already available (though Samsung say the ‘real’ version won’t arrive for a couple of months).

I don’t think there’s any doubt – VR finally got good enough to actually work. And if it works, what fool wouldn’t want to try it? The headsets are already on sale – I predict them to be the must-have gift next Christmas, and by Christmas 2017 they’ll be being bundled with PC packages.

The Oculus leadership team agree – in another blog post, they said: “Over the next 10 years, virtual reality will become ubiquitous, affordable, and transformative.”

Virtual reality has the potential to change the way we interact with the world – just like the Internet and mobile phones did. VR takes you to amazing new places, either real or imagined, past or present. And I can’t be the first to see it becoming an essential communication tool, either – I’ll be able to visit my 200-miles-away sister for coffee and a chat just by us both popping on a headset.

A genuine alternative to the teleporter we’ve all yearned for.

Gaming was a ‘kids thing’ for years, but of course, all those kids grew up – and are still gaming. And it seems there are no boundaries – those young gamers are the ones leading us into an exciting future, making real the mad ideas they dreamed of back in the days when Mario made their eyes pop with joyous delight.

So – if you’re thinking about buying a new PC right now, does it make sense to make it VR ready? Just in case?
Well, yes.
Frankly it does.
The basic rule of buying tech is always think ahead – don’t get what you need now, try and think what you’ll need next year.
And next year they’ll be asking for a VR headset to go with it.
So what does a VR-ready system need?
Basically, it needs to be a powerful computer. Laptops just won’t cut it here – VR technology relies on everything being rendered twice (once for each eye), and VR headsets in their final incarnation will be rendered at a very high internal resolution. Finally, there is a requirement for a frame rate of at least 70 fps to be maintained to maintain smooth head tracking and avoid inertia-related nausea.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to break your bank…
Our mates at Chillblast have a whole section of VR Ready Gaming PC’s – and an off-the-shelf package starts at just £870. I know – I bet you were expecting a ‘1’ in front of that, weren’t you? But with the Fusion Krypton they’ve kept things as simple and bare bones as possible, creating an astonishing machine at a real value-build price. It delivers the essential frame rates in the latest games (remember you need more than 70fps to make sure you don’t get hideously travel sick in the headset), and has the latest 6th generation Core i5 “Skylake” processor at 4.4GHz.
(for the more knowledgeable nerd readers here’s the rest of the facts; 16GB of ultra-fast DDR4 memory, a top quality ASUS Z170M-PLUS motherboard, the fastest PCI-Express connected SSD on the market and a 2TB secondary drive for your Steam collection. The 80 PLUS rated Aerocool 600W PSU delivers ample power to the fearsome GeForce GTX 970 4GB video card and theres a glorious Thermaltake gaming keyboard and mouse included as standard.)

Of course, if you have a little more cash in the bank, then it’s worth pushing the spec higher. Chillblast’s Fusion Probe is the “very latest small form factor system with exceptional gaming grunt.” A complete gaming PC system with lightning fast responses, it happens to come in at just a few pounds over £1300.


Powered by an i5 4690K Devil’s Canyon processor (overclocked to a whopping 4.3GHz), and with the overclocked GTX 970 4GB video card, your pet gamer can max out just about any PC game and still keep amazingly high frame rates. It just does everything with a smile on its smugly perfect little face.

And we’ll just send you to look at the Chillblast Fusion Master Skylake Gaming PC for yourself – it’s not even that much more to stretch to at a penny under £1700, but it’l break your brain with its ridiculous cutting-edge magnificence.

Take a browse through Chillblast’s VR Gaming PC’s – are you ready? All of the PCs in this section are.


Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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