Selecting the right Graphics Card or GPU for your chosen PC-image generator is critical for any VR room set up or Simulation requirement as it will ultimately render your selected visual application software to your display system. Figuring out what GPU to buy can be intimidating. There's so much to consider, from the type of monitor you're using to the size of the PC case to the software. The proprietary graphics bricks/boards and systems of the past that used to dominate Simulation and VR installations have long since ceased production as the advent of the COTS based pc’s equipped with professional and high end consumer grade graphics cards took hold of the market for price and performance reasons. Arguably the most dominant manufacturer of graphics cards is Nvidia with ATI close behind this leading vendor, both deliver consumer grade and professional level solutions. Graphics cards deliver the real-time interactive content to your display system and need to be well specified to ensure that your targeted frame rates are sustained. This is especially important for simulators that are multi-channel projection based and for large VR displays that need 3D stereoscopic performance synchronised in high resolution. If the graphics card struggles, then the entire experience can be compromised, introducing undesirable results such as stuttering and visual tearing of the content between channels amongst other reality breakers. The choice of graphics card comes down to the demands of the software application and the complexity of the content to be realised in real-time frame rates at a targeted resolution and image quality level. Below are list of things you need to keep in mind when shopping for your next GPU for your VR system.
How to choose your GPU for Virtual Reality?The main differences between selecting a professional grade GPU and that of a consumer product are the following:
- Stability: The professional GPU’s are validated for professional usage and stability over time, some gaming cards are over-clocked and not as reliable if operated for extended periods
- Professional level system support is granted on the professional level GPU’s (with the manufacturer addressing bug-fixes and providing phone call support). However consumer grade units being in the commodity realms do not have such levels of attention, especially for niche application needs.
- The texture memory on-board the professional GPU is typically higher than its gaming counterpart.
- The option for gen-locking and hardware synchronisation is offered with professional cards as an accessory but can only be integrated as an aftermarket fit on the consumer cards invalidating their warranty terms.
- Professional cards are developed by one key manufacturer to create the boards themselves, offering a stable driver set and known configurations whereas consumer cards are furnished to the market by 3rd party manufacturers with differing levels of the final specification and performance.
- The gaming focused consumer grade GPU’s are often superseded in quick succession whereas the professional level cards have a more steady release schedule.