Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

Hardware Wars

I dug myself a hole. I think I have now dug my way out of it using one of the traditional methods: throwing money at the problem.

It went like this. The thing that Julie really, really wanted for her birthday was a VR setup so that she could play VR games with her friends online. So I did some research. The leading option that wasn't ungodly expensive was an Oculus Quest. Except that it was late April, so -- given the pandemic -- all things were out of stock. The Oculus Go didn't have enough horses. Julie's computer didn't have enough horses to work with the Oculus Rift. All of the other products were even *more* expensive.

So I stalled. I told her I was continuing to do research. I also explained to her that anything that was as expensive as a VR headset could not be just hers. It would have to be shared by the family, much like a game console. She was willing to buy off on that.

What she had a problem with was my not buying an Oculus Quest when they came back in stock. Except all of my research was telling me that there would almost certainly be a new version of the Quest coming out later this year and I didn't want to buy an obsolete orphan. I have done that often enough. (Hey, isn't that a Flip video camera in this drawer?)

So I stalled. And kept stalling. Finally, Facebook announced the new Oculus Quest 2, Julie saw the announcement, and I placed a preorder. It arrived this week.

The device was an immediate success. Until Julie tried to plug it into her computer so she could play Roblox VR with her friends.

This particular computer, aside from being in sad shape for other reasons, runs Intel Integrated Graphics. VR systems look at that and laugh. Hysterically.

Now, I suppose I could have added a video card to the system, but it has so many other problems that this would fall in the category of throwing good money after bad. No, the thing to do was to build a new computer with a modern video card and declare victory.

I started looking at components. Wow! That's adding up pretty quickly.

For my amusement, I switched over to look at gaming desktops. Oh, look. There's one that's currently on sale for $200 off, so it's not *that* much more than I'm used to paying for machines for the kids. It's got a suitable NVidia card, enough cores and clock speed, 16 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB SSD drive, which might be small for me, but is plenty big enough for her. And I don't have to build it.

This morning I ordered it for pickup and ran down and picked it up from MicroCenter. I also grabbed a new monitor, because the new video card won't talk to the really aged monitor that was on the old machine that only has a VGA connector. And while I was there, I picked up a portable hard drive to move files around on.

And I bought the "Elite Strap" for the Oculus Quest 2, because the folks who were explaining the weaknesses of the stock strap in the reviews weren't kidding. It's even worse if you have a big head like mine.

Julie was delighted and amazed to discover that I had purchased and set up the new computer in a day.

She is also very impressed by the glowing, color-shifting LEDs that are built into the system. They may be her favorite part of the system.

Machines that I build don't do that. :)

So the problem is solved.

I hope.
Tags: computers, home, musings, tech, vr

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