AMD Posts Internal SteamVR Performance Test Results

By Published February 23, 2016 at 6:00 am

For years now, VR has seemed to be right around the corner, but consumer VR is (finally) becoming a reality with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift soon hitting retailers. Unfortunately, the system requirements for VR – to the woe of my wallet – are fairly demanding.

The Oculus Rift officially recommends an nVidia 970 or AMD 290, an i5-4590, and 8GB+ of RAM. In comparison, the Vive has the same recommended specs with the exception of memory, where the Vive recommends only 4GB.

For those unsure about their system’s VR capabilities, paying $800 for the Vive or $600 for the Rift may be a disappointing purchase if PC performance ends up being inadequate. To help inform users how capable their system is for VR, Valve has released their new SteamVR Performance Test. For reference, this benchmark is most applicable to the HTC Vive since it uses SteamVR and is designed for the Vive, but its results should be vaguely representative of performance with the Oculus Rift due to them using similar hardware specs and having similar recommended system specs.

Valve’s SteamVR Performance Test clearly tells whether a system is VR ready, capable, or – disappointingly – “not ready.” Furthermore, it suggests performance bottlenecks and points-out immediate upgrades for better performance. Currently, the SteamVR Performance Test doesn't officially support multiple GPUs, but the early support can be forced by using -multiGPU in the launch options. AMD is currently working with Valve to add support for Affinity multi-GPU, which allows for one GPU to render the left eye and the other to render the right.

The SteamVR Performance Test features a robot repair scene set in the Portal universe.

AMD has been quick to boast to us that all of their R9 390 series and Fury GPUs are officially VR Ready, according to Valve’s SteamVR Performance Test. AMD’s internal results are below:

GPU Score
2xR9 Nano 11
GTX 980 Ti 11
R9 Fury X 9.6
R9 Fury 9.2
GTX 980 8.1
R9 Nano 8
R9 390X 7.8
R9 390 7
GTX 970 6.5

In the future, we will be further investigating VR performance in games, but from the initial benchmarks, it looks like AMD’s GPUs perform particularly well using SteamVR. Driver updates may change this situation, as would settings tweaks in specific titles.

We’ll validate these results shortly with our own suite of tests.

- Michael “The Bear” Kerns.

Michael Kerns

Michael Kerns first found us when GN's Editor-in-Chief was tirelessly answering questions on reddit pertaining to a new product launch, likely after the Editor had stayed up all night writing the news post. Michael offered a tired Editor reprieve, taking over the role of questions-answerer-extraordinaire when it was most needed. These days, Michael can be found pulling his mechanical keyboard collection apart and building Frankenstein's Monster-like monsters of keyboards. Michael wrote the vast majority of our mechanical keyboard dictionary and is an expert in keyboards.

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