Dell Announces VR-Certified Precision Workstation, Define VR
Kyle Maxey posted on April 07, 2016 |
Virtual reality (VR) has been considered a hobbled technology for some time. During its much hyped emergence in the mid-90s, VR promised to usher in a whole new digital experience that would change the way people interact with computing. Needless to say that future never came to fruition. However, after a few decades in the background tending to its wounds, VR appears to finally be back on its feet, and businesses seem to driving that trend

In an attempt to stake its claim as the leader in VR-certified computing, Dell has released a set of criteria for building a VR-optimized computer and several workstation solutions that meet those needs.

The cornerstone of Dell’s new VR push is, of course, its new set of VR-certified criteria. In addition to setting minimum standards for CPUs, memory and graphics requirements, Dell has made it a point to implement the most up-to-date graphics drivers to ensure hardware works to its fullest extent. But rather than stopping with its own definition of what a VR-ready machine should be, Dell has reached out to third-party VR headset vendors to have their machines tuned and certified to ensure they’ll work with any VR configuration.

With its new VR definitions in place, Dell has also upgraded its 5810, 7810 and 7910 Precision workstations and Rack 7910 machines by increasing their performance, graphics and memory for VR viewing and content creation. At the heart of this upgrade is the across-the board-improvement of each machine’s chipset. Now, all VR-certified machines will come equipped with new Intel Broadwell-EP processors that contain more cores and allow for multithreaded processing.

Of course, as it is in all machine configurations, the sky is truly the limit and better performance can come at a high cost. Regardless, Dell is now offering the latest in AMD and NVIDIA graphics technology; Ultra-Speed PCIe drives that can perform up to 4 times faster than traditional SATA SSD storage; and the ability to max out memory at the 1 TB (DDR4 @ 2,400 MHz) level. In addition to many other improvements, Dell has also expanded its liquid cooling options, which will dramatically reduce system noise.

“Dell Precision has been delivering immersive computing experiences for many years, including 3D immersive caves, vis-walls and simulation and military applications,” said Rahul Tikoo, executive director and general manager of Dell Precision workstations. “This next generation of VR brings immersive visualization to the masses by democratizing the technology. The implementations are endless, and Precision aims to address the need for more rigor when professional creators demand the utmost in performance and reliability while building incredible VR content.”

Given Dell’s clout among computer vendors and businesses alike, its endorsement of VR as a legitimate and growing portion of the computing landscape is important and might help turn the tide further in favor of VR. However, one has to wonder if today’s VR experience is a bit passive. It’s focused more on viewing and less on interaction, and therefore it’s a bit limited in how it can affect the engineering landscape.

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