Oculus asynchronous spacewarp sorcery goes live

— 2:00 PM on November 11, 2016

Remember Oculus' "asynchronous spacewarp" technology? If you're not up to speed on the topic, the technique uses complicated interpolation and reprojection algorithms generate extra frames for VR applications. That means that you can be looking at 90 FPS while your PC is only churning out 45 FPS. Oculus revealed the technology early last month, but today it's out of testing and officially available on the Oculus 1.10 runtime.

The end result of asynchronous spacewarp is that Oculus was able to relax the stringent requirements for its Rift headset. While the recommended specs still call for GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290 graphics cards mated to an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU, the company now offers a minimum requirements specification. The spec includes all video cards from Nvidia's GeForce 900 and 1000 series, as well as the whole Radeon RX 400 series. The CPU requirements have also been relaxed—all buyers need is an Intel Core i3-6100 and AMD FX-4350 CPU.

There are a few caveats when using asynchronous spacewarp, of course. The technology requires Windows 8 or 10, so Windows 7 users are out of luck. Visual artifacts can appear, caused by quick brightness changes, rapidly-moving repeating patterns in the environment, and head-locked elements that move too fast to track properly. Oculus also acknowledges that Spacewarp is a band-aid rather than a real performance optimization. The company still recommends that developers and users alike target a machine more akin to the recommended specs than the minimum one.

If you're not sure how well the hardware in your machine can handle high-end VR, you can grab Oculus' compatibility tester. If you already have a Rift and want to know how to use asynchronous spacewarp, congratulations! You're already doing it. With today's launch, the feature is enabled by default on all compatible systems.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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