While VR may have started out as a novelty and gaming act, all trends currently point to it soon becoming a booming aspect of the enterprise workstation business. In fact, tech adviser Digi-Capital predicts that Virtual Reality will be a $30 billion business by 2020. When you consider a market that size, it’s easy to see why Dell would want to brace for impact. The PC giant unveiled plans last week for three new workstation tower computers that are designed to handle the intensely demanding visuals associated with VR technology. They must be able to run at least 90 frames per second, in each eye, just to keep from making their users seasick. And visuals like that require a lot of horsepower.
The new Precision Tower 5810, 7810 and 7910 desktops will support up to 4TB of SSD storage and 1TB of DDR4 memory, and the lineup even includes a Rack 7910 desktop, which resembles a rack server. They will feature super high-end graphics cards and Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 v4 chips, which have up to 22 cores. Altogether, the increased performance, graphics and memory will “support an optimal VR experience” for professional users. This means the PCs will be able to do more than simply run VR apps and games; it will be able to help create them. Buyers will have their choice of GPUs, including Quadro M6000, Quadro M5000, GTX 970 or GTX 980 from Nvidia, or FirePro W9100 or Radeon R9-390X from AMD. The towers will undergo several performance tests by Dell to ensure that they work well with head-mounted displays, software vendors and third-party benchmarks. Luckily for Dell, a lot of this knowledge is already available to them in-house through their subsidiary Alienware.
The timing of Dell’s move into the world of Virtual Reality in the enterprise couldn’t be any better. The Oculus Rift saw its official launch just last week, while the HTC Vive is slated to arrive sometime early this month. However, while it may be easy to get your hands on a headset, there is still a surprising lack of content available for the new technology. Dell’s hope is that the introduction of the souped-up Precision line will enable and inspire a wider group of game developers, scientists, companies and entrepreneurs to usher in the next generation of Virtual Reality. “This next generation of VR brings immersive visualization to the masses by democratizing the technology," Rahul Tikoo, executive director and general manager of Dell Precision workstations said in a statement. "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." As you probably guessed, the new VR-ready towers will not come cheap – prices range from $1,199 to $2,049 (and possibly even higher depending on configurations).
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