1. DCTonkaTruck's Avatar
    I love the Surface line, but I'd like to make sure that I can get the best WMR experience I can. Is it correct that the Surface Book 2 won't meet "Ultra WMR" specs? Is there a laptop/2n1 on the market that would meet Ultra WMR specs?
    11-07-2017 08:17 AM
  2. Keith Wallace's Avatar
    The SB2's higher-dollar models should fit the bill. However, there isn't a whole heck of a lot of transparency with the system requirements to make 100% sure it will go according to plan. They say you need at least a GTX 1050 on the GPU side, which the SB2 Performance Base includes (1050 and 1060 models).

    However, the CPU could be a problem, depending on how things go with it. They claim a minimum of an "i5-4590 (4th generation) quad core or better." The i5 SB2 is a 2-core, 4-thread CPU, so I would have no faith in it to be supported. However, the i7 models use the i7-8650U. This is a 4-core, 8-thread CPU with a higher boost clock (4.2 GHz) than the boost clock of the i5-4590 (3.7 GHz). This sounds acceptable, but the i7-8650U has a very low base clock (1.9 GHz, vs. 3.3 GHz on the i5-4590). The boost clock is likely a single-core boost, with the all-core boost much lower (can't honestly say how much lower).

    I think you're going to be burned by that CPU. That, and you might not have the needed ports to plug the headset in. I think it's just one USB port and video, which should be OK, but you'd need a miniDisplayPort cable that'll go from the SB2 to the WMR headset. I'd wait for the thing to launch, then see, or try asking MS directly at a retail store or in their online chat.

    There are laptops that meet the specs, but the ultrabooks are likely to fall short because of the compromised CPUs. AMD might have the CPU chops with Raven Ridge, but I don't think they'll have the GPU horsepower in those chips to quite pull things off. If you go to something with a higher-powered chip, you can find what you want. I think it's ASUS that uses a desktop Ryzen CPU and an RX 580 in a monster laptop that sucks battery life like crazy, but it would have the needed specs to pull of WMR. You can probably find quite a lot of laptops that have an Intel HQ-series mobile processor and an adequate Nvidia GPU inside as well, but I honestly don't follow those closely enough at this time to know them off-hand.
    11-07-2017 07:44 PM
  3. DCTonkaTruck's Avatar
    @Keith Wow! That is an awesome analysis. The more I have researched this, the more Windows Mixed Reality feels like a redux of Windows Vista... It's cheap enough to get your foot in the door, but to really use the system you need the latest and greatest. I was struck by Zac and Daniel talking about Arizona Sunshine and how the recommended specs are for 4GB Video Ram... But the SB2 seems to come in 2GB or 6GB sets... So, you have a choice of not enough or too much. So, then I started thinking about a Razer Blade and I start wondering whether a WMR Ultra spec is really a high performance spec, or is it going to be where 90% of the WMR apps require you to be?

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful reply.
    11-07-2017 09:01 PM
  4. Keith Wallace's Avatar
    Well, it's a problem of mediocre information, and a lack of consumer understanding. Microsoft's site says you need at least a GTX 1050 for WMR Ultra. That's a 2 GB card. However, on the AMD side, you are required to at least have an RX 580, which is a 4 GB card. However, it is generally stated that the WMR Ultra requirements are the same as SteamVR, probably a partial result of aiming to support SteamVR through WMR in the future. SteamVR asks for a GTX 970 or an R9 290, both high-end cards of past generations, both 4 GB VRAM cards. It makes things confusing when you have "WMR Ultra is like SteamVR," but the requirements vary between the two and the sources you ask on WMR (Microsoft vs. this site). On top of that, you have the low-end WMR support with much lower system requirements. When Arizona Sunshine is asking for 4 GB of VRAM and Microsoft's site says a 2 GB VRAM card (GTX 1050) can do the job, things just get more confusing.

    That said, it makes me not trust anything below the i7/GTX 1060 models of the Surface Book 2 for WMR Ultra, and because of the aforementioned CPU concerns, I will wouldn't recommend the thing to anyone interested in WMR--$2,500 as a starting point for the gamble you might need a better CPU? I'm not touching that. Don't think of 6 GB of VRAM as overkill either. A better card and more VRAM means the framerate is better. You are scraping the floor with the 4 GB cards recommended, meaning inconsistent performance, especially with higher detail settings, is going to be a real issue to consider (not that the game will be unplayable, but that you might see noticeable frame drops).

    Don't touch the Surface Pro or Surface Laptop, though. In fact, I think the Laptop is an outright awful product NO ONE should touch in any use case (unless you're dying for an outdated chassis structure that fights against the very Pen support it builds in to the display...at a premium price that makes no sense). The Surface Pro might run some of the no-Ultra stuff, but that's going to be a lot of unimpressive, demo-like content and video streaming, not gaming. I'd step away from anything carrying a U-class process in a laptop, which means you're talking about laptops probably starting at $1,200 before you are comfortably clearing the performance bar for WMR. I might be wrong on that price, maybe it's doable at $900, but that's just a guess without looking into where Intel puts its HQ model CPUs.
    11-08-2017 02:09 AM

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