If you're really into virtual reality, then you'll have no problem entertaining what, essentially, is a desktop tower that's strapped into a backpack for a VR experience.
Enter the Zotac VR GO backpack PC, which the company officially introduced during its 10th anniversary celebration on Oct. 25. A prototype of this contraption was demoed a few months ago at Computex 2016, which attracted plenty of eyes, especially those of VR enthusiasts.
Strapping a desktop tower to the back means more freedom of movement since the cables aren't attached to something stationary. This comes in handy for maximizing the capabilities of VR headsets like the HTC Vive with its Lighthouses, which makes the room-scale setup possible.
The HTC Vive's Lighthouses can track user movement within an area of 15 square feet.
Zotac says that the latest version of the VR GO backpack PC comes with an enhanced design, better performance and a more user-friendly functionality. The company also points out that the new iteration is more durable, more accessible and lighter.
According to Liliputing.com, the VR GO backpack weighs under 10 pounds. It's just as heavy as the Origin EON17-X 10 Series "gaming" laptop.
Wires And I/O Ports
"Wire logistics are also made easy as the case and output are designed for a hassle free VR experience," Zotac describes the backpack PC. "HDMI and USB output are located at the top of the unit, and the case enables wires to be hidden when not in use."
Aside from the 2 USB 3.0 ports and HDMI output atop the case, the right side has three more USB 3.0/3.1 Type-A ports, four more display outputs, a couple of 3.5mm audio jacks and a card reader.
For connectivity, the VR GO features dual-gigabit Ethernet ports. It also has a built-in Wi-Fi controller, which comes standard with premium motherboards.
Processor, RAM Slots, Storage Options, GPU And Battery
Granted that the VR GO is essentially a Magnus EN1070 strapped to a backpack, the CPU is expected to be at least a quad-core Intel Core i7. The custom motherboard has room for two DDR4 SO-DIMMS and will cater to M.2 SSD (PCIe 3.0 x4).
There's also a bay available for a 2.5-inch SATA drive. Given that users will be in motion, SSD is more ideal over HDD.
For GPU, Zotac opted for Nvidia's GTX 1070, which is plenty even for VR titles. Some are questioning why Zotac opted for the 1070 when a more powerful card is available in the form of the 1080. While Zotac is yet to release an official explanation, a likely answer lies in both cards' power consumption.
The GTX 1080's 180W TDP is 30W higher than the 1070's 150W. A hungrier card requires a bigger battery, which translates into more weight.
Speaking of the battery, Zotac designed the VR GO to feature battery hot-swap, which it says will provide continuous play. However, the battery specs are yet to be released. Hence, there's no way to gauge how long the VR GO can remain powered.
Below is a video showcasing the new iteration of Zotac's VR Go backpack.