HTC Vive VR Test
Atlas getting prepped for dissection 'for science'Steam / Valve Corporation

With a release date and a launch price now set for the HTC Vive virtual reality head-mounted display, there are going to be a lot of potential buyers looking to see if their current PC set-up is VR ready. Thankfully, having been developed in conjunction with Valve Corporation, a Steam application launched on 23 February will assess your gaming rig's suitability for the $799 (£562, €620) headset but with a distinctly Valve-esque twist.

The application starts off in a fairly standard fashion before dropping you into the claustrophobic and clinical world of Valve's first-person puzzle game, Portal.

While you cannot move within the test, you slowly witness the scene from different angles before Atlas, one part of the duo of playable robot characters in Portal 2's co-operative mode, wanders in and is dissected into parts before your eyes.

While being admittedly quite a fun exercise to become one of Portal's aperture science lab-rats, the application is designed to broadly examine how well-suited your PC is for the SteamVR platform. The results screen gives a stark outline of where exactly you might need to make some adjustments by detailing whether your GPU, CPU or OS is up to scratch.

The test also focuses on a key measure when considering how to experience VR – the frame rate. Virtual reality devices such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift require a frame rate of 90 frames per second to keep the visuals smooth and prevent motion sickness, a common side effect of poorly optimised VR.

It does not, however, check whether your computer has enough USB slots, so make sure you do a visual check before placing your pre-order.

For a side-by-side comparison of the two PC-powered virtual reality devices, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, make sure to read our pre-order guide.

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