There is no doubt Virtual Reality is getting larger as time goes on, Oculus also dropping the price of there headset and touch controllers from $750us to $400us has also helped the technology grow.
The Minimum specification needed for VR is:
CPU: Intel i5 4590– 4 Core 4 Threads
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB
Now no one developing is running these specification and with today’s technology advancements getting a single system to drive 4 headsets simultaneously for review or development is easily achievable.
The minimum specification has a GTX 1060 6GB for the GPU, The GTX 1060 has 4.0 Tflops of performance, Most of the clients we build VR machines for tend to go for a Quadro P4000 8GB with 5.5 Tflops performance or higher. So with those numbers we need a system to generate a minimum of 22 Teraflops of GPU performance for it to comfortably handle the VR environment. In contrast in 2002 this is what 35.86 Teraflops of compute looked like –
The Quad Core i5 4590 is nothing crazy and lacks HT which is vital to a content creator and we wouldn’t recommend this in production, A decent system would be Quad Core Eight Thread i7 7700k , 32Gb Ram and a GTX 1070 would be circa $4000 and a development box can easily go into 5 digits depending on the exact specification. For this excersise we will keep the figure of $4,000, So needing 4 boxes would be circa $16,000.
Building one system to handle 4 simultaneous Virtual Machines running Windows 10 Pro is going to be cheaper than building 4 separate systems, WAIT! Did he just say Virtual Machines? I did! The system will be running Unraid OS as its host and then each GPU will be passed though its own container running Windows 10 Pro, More on this later. With Intel and AMD offering high core count ‘consumer’ chips is what makes this achievable and we have AMD to thank for introducing the 16 core 1950X to which Intel countered with the i9 7960X.
So lets have a look at the system that will drive the Multi VR
CPU: Intel I9 7960X 16 Core 32 Threads
RAM: 64GB DDR4
GPU: 1x NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB + 3x Quadro P4000 8GB
USB: Sonnet USB3-PRO-4PM-E
OS: UnRaid OS 6 and 4x Windows 10 Pro Licence
SSD: 2x 1TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
The 7960X has 16 physical cores with HT, So sharing to 4 individual machines will be exactly like giving each a Quad Core/Eight Thread CPU with its performance in line with the i7 7740X in the same socket.
The Virtual machine specification will look like:
CPU: Intel I9 7960X — 4 Core 8 Threads
RAM: 16GB DDR4
GPU: 1x NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB
OS: Windows 10 Pro Licence
The other 3 will utilise the Quadro P4000 which is a significant card as its the only single slot VR capable card. I haven’t even mentioned what the best feature is yet in my opinion. When the system is not sharing out 4 instances you can open 1 Machine with the 16 Cores and all GPUs for Development work, So essentially repurposing the system again. This can also be configured into 2 separate systems also.
Virtualisation sounds scary, UnRaid have really taken that aspect out of it though. They have created a fantastic product with an equally fantastic Web GUI that any one can navigate through and we will handle all the configuration for you.
Whilst ThreadRipper offers a better price point with its 1950X its stability in Linux is shady, And as such wouldn’t recommend it for this configuration at this time. Currently drivers on linux are ported from Windows and havent been fantastic so far in our testing.
If your curious get in contact, We can bring a test unit by so you can evaluate it. You can read more about Unraid here, If you already have a system that you would like to turn into a Multi VR machine don’t hesitate to get in contact with us and we can discuss it further.