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Xtal first impressions


stefew1966
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Good day everybody,

Last night my buddy Nick and I went to work on the Xtal.

 

First things first. The clarity is really, really, really good. We started with the F-18 and everything in the cockpit was clear. We then moved on the the F-14 and at one point I ejected just for giggles and I kept watching the cat getting smaller and smaller as it flew away without me. I kept seeing it oscillate up and down and side to side. Nick was watching on my 1440p monitor and I kept telling him, "I can still see the wings" and he would say, "what wings". We were both amazed that I would pick that up and he could not. Anyway I thought it was an interesting anecdote.

 

I was running with graphics set on "high" in DCS. My FPS rarely dipped below 35. Keep in mind, that I didn't optimize for anything. I was running my CPU at 4.8ghz and my 2080ti at stock speed. I will have to play around with settings some more for sure. But the good news is that is felt silky smooth the whole time. In 2 hours we only had one hick up. Like a few jumped frames. But only that one time. So I call that a success as far as smoothness is concerned.

 

The Xtal is built with premium materials and it shows. My face was never soar or even had any marks on it for that matter. And this thing is massive! So if the materials had been cheap I think I would have felt it. It's not objectionably heavy and bulky but it's no Rift. Although it feels heavy it's comfortable. It's good for seated VR but I don't know that it would be practical for long standing sessions.

 

The software was easy to setup. They have something akin to PiTool. It's called VRTool. Very easy to use. We didn't mess with its settings too much as we were just soaking in the visuals.

 

SDE is barely noticeable. You have to look for it. I was watching a video of some comedian performing and I could see pixels on his shirt and skin. But it was a dark environment with very bright lights on the comedian. One comparison I would like to make here is that Xtal would be a jump comparable to the jump we made when we went from low definition to 720p TVs. It's not 4K and it's close to 1080p. But I think we would need retina level stuff to achieve that and no reasonably priced PC in the world would be able to run a sim like DCS with decent FPS with something that would approach 1080p TVs.

 

The auto IPD adjustment is really slick and accurate. Nick has a bit of a fat head compared to my scrawny melon and both of us would get IPD well within tolerances to achieving clarity. I did notice the area over my nose was blurry. I have not noticed this before on the Rift, Vive or Odyssey. But everything is so clear on the Xtal that I could notice this. It wasn't really bad but once I noticed it I couldn't stop messing with the fit to see if it was sweet spot related or something with the IPD. More to come on this later. I will say this though, the extreme left or right are sharp the whole way. Very nice.

 

The vertical field of view is something I noticed to be narrower than usual. But only because Sweviver had mentioned it in his video. Nick had not noticed until I brought it up. It's not a big issue but it's there. The horizontal FOV on the other hand is very cool. I didn't have time to use one of my old VR goggles to see the difference which I'm told is much more noticeable once you go back to narrower FOV.

 

Since the screens are OLEDs the colors were very sharp and vibrant.

 

So, what's the verdict? The jury is still out on a few things like how heavy it is and the cord that is really bulky as well. So I will need to work on fit and come up with something to manage that massive cord. But the visuals are amazing!

 

I will keep at it and post videos and more data as time passes. So stay tuned.

 

Stef

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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Sounds great. Glad the first impressions are so positive. I'm priapic with anticipation for the next update.

 

Edging closer to getting one myself. My open question is whether this has sufficient internal hardware to do dynamic foveated rendering when possible with software. That would really help its longevity because for the price I wouldn't want to replace it in 2 years. I know it has eye tracking but at the moment only for the auto IPD. I don't know if the latency etc are sufficient to do eye tracking for the purpose of foveated rendering.

 

Also it would be nice to see the cost of the AR module with inside out tracking.

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Sounds great. Glad the first impressions are so positive. I'm priapic with anticipation for the next update.

 

Edging closer to getting one myself. My open question is whether this has sufficient internal hardware to do dynamic foveated rendering when possible with software. That would really help its longevity because for the price I wouldn't want to replace it in 2 years. I know it has eye tracking but at the moment only for the auto IPD. I don't know if the latency etc are sufficient to do eye tracking for the purpose of foveated rendering.

 

Also it would be nice to see the cost of the AR module with inside out tracking.

 

I know VRGineers is working on foveated rendering but I don't know if the current iteration of the Xtal could fully support that. It does use auto IPD like you said so we know there is a camera in there somewhere that looks at your eyes. It will be interesting for sure.

 

As for the AR module, I'm not even sure that can be installed on the one I have. The pictures on the web show the front completely cut open to support the AR module.

 

Stef

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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Interesting, thanks. I had the impression that the AR module would be retrofittable. The picture they showed I guess is an early prototype so that may still be the case.

 

From your first impressions, would you say it is a game changer in terms of clarity, readability of instruments etc? Or is it still just another step on the road to no-SDE, perfect readability.

 

I went from Rift to Rift S as a no-regrets move (sold the old one for a good price), but I don't really want to buy the Reverb because even though the headline resolution is high, the opinion seems to be mixed on whether it truly moves the game on as much as the resolution suggests. Rift S is definitely incremental, so if I went for XTAL it would need to be another level.

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Game changer?

 

Interesting, thanks. I had the impression that the AR module would be retrofittable. The picture they showed I guess is an early prototype so that may still be the case.

 

From your first impressions, would you say it is a game changer in terms of clarity, readability of instruments etc? Or is it still just another step on the road to no-SDE, perfect readability.

 

That's a hard to question to answer.

 

1) Is it a game changer? Yes it is.

2) Is it just another step on the road to no-SDE. Yes it is.

3) Does it have perfect readability? No it doesn't.

 

A better question would be. Is it worth the money to get that better clarity? Not for most.

 

VR is not reality. I have 25 hours on the Cessna 172. Nothing beats using your own eyes to look at those instruments. So I am a bit spoiled as I have flown a real plane before. And nothing compares. Not even the Xtal.

 

But it was worth it for me. I have always hated the fact I could barely read anything in modern jet cockpits. Now I can.

 

I hope this helps.

Stef

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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Thanks. This is all really helpful (and I'm sure for others too). I have time in light aircraft and gliders too so I'm realistic about what a sim can do.

 

I agree that the price/performance ratio is simply not worth it for the majority of people (and XTAL has a lot of R&D spending to recover so I don't think the price is unreasonable for these small volumes), but that's not a particular constraint for me. It's rather making sure that it moves things on sufficiently that it feels justified.

 

It sounds like you think it is, even if that doesn't mean 'I can't tell if I'm in the Matrix or not'.

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Great first impression reviews. Being able to see the wings of the F-14 at a distance is superb.

Pixelated distant object is quite an issue with my O+

Have you tried air to air combat and see how further away you Id an enemy aircraft?

 

Thanks for sharing

Windows 10 Pro 64bit|Intel i5 7600k @3.8Ghz|Gigabyte GTX 1060 6G|Corair vengence 32G DDR4 @3000mhz|Gigabyte Z270 HD3|Thrustmaster Flightstick| T-16000M Throttle| Samsung Odyssey Plus Headset

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Clarity

 

Did it live up to your expectations, regarding clarity and fidelity?

 

Yes it did. And that was the main reason why I got it. All other factors were secondary for me.

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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Air-to-air combat

 

Great first impression reviews. Being able to see the wings of the F-14 at a distance is superb.

Pixelated distant object is quite an issue with my O+

Have you tried air to air combat and see how further away you Id an enemy aircraft?

 

Thanks for sharing

 

Not yet. Will for sure. But I would venture a guess that it will make the job of identifying aircraft a lot easier.

 

I use "another" game for WW1 dog fighting and I can't wait to see how well aircraft recognition works for that.

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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Thanks for sharing.

 

I'd be really curious to see how it compares to the Reverb. From your description the "clarity" seems comparable between the two, but I'm sure the Xtal has a wider FOV and less optical distortion.

 

I find the clarity for use with "the other WW2" flight sim to be great, so it should be even better for the Xtal and WW1.

New hotness: I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, :joystick: TM Warthog. TrackIR, HP Reverb (formermly CV1)

Old-N-busted: i7 4720HQ ~3.5GHZ, +32GB DDR3 + Nvidia GTX980m (4GB VRAM) :joystick: TM Warthog. TrackIR, Rift CV1 (yes really).

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Thanks for sharing.

 

I'd be really curious to see how it compares to the Reverb. From your description the "clarity" seems comparable between the two, but I'm sure the Xtal has a wider FOV and less optical distortion.

 

I find the clarity for use with "the other WW2" flight sim to be great, so it should be even better for the Xtal and WW1.

 

I wish someone close to my location had one. That way I could compare. I don't think my better half will let me buy one for comparing. ;)

 

Stef

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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I wish someone close to my location had one. That way I could compare. I don't think my better half will let me buy one for comparing. ;)

 

Stef

 

I can't recall if it was the Index or Reverb that wasn't being sold in Canada, hopefully you can find one to look through sometime.

 

Is there any edge distortion in the Xtal? I.e. does the image get worse at the edges of the FOV, or progressively worse as you look away from dead center? Thats the main issue with the Reverb.

New hotness: I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, :joystick: TM Warthog. TrackIR, HP Reverb (formermly CV1)

Old-N-busted: i7 4720HQ ~3.5GHZ, +32GB DDR3 + Nvidia GTX980m (4GB VRAM) :joystick: TM Warthog. TrackIR, Rift CV1 (yes really).

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No distortions

 

I can't recall if it was the Index or Reverb that wasn't being sold in Canada, hopefully you can find one to look through sometime.

 

Is there any edge distortion in the Xtal? I.e. does the image get worse at the edges of the FOV, or progressively worse as you look away from dead center? Thats the main issue with the Reverb.

 

I only have a couple hours under my belt with it. But so far I can only say that the center is a little blurry. But it could be due to fit on my head and or IPD. Could be that sweet spot I'm just not getting yet due to inexperience with the Xtal. I'll need more time.

 

However, the outside edges look pretty good. Clearer than anything else I have tried so far.

 

And the Valve Index is the one we can't get in Canada easily. Some 3rd parties resell it at a premium.

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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It uses Steam VR

 

I'm curious about the interface with DCS World. Does it use SteamVR via Windows Mixed Reality? Or did DCS recognize it natively?

 

Thanks,

 

Hey Nightstorm,

It uses Vive Base Stations and Vive Controllers. Steam VR, no WMR needed.

 

To use the controllers you do need the dongles that come with the trackers or an attached Vive minus the video cable. But the USB and power cable on the Vive need to be attached. I much prefer the dongles but I can't buy them without the trackers so for now the Vive will do.

 

I had to get the Steam VR attachment from VRGineers. They make that themselves.

 

Stef

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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So if you use SteamVR tracking system it should work with Index controller right?

PC: 9900K/3090, 11700K/2080Ti, 8700K/1080.

Joystick bases: TMWx2, VPC WarBRD, MT50CM2, VKB GFII, FSSB R3L

Joystick grips: TM (Warthog, F/A-18C), Realsimulator (F-16SGRH, F-18CGRH), VKB (Kosmosima LH, MCG, MCG Pro), VPC MongoosT50-CM2

Throttles: TMWx2, Winwing Super Taurus, Logitech Throttle Quadrant, Realsimulator RS Linear Throttle (soon)

VR: HTC Vive/Pro/Pro 2, Oculus Rift/Quest 2, Valve Index

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Dude, no... you don't need it. I say this as a friend, like an intervention or something

 

Lol no, I'm not planning to buy but just curious. Have 2 kids in private school, so I have to be mindful about what I spend.

PC: 9900K/3090, 11700K/2080Ti, 8700K/1080.

Joystick bases: TMWx2, VPC WarBRD, MT50CM2, VKB GFII, FSSB R3L

Joystick grips: TM (Warthog, F/A-18C), Realsimulator (F-16SGRH, F-18CGRH), VKB (Kosmosima LH, MCG, MCG Pro), VPC MongoosT50-CM2

Throttles: TMWx2, Winwing Super Taurus, Logitech Throttle Quadrant, Realsimulator RS Linear Throttle (soon)

VR: HTC Vive/Pro/Pro 2, Oculus Rift/Quest 2, Valve Index

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Xtal can be used with Valve Index

 

So if you use SteamVR tracking system it should work with Index controller right?

 

That is correct, they can be used with the Xtal

I7 9700k 4.8ghz, 32gb ddr4, 2080ti, TM Warthog, TM TPR pedals, TrackIR, projector, Odyssey, Xtal, custom flight chair, Proflight Trainer Puma.

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Don't mean to bombard u with another "...can u do...", but, in VR I notice the most discomfort (on the eyes) when flying at night, especially carrier landings. I do them (in my Odyssey+) but well, it's messy [looking]. Have your tried that and what are your impressions.

 

Thanks,

J

i6700k 4.4mhz, 32Gb, nVidia 1080, Odyssey+, CH Products, Derek Speare Designs button box, Bass shaker w/SimShaker For Aviators

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