VR or virtual reality technology is growing in popularity. If you are thinking about buying, you might wonder about VR power consumption. The technology places you in an immersive, 3-dimensional world, meant to feel as real as possible. Gaming systems are expensive to buy and to run. Before investing in VR equipment for your home, you might want to ask: Does VR use a lot of energy?
The main component of all VR systems is the headset. These devices look like extra-large goggles. They cover your eyes and provide you with a visually immersive 3-D experience.
How do virtual reality headsets work? High-end models include sensors like accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers and proximity detectors to track your motions and feed the information to your computer or game console. That data affects what you “see” in your headset. If you move right, the picture you see moves right. Cheaper versions use sensors in your smartphone to track and share movement data.
VR headset technology is rapidly evolving. Currently, three types of VR headsets are available. VR power consumption varies by type.
Gaming systems can be power-hungry devices. It makes sense to ask: How much power does a VR headset use? VR power consumption will depend partly on the VR headset and partly on the system you are using for your game. It will also depend on whether you’re unplugging these devices when not in use, as this can result in wasted electricity.
Here are some considerations and power consumption statistics by brand.
Though recently discontinued, this device has been a popular option for gamers. It is being replaced by the Oculus Quest. It connects to your computer via USB and a video HDMI cable. It connects to the wall using a 5 volt DC, 1.5 watt dongle. At peak use, the Oculus Rift power draw is 3 watts of power per hour.
This device uses a VR headset and multiple external base station units positioned around your space for “room scale” mobility. It connects to your computer via a “link box,” that combines USB 3.0, HDMI, and power connections. Its VR power consumption, including the headset and external base stations, is 16.2 watts per hour.
This headset connects to the PlayStation 4 (both Slim and Pro models) and is compatible with the PlayStation 5 console through a USB adapter to the Playstation camera. Energy usage will vary by game. Playing Batman Arkham in power gaming mode will consume between 74 watts (on the Slim model) and 127 watts (on the Pro model).
Buying a VR headset can be a fun process, but it is also complicated. You will want to know whether VR uses a lot of energy for the particular device you are using. And beyond how much power a VR headset uses, there are other factors to take into consideration:
VR is gaining popularity with consumers. As it grows more mainstream, it is worth considering how much energy these devices use, along with the other factors that go into making your choice.
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