Nvidia just announced their GTX1060 today and if what they say is true, should outperform the GTX980. Much like AMD’s RX480, the GTX1060 is a mid-tier gaming card which is a good thing for us game devs, especially those of us looking to get into VR development.
Up until now, anyone looking to do proper VR development would have to shell out some serious cash for a GTX980, which for us indie devs isn’t always an option. I have no idea what the performance is like on the new GTX1060, but I do know what it’s like to develop VR using a GTX980ti. If the GTX1060 is able to outperform or match the GTX980 in raw computational power (even though it’s got fewer CUDA cores), that makes Nvidia’s new card the new sweet spot for budget indie devs looking to build VR content for the Vive or the Rift.
While the AMD RX480 technically is cheaper, I’m personally leaning towards the GTX1060 as the features I value most as a VR developer are the Simultaneous Multi Projection and the Single Pass Stereo. Without the additional features, both the GTX1060 and the RX480 are essentially lower priced versions of the GTX980, which is fine if I was just a gamer, but as a developer, optimization is real and unlike being a gamer, the solution isn’t just a matter of throwing better hardware at it. We’re the guys that are responsible for enabling these features so games can run ultra smooth!
(note: If the RX480 offers a similar feature set, please let me know but right now Nvidia’s offering seems to be better for me at least.)
I’ve been personally holding off on upgrading the graphics card on my workstation for a while. I hedged my bets that the new generation of video cards would be optimized for VR and it looks like my predictions were pretty spot on. If you’re an indie dev in a similar situation(making VR games for yourself or as a work-for-hire) or if you’re someone looking to get a job in VR development (games or apps), you’d probably want to make the leap, get on the VR optimized hardware soon and just worry about making stuff. My market research has shown that VR has now overtaken Mobile development as the hot new thing companies are looking for, so take advantage of that opportunity while it’s there.
If you’re a company or a project lead looking to get a VR project going, take it from me, developing for VR using anything less than a GTX980 kinda sucks (unless you’re still making stuff for the Oculus DK1). Do yourselves a favor and factor in the cost of one of these cards into every development machine you plan on testing/developing on. The GTX1060 won’t kill your budget while cutting back the headaches of trying to get your game/app to run properly (trying to optimize your game so it runs on anything less than a GTX970/980 is a waste of time.. really it is..)