Does anyone else care? - Portable Workstation Hardware to consider for Pimax Vision 8kX

Basically, a Pimax Vision 8kX is the best possible headset to use ‘standalone’ to create virtual screens while traveling.

Cheap answer is probably just to search eBay, looking for anything with a miniDP port, a second HDMI port (or similar), and a GTX 1650 or better, at least a GTX 1060 Ti to be sure. For many professions doing lots of web browsing, reading, research, or video watching, this will probably give them at least one 4k VR screen.

Being a relatively expensive and high-quality bit of hardware, though, I think it makes sense to drive it with something better than a single-purpose-at-a-time smartphone/device.

Such a portable workstation could serve the needs of IT Professionals, hardware designers, and the like, who may need to examine huge codebases, browse much documentation, compile complex software, etc, suspend the machine, and continue with a Pimax Vision 8kX headset on a long plane/train trip.

For this, plenty of RAM, CPU, and extra display connectors (to create fake displays with headless ghosts), along with an internal 4k display (so as not to waste GPU limits on an akward 1080p screen, would be ideal.

However, I have to wonder if anyone else really cares about this. Most of us spend a good deal of time in one place or another, at a desk, where a full ATX PC would be cheaper and more powerful.

Ideal system requirements…

  • Battery life - credible ~5hr at near idle, <20W load, close to 100Wh battery.
  • CPU - Passmark score at least 13k, prefer >15k and >2.4k single-thread.
  • RAM - >=32GB. Prefer 64GB.
  • Graphics - Credible chance of running Virtual Desktop at ~1.6x Total SR. GTX 1650 or better.
  • Internal 4k display.
  • Active pen tablet. Slightly reduced performance requirements accepted for tablets.

Minimum system requirements…

  • Battery life - credible ~5hr at near idle, <20W load, close to 100Wh battery.
  • CPU - Passmark score at least 8kk.
  • RAM - >=8GB.
  • Graphics - Credible chance of running Virtual Desktop at ~1.6x Total SR. GTX 1650 or better.

Four categories emerged.

  • Tablets. Few have better than Intel graphics, which AFAIK, have not been tested with Pimax headsets at all (possible VR compatibility issue).
  • Desktop replacements. Surprisingly credible battery life, good features, very heavy, very expensive.
  • Select workstation laptops. Many are still lacking a desirable feature, or have display outputs (eg. ThunderBolt3) which AFAIK, have not been tested with the Pimax Vision 8kX.
  • Everything else on eBay with a GTX 1650 or better.

Ultimately, this suggests certain hardware needs to be tested/deveoped with the Pimax Vision 8kX.

  • External graphics dock with battery. Resulting brick could be smaller than the headset itself. Compatibility with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen4/Gen5 could be really useful with the possibility of using a real tablet among huge VR screens. Especially if Gen5 offers more RAM.

  • Modifying a Yoga C940 15 to include even some kind of basic TrackStick…

  • ThunderBolt3/USB-C/DisplayPort to Pimax Vision 8kX adapters. So far, AFAIK, only a miniDP adapter has been tested.

  • Dedicated HDMI Capture to VR box with internal battery. This could be a ‘dumb brick’ with a minimal CPU and GTX 1650. Virtual Desktop would run offline at startup, displaying exactly what is on the HDMI inputs. In effect, a pure VR monitor adapter for arbitrary HDMI devices.


  • ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen2
    64GB RAM

Excellent performance and portability.

Off-the-shelf first choice. Appears to have MiniDP port and 4k internal display. Some versions may support a pen - .

  • ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 3, ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen4, Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen5 (Coming soon)

Always worth a mention. Seems likely to remain Intel Integrated Graphics only. Would be interesting to know if these have any chance of working with Pimax headsets.

  • Yoga C940 15

Internal 4k Display.
i9-9880H CPU, 16GB RAM

Lenovo abandoned their best selling point omitting Gen4 TrackPoint! Consequently, there is no reason to favor this product over competitors.

Excellent performance for a tablet. More RAM would have been reasonable.

Display outputs are USBC/Thunderbolt3. Whether any adapters work with Pimax Vision 8kX remains to be tested.

  • Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

Internal 4k Display
i7-8705G, 16GB RAM

Weaker processor option. More RAM desirable. Interesting choice of Intel/AMD APUs available. Claims up to 15 hour battery life, though this may depend on CPU choice.

Display outputs are USBC/Thunderbolt3. Whether any adapters work with Pimax Vision 8kX remains to be tested.

Desktop Replacements

  • MSI GT76 Titan DT

Excellent performance, appears to have DisplayPort, HDMI, ThunderBolt3, and 4k internal display.

Overclockable 5GHz CPU might allow flight sims to run at full 1.5x Total SR with the Pimax Vision 8kX. Games like Elite Dangerous would likely suffer from probably a bit less thermal/overclocking capability from the GPU.

Over an inch thick, about 2-3x heavier than most laptops.

At idle, battery life may be decent. Overclocked at full load… this machine seems to need two AC power supplies.

For most use cases, a purpose-built desktop machine will be cheaper, and achieve substantially better visual quality.

Workstation Laptops

  • P73 ThinkPad

Up to i9-9880H, 128GB RAM, Quadro RTX 4000 8GB

Outstanding performance. Excellent battery capacity, highest credible performance/runtime tradeoffs available.

Extra RAM is much appreciated.

Needs testing to confirm compatibility with Pimax Vision 8kX.

Thunderbolt/USB-C DisplayPort Only (No MiniDP)

  • Razer Blade 15

Creator’s version offers a decent quantity of RAM, at 64GB, though it is very expensive, and there is no alternative with more than 16GB.

Internal 4k display, apparent miniDP and apparent HDMI. Convenient for Virtual Desktop use case.


  • HP OMEN 17t

Questionable battery life.

  • GS75 Stealth 9SF

Weak 1080p display.

  • … lots of other matchines

To be clear, this is about using VR hardware to create virtual screens. I do not expect any laptop to be a good choice for high-resolution gaming for simulation in the near future.

EDIT: The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 apparently has active pen support. This probably makes it the strongest possible choice, if it holds up to some testing.


For me personally, until such HMD’s have instantly accessible passthrough viewing along with a split view of passthrough on the bottom 1/4th and viritual desktop on the top 3/4ths, AND have it be wireless, a laptop monitor is almost always going to be easier to use with less fuss on the road. I need to see my keyboard, my hand written notes, my cup of coffee sitting next to me, etc. I want to be able to roll or spin around in the chair, check my phone quickly, dive into the bathroom quickly, etc., things that are a more of a burden without passthrough/split view and wireless. I also wouldn’t want to fully lose touch with my surroundings were I working in a coffee shop or public lounge area of a hotel, as the risk of theft and such is much higher without being able to see around me.

I think with the 8kx we will finally have enough resolution to have a viritual work station, but I think for practicality in public spaces and even while working alone in a hotel room, we will still need wireless and passthrough/splitview for it to become better than a nice lightweight 17inch laptop or something similar.

A caveat to this though would be if one really values privacy, i.e. one is working on something of a very sensitive nature and doesn’t want prying eyes to see, and doesn’t want to have to deal with polrizing privacy screens/glasses. In this case, a virtual environment would be quite handy in acheiving this.

That said, others may think very differently than me and have different priorities than me, so I’m interested to hear what others have to say as well!


Why would You waste money on that amount of RAM? They will never be utilized in Windows unless there’s a memory leak somewhere… :slight_smile:

EDIT: And where’s the SSD? I’d rather save on the amount of memory and buy a bigger SSD.


I can see the day coming where we can plug headset into a cloud hub and get the performance that way without lugging too much hardware around (perhaps with 5G or later we can get enough bandwidth and low latency on the move).

It’s not too far off, given the low latency that gaming clouds are offering now, and some VR testing has been done that way.

Two quick Googles later :wink:

Nvidia RTX cloud servers can run over 5G and mentions AR / VR support.

This isn’t coming tomorrow, but the next five to ten years? No problem imho…

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Let’s see if Shadow or others can achieve this in future… Why Cloud-Based VR Gaming Could Be Here Sooner Than You Think: Shadow CEO

Haven’t got the link in front of me, but I did read about the lengths some cloud DC providers are investing into additional layers of router infrastructure to slash the latency times for gaming and so on :+1:

Hm, latency would have to be really low. But perhaps combined with an approach similar to that of Tilt-Five?
Afaik they stream the scenary to the headset from PC or smartphone which then calculates the actual head movement locally with full framerate. So if the streaming/computation rate isn’t sufficient (e.g. for several headsets on one PC or just a smartphone) it could lead to lagging movement of characters in the world, but the player head position is always ensured to be up to date. Which would already help a lot.
But that means the game has to specifically support this? At least it does for Tilt-Five.

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Indeed it would need to be, and we’re not there just yet. But cloud gaming is making strides (eg people playing Star Citizen with virtually no lag on an iphone etc to prove it works)

Combine with the next gen cloud DC architecture and user networks like 5G and we’ll get there.

I’d say that the platform must be entirely application-agnostic, you absolutely don’t want application devs to worry about which cloud provider the end user relies on.

I wasn’t aware of Tilt-Five but looks cool!

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That’s a good question - how much RAM do you guys have installed for VR gaming? Currently only have 8GB and was wandering if I would likely see any benefit of upgrading to 16GB or even 32GB? (my GPU is an Nvidia 2080).

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I’ve got 64gb of 3600mhz, but that is mostly because i found a reasonable deal and the rumors that the prize will trend upwards over the next seasons. I’m actually rarely seeing usage above 32gb and that is not with games.

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Rule of thumb - if you don’t know for what you are going to use more than 16 GB of RAM for then you most likely won’t need it!

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Good responses, thank you all.

As for why so much RAM, in fact, under both MSW and Linux, I frequently exhaust 32GB, without any memory leaks, and I strongly prefer to have some extra margin. Some compile jobs alone can exhaust that much RAM if the CPU is fast enough to justify the parallel jobs.

I usually count on upgrading to something like 2TB Samsung SSDs.

Indeed my computing needs are extremely heavy, which is why I wondered if others would value the kind of virtual workstation setup I would.

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I have 16GB 4000MHz, but will upgrade to 32 if I find a good deal.

Bought a 2TB NVMe SSD instead (Intel 660p) since it’s “good enough” and I was always short on space with my 4x250GB Samsung Evo 850 in raid 0… :upside_down_face:

For gaming, the Intel is plenty fast and it’s cheap.

How do you measure it though? I think Linux and also modern Windows just uses free RAM for caching, but it will release it when something more important needs it. So you often see lot of RAM used. Of course there are applications which need lot of RAM like high res image or video editing or running virtual machines etc. but you usually know if you use anything like that.

Like right now I run almost nothing and Win 10 shows 4,4 GB used but 3,2 GB are listed as cached.

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I’m under the impression that Windows Memory Management still isn’t stellar (but as I’ve been a Linux/Unix admin for ~20 years I’m probably a bit biased)… :wink:

Linux will, by default, use all the available RAM for caching/buffering (why shouldn’t it?), so it will indeed look as if You’ve used all Your RAM after Your system has been running (doing stuff) for a while and this is perfectly normal.

What You do want to look for a page ins/outs which will show if the vmm is paging in/out excessively (which it shouldn’t).

On Linux You can tweak Your VMM so this is just a very basic explanation.

You can use the tool free to show current memory allocation, but a tool like nmon is much nicer IMHO:

$ free
total used free shared buff/cache available
Mem: 8144324 2785628 1075624 125940 4283072 5123004
Swap: 8388604 38144 8350460


windows basically does the same, my work computer right now is at 16408 in use and cache 16257 with a bit reserved for hardware and stuff.

the basic performance graph only shows the in use graph though. Because back in the windows vista times people were having riots over how much ram was used and you could just not explain to them the concept of cache and why ram that was not being utilized is wasted ram.

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I am well aware of the disk cache, and yes, I do actually exhaust that much RAM. Under Linux I usually check with “free -m”. Under MSW, running a simulator, web browser and such, in addition to at least a minimal Linux VM, can easily exhaust close to 32GB.

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