New XTAL discussion thread for 2021/2022

The main difference between different versions of XTAL 5Ks and 8Ks are in most cases the lenses. It seems that there are also some internal hardware differences on different versions, like the first XTAL 8K version released in 2020 did not had the Bluetooth dongles required for using of Steam VR Controller integrated in to the Headset itself, but now the refurbished 8Ks HMDs does have this dongles integrated (+ active lens cooling too).

It seems also that the display panels itself are always the same between different versions of the same „type“ of XTAL. VRgineers sometimes also are upgrading the strap and small things on their older versions of XTAL, if they developed something new with a new release of a XTAL version. So they really are refurbishing their older versions of XTAL and that in this way is very rare to find, as in most cases „refurbished“ only means that the product was briefly cleaned and tested for complete functionality from the seller or manufacturer and no real hardware specific upgrades or similar was done.

BTW, I am not any kind of expert to all this, I know all that from my correspondence with the support of VRgineers, for any more specific questions or similar things please get in touch with them.

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many thanks for your explanation, I understand that each modell which has been “refurbished” has basically been modernized/upgraded. That’s really a very interesting approach. And also very interesting featured I never heard about, like the active lens cooling.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I didn’t want to imply that you are an expert, but from your comments I saw you have excellent knowledge, gathered from the support of VRgineers. So I wont bother you again.

Thanks again!

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All fine and you´re welcome! I just wanted to state that what I wrote about the XTALs is coming from my coresspodence with the support and my brief experience with the older 5K and 8K Version.

Most likely I will do here soon a short review of the XTAL 3, once I get my unit.
I guess it could be interesting for some Pimax members here…

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looking forward to your review of th XTAL 3, meanwhile I will discover my 5k :wink:

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Thanks again for your reply.

Oh, that really su…s… (I mean the “inicident” with the extension tube of the air pressure can, which destroyed the display of your XTAL)

Thanks for the warning / hint, I will make sure, that the removable extension tube is securely attached to the can.

Yes, my XTAL 5K has indeed the newer / better lenses.

I’ve tested the horizontal FOV with “TestHMD” and the result is exactly the same what I have achieved with my Pimax 5K XR: 160 degrees. The vertical FOV of the XTAL is (of course) smaller than the one of the Pimax, that’s why it’s also well known as “Kylo Ren” view. :wink:

Yes, hopefully this time you have more luck with the XTAL 3. :wink:

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Yeah, it was something that I never ever want to experience again. I guess that this was one of the many reasons they offered me the upgrade to the XTAL 3 for around 5,5 K€ (+3 K€ I paid for the used XTAL 5K). Otherwise I would have to pay now additional 6K€ to the 3K€ I already paid for the XTAL 8K upgrade, resulting in total 12K€ I would have spent on XTAL HMDs and that is another level money wise.

Are your XTAL 5K lenses looking like this:

or like these lenses:

The first picture are the last gen lenses of my old 5K (horizontally/in length larger) and the second pictures shows the current gen lenses (horizontally/in length smaller) of XTAL. With the new design they improved the vFOV significantly and is now at least for me at Q3 level, I am not joking with that statement.
If you really have the newest lenses that means that your XTAL 5K unit was refurbished in 2022 or later by VRgineers and probably was sent for that by the previous owner to them.

Yeah, I got appx. the same with my XTAL 5K, with the 8K and newer lenses it was/is even wider at around 170ish degrees hFOV. But I have to say that the older lens system was more clear to the far edges of the FOV, as with the new ones I get some very mild distortions and blurring on the edges.
But it seems that I have way less eye strain with the new lens design compared to the older lens design, so I like the new design better than the old design.

Thanks, I hope that too! The only thing that worries me is the very short focal distance length of the XTAL 3 at around 30 cm which can produce eye strain for some users, at least I know that from some people here. Usually HMDs have a focus distance of around 2 -3 meters. I have good eyes and I can see sharp starting at around 15 cm distance to my eyes, so I should be good to go with the XTAL 3.
As it looks right now I will get my XTAL 3 unit at the end of next week :love_you_gesture:

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Well, from the looks of it, my XTAL does have the lenses like in the first picture (the upper one), but the support team of VRgineers did confirm by the serial number of my headset, that I have the newer lenses.

Could it be, that you accidentally switched the photos?
Hmm… weird…

Well, like I already mentioned, I’m very satisfied with the headset, respectively the lenses, so I don’t think about it too much…

AH OK, maybe you could give a quick first impression of your XTAL 3 then. :slight_smile:

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That is interesting to read, the first photo shows the XTAL 5K and the second one the refurb XTAL 8K. Maybe the support meant the newest lenses which the refurb XTAL 5Ks got before the XTAL 3 release, which one were the original XTAL 8K lenses from 2020. I am not sure if they refurbished the XTAL 5K and sold them after the release of the XTAL 3, as they stopped selling them if I remember correctly in 2022.

Do you can make a picture from your lenses of your 5K unit, so we can comapare them to my pictures? Only if you want, could be interesting for both of us and the community :slight_smile:

But I can say for sure that the lens design of my old 5K and the refurb 8K is different.
Your measured hFOV of around 160 degrees speaks for the same lenses like in my old 5K, as with the newest one it is definetly wider at around 170 degrees or more.

Of course, that is the most important thing and I am happy for you that you are very satisfied with the 5K. Maybe I am getting to nerdy with the lenses, as I always secretly wanted one XTAL unit since they launched XTAL in 2018. I just love the look from the XTALs but on the other side I want a version of XTAL without the dust particle issue and that I can start using without worring about that.

Will do for sure :+1:

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Well, the VRgineers support and also myself were refering to these new lenses:

Like I mentioned, the support team confirmed by the serial number of the headset, that my XTAL 5K definitely has the newer lenses (the ones, Marek from VRgineers and Sebastian from MRTV are talking about in this video).

Regarding the FOV: Like Thomas (VoodooDE) has mentioned many times in his videos, it also has to do with different headshapes. :wink:

Sure, no problem. :slight_smile:

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Btw.,

I still have issues with some games…

A few examples:

Lone Echo 1 & 2 don’t run at all, they just crash at startup.

Asgard’s Wrath is working, but it’s lagging like hell (btw., ARKTIKA.1, another Oculus exclusive game, is running perfectly).

Eleven Table Tennis also doesn’t work (the picture only shows on the monitor, but not in the headset).

This also happens with a lot of other games.

Btw., all my games work flawlessly with my Pimax 5K XR…

I’ve already tried to run the XTAL in “Dual Mode” setting and also with a smaller FOV, but this doesn’t change anything.
Well, running the XTAL in “Dual Mode” does change something: the performance is a lot worse. :smiley:

[EDIT]

I’ve tested some more games.

At the beginning the games are running with a perfect framerate, but after a few minutes they start to lag - totally unplayable.

Could this be because of my system specs?

i5 9600K
RTX 3080
16 GB RAM

But like I mentioned, all my games are running fluently with my Pimax 5K XR…

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Thanks for the photo! Very interesting!
Al right, I see that your lenses are completely different from what I see with my old 5K and the refurb 8K. If the support talked about the „newer lenses“ from infact way back in 2018, then your 5K does not have the newest lenses available for the 5K, which one my 5K unit has. As it seems your 5K unit is one of the original and not refurbished XTAL 5Ks, released in 2018. My XTAL 5K unit was refurbished in 2020 or later and got with that the original (and further improved) XTAL 8K lenses.
As it seems we are documenting right now the hole „history path“ of XTAL lenses :grinning::rofl:

If this setting is changing something or not depends mostly on the game itself you are running. In my use case with Elite Dangerous in the Tiled Mode I had bad covergance issues with the virtual pictures, like if you forgot to run a Pimax HMD with Parallel Projections on. After I switched to the Dual Mode, the issue was gone and felt like a normal VR view.
I could not observe any major performance loss, beside I believe the higher resolution being rendered in the Dual Mode. So you can see the Dual Mode as like the Parallel Projections Mode of Pimax HMDs

In other games I did not saw any difference in both Modes with the 5K.

I had exactly the same issue with my 5K. I could not resolve it and that was one of the additional reasons for me to try out the XTAL 8K (And now the XTAL 3).
I do not think that this has to do with your system specs, as I experienced the same issue like you.

I had the same happening with the refurb 8K in the 8K 75 hz and 5K 70 hz mode, funny enough not in the 5K 120 hz mode. I resolved it via using of a beta Version of Steam VR, to be more precise with beta 1.15, For older Oculus Headsets Windows 7 and 8 Or something like that called. Can not remember the exact title but just open the settings tab for Steam VR and look out for the participation of betas, there you should find this version of Steam VR.

Also try to update the firmware of your 5K to The newest version, I did that with the 8K and it seems that this also helped! The best way to do that is with the online version of VR Tool, as this version is automatically searching for the right firmware for the 5K, so you can not brick your XTAL like sometimes it happened with pimax HMDs

With this issue being gone, only the dust particle issue was the reason for me to upgrade to the XTAL 3, otherwise I would have kept the XTAL 8K!

If that should not work for you I would suggest to get in touch with the support again. Try every single Steam VR beta version and in worst case + if possible maybe a complete windows reinstall.

If all this should not work out for you and the support also can not help you I would really suggest to upgrade to the XTAL 8K! If you have still 3K left to spend I really would try that out. In worst case you can send it back to them within 14 days and you will get a full refund plus refund of all shipping costs, so you should not lose any money, only time :sweat_smile:
That’s now all what happened to me at least.
For the upgrade you don’t have to send you 5K unit to them and you can keep or sell it.
All this information as a Disclaimer is from my case and doesn’t automatically will apply to your case.
Most likely it will apply to your case if you should decide to try out the upgrade, but I can not state that with 100% certainly.

So I wish you good luck for resolving this issues! The XTALs are worth it in my opinion to spend so much time to get them working, as the experience they are providing is the best you can have right now.

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Well, regarding the lenses:
To be honest: I don’t care too much about them, as long as I’m satisfied with them. :laughing:

Haha, yeah indeed. :grin:

Btw., thanks again for your help regarding the games, I’ve got issues with. :slight_smile:

I’ve tried everything you’ve suggested, but nothing really helped with the games which don’t run at all, or with the ones that are lagging like hell.

My XTAL also already has the newest firmware available.

I nearly lost patience with the headset, because most of my games ran like crap or not at all…

And guess what: After a few hours of trying every setting in SteamVR and in the XTAL software I’ve found the solution, respectively the setting which caused all the issues I had with the games!

In the XTAL software at the “Profile”-tab I’ve choosen a custom profile and had the vertical and the horizontal FOV set to max, because I wanted a little wider FOV.

As soon as I’ve set it to “XTAL” (the standard FOV) instead of “custom”, all (!) my games where running super smooth - not the slightest lagging or framerate issues! :smiley:
Even the games which didn’t run at all before, are now running perfectly!

My RTX 3080 is simply too weak for anything above the standard FOV of the XTAL 5K, I guess. :laughing:

Weird… But I’m glad, that all my games are working now. :blush:

Well, there’s still 1 game which doesn’t work: “Eleven Table Tennis” - but it doesn’t annoy me too much, because I play that game rarely, so it’s OK for me.

But regarding the custom FOV again:

Could it really be, that my RTX 3080 is to weak for anything above the standard FOV of the XTAL? :thinking:

My Pimax 5K XR has the same resolution per eye and a bigger vertical FOV, but the games are running perfectly with it, that’s why I was wondering…

I’ve already changed the ingame settings of some games and I have also enabled “Motion Smoothing” in SteamVR, but the games are still lagging when I choose a higher FOV than the standard one of the XTAL…

Btw., do you have “Motion Smoothing” enabled in SteamVR and what did you set “Render Resolution” in SteamVR at?
Do you have it on 100% or on “Auto”, or even on a lower value?

Man, I’m so glad, that I can finally play all my games with the XTAL. :smiling_face:
Like I mentioned, I nearly lost patience with it… :laughing:

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Haha for the XTAL’s you definitely need 4090, heck, even 5090.

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Interesting to read about your experience and solutions you have found to get your XTAL running!
Yeah, the adjustable FOV sliders in the Profile-tab can affect the performance by a big punch depending on the setting. After my personally experience I am just always using the “XTAL” presets, as this is the best sweetspot between FOV and performance.

If you set all the sliders to max, then you are rendering like up to 4x times the resolution compared to the normal “XTAL” pre-setting but you only get very minor FOV improvements. With the XTAL 5K I could observe the biggest improvement with the Vertical FOV slider, the Inner - and horizontal FOV sliders on the other hand really does not improve the FOV at all, at least for my eyes.
To increase the Inner FOV setting above 90 degrees makes no sense ether for me, as the XTALs have a physically binocular overlapp of around 90 degrees. I could not see any difference with the Inner FOV Slider set to max regarding the binocular overlapp.

If you are setting the XTAL 5K to the XTAL profile than the performance is pretty much the same like using the Pimax 5K XR. Your render Resolution should then be something like 2500x4000 on 100%, you do not have to go above that as the picture quality is then decent enough.

I do not think so, but I can say to you after my experience with VR Tool and Steam VR Games that the rendering is done a little different compared to other normal HMDs and behaves quite different.
So comparing it to the Pimax 5K XR or any other HMD performance and software wise I find it very difficult. VRgineers approach to the XTALs and software is quite unique and special, I mean that in a very positive way.

I have Motion Smoothing always enabled in Steam VR, as the XTALs are very senstive to performance drops and can get quite fast unplayable. I set Render Resolution in Steam VR to Auto, as I always set in VR Tool the Render-resolution to 100%. VRgineers themselves are using 60% render resolution within VR Tool with the XTAL 8K and XTAL 3.

So you should be good to go with your 3080 and the XTAL 5K with the standard XTAL FOV pre-set.
One thing you should check is also the VRam usage of your 3080 if you are increasing the FOV in VR Tool. With Wide FOV HMDs you are very fast going above 10 GB or even 12 GB VRam usage, that could also explain the massive performance loss you mentioned here, if you are increasing the FOV. As soon as the Vram usage is exceeding your physically VRam of your GPU, the performance drops by a huge margin. Thats why I have a 3090, just not to be limited by VRam. I will not upgrade jet to a 4090, as the performance with the XTAL 8K was decent enough for me with my 3090. I do not really now at the moment if the XTALs are currently working with RTX 4000 cards.

Yeah, I can imagine :laughing: I am glad for you that you now can start enjoying your XTAL :tada: :tada: :tada: :confetti_ball:

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Of course a faster GPU is in most cases the best option to improve a VR experience!
(Beside this milli second tracking delay many Pimax users had with the 4000er series cards right after their release, me included, which was at first resolved nine months after the release with Pimax Client 1.13, since them I am very coutions with upgrading of GPUs)

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Had upgrade path of 1070>2080Ti>3080Ti>4080 all for PCVR, going back to GTX1070 in 2016 for Vive Pre.

Thoroughly enjoyed my 2080Ti and 3080Ti on my Index but after getting Pimax Crystal pre-production headset last year quickly realised it wasn’t keeping up. Managed to sell and put funds towards 4080. Big improvement very noticeable but still not enough. Amazing with index high frame rates and super resolution in many titles :kissing_heart:

Skipped 4090 as a little too pricey for my budget but looking at 5XXX once released.

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