PavlovVR on Pimax Vision 8kX

Finally tested the Pimax Vision 8kX in competitive PavlovVR.

Scenery looks better, and this helps a tiny bit with spatial awareness. Reduced supersampling requirements, at full visual quality, drastically reduce GPU load, to the point of almost entirely eliminating Smart Smoothing latency/artifacts. Refresh rate between 75Hz/90Hz does not matter.

If there is one headset to have for PavlovVR and everything else combined, it is the Pimax Vision 8kX in native mode at all times.

However, the slight benefits in optical clarity are not as compelling of a step up for roomscale as they are for seated mode, or were for roomscale from the Oculus/Vive to the 5k+.

Because of that, I will personally be sticking to my plan to have both the Pimax Vision 8kX and keep my 5k+ just for PavlovVR. To ensure no sweat or damage befalls the Pimax Vision 8kX which I find so much more essential for seated use.

_ Optical Clarity _

Despite significantly improved optical clarity, the ability to see opponents behind vegetation or other cover did NOT noticeably improve. Presumably this would also be true in Onward.

Likewise, there was definitely no improvement in my performance on the practice map, which I can get down to a perfect score in at most 21 seconds.

Unzoomed sights were not more readable to the point of improving accuracy. Iron sights do look nicer, the red dot is more subtle, but this made no difference at all to usability.

What did significantly improve was my sense of spatial awareness. Finer textures and sharper edges helped me align sights, including telescopic sights, significantly more quickly and accurately. However, this was not probably not enough to account for even one additional point on a scoreboard in a few hours of gameplay.

Overall, the higher resolution does make experiences like PavlovVR more immersive, but it is not such an impressive step up as moving from Oculus/Vive/etc to the 5k+ was.

My ability to appreciate that more immersive visual quality in PavlovVR may result substantially from the many hours of desktop and simulator use I now have in the Pimax Vision 8kX. So players who do a mix of seated/roomscale may get the most benefit in these roomscale experiences.

If you are only going to buy one headset, definitely make it an 8kX. At minimum, the scenery is definitely more pleasing, and the improvement for seated experiences is phenomenal.

_ Refresh Rate _

Please, I do not want to hear any more suggestions about ‘needing 90Hz native’. No, unless you have some kind of weird flicker sensitivity, you don’t.

At this point, I have used a variety of refresh rates, on various headsets, from 64Hz to 120Hz, and I can state with confidence, especially thanks to the PavlovVR practice map, the difference between 75Hz and 90Hz, even with the added optical clarity, could NOT provide any observable competitive advantage, not even less than would be required to score one extra point in hours of gameplay.

That said, the difference between 75Hz and 120Hz may be enough to make you a better gamer very slightly faster. I have unproven doubts the difference between 120Hz and 160Hz matters even that much though, and I expect the next milestone in refresh rate is upwards of 400Hz.

_ Smart Smoothing _

As previously discovered, less supersampling is needed for the Pimax Vision 8kX than for other headsets (ie. 8k+). Consequently, PavlovVR was almost always able to achieve >1.25x Total SR (probably 1.5x Total SR, but PavlovVR does not give a number for this) at 75Hz without Smart Smoothing at all, confirmed by FPSVR.

Lower latency, due to single frames being pushed directly to headset, qualitatively does seem to improve my performance as a gamer, though again, probably not enough to account for an extra point on the scoreboard. This is because about half as much compensation is required for lag when looking though sights.

Drastically reduced GPU requirements does have a compelling impact on reliability. Forest and Cyberpunk maps are no longer at risk of occasional horrible double framing. This alone would be a compelling reason to use the Pimax Vision 8kX in native mode for experiences like PavlovVR.

_ Comfort Kit _

Extra surface area on the comfort kit reduces side-to-side shifting motion. This is much more comfortable, to an extent that cannot be appreciated adequately at a roadshow.

Whereas I said the MAS was nearly a requirement for using the comfort kit with seated experiences, it may not be for roomscale.

Foam quality on the comfort kit, in my experience, is second to none. It might as well be teflon coated, having the best characteristics of synthetic leather and especially soft loose fabric as might be used to cover a microphone.

Extra surface area really helps reduce unwanted headset motion, I cannot stress this enough.

Lack of physical contact between eye/brows and lenses is a much more serious reason to consider the comfort kit. With the older facial interface, I would only play PavlovVR while using the thick synthetic leather VR Cover to keep the lenses safe.

_ Durability _

Despite exercising extreme caution (being very much mindful this loaner headset cannot be replaced at the moment), I did tap the controller to the side of the headset once, maybe twice, while reaching over my shoulder. This is something I have only done a few times to the 5k+ in hundreds of hours of intense gameplay.

Where the 5k+ may have sounded a little hollow, and may have acquired one small crack on the corner of the plastic chassis, the Pimax Vision 8kX sounded solid, and does not show a scratch.

Keep in mind this unit is NOT FINAL. Lack of serious manufacturing defects in such an early unit should be taken as an extremely good sign that issues with plastic consistency have been resolved.

Having survived CES, roadshows, and this minor incident, the durability of the new Pimax Vision 8kX is continuing to prove at least as good as the best of the older model headsets.

_ Cleanliness _

PavlovVR is (in my experience) the absolute worst thing to do to headsets. Enough sweat inevitably seems to evaporate to coat the lenses with a layer of grease. Foam absorbs things I would not want to remain on my face during hours of seated usage.

Pimax Vision 8kX is of course not immune to these issues, like every other headset, Pimax or otherwise.

However, the Pimax Vision 8kX does not as quickly show degradation in image quality due to a spot of heavy grease or such on the lenses. Because the margins for text readability are already much better satisfied, usability suffers less from imperfections.

Lens grease was persistent enough that I had to wet part of a microfiber cloth to remove it.

Dabbing the foam nightly with a wet paper towel - very carefully - has become standard practice for me to guarantee against any build up.

At CES, I tried a leather version of the comfort kit. Though much less comfortable, definitely not desirable for seated use, for roomscale use, it may be a little easier to keep clean.

For VR gamers who frequently play PavlovVR or equally intense experiences, I strongly recommend trying a variety of options for keeping the facial foam clean. Don’t settle on any solution - Comfort Kit or going back to a standard facial interface with a synthetic leather VR Cover or otherwise - until giving yourself at least a few days to adapt to the geometric differences and variable maintenance requirements.

_ Methodology _

  • Particularly classic maps were tested, including Office, Forest, Cyberpunk, Goldeneye Runway/Bunker/Facility/Cradle, CSGO Sand, etc .
  • DM and TDM are my favorite modes, and I did indeed hold my place at or near the top of the scoreboard against skilled opponents.

Please keep in mind these conclusions are mostly highly specific to PavlovVR usage, and the Pimax Vision 8kX unit is a NOT FINAL unit, so end users may see some more subtle improvements.

More interesting things are still on the way yet. Here is a small sample. Please keep in mind this was done with Elite Dangerous optimized for single-frame latency (Smart Smoothing NOT activating), and the video capture quality was imperfect, so the actual view in the headset was in fact MUCH sharper. Also, the transparency of the desktop overlays is way more usable in the headset than in video - only just barely enough to see through.


Interesting, thanks @mirage335 for the in-depth analysis!

I need to add something here. VRSS, which Pavlov VR actually now supports with RTX GPUs and latest Nvidia drivers, is something I dont recommend using for now.

If you have VRSS on “Always on” or “Adaptive” in Nvidia control panel, Pavlov will use VRSS instead of the built-in MSAA. The problem is that VRSS looks way more jaggy and shimmery than the built-in AA. On the 8KX, the shimmer and somewhat jagged edges (especially on trees) are easily seen.

Also, for some reason, Pavlov doesnt allow me to increase the render scale/resolution in the settings, higher than default. In earlier versions, I remember I could push it to max, but it prevents me from doing so lately. I think the in-game render scale is an important factor to really bring out the most details and clarity when running 8KX.

In Onward, I see a dramatic difference on far distance, running 8KX compared to 5K+. Enemies are no longer a bunch of black pixels, but fully distinguishable. Onward is Unity, Pavlov is Unreal engine. Maybe that makes the difference, I dont know. But I get the feeling Pavlov, while indeed looking great on the 8KX, is somewhat limiting the resolution and the maximum fidelity the 8KX could offer in that game. Just like Assetto Corsa does, in a similar way. It looks good, but not as good as it could.



I will immediately check this is disabled.
EDIT: VRSS indeed not present.

render scale/resolution in the settings

From experience, I can tell I am getting at least closer to 1.5x Total SR, which is near-indistinguishable from higher settings, so this is a non issue for me. I did not push the slider to max, only to 3/4 or so, beyond what was needed.


Interesting data point there, merits further investigation. I did notice in Pavlov, looking through telescopic sights, some aliasing was more severe (observable), than when not using anything with zoom (not at all observable).

However, in the past, moving from Oculus/Vive to the 5k+, Onward was the least impressive, not showing significant improvement in resolution, so there could be somewhat mysterious software issues at work.


I don’t recommend using VRSS in any game with a Pimax headset. It does not overlap correctly like it is supposed to in other vr headsets. With the Index it was correct but was still fairly annoying, if it saves enough in performance it may be a good tradeoff for other headsets but doesn’t look right with Pimax headsets. At least not with my 8k+.

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Do take a look at the linked video. It shows the extent of the automation I have for combining desktop overlays with apps, and managing various windows. That ‘switch panel quick’ is directing a Linux VM with some very special scripting to show the correct desktop, so I am actually managing multiple layers of desktops here.

EDIT: Also, regarding Onward. At those distances, in competitive multiplayer, those few black pixels tend to be much harder to hit than to identify as an actual opponent. Meaning I don’t expect the resolution to confer a competitive advantage, though I will investigate further after finishing more work on seated stuff.


Bare in mind some games in VR will not get huge benefits from a Hi Res headset. As the Journey to Infinite Article mention at the time of 5k+ & 8k release some VR games have low res textures.

PavlovVR maps, user created or otherwise, so far have proven to have textures high-res enough to fully take advantage of the Pimax Vision 8kX resolution. Even the close replica of the N64 Goldeneye Facility map (not just the source mod version, but the version using textures that look much like the original), which is oh so dearly nostalgic.


I noticed you didn’t mention black levels in your review? I have played Pavlov and a few maps are based at night. Any thoughts?


On a pitch black map, from my experience in night flight sim, the displays would still be bright enough that you would be aware of their presence. I don’t really have a problem with this personally though.

Moreover, backlight adjustment is the sort of thing I completely expect Pimax will be able to offer a software fix for.

What would be really amazing is if we could program our own dynamic backlight and color correction algorithms into PiTool. Then we could absolutely have the richest possible colors and deepest possible blacks without flickering, washout, etc.


Me being someone who has not yet used or tried a Pimax of any kind, how much of an increase would you say the extra FOV over the index (or similar) gives you in situational awareness? My biggest struggle right now when playing pavlov or left for dead 2 (with vorpx) with the index is having someone (or some thing) standing right next to me and me not seeing it until its inflicting damage and scaring the poop out of me, lol.


With Pimax you actually have peripheral vision it is not life like peripheral but close. It’s much better than any other headset. I don’t play much Pavlov but have played it before and in my option wide field of view helps. I got booted from an onward server before right after I told them I was using a Pimax. ( I believe that was why they booted me!) I’m not sure if this was out of bias or they that I had an advantage.


Likely considered to be an unfair advantage lol. So moral of the story with Onward Honesty doesn’t pay. I imagine they might add a profile to sort players by Headset FoV eventually until gen1 VR users feel the compulsion to upgrade.

@ammonthenephite @dogbite I think might be able to comment on Arizona sunshine.

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So what’s the question about Arizona sunshine?

@dogbite as Arizona Sunshine should compare to Left 4 Dead 2 with VorpX. Unless of course you have Left 4 Dead 2 & VoroX. :beers::wink::+1::sparkles:

Have Vorpx but haven’t used it since Skyrim VR release. Don’t remember if I ever played LFD2 on it. What are you comparing?

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Just general field of view between index and pimax, and how much of a difference you noticed in situational awareness between the two. As mentioned above, be it left for dead 2 or pavlov, if I’m not constantly whipping my head back and forth all the time, I usually get jumped by someone standing right next to me when using the index. So I was wondering if having a much greater peripheral view gives a noticeable difference in situational awareness, especially for people coming at you from the sides.

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how much of an increase would you say the extra FOV over the index (or similar) gives you in situational awareness

This may come as a shock, but I say little to none whatsoever.

Peripherial vision does not help in making a detailed study of one’s deeper, more distant, or densely covered surroundings. The chances of an adversary becoming plainly visible in peripheral vision without already having an overwhelming advantage are so slim, I would bet, none. Human eyes are not much slower to turn than the entire head.

PavlovVR and Onward are both more about what is observed and heard in advance, or what is carefully searched.

What the FOV actually helps with…

  • Reduced head movement (particularly for Virtual Desktop).
  • Improved sense of roll (particularly for flight sim).
  • Lack of blinders effect may reduce a sense of irritation (at least for me).

None of which necessarily translates into a competitive advantage, except that it may be easier to spend longer amounts of time in VR.

Which is the primary reason to buy Pimax.
If you are only going to spend 5 minutes at a time in VR, not doing Virtual Desktop or flight sim, most VR apps are already well designed to accommodate the limitations of older technology. When physical and mental fatigue are important considerations, better hardware is needed.

I believe that was why they booted me

If it was a competitive match, I have experienced that Onward players can be absolutely ruthless about booting anyone the suspect may be less than highly experienced. Just that you may not have known you might sound foolish (not saying you did), or that they did not know you, may have been reason enough to kick. To be fair, when I was playing Onward better, I started to take on a similar attitude - the mechanics of the game do make inexperienced players a more difficult burden on teams needing quality practice.

That said, having a refresh rate other than 90Hz in Onward IS an advantage, because the physics are tied to refresh rate - you can move faster. Not sure this has been corrected yet.


in skyrim it’s the difference between “wtf, something is hitting me.” (vive/odessey+) to “Something moved at the corner of my eye, I should probably turn my head and look before it bites my aa… behind.”


Let me be clear about something here: PvP (multiplayer) is a very different experience from PvE (singleplayer). In multiplayer, your enemies are as capable and competent as you are.

Multiplayer never affords much opportunity to react to an incoming threat - you are required to have the initiative.

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You were booted probably because you were in a game with Heany, lol
(mispelled on purpose)