Point-by-Point Demo of (not-final) Pimax Vision 8kX: Summary and Upcoming Video

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Expected video publication date (or earlier).
Will edit as appropriate.

  • The Good (5min), The Bad* (10min), The Ugly* (5min), The Understandable (<5min).
  • Tutorial on optimized resolution settings (10min).
  • Footage of a few seated and roomscale VR apps (15min).
  • Related ongoing projects of mine towards a smooth VR experience (5min).

Of course ‘the good, the bad, the ugly’ is not meant to be taken literally, but this is ‘unbiased’. I don’t think there was ever any limitation on anything that could be said of these preproduction units as long as it was clear they are just that, and not-final.

Seems quite a few people have been waiting for this. Related VR projects, from CPU cooling, to standardizing flight sim controls, have taken time as prerequsites. Now, most of the preparation is done, including some footage, so the video should be ready well before the end of another week.

In the meantime, with much less detail, and in pure text…

The Good.
Pimax Vision 8kX hardware. Within tens of percent of typical human visual acuity in both resolution and FOV. No competition among other available products. For flight sim, this is more of a necessity than a luxury…
PiTool Software. Reliability and performance are all that matter. With updated NVIDIA drivers and the correct PiTool version, both are well within reasonable expectations.
Reduced hardware requirements. Due to reduced need for supersampling. The extent of this would not have been known if I did not have this Pimax Vision 8kX right now, so a huge thanks to Pimax for that!

The Bad.
Not really bad, as much as par for the course with any VR today.
Adaptation time - users should expect clarity to improve mostly within 6 hours of use, and a bit more with weeks of use, probably due to unavoidable geometry and optics considerations (ie. flat panels, vergence-accommodation conflict)…
Adjustability - 85% of users will have the best experience, about 15% (from CES/roadshow) perceive intermediate clarity closer to 8k+ than full 8kX, probably due to physiological differences in eyes…
Comfort - while most users (from CES/roadshow) find this to be among if not the most comfortable VR headset yet, for ‘professionals’, it is still ‘there’. In my experience, Continuous Productive Hours are now increased from about <4days/<40hours, limited by eyestrain, to >8days/>96hours, limited by things aftermarket products might solve, some of which I am working toward…
Black level - very few use cases will even show this, and even fewer of the users noticing it will prefer other lower resolution headsets. Nonetheless…

The Ugly.
Not really ‘ugly’ of course, just the most time consuming to workaround. Applies to all VR available. All of it not part of Pimax.

Updates. SteamVR, MSW, and even apps like DCS World. Even the most stable branches have updates which break the even most core functionality, and crippling performance regressions are inevitable as long as the margins remain thin.

Offline working backup is valuable insurance. Offline, only connected to internet briefly, for specifically valued updates, only after a live system has been using those updates for a few days. Working, everything set to offline mode, and tested. Buying a separate SSD and software licenses is much cheaper than the whole system, although completely duplicating and testing your flight sim setup may take some time…

So when - not if - something breaks, you can prove it is not your problem.

Confusing GPU hardware marketing. It’s not ‘overclocking’ anymore, just confusing for anyone new to VR, which can actually demand the very best. The RTX 2080 Ti ‘officially’ has a ‘boost’ core clock of 1545 MHz, but buy an ‘Ultra’, ‘FTW’, ‘whatever’, card, download the vendor’s app, set a couple things to max, change clock to 2000MHz, and if it doesn’t work, it’s probably outright defective.

Make sure you know what binned GPU/heatsink you are really buying.

The Understandable.
The Obvious. The Dead Horse.
I will limit my participation in debate over this.

For a Kickstarter that was at least somewhat ambitious, Pimax has actually done really well to salvage things, much less gather momentum, rather than publish a worksheet of excuses and abandon. Well before so much as getting any early access hardware from Pimax, I have had this opinion of them. Because I actually have talked to people who have seen Kickstarter and startups from the other side of the fence. Makerspaces are great places to learn things like that…

What other company is producing headsets with comparable resolution and FOV? From experience, at least a while ago, I know this is at least partly due to the greater readiness of Chinese companies to prototype quickly and affordably. Smart valued people are behind that, perhaps in a growing economy, there are only positive things to say about that.

Coronavirus. The consequences to human life, economies, and many people’s hopes, are tragic. Everything will be delayed, rushing will only endanger people and product. China has been through what may be the worst already, other countries are just starting to experience these problems. I give Pimax leadership tremendous credit for publicly recognizing this when they announced the recent problems with Artisan enclosures, and committed not to repeat that.

Tutorial on optimized resolution settings.
Like the previous video, but cut to a minimum of time, with visual cues.

How to use the spreadsheets, quick tweaking methodology, best startup practices, DCS World and Elite Dangerous as examples.

Footage of a few seated and roomscale VR apps (15min).
Hopefully every VR supported flight sim out there, Elite Dangerous, HL: Alyx, and maybe a few other things. Nothing through the lens, since I can certify SweViver’s work. However, there will be some discussion of the more subtle things. Like the usefulness of the wide FOV in flight sim to hold a button and see an indicator light. Or that certain labels in the DCS World A10C are at the edge of readability due to wide font and lack of hyperacuity. Specific objects that are more immersive in high resolution roomscale experiences will get a mention.

Related ongoing projects of mine towards a smooth VR experience (5min).
Some ‘aftermarket’ things in development that might help. Startup scripts, blower fan attachments, maybe some other things. Will be interesting to see if anyone else adopts these longer term.

Next CPU (i9-10900k) is expected to push the 300W barrier, and GPUs are running 70degC. Water cooling will go from optional to necessary for getting the best performance to support top-end VR.

Specifically to support this next gen hardware, when available, I will be designing a new simulation/gaming PC. Hopefully, I will be able to release some resources showing how to smooth the DC power internally with a protected LiPo battery, use an external pump for quick fill/drain, and connect to a chiller when at home.


Ah, I see the reaction from Heliosurge with ‘exploding head’. The video will be better, I promise! :wink:


I will just say there are some subjective viewpoints that will not line up with a clinical look. However we are in the present and shouldn’t try to justify the past realities with current events. Things were late by a year, other things by 2 years and with the controllers that should have existed before or arrived at the same time will be 2 years+ late.

Since changing one of the controllers types ro a reskinned Vive wand that now looks to have ditched the removable battery should have been out prior to the 8kX and we know it won’t be. Sense I can appreciate the potential for delays. Nonsense however I do not.

Plus the April 5, you mention. The update already suggests that is not likely to happen as the steps outlined point to maybe a May release.

EDiT Mirage clarified it was his video release and not 8kX release. :smirk:


Wow. I can’t believe that was misinterpreted.

I meant April 5 is when I will post the video. I don’t know anything special about the 8kX production schedule. I thought the title would make that… obvious.

A video which by the way, is largely my personal opinion of the Pimax Vision 8kX and the company behind it. By and large, that is not going to change much with further debate.


Your edit now makes that clear. :beers::wink::+1::sparkles:

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Remember the part where his head exploded? Clearly he had some comprehension issues once he was missing part of his brain :crazy_face:


Might get pushed back to the 7th. Still gathering footage, and there is editing to do after that.


Looking forward to your video!

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Thank you. Sorry everyone, but the video is definitely postponed until Tuesday. It will be done then however.

I have found myself mired in the ‘paperwork’ of wrapping up a few (mostly related) recent projects today.


Postponed is a synonym, right?

Some takes have gone reasonably well, and the video editing workflow has passed some basic tests. This is on track, though I am running short on time to test HL Alyx…


Put Alyx in and rather wait a day more with the video. It’s so widely known it should be considered.


Sounds good. You could always add Alyx in later. :+1::grinning:


My plan right now is to finish the video. Footage on Alyx will be towards the end, and can be put in after, since the only thing I am at all likely to be surprised by is the dynamic resolution stuff (actually I will be surprised if PiTool gets it right).


Did you see the post for HL:Alyx options to turn off dynamic res and improve combat movements?


Thanks for the write-up

I feel like a broken record but any update on black levels compared to the 5K+? I am aware it won’t be perfect but I want an opinion. Thanks in advance


I tend to agree as there are a lot of users out there that will want to know this detail as there are many whom will choose a lower res headset to have better blacks. We know LCD has ceiling for contrast ratios opposed to Oled which has definite Black n Whites.


Yeah exactly. I love my 5K+ but I have a very early 202 model and even 110Hz doesn’t work for me. Because it’s an early one then my black levels aren’t ideal :slight_smile:

EDIT: Maybe I should buy a 203 or 204 model 5K+ from eBay and see if the BLB is better?

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Did you try the special firmware for the serial 202? As the 110hz mode should work. If you have; I would reccommend submitting a ticket on this issue.

@bubbleball and I think @spamenigma has had both 202 and 203 models and one of them if mem serves did do some comparisons.


The 8kX is known to have slightly better black levels than the 5k+ I have, which is probably one of the newer versions, but I doubt it is better by even 2x, much less the order of magnitude expected for OLED.

That said, there is only one application which I see the black levels in the 8kX - night flight sim.