MSI announces VR Boost breakout box

July 14, 2016 | 11:53

Tags: #hdmi #usb-30 #vr-ready

Companies: #msi

MSI has announced a 5.25in drive bay kit for owners of virtual reality headsets, offering front-facing HDMI and USB 3.0 ports for ease of disconnection and reconnection.

The majority of today's virtual reality headsets, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive being the two most popular, rely on a wired connection to the host PC. These connections include HDMI for video and audio and USB for motion data, but for those who like to keep their workspaces neat and tidy the thought of heading to the back of their systems to pull the wires out before packing the headset away after use is a definite annoyance. EVGA was the first to offer a solution, bundling a break-out 5.25in drive bay module with its GeForce GTX 980 Ti VR Edition graphics card; now MSI is joining the party, but will be offering the module as a separate purchase rather than an exclusive bundle bonus.

The MSI VR Boost borrows much from the EVGA version: a 5.25in drive bay module brings a single HDMI port and two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports to the front of the PC, and includes Nvidia's GeForce GTX VR Ready branding as well as MSI's logo in the top corners. Unlike EVGA's version, though, the HDMI port is the older 1.4 standard rather than HDMI 2.0. As with EVGA's version, the USB 3.0 ports connect to spare internal headers on the motherboard; the HDMI port, meanwhile, connects directly to the graphics card.

MSI has claimed that the VR Boost kit is compatible with all MSI 'VR Ready' graphics cards, though there appears to be nothing to stop users connecting it to third-party graphics cards as well. The unit is to launch in a black finish with a bundled silver sticker to change its appearance, with pricing and availability yet to be formally confirmed. More information is available on the official website.
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