Mac users won’t be able to run Oculus Rift when the long-awaited virtual reality headset starts shipping later this month.
Oculus Rift currently requires a connected Windows computer in order to work. When asked by GamerHubTV if Oculus will ever support Apple desktops, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey replied: “That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it.”
He went on to explain:
It just boils down to the fact that Apple just doesn’t prioritise high-end GPUs [graphics processors]. You can buy a $6000 Mac Pro with the top-of-the-line AMD Fire Pro D700s, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs. If they prioritise higher-end GPUs, like they used to, for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine that supports it, so even if we can support it from the software side, there’s no audience that can run the vast majority of software out there.
He is right: Apple does not put an emphasis on graphics card performance. Under the hood of most Macs are Intel microprocessors that feature integrated graphics capabilities, rather than standalone graphics processors that would provide more horsepower. For entry-level computers, this approach saves battery life and cost, and for most users, Intel’s modern integrated graphics cards are good enough.
But Oculus doesn’t work with “good enough” hardware. The virtual reality technology that the Facebook subsidiary is developing requires quite a bit of computing horsepower, especially in its graphics card requirements. “Oculus ready” PCs start at $950, but they also require buyers to pay $600 for the Rift headset.
The Mac Pro, Apple’s single fastest computer, hasn’t been updated since 2013. Other Macs, even pricey built-to-order models, use “mobile” graphics cards tuned for energy efficiency, not sheer power. So Oculus was forced to stop supporting OS X last May, and it sounds like that will be the case until Apple changes its approach to desktop graphics cards.
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