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Discussion | VR, Triple Monitors or Ultrawides?

What's your preferred setup?

  • VR

    Votes: 621 41.6%
  • Triples

    Votes: 260 17.4%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 294 19.7%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 317 21.2%

  • Total voters
    1,492
This week HTC are launching two brand new Vive products, in a market that continues to grow at rapid pace. Has VR taken the lead in the sim racing world, and if not why?

I have fond memories of my first virtual reality experience in sim racing. I did a couple of practice laps before jumping into a race at the Circuit de Catalunya, being a track I knew well. Any doubts I had about how immersive the experience would be were dispelled almost immediately. A car in front of me was run wide on lap one, hitting a brake marker board which spiralled towards my head. Instinctively I ducked down in my seat, only for a sheepish grin to spread across my face, feeling rather foolish.

The Vive Pro 2 features a 5K resolution display, and an impressive 120Hz refresh rate.
As it reached mainstream market adoption, it became clear that VR was going to lend itself very well to sim racing. The immersive experience that it offers truly is second-to-none, with many converts of the opinion that they could never go back. That being said triple monitor setups are still a very popular option, with many racers enjoying the peripheral vision it offers. Similarly, this is something that can be very enjoyable about using an ultrawide monitor.

Of all the options then, which one is the best? Naturally the topic is incredibly subjective, often due to personal preference, budget or space. However, each also comes with benefits that even make them more suited to different aspects of sim racing.

One of the biggest criticisms of VR since its adoption has been of the low resolutions offered, particularly for the computing power required, compared with monitor alternatives. While virtual reality is still a very young technology and improving all the time, it has to be said that the more crisp image offered by monitors can be a lot easier on the eye, particularly during longer sessions. Furthermore, setting up a VR rig can be a little more time consuming, particularly for those who want to learn the nuances involved with recording virtual reality gameplay.

Ultrawide.jpg

Ultrawides and super ultrawides have fast become a favourite amongst sim racers.

Having tried all three, I've found my preference to be either VR or triple screens, but it depends entirely on the situation. If I am unwinding or practicing alone, I always choose to go with VR simply for the more immersive experience. However, I have found it a lot easier to use triple monitors, or even a single monitor when competing online. It can be trickier to memorise where everything on the steering wheel is, as required when playing in VR. Similarly, in-game menus tend to be easier to navigate on monitors than in virtual reality, which can detract from the experience of using the latter in some situations.

Overall, my go-to is usually VR, and when we consider how far it has come in such a short space of time, and the investment that is going into virtual reality and augmented reality tech, their future does look very exciting indeed.

Finally, we would love to hear your thoughts on this, and find out more about our community's setups!
About author
Charlie Lockwood
23. Motorsport and Sim Racing enthusiast.

Comments

I use my rig for both sim racing and MSFS 2020 so I use a combination of many screens mainly because of MSFS. I use an Alienware computer with a 3080 video card. My main screen is a 40" (4K), my secondary screen is a 24" (1080P), my third screen is a phone running Sim Dashboard for all racing games and even works with MSFS and my fourth screen is an iPad that can run many related apps including running as my third computer screen. I could run my phone as another computer screen but use it for mainly telemetry.
MSFS is BRILLIANT in VR! If you can, try it out! It’s a nice feeling to feel vertigo from your own rig.
 
While I prefer the spatial awareness and immersion of VR, it's a candle in the sun next to good fundamentals and experience. I have 200+ hours on controller and single display and am proud of it. I'm content driving on any setup and have more respect players that have to make up for simple setups with skill
I get what you are saying in general, but get tripped up over the concept of good fundamentals/experience in conjunction with a controller in lieu of wheels/pedals or flight stick. If the point is a "simulation" vs. a "game" then the correct input controls and overall UI are critical. Please disregard if this is just semantics and I am misreading your use of "controller"
 
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MSFS is BRILLIANT in VR! If you can, try it out! It’s a nice feeling to feel vertigo from your own rig.
With the news recently on the DLSS getting implemented for VR use, MSFS is going to get very very good :) all that's needed now is a solid stock of RTX cards... :)
 
Good to know. Still undecided. Knowing my luck I'll have nausea with VR. I wasn't able to do more than a couple of laps with real life carting, or riding shotgun in my brother's M3 on a track before I turned green. Gravol in advance didn't help.
Nausea in RL does not necessarily transfer to VR and vice a versa. I never get sick in RL, even on a ferry in very bad wheather when 90% of the passengers were green like pasture, I didn't feel a thing.

Tried to drive in VR for the first time, after roughly 2 min and the first curb I touched I was done. And I mean done in a sense that there was no option to try again that day no matter what. Took me two months, a lot of perseverance and lots of ginger products to work through the sickness.

Friend of mine who gets sick just looking at a boat and even longer car drives in RL sat in my rig and drove for two hours straight with the biggest grin you could imagine. Oh the envy I had at that day.

So maybe try at a friend and drink some ginger ale 15min up front, that really helped me at the beginning. Maybe it's working fine for you and you just don't know, it's really different for every person.
 
Still running a 27" single screen setup.
No budget / space for triples and i don't really see an advantage in an ultrawide as i still can't see both mirrors.

VR ... now, that's something i was always interested in but was scared away by low resolution and low FOV and didn't know at all if it would work with my eyes (some weird uncommon condition).
So just last weekend i got myself one of those cheap headsets to put your phone in and connected it to Steam via iVRy. Just sitting in the garage, looking around was a bit of fun, but as i prefer small cellphones neither viewing angle vor resolution was great - but at least now i know that i'm actually able to see everything in VR :)
So i might become a VR user in the future - we'll see :)
 
When you are ready do not hesitate, if you like car sims you may have the shock of your video game life. Just if I can advise you, drive with a simulation that works well in VR, like Assetto Corsa or Automobilista2, there is no need for a 3080. Before I had a 1070, too fair in my opinion to take full advantage , but it works. On the other hand, I currently have a 1080ti and a 7700k (it's dated) and with these two simulations I have absolutely no problem. Display until the end of the straight line of the Nurburgring for example. Never slowing down. There you go, ask other people for advice, but I wanted to share my love of VR with you. :)
 
I've owned and still have every option on multiple rigs....
My 3x 48" OLED setup is by far the most immersive AND comfortable configuration.
The Reverb G2 being my 2nd favorite, followed my Valve Index.
The Samsung Odyssey G9 49" was nowhere near as immersive but was so simple that I understand the convenience but could not get "into it" to the same degree as my other rigs.
My worse rig has just a single 48" OLED, and my engineers and clients use it on breaks and think it's the best thing in the world! heh, they're not spoiled yet! :D

The graphic quality is also a very important subject. I can run my triples with ALL of the eye candy in ANY game and maintain high frame rate and G-sync works out all the bugs. VR, not so much. Some games have to be turned way down. All of my machines run 3090's and I'd say we're a few generations away from GPU's being able to run high graphics quality (both in pixel count and frame rate).
 
I've owned and still have every option on multiple rigs....
My 3x 48" OLED setup is by far the most immersive AND comfortable configuration.
The Reverb G2 being my 2nd favorite, followed my Valve Index.
The Samsung Odyssey G9 49" was nowhere near as immersive but was so simple that I understand the convenience but could not get "into it" to the same degree as my other rigs.
My worse rig has just a single 48" OLED, and my engineers and clients use it on breaks and think it's the best thing in the world! heh, they're not spoiled yet! :D

The graphic quality is also a very important subject. I can run my triples with ALL of the eye candy in ANY game and maintain high frame rate and G-sync works out all the bugs. VR, not so much. Some games have to be turned way down. All of my machines run 3090's and I'd say we're a few generations away from GPU's being able to run high graphics quality (both in pixel count and frame rate).
Hey Mike, I'm at the point to drop my g9 ultrawide. Can you please share some photos and specs of your 3x48oled setup? That whould be nice!
 

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