Pimax 5K+ spotted after a 16 month hiberation.... First impressions

anton_Chez

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Well, it's here. The Pimax 5K+ headset I backed on Kickstarter in October 2017 has finally made it from the depths of hell and everywhere else in between to my house in Australia. What a ride it's been.

To start, the box is fairly nice, nothing too fancy but definitely of Rift quality, nothing flimsy or cheap. The smell is actually like a brand new paid of shoes! I'd say that's the padding. Anyway who cares about the box, hey?

Upon fitting the strap, I was horrified at the comfort. Only after I messed around with it a little bit did I feel I could actually make it work. It's not as intuitive as the Rift but it's workable for me at least. One thing that's immediately struck me is I've nearly got my nose poking through the lenses from the inside out. My face is literally ON the lenses. We are going to have to order custom cushions. It's insane that they've left this unaddressed. I think additional face cushions are a stretch goal reward but I've not see them being any different to the standard one. We need thicker pads, Pimax. I have a small face and a not so overly large nose and I'm struggling. If it turns out my IPD is able to have the lenses moved to the outside of the headset I might just get away with it.

The strap does tighten on your face pretty well. I did not expect that based on other feedback. It's not ski mask type like the Rift but it does have the ability to stick to my face and feel pressure so there's some modular possibilities there especially for larger faces that won't need to tighten the straps as much. Between the side and top strap you should be able to get the HMD sitting nice and flat on your face without any tilting at least while sitting down.

I've yet to power it on so I'll go and do that now. One thing you'll notice is you need an additional power point for this. It comes with an external power source that plugs into the PC side of the cable. It isn't recognised by the PC unless you power it on.
 

anton_Chez

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I should also add that many users have had issues with build quality. My unit looks and feels perfect from the short time I've handled it. The seams and joins in the plastic are all very neat, there is a quality finish to the unit, no imperfections, bubbling, rough spots, nothing. The foam face pad feels like good quality although the standard one MUST be increased in thickness. It's going to be very hard to use for longer than 15 minutes at time if your nose is smashing into the lenses. Good thing is tilting it up just slightly removes all pressure so even just something to pack the bottom bit of the face pad for now will allow me to test it comfortably. So overall very happy with the build quality.

Just installed the software, no base station and no controllers so it's just the naked HMD. Got SteamVR to boot up so I might go and see if I can get a little drive happening and will most likely report back tomorrow.

So far, I think the initial impression of the unit as a whole is pretty positive. There is some blurring on the edges of the FOV but until I can get the correct IPD comfortable on my face without being crushed, I am unwilling to call it a concern for the time being.
 
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Mascot

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Looking forward to hearing how immersion is increased with the wider FoV, how useful the peripheral vision is for sim racing, how much clearer distant objects look compared to the Rift, and whether night driving has fewer God rays.
Oh, and how your framerates are compared to using the same settings as the Rift.
 

anton_Chez

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Well I've had a quick run now in AC, seeing as the OpenVR selection was easiest for me to get going. Not sure on frame rate as I wasn't monitoring, but there was definitely warping going on at 90hz mode, normal FOV (150 degrees). You can definitely feel the wider view, definitely. The clarity is good but I still reckon the Rift is OK here with the right SS setting so it's not a HUGE game changer for me just yet. I need to get it adjusted and comfortable, calibrated and also I need a base station to truly compare to the Rift experience. I don't like how 3DOF moves your whole view of the world back and forth with you when you poke your head forward and back. It's very unsettling. I might have to suck it up and grab a base station but that's like 200 bucks. The clarity is improved, the text is more readable, but again the positioning on the face has a big impact on this so I'm sure it will improve as my comfort does. My nose is already hurting so I am going to try a makeshift pad before I get the upgraded ones. I don't think I need the deluxe head strap just yet but I ABSOLUTELY need thicker face pads.
 
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Sounds awful.
I'll give you fifty bucks for it (you pay postage).
Deal?
 

HoiHman

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So the big question how does it feel when running the SFX100 motion.
- Does it stay on your head, does it wobble? Or is it stable enough
- Is it correctly like Jochen mentioned you don't have any "grey issues" without the lighthouse.
 

anton_Chez

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I don't have any grey at all, I have no base station so that probably makes sense. Haven't tried it with motion. It's far too uncomfortable until I do something about the face cushion. It needs to be THICKER out of the box, not need additional pieces to make it work for anyone that doesn't have a piece of paper for a face.

I will try a home brew method of padding it out quickly for the time being but will most likely be buying a thicker legit face cushion very soon.
 
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metalnwood

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Everything I have read says that you need the vrcover extra padding and the vive deluxe headstrap. All that adds another $250 of my $$ to the price which is already $200 more to get the vive base station... It's a dams shame.. the base station I can swallow but the rest just to make it stay on your head..
 

HoiHman

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I'm really interested in the Pimax but ,the way things are looking now, it's just too much money for a VR set to tie me over until the next oculus headset is released.

Lately i'm already finding myself playing on the monitor more (DR2:thumbsup:) because it's much more trouble free than racing in VR. Don't think i would dare to take the step and buy the Pimax at full price + base station + taxes.

But....... i would love to try one.
 

anton_Chez

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Don't be so sure that Oculus are going to continue targeting the enthusiast market for headsets. With the Facebook acquisition I'm already skeptical about which direction they will be looking to take their products. Seems like a much more likely scenario that they will be targeting the mainstream audience. We've already seen it with products released after the Rift. They might, but I wouldn't be counting on them. Pimax is actually providing a product for the hardware savvy people. This is a good thing.

The face cushion I will be purchasing no matter what. I'll have to look for one now and hope that I can make do with it until it gets here. I really want to try it out. I'm sure I can stuff something in between it to make it bearable. I'm pretty sure I am going to wait for the base station. I don't want to spend any more money on it. I still have the Rift and am quite happy to use that for serious racing.

A monitor would be OK too because I adjust quite quickly to it but I don't want to run mine mounted to the chassis anymore. I'd have to make a standalone mount which is a pain in my area down here.
 

Mascot

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It's disappointing that Pimax (and Samsung) have got the ergonomics so badly wrong for western phrenology. Why on earth didn't they just bastardise the Rift headstrap and face cushion??
 

anton_Chez

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I actually don't mind the standard strap, it fits quite well for the short time I've had it on once you've adjusted it. It's the closeness of the face to the lenses that's bizarre. I might still find it's not good over an hour or so of use but for now it's quite comfortable and doesn't feel like it wants to wobble everywhere. Going to try a few things now to pad it out.
 

anton_Chez

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Spent some time with it tonight both with adjusting fitting on the face and also testing some performance which I'm sure a lot of you are dying to know about.

First off, I've been getting more comfortable with it in its standard form the more I put in on and take it off. I've got the straps pretty much where I want them. It is firm, doesn't move much (although I have yet to test it with motion) and in some cases I don't feel the nose pinch I still want the face cushion as this will solve the nose thing and also the fact your eyes are just so close to the lenses. Wouldn't care but my dirty contact lens in my left eye actually left marks on the 5K+ lens. Just too close. You don't want to be touching them. I have enough comfort issues with contact lenses as it is.

Secondly, performance. I just used the AI driver in AC to test the exact settings from CM as I was using for the Rift. I changed nothing. PiTool render quality at 1.0, so just stock sampling which is recommended to stick with. The SteamVR render quality slider makes a difference with Pimax headsets and I tested this at 60% and 80%. To me, from fpsVR real time graphs there wasn't much of a difference. Around 65 - 70% GPU usage for both although I'm sure the 80% had more creeps up above that. Either way I had headroom. I could probably run 100 but apparently it's a good way to save some performance without losing too much image quality as long as you always leave PiTool at 1.0. I couldn't tell much of a difference at all and if I blind tested it, I think I'd fail the guess.

The kicker is that I tested both 72hz and 90hz modes and both are achieving locked frame rates in the conditions I tested under. Granted they weren't the most demanding, but I had to start somewhere. 90hz looked like it still was only using around 70% GPU for most of the lap, at a normal FOV of 150 degrees. Another great thing is that the 72hz mode is actually almost identical to the 90hz mode so you can run this and save like 20% juice on the GPU for barely a noticeable impact. Funny thing is that in this mode, the GPU usage didn't look that much lower than at 90hz but I still can't be sure how fpsVR is reporting the actual usage. Might have to run a GPUz test just to cross reference.

Initial thoughts are pretty good. This was at Mugello with the Ferrari formula 1 car so you are bound to get worse performance with mod cars and tracks. But, my settings include 4x AA (with MFAA enabled in Nvidia panel), maximum world details, PP enabled on low and moderate other details. I could possibly reduce the 4x AA now with the higher native res and save some more juice. Oculus really needed that to help with jaggies and shimmering lines but hopefully Pimax won't need as much to smooth that out.

I think I'll be OK performance wise especially with the various hz options and a nice implementation of brainwarp. The distortion and blurring most people are seeing in their periphery are also greatly reduced for me while on track, perhaps I have aligned the unit on my face in such a way that helps reduce it. I only noticed when I remembered 'hey wasn't there meant to be blur on the edges....?'

I think with a bit of time, some custom face cushions and a LOT of patience, I will come to enjoy the 5K+ and hopefully can make it my daily driver once all the bits and pieces for it arrive.
 
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Spent some time with it tonight both with adjusting fitting on the face and also testing some performance which I'm sure a lot of you are dying to know about.

First off, I've been getting more comfortable with it in its standard form the more I put in on and take it off. I've got the straps pretty much where I want them. It is firm, doesn't move much (although I have yet to test it with motion) and in some cases I don't feel the nose pinch I still want the face cushion as this will solve the nose thing and also the fact your eyes are just so close to the lenses. Wouldn't care but my dirty contact lens in my left eye actually left marks on the 5K+ lens. Just too close. You don't want to be touching them. I have enough comfort issues with contact lenses as it is.

Secondly, performance. I just used the AI driver in AC to test the exact settings from CM as I was using for the Rift. I changed nothing. PiTool render quality at 1.0, so just stock sampling which is recommended to stick with. The SteamVR render quality slider makes a difference with Pimax headsets and I tested this at 60% and 80%. To me, from fpsVR real time graphs there wasn't much of a difference. Around 65 - 70% GPU usage for both although I'm sure the 80% had more creeps up above that. Either way I had headroom. I could probably run 100 but apparently it's a good way to save some performance without losing too much image quality as long as you always leave PiTool at 1.0. I couldn't tell much of a difference at all and if I blind tested it, I think I'd fail the guess.

The kicker is that I tested both 72hz and 90hz modes and both are achieving locked frame rates in the conditions I tested under. Granted they weren't the most demanding, but I had to start somewhere. 90hz looked like it still was only using around 70% GPU for most of the lap, at a normal FOV of 150 degrees. Another great thing is that the 72hz mode is actually almost identical to the 90hz mode so you can run this and save like 20% juice on the GPU for barely a noticeable impact. Funny thing is that in this mode, the GPU usage didn't look that much lower than at 90hz but I still can't be sure how fpsVR is reporting the actual usage. Might have to run a GPUz test just to cross reference.

Initial thoughts are pretty good. This was at Mugello with the Ferrari formula 1 car so you are bound to get worse performance with mod cars and tracks. But, my settings include 4x AA (with MFAA enabled in Nvidia panel), maximum world details, PP enabled on low and moderate other details. I could possibly reduce the 4x AA now with the higher native res and save some more juice. Oculus really needed that to help with jaggies and shimmering lines but hopefully Pimax won't need as much to smooth that out.

I think I'll be OK performance wise especially with the various hz options and a nice implementation of brainwarp. The distortion and blurring most people are seeing in their periphery are also greatly reduced for me while on track, perhaps I have aligned the unit on my face in such a way that helps reduce it. I only noticed when I remembered 'hey wasn't there meant to be blur on the edges....?'

I think with a bit of time, some custom face cushions and a LOT of patience, I will come to enjoy the 5K+ and hopefully can make it my daily driver once all the bits and pieces for it arrive.
I'm sure the tech geeks are all hyperventilating and nursing chubbies right now after reading that but:
Peripheral vision immersion?
Better overall sense of presence in the cockpit?
Seeing cars on your shoulder as they pull alongside?
Higher vertical FoV helpful?
Recognising other cars and track detail at distance?
Graphical artifacts at speed?
 

tuono

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I have just ordered the Samsung odyssey plus from the us hope the reviews I have read live up to it.
 

RCHeliguy

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There are rumors that the Oculus Rift is out of inventory from many suppliers and that the Rift S will be available shortly. However it doesn't appear it will have any FOV improvements. It's expected to be 50% higher resolution with new lenses the eliminate god rays and also has inside out tracking. There are speculations that it will be less expensive than the Rift because it won't need external tracking devices and in my case that would free up 3 USB ports.

The good news is that it would be very comfortable should be light weight and have a resolution that a 1080Ti should be able to handle at moderate settings. With native support in Dirt Rally 2.0 it would likely have better frame rates than other headsets using reVive.

Hopefully we will know more soon.

I would really like to see the increased FOV that the Pimax 5K has. 150 is a big jump from 110 degrees. I'm concerned that many racing titles would be very hard to drive at 5K resolution without a 2080Ti.

I wasn't planning to upgrade my headset any time soon, but I think my wife would like this just to get rid of the 3 Rift sensors on tripods. It would certainly tidy up the media room. The bad news is that I don't know how will inside out tracking will work playing "In Death" and they got rid of the physical IPD adjustment and do that in software now. That sounds like a step down.
 
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RobertR1

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I'm sure the tech geeks are all hyperventilating and nursing chubbies right now after reading that but:
Peripheral vision immersion?
Better overall sense of presence in the cockpit?
Seeing cars on your shoulder as they pull alongside?
Higher vertical FoV helpful?
Recognising other cars and track detail at distance?
Graphical artifacts at speed?
Yeah, more on the immersion/experience side would be great to hear.
 

metalnwood

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I have a wide IPD, I just throw the adjustment in the cv1 all the way across.. I remember from the dk2 that guys with big IPD suffered somewhat with the software adjustable version..

Given that it will cost me about 1400 in my local $$ to get the pimax maybe I will wait to see if oculus is imminent and what the reviews are.. I too was not banking on oculus delivering anything I would use in the future. It seemed they were going to do whatever they needed to do so their content platform could sell stuff and that would mean 'acceptable' hardware. Not the hardware we are craving for.