This virtual reality thing sounds like it could be big business soon! Super-powerful home VR rigs haven’t quite caught on the way many analysts predicted, but maybe it’s just a Field of Dreams situation. That killer VR game hasn’t been built yet, but millions of buyers might come if it does (and if the price of home VR goes down by a lot).
Because of both VR creation and consumption, we’ve seen a new emphasis on higher-powered laptops and tower PCs. Lenovo’s latest is targeted toward the creators. The ThinkStation P320 is an Intel-powered rig with some very formidable Nvidia graphics, tucked away inside a big tower PC or a not-quite-as-big tower PC.
The ThinkStation P320 can be configured with either an Intel Xeon E3 CPU or a 7th generation Intel Core i CPU, along with up to 64 GB of RAM. The tower PC and small form factor PCs will have different Nvidia GPUs — up to an Nvidia NVS Quadro P4000 in the tower and up to two Nvidia NVS Quadro P1000s in the small form factor. For storage, you’re looking at up to a 4 TB SATA 7200 rpm HDD, up to a 2 TB SATA SSD, or up to a 1 TB M.2 PCIe SSD. The P320 also has a whole host of USB ports, audio/video ports (including VGA and two DisplayPorts, but no HDMI), eSATA, and Firewire. A Flex Module can be configured with USB Type-C Thunderbolt ports, a media card reader, or even an optical disc drive! Some of us still need those.
Lenovo announced the ThinkStation P320 today at Develop3D Live, a hardware and engineering conference in the UK. The message? It’s not just upstart game developers who should take note. VR applications are being used in a lot of other industries, like in engineering and even retail — store owners can use VR tools to virtually test new store layouts, for example. Gaming has been in the VR spotlight in the beginning, but it’s the business uses that are proving to be the most practical and valuable at the outset, so Lenovo is probably on to something here. The ThinkStation P320 will be available at the end of April, but Lenovo hasn’t announced a price yet.