Valve Index: a complete overview

Valve Index: a complete overview

Valve announced pre-orders and has submitted the specifications for his system Index PC VR. Index is not made in collaboration with HTC, Valve first worked with the first SteamVR headset ( Vive ). This is the first product of Valve Corporation.

Index is a headset for the PC, powered by SteamVR. It should be compatible with all existing games SteamVR. However, the old names may not be optimized for controller Index because they were created with the controllers HTC.




A complete index set is $ 999. It includes a headset, two controllers VR, two base stations SteamVR Tracking 2.0 and all necessary cables and mounts.



Owners of the HTC Vive or Vive Pro can only purchase the headset for $ 499, controllers for 279 dollars or headset and controllers for 749 dollars. Headset and controllers Index work with any base stations HTC.


The base station Valve can be purchased separately for $ 149 each. They will not work with 1.0 equipment such as Vive original headset and controllers.


LCD panel RGB high refresh rate


Valve has partnered with HTC to release Vive in 2016. He had two panels OLED PenTile 1080 × 1200. Vive Pro, released in 2018, increased it to double 1440 × 1600.

The Index uses two custom-made LCD panel 1440 × 1600. Although they have the same resolution and Vive Pro, they have a full RGB subpixels instead of PenTile. This means that each pixel has three podpisala instead of two.

This provides a high level of detail, with a reduced “effect door screen”. However, you will not get the deep blacks of OLED, since LCD displays use backlighting.


The frequency of updates, Vive Pro and Vive was 90 Hz. Index increases it to 120 Hz, with an additional “experimental” mode with 144 Hz. Valve announces full backward compatibility with content of 90 Hz.

The constancy of pixels was reduced to 0.33 MS, which is the lowest among all known headsets. Valve claim that it provides a constant scale of subpixels with the typical speeds of rotation of the head. Theoretically, this should completely eliminate the blurring during movement.



Lens with two elements, a wider field of view


Most modern consumer VR headsets have a binocular horizontal field of view about 100 °, plus or minus about 10 °.

Valve does not disclose the exact field of view of the index, citing the lack of an industry standard measurement. However, the company said it should be “20 degrees more than Vive for the average customer.”


Given that the maximum binocular horizontal field of view Vive measured at 110 degrees, the maximum field of view Index should be somewhere around 130 degrees.

Valve has managed to increase field of view without adding distortion and preserving the optical clarity using lenses with two elements. Lenses also beveled, i.e., directed slightly outward, not straight ahead.

The contact lenses have a wide point, meaning that the center is not the only area of field. This allows you to use your eyes to look around, as well as the head.



Wearable controllers with the detection of fingers


Controllers Index during the development was code-named “Knuckles”. Since they are tied to hand, you can fully release them. This allows you to more naturally capture and throw virtual objects.


Controllers also have basic tracking of fingers for each finger. The concept of tracking a finger using the capacitive sensors was first introduced in the Touch controller Oculus at the end of 2016. But while Touch monitors only the thumb and index finger, controllers, Valve monitoring and other three fingers. This allows you to expand the range of gestures and reinforce the sense of presence of hands.


Because controllers wear Index, users have two options to correctly choose the size of their hands. You click on the tab at the top of the strap, and then pull the cord down to tighten it.


Each controller has a joystick, a small touchpad, 2 button, analogue of the index trigger and the system button. In addition, the main body controller can detect the gripping force of the user, which allows you to compress the virtual objects.

Controllers charged by USB Type-C and have a battery life of over 7 hours.



Full optical and ergonomic setting


The purpose of the Valve is that each user could customize lenses and comfort Index for optimal fit.

To achieve this Index has four adjustments: interpupillary distance, the distance between the lens and the eye, the handle rear strap and adjustable top strap.


Unlike most headsets with adjustable lens-eye, lens Index move independently of the front interface. This allows the lenses closer to your eyes, providing a wider field of view Index. Adjustment lenses 1 inch leads to the difference in field of view 30 degrees.

Valve claims that the Index comfortably fits 95% of adult heads of users.



Speakers Nearfield


Valve has done everything possible to improve the audio. Instead of a headphone driver Index is equipped with speakers in the middle of the sound.

The sound quality is excellent, with accurate spatial positioning.


Speakers do not touch your ears, so you can still hear people in the room. However, like other contactless solutions for VR audio, people in the room can hear what you hear.


SteamVR Tracking 2.0


As a headset, and controllers are tracked by the Tracking system SteamVR 2.0. Two base stations included in a kit for $ 999 or can be purchased separately for $ 149 each.

Base stations are required to use the Index. The front camera is designed for through the passage, they do not track inside out.

Compared to the original version 1.0 used in the original Vive, a new base station is smaller, quieter and consume less energy. Valve claims that they are also more mechanically reliable and cheaper to produce.


While the old system was a maximum of two base stations in the game space, 2.0 increases this limit to four. Thus, for an additional 298 dollars buyers index can go to the absolute maximum the quality of the tracking virtual reality currently available anywhere.

While the old base station work with the new devices, the new base station will only work with hardware that supports them, such as a Valve or Index Pimax 5K +.


Requirements for a PC and cables


Valve recommends an NVIDIA GTX 1070 or better, but says that the GTX 970 or AMD RX 480 will work as a minimum.

The headset connects to your computer via DisplayPort and USB. If you are using USB 3.0, you will get access to the camera mode, but the helmet will work through USB 2.0 without this feature.


You will also need 3 sockets. One for headset and one for each base station. However, the base station does not connect to your computer, so you can just plug them in to the nearest outlet where you will install them.

If you have a graphics processor with support for VirtualLink , you can buy a cable for VirtualLink Index for 39,99 dollars. This eliminates the need for DisplayPort, USB and power cable — everything is done via one USB Type-C.

Index will also work on macOS and Linux, but currently only a small portion of the games SteamVR supports these operating systems.

Sales began on June 28. But not in Russia.



Go to our cases Get a free quote