5K+ or 8K? My test of M2 through pictures of Aerofly FS2, Project Cars, and Virtual Desktop (Update with pics of extreme setting on floor 28)

Hi VR Enthusiasts,

I am one of the luck testers, happy and eager to share my test result of M2 with you. I won’t cover all aspects of M2 as I think SweViver and other testers will do more comprehensive and deeper reviews. I will focus on something I care most: resolution. I mainly play flight simulation in VR, so resolution has been my utmost concern (and complaint) with current VR headsets. I have watched the video of the last Berlin meeting, and I am aware that there are quite some people playing sims as me, and they are uncertain how to choose from 8K and 5K+. I will tried to answer the question with this report. As impressions can be very subjective, I will use the pictures I took through the lens for comparison. And I will give the parameters of these tests as much as possible so that you can reproduce the results at home for comparison with your own headsets.

I have done my comparison tests of 8K and 5K+ through three application: Aerofly FS 2, Project Cars, Virtual Desktop. I use Huawei P20 pro for taking pictures. P20 pro has Leica lens, manual focus, and 3X optical zoom. It’s a handy tool for the job, yet the pics are not true reproduction. The pics have some noises, warps, and colorization that are not present when seeing directly through the lens. You just need to look for the most clear part of the pics for more exact reference. For each scene I took 1X and 3X zoom (Project Cars 1X and 2X). The pictures attached are all unmodified. You can click to watch in its original size.

My PiTool is 0.74C, parallel projections mode enabled, FOV normal, rendering quality 1.75. SteamVR Supersampling for 5K+ is set to 40%, rendering at 3278x2914. 8K SS is set to 42%, rendering at 3164x2899. I don’t understand why 8K renders at lower resolution than 5K+. Is it proof that 5K+ is using more effective pixels than 8K? Anyway, at the above SteamVR SS they both have almost equal framerate on Aerofly FS 2.

Update: I take several shots of 8K at extreme setting: PiTool rendering 2.0, SteamVR Supersampling 500% (12479x11435)
I can’t see any difference from Pitool 1.75/SteamVR SS 42%. Nor is there much difference in framerate. I think there is something extraordinary with this PiTool version (0.74C). In earlier versions this setting will make the computer crawl and unplayable. See the updated pictures below and floor 28.

My computer platform: Intel 4790K@4.2G, 32gb, Nvidia GTX 1080

1. Aerofly FS 2.

Graphic setting: 1920x1080, all maxed out.
Scenery: Orbx Netherland TrueEarth, Amsterdam Intl, runway 06.
Airplane: Cessna 172, default startup state. Both headsets are of equal distance to the instruments.
Framerate: 8K: 36, 5K+: 37

Picture comparison
8K 1x


5K+ 1x

8K 3x

5K+ 3x

2. Project Cars

Graphic setting: 1920x1080, all maxed out, all special effect such as sun flare, bloom, haze, etc. turned off.
Track: Hockenheim Classic Germany, solo quick race. I set number of opponents to 0 so that the car always starts at the same position.
Vehicle: RWD P30 LMP1, default standby mode.
Framerate: PC does not have in-game framerate counter, nor can I get Steam framerate counter to show in this game. On both headsets the framerates of PR are fairly smooth.

Picture comparison
8K 1x


5K+ 1x

8K 2x

5K+ 2x

3. Virtual Desktop

Graphics setting: 1920x1080, Virtual Desktop built-in supersampling 3.0, screen size 130 degree, screen distance 7.0, no curve, purple nebular environment.
Sample text: Times New Roman, size 10, Windows Wordpad.
Refresh rate: 8K: 80, 5K+: 91. The fresh rate of 5K+ is a bit strange, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Picture comparison:
8K 1x


5K 1x

8K 3x

5K 3x

Update:
8K 1x extreme setting

8K 3x extreme setting

4. Subjective observation

I let out a “Wow” when I opened Virtual Desktop on 5K+. This is the first time I saw clear texts of a complete Windows desktop on any headset, period. This is a moment to remember, and a milestone in VR history. Pimax can’t be praised enough for this achievement alone. I suggest anyone who has a 5K+ should try Virtual Desktop first. I wish you could share my joy. At the Berlin meeting Pimax CEO Robin claimed 5K+ has 9% more effective pixel than 8K, but I feel it’s more than 9%. Just look at the pics.

It’s easy to notice from the other two tests. Look at the letter “E” on the heading indicator of FS2, and the word “Vittorius” on the roadside of Project Cars.

Yet the clarity of 5K+ does not come at no price. You can immediately notice from all the pics that the pixels are bigger and more noticeable on 5K+. How noticeable? There is a small airplane symbol in the center of the heading indicator of FS2. You can clearly count 7 lines of pixels for the wing of the airplane symbol on 5K+, but it’s hard to count them on 8K, whose screen looks smoother and more refined.

Conclusion

Now we come to the answer to the golden question: 8K or 5K+, which one should we choose? I can’t see much difference of FOV between to two. Under the same rendering and supersampling parameter they have almost the same framerate. So effective resolution and pixel size remain the two most cruxial factor. If you are more into simulation games as me, I’d suggest 5K+, as every pixel counts in these games. If you are more into action, adventure, RPG, sports games, etc., which relies more on overall aesthetics, I’d suggest 8K. Or I can put it in another way: if you care more about details and realism, go for 5K+; if you care more about art and beauty, go for 8K.

And finally I must thank Pimax for bringing us a long waited advance in VR!

Yan Feng

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Many thanks for the pictures!

I noticed that 8K pictures looks like blue light filter has been applied, where 5K+ looks more cold colour temp. Have you been running 8K and 5K+ on different machines?

No they are both run on the same machine. I am color weak so I am not in the position to judge color, but I guess the difference is caused by P20 pro used for taking the shots. P20 pro has some “intelligent” mode to adjust the color automatically.

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Awesome and thanks for sharing but your conclusion is not conclusive. What if I like realism, details, art and beauty then I am stuck as I can’t make a choice between them.

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Thanks a lot for the detailed review and pics, I have it so clear now.

I think the 5K+ looks far better, maybe just because 8K isn’t working at its native resolution.

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More than likely that is it.Whenever you go through up-scaling and down-scaling you will always loose some of the detail and the up-scaling is never perfect with filling in missing details.

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Argg same here. Since there is no performance differences, i am still not decided. I am very happy that it is working great, but I wonder if my 1080 gaming x will do the job, i hope we will have some tests with lower cards than 1080 ti

Anyway, thanks to testers for all reviews!!!

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Thanks @yanfeng. Since you’re into resolution I was wondering if you did some more in depth analysis of why the pimax 8k is under performing? Panel usage, upscaler?

Also can you maybe upload a zip somewhere with all pics? The forum is extremely slow right now and might remain that for a couple of hours…

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Thanks for the review, I’m leaning towards the 5k+ now.

I think the difference in effective resolution is caused mostly by panel usage and upscaler, but I am not an expert on that so I am unable to go into detail about that. If it’s caused by upscaler, then the situation will be more complicated, as there might be room for future improvement of 8K upscaler, potentially more clarity for 8K in the future.

I have uploaded the pictures to Baidu clouddisk, with some additional ones of parameters: https://pan.baidu.com/s/1RAjIR_ihpV-alG9MbSfiIA

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The 8K underperformance is probably a mixture of higher latency from the scaler, (PC has to send Pi Tool the internal render, which then gets downscaled then upscaled again ) and just overall heavy requirements.

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Thanks! Makes sense indeed. Hopefully Pimax can address the issue’s and make the 8k-X what the 8k should have been. Either way really great to see the pimax 5k+ is performing well and pushing the VR industry forward.

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From pictures so far it seems that 5K+'s contrast is much better. So 5K+ should be better for movies. Better upscaling algorithm can’t fix that, I think.

Hard to tell from these, but from some other pictures that have been making the rounds, it looks like whilst the (native) pixels of the 5k+ are naturally larger than those of the 8k, their fill factor seems considerably better. Could you offer an impression on this matter?

Thanks for the breakdown, Any chance of doing this for Elite Dangerous? Both in space and stations?

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Neither of the videos say that’s the case, in fact one of them says he can’t tell the color difference at all between the two. And even in this thread, the guy who took the pictures says it was probably his camera altering colors. It’s really hard to take “though the lens” pictures of VR headsets, and definitely hard to get the same results twice.

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I notice you are running at conservative resolutions and super sampling. Can we see another photo of the 8k on the virtual desktop with the steam and pitool sipersampling settings both at at least 2x/200%? It may have poor performance now but I’d
Like to see what it will manage. When I update my graphics card in future.

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Well keep in mind the “8k-X” was the original plan prior to discovering 4k native/eye was not doable due to bridgechip limitations & gpu limitations.

It would be interesting if one could hack/upgrade the 4k model to a new bridgechip that could support 4k native at 60hz. I think we would find the native res would look sharper as well.

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Actually I have tried that. Running both PiTool render and SteamVR SS at top setting would make the computer crawl and hard to use, yet I did not notice much increase of clarity. I will tried to take some pictures of extreme setting when I have time.

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After watching all the reviews and comparisons of all the pictures, I am convinced that 5K Plus is better. What surprised me is that I THINK 8K actually has more SDE compare to 5K+ and looks worst. I don’t know why everybody said 8K has less SDE. I think it is because the pattern of 8K SDE is different from 5K Plus. The 8K SDE’s pattern is like that of VIVE accept it is smaller and so I tend to see more dots and I feel that looking through these much dots create a higher SDE than 5K Plus and also that is one reason why the picture appear blurry compare to 5K Plus. 5K Plus SDE is unlike any of the other headset out there. The SDE pattern is like that of TV’s lines and so you can see what is shown behind the SDE better and clearer. So that was my observation. I hope that if you increase the rendering and SS of the 8K that you can increase the clarity, but I guess yanfeng just said it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference?

So not only is 5K Plus look sharper and clearer but i feel it has better SDE!! That’s right, BETTER SDE!! 8K may appear to have less, but its doesn’t make it look better and also, its pattern doesn’t help to make things clearer either.

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