Why it matters: Meta has received criticism for designing its Quest 2 VR headset as a standalone device. Smooth VR presentation requires high image quality and framerates, and Meta’s decision severely limits the amount of horsepower available to the Quest 2 for both. Realizing this, the company is trying to squeeze as much performance as possible from the popular device.
Meta has announced it’s releasing a patch to slightly increase the Quest 2’s GPU frequency. The update should give applications a little more elbow room for image quality and framerate.
The update, which is rolling out now, will let the headset increase its GPU frequency from 490 to 525 MHz. Meta estimates the upclock will give the Quest 2 an extra seven percent GPU compute power.
Developers won’t need to update their software to take advantage of the boost. Meta’s device will automatically determine if intensive apps, like games with high-quality graphics, would benefit from the overclock.
The patch will also seamlessly integrate with dynamic foveation, a feature that conserves image quality for the most important pixels on the display. Instead of leaning on foveation to maintain image quality when resources get tight, the Quest 2 will now increase GPU clock frequency first.
Activating the overclock currently requires players to start an app, remove the headset, then put it back on. However, software version 49 will let apps use the additional horsepower as soon as they launch. Meta hasn’t said when that update will arrive, but new software versions usually come monthly, so version 49 might release in January.
The GPU boost might look small, but the Quest 2 needs all the horsepower it can get. At $400, it’s more affordable than competitors from HTC and Valve and doesn’t require a PC, but the Quest 2’s standalone nature limits it to smartphone-like processing power. The update should help users who don’t connect the Quest 2 to a PC through Oculus Link.
Meta recently launched the Quest Pro for high-end and enterprise users. It’s far more powerful than the Quest 2 but costs $1,500. HTC is preparing to unveil a competitor at CES 2023 in January. Meanwhile, in the sub-$1,000 zone, Sony will release PlayStation VR 2 on February 22, and leaks suggest Meta plans to launch the Quest 3 sometime next year in the same price tier.