HomeOculus RiftHow Asynchronous Timewarp and Spacewarp technologies work.

How Asynchronous Timewarp and Spacewarp technologies work.

Over time, technologies that simplify image processing for VR are becoming more relevant. Find out how ATW and ASW can be useful in VR.

Such technologies make virtual reality accessible, even on non-high-end PCs!

With the development of virtual reality, optimization technologies for VR images are becoming increasingly relevant. Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) and Asynchronous Timewarp (ATW), which are exclusive to the Oculus VR platform, are designed to reduce the load on the PC.

Not differing in their main purpose, these two technologies still perform different functions and should not be confused with each other. Why are they important, how are they different, and how are they useful to the user? Let’s figure it out.

What is Asynchronous Timewarp?

The trick to ATW is this: Oculus Rift gives you a much smoother VR experience when it comes to processing your head and headset movements.

When your PC’s processing power can’t render enough frames in a game for a VR headset, such as performing additional, short-term tasks, ATW technology fills in the missing frames. This creates an imitation of 90FPS, preventing jerks and noticeable drop in frames per second.

Here’s how it works in practice

In a virtual reality headset, each eye gets its own picture. Accordingly, your GPU and CPU need to do double work. And in the case when the image for one eye has already been created, and in the process of processing the second one, it became necessary to perform additional tasks, Asynchronous Timewarp will take the image for the left eye and adapt it to the image for the right one, taking into account the positioning of your VR headset at the moment.

The result is a smoother image that reduces motion sickness and improves the overall VR experience. Oculus developers claim that ATW reduces judder and stuttering in games by about 100 times. However, it should be borne in mind that such a technology cannot become a lifesaver for lazy developers who do not want to spend time optimizing their applications.

Asynchronous Timewarp is more of a last resort when instead of rendering frames for VR, your PC has more pressing tasks. It must be understood that in order to achieve smooth images at 90 frames per second, damage to the image quality and depth of the 3D effect is allowed.

Asynchronous Spacewarp

ATW and ASW work together to make your Oculus Rift experience as enjoyable as possible. While ATW is working on minimizing positional jitter from headset movement, ASW is working on minimizing all other sources of jitter.

When the frame rate in the game falls below a certain level due to sudden movements of the player, controllers or camera, the Asynchronous Spacewarp technology is activated. By substituting “fake” frames in FPS sag areas, ASW creates a smoother gaming experience.

With the advent of Oculus room-scale tracking, ASW began to take care of the movement of the controller and the physical movement within the virtual space, making it possible for ATW technology to track only the movements of the headset.

Like Asynchronous Timewarp, Asynchronous Spacewarp is enabled automatically whenever needed. No additional settings are required from you. Moreover, if your computer is powerful enough, then most likely you will not notice the effect of these technologies. However, if your PC is at the minimum requirements, then ATW and ASW will make life very easy for it.

Like ATW, ASW is not a mainstay that developers can count on. However, it does make up for the PC hardware sometimes failing to reach 90FPS and lowering the minimum system requirements.

New minimum system requirements

With ASW now working in tandem with ATW, the minimum system requirements for the Rift have been reduced.

HardwareOld requirementsNew requirements
GPUNVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290NVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD Radeon RX 470
CPUIntel i5-4590Intel i3-6100 / AMD FX4350

Such a reduction in requirements was great news for owners of weaker hardware, because computers not only from the top pricing policy are now suitable for full-fledged virtual reality.

Not sure if your computer can work with Oculus Rift? Oculus has a great compatibility tool that you can download and run to automatically test your PC.

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