Months after it was first announced, Microsoft's Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 is now available to download. Coinciding with the launch is the availability of several mixed reality headsets, as Microsoft attempts to bring VR and mixed reality experiences to the masses.
Let's start with the Fall Creators Update. This is the second major update to Windows 10 this year, the first being the original Creators Update released in April. Microsoft has committed to releasing two major upgrades to Windows 10 annually, so this will be the last one until (presumably) next spring.
As with previous major updates, the Fall Creators Update is being rolled out gradually to users, rather than pushed out to every PC at once. You may or may not see it available through Windows Update. If you don't see it but are anxious to jump on board, head here and click the Update now button.
Microsoft has been testing and refining the Fall Creators Update through its Windows Insider program for several months now. Even so, if you are using a mission critical system or can't afford any downtime, you should let others play guinea pig, just in case any unforeseen issues arise.
Gaming is not as big of a focus this time around, though Microsoft did make improvements to Mixer and Windows 10's Game Mode, the latter of which you can now switch to inside a game.
"With the Fall Creators Update, we are making Mixer even better—you can now launch and jump into a game stream faster than before. And Game Mode enables gamers to access more power of the PC and dedicate it to games, delivering a more performance gaming experience on Windows 10," Microsoft says.
As for the crop of mixed reality headsets launching today, several of Microsoft's hardware partners are ready to go, including Acer ($399), Dell ($449), HP ($449), and Lenovo ($399). Each of these come with motion controllers that use inside-out tracking.
Samsung's premium Odyssey headset ($499) is available to preorder, but doesn't ship until November 6. It is the only one of the bunch to use AMOLED screens instead of LCD.
On top of all this, Microsoft announced the Surface Book 2. The new generation models feature 8th generation Intel Core processor (Coffee Lake) options paired with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 GPUs. Microsoft claims the end result is a Surface Book that is up to five times more powerful than the first generation models, with enough performance to pull off some gaming.
"Surface Book 2 is designed to play as hard as it works. So when you’re done with work for the day and you want to game, Surface Book 2 is powerful enough to handle the most popular PC games at 1080p and 60 FPS – in some cases matching the graphics performance of game consoles like Xbox One," Microsoft added.
The Surface Book 2 also features built-in Xbox One Wireless support (on the 15-inch model), so you can pair Xbox One controllers and compatible headsets with no wires or dongles.
Pricing starts at $1,499 for a 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 with a Core i5 processor and integrated graphics, and $1,999 for a Core i7 configuration with discrete graphics.
The 15-inch model starts at a steep $2,499, with a Core i7 processor and GeForce GTX 1060 underneath the hood.