What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

The Future of Stereo 3D Part I: Nvidia Geforce 3D Vision

Status
Not open for further replies.

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal




The Future of Stereo 3D Part I: Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision




At this year’s Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, many people remarked that there really wasn’t much to capture the imaginations of the show goers. While the glitterati of the tech journalist world meandered from booth to booth in their search of the Next Big Thing, I couldn’t help but notice there were certain areas of the showfloor which attracted droves of journalists and industry insiders alike. No, these weren’t crowds of pimple-faced “bloggers” getting shots of another show-floor booth babe. Rather, people –man, woman and geek alike- were congregating around the booths which were showing various stereoscopic 3D technologies. Whether it was the out-of-this-world 3D trailer for the upcoming Dreamworks movie Monsters versus Aliens at the Intel booth or the amazing 52” Samsung 3D monitor, stereoscopic 3D seemed to have captured the hearts and minds of many a jaded professional at an otherwise drab show.

Unfortunately, neither the InTru3D-rendered Intel display nor the Samsung screen were interactive which brings us to where this article is heading; two of the stereo 3D technologies out there that are supposed to bring a new level of immersion to the PC games we play. One of these technologies is Nvidia’s recently-released GeForce 3D Vision which garnered immense exposure at CES to the point where there were actually lineups forming of people who wanted to play their favourite games in stereo 3D. The other technology comes from iZ3D, a company many of you are probably familiar with since they have been marketing their proprietary panels and glasses for some time now and have met with reasonable success. While many will state that Nvidia and iZ3D are not competitors due to their different approaches to stereo 3D, it is crystal clear that they are both concentrating on selling their product to the same type of consumer which in effect means they will end up butting heads. As such, while they may not be the only players out there when it comes to stereo 3D gaming environments, their products are the only ones readily accessible to would-be buyers at major retails and etailers.

When it comes to an emerging technology, the thin red line between widespread availability and niche-market status becomes increasingly blurred. There will always be those early adopters who are more than willing to hand over immense amounts of money but both iZ3D and Nvidia are fighting tooth and nail to make sure stereo 3D makes its way into the general gamer mindset. Since neither uses the red and blue paper glasses of yesteryear, the first step to increasing the “cool factor” has been achieved. However, wrestling with the technology involved in getting a smooth stereoscopic 3D image to the eyes of a paying customer and minimizing cost is a hurdle of epic proportions. Once a company achieves this, stereoscopic 3D will be accessible to the unwashed masses of this world instead of it being a niche product which is accessible to the select few. Therein lies the money that Nvidia and iZ3D are after.

To be honest with you, this article started as quick rundown of my (at the time) short experience with Nvidia’s Geforce 3D Vision. However, the more I looked into the technology, the more I knew that writing about a few weeks’ experience with a product such as this would do a huge disservice to anyone who is genuinely interested in stereo 3D. This goes doubly for the fact that not showing iZ3D’s side of the coin would mean you would only get half of the true story. So here we stand with an all-encompassing rundown of two stereo 3D technologies which has been a good 3 months in the making. This first part will detail Nvidia’s entry into the market while Part II will show what iZ3D has to offer.

 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
GeForce 3D Vision: The Basics

GeForce 3D Vision: The Basics


Before Nvidia made their GeForce 3D Vision announcement a few months ago, many would argue that the market exposure for stereoscopic 3D within the PC gaming market was marginal at best. However, some of us have been watching for the last decade or so as stereo 3D gradually found more and more adherents within gamer circles. Now with a 600lb green gorilla pushing it, it seems like more and more people are suddenly latching onto the idea that they can perceive their games in a whole new way. Believe it or not, due to stereoscopic 3D’s current lack of mainstream acceptance Nvidia’s sudden marketing influx will actually benefit their competitors’ standing as much as their own. While there are busloads of people out there who like to decry everything Nvidia does, even the staunchest of haters will have to admit that their emergence into the true 3D marketplace will be a boon for an industry that wasn’t even on many people’s radars.

So what is GeForce 3D Vision and why the heck should someone like you or I even care about it? First of all you should be aware that Nvidia has long been a pioneer in the stereo 3D playing field but has only begun actively marketing it to the general public very recently. Along with CUDA and PhysX, 3D Vision is another facet of Nvidia’s Graphics Plus strategy that is being used to expand their influence outside of their core business sectors. This strategy has become increasingly important for Nvidia considering the PC gaming market that needs their graphics cards is diminishing and if they don’t adapt they will be left out in the cold. However, 3D Vision isn’t just the progression of an existing technology with a small number of supporting games such as PhysX. What we actually have here is a kit that offers varying degrees of support for over 350 games right out of the box with a ton more on the way. If that isn’t enough to get this show off to a rolling start, I don’t know what is.

One more thing: those of you clinging onto the sinking raft that is Windows XP may as well look the other way because GeForce 3D Vision is Vista-only.


The GeForce 3D Vision Kit


While we will be going over all the details of exactly what you get in the box and which other products are compatible with 3D Vision in a later section, for now let’s concentrate on what is most readily available. The basic kit which is available at Nvidia.com and other select retailers is a combination of a typical 3D Vision kit (which includes a single pair of glasses) and Samsung’s truly awesome 2233RZ 120Hz 22” LCD monitor. This includes everything you need to get started but comes in with an eye-watering price tag of $680CAD / $600USD.

If you can’t afford this, the next step down is to buy the 3D Vision glasses kit for $250CAD and hope to whatever deity you pray to that the prices of the monitors come down. The main issue with this approach is that you will still be missing a 120Hz monitor, 3D Vision-ready DLP TV or projector. As we will see, there are some other options out there for you to choose from but for the short-term it seems that the basic Samsung / Nvidia combo will be the most popular.

Enough about that for now. Onto the technology behind Nvidia's new poster child.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
The Technology

Nvidia’s GeForce 3D Vision Technology



The heart and soul of Nvidia’s stereo 3D environment is their wireless active shutter glasses. Active shutter glasses alternately darken their left and right lenses in time with the screen refresh rate (in this case it is 120Hz) by passing voltage through a polarized filter applied on top of the lens glass. This coupled with the screen displaying different perspectives for each eye results in the brain being fooled into thinking it is seeing a true 3D image.

Where the Nvidia solution differs from past stereo 3D products is in the use of the 120Hz refresh rate that results in a flicker-free viewing experience when used with LCDs. The reason past active shutter glasses suffered from flickering is due to the fact that each lens was able to be refreshed at half the nominal 60Hz which resulted in a 30Hz refresh rate for each eye. If you still have a CRT monitor, turn down the refresh rate to somewhere below 60Hz and you will see what I’m talking about; coming from an LCD, you will see a noticeable flicker. Meanwhile, Nvidia’s insistence that you use a 120Hz LCD monitor results in a 60Hz refresh rate for each eye and you should experience much less eye strain in the long run as a result.

At first glance, they may seem like a cutting-edge piece of technology but active shutter glasses have actually been around for decades in various forms and sizes. In the past these glasses have looked awkward at best and would rarely fit over prescription eyewear but Nvidia has changed all of that. Much like the XpanD 3D Cinema Active Glasses, Nvidia’s solution fits right over literally any type of eyewear and it looks reasonably cool to boot.


These shutter glasses make good use of miniaturization to pack a good amount of tech wizardry into a package that is a bit bulkier than a pair of Oakleys. Since Nvidia didn’t want to hook up their users to a cord, the 3D Vision shutter glasses use a battery which powers the lens switching while receiving information wirelessly by way of infrared transmission. In the exploded view above, you can see than the majority of the electronics (IR receiver, battery, etc.) is placed next to the left eye.


The second piece of the 3D Vision puzzle is the IR Emitter that gets hooked up directly to your computer via USB. This allows the drivers to communicate and properly sync the glasses to the action that is happening on the screen.


The glue that holds all of this together is the drivers. We have said a million times in the past that any graphics card is only as good as its drivers allow it to be and the same thing goes for 3D Vision. Much like the way SLI profiles must be written for games that don’t natively support them, Nvidia needed to write profiles for past games through their CUDA driver architecture to ensure that they were properly supporting their stereo 3D standard. Without the necessary driver support, some stereo 3D features would still be available in most games but they wouldn’t be supported to the high standards Nvidia has set for this system.

What we have seen since the release of 3D Vision is the successive release of well-functioning drivers on a nearly monthly basis. Considering the number of games currently supported coupled with the fact that other games (namely World of Warcraft) are actually adding additional stereo 3D effects through patches, we have no doubt that Nvidia is serious about making stereo 3D a reality in PC gaming.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Moving forward with Developers

Moving forward with Developers



The Way It’s Meant To Be Played. TWIMTBP. Get to know it because it’s the name of Nvidia’s program that has been used to support developers in optimizing their games to run on Nvidia hardware. As such, it is quite popular within the game development industry as evidenced by the Nvidia splash screens in many popular games. Even though the jury of public opinion may frown upon its implementation, it allows Nvidia to leverage their relationship with developers in order to forward their technologies. One of its benefits is that it has meant Nvidia could quickly implement 3D Vision in newly released games from literally the day they are released. One good example of this is how stereo 3D profiles were immediately ready for Dawn of War II when it became available.

Without a doubt, acceptance within the PC gaming community for a new technology will only begin once they see that game developers are actively supporting it. There are plenty of us out there who will buy a game on its release date, play it for a month or two and then move on to the next big thing. That means 3D Vision will need to have support for new games from the day of release or within a few weeks of release in order to cater to the most demanding of us users. So far they have worked well with developers and we hope that continues but on a personal note, I would still like their list of supported legacy titles to expand.


Love it or hate it, everyone has to keep in mind that TWIMTBP program gives Nvidia the leg up on every other stereo 3D product out there due to the fact that it has an amazing amount of market penetration. It means developers WILL be helping 3D Vision make its way into the mindsets of countless gamers so it is truly the ace up Nvidia’s sleeve. Without it, 3D Vision would be just another wannabe in the grand scheme of things.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Of TVs, LCDs and More. Compatibility Explained

Of TVs, LCDs and More. Compatibility Explained



What happens if you don’t want to buy the whole $680 kit and purchase a different monitor yourself? Hold on tight because this is about to get a bit complicated. The reason for the complication is there are monitors and TVs alike that claim to support stereo 3D but many aren’t compatible with GeForce 3D Vision. Make sure you keep your eyes open for the logo above on the packaging of your monitor or TV to guarantee compatibility with 3D Vision. Another option is to keep an eye open on Nvidia’s product requirements page for new listings. Unfortunately, as you will see in the DLP section below, Nvidia's list is either already out of date or they only mention products that bear the Certified for 3D Vision logo.


But wait, there is another way other way to tell if your new TV or monitor supports 3D Vision and that's with the logo above. The 3D Ready logo will (hopefully) become the industry norm and can already be found on some Samsung and Mitsubishi DLPs as well as certain Viewsonic and Samsung LCD monitors.


LCD TVs and Monitors


When it comes to LCDs, you will need a “pure” 120Hz LCD monitor or LCD TV. “Pure” means that it MUST be able to receive and display a native 120Hz signal and thus be compatible with 3D Vision. At the time of this article, there are only two monitors and no (read: zero) LCD TVs that have the necessary 120Hz refresh rate. Nvidia really pushed both Samsung and Viewsonic to release their pure 120Hz 22” monitors for the sole reason that without them, 3D Vision would not have been released. Because of this somewhat rushed development process, the other panel manufacturers are a step behind and won’t be releasing competing 120Hz monitors for the next while.

You say you have a brand new “120Hz” LCD TV you just bought for some obscene amount of money? I’m sorry to tell you but it can't accept a pure 120Hz signal over HDMI. Without getting technical, let’s just say that what your TV is doing is taking a standard 60Hz signal and interpolating frames in order to make a patchwork-type 120Hz picture. Unfortunately, using interpolation to achieve 120Hz means the TV isn't compatible with 3D Vision. But when are larger format displays that can accept a native 120Hz input going to be available? They will probably be phased in over the next year or two as HDMI 1.3 becomes widespread.

Compatible LCD Monitors:
Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ
Viewsonic FuHzion VX2265wm


Compatible LCD TVs:
None


DLP TVs


Much like the LCD situation, the possibility that your DLP TV will work with 3D Vision is less than certain. There is no shortage of TVs that claim to support stereo 3D without the necessary 3D Vision Ready certification and indeed, some will since they use the Texas Instruments SmoothPicture technology that Nvidia has been talking about. As long as there is a 3D Ready logo on the TV specifications, you should be good to go. From what I can tell, that VESA 3-pin stereo connector is all-important so if your DLP has it, will may support 3D Vision. Take for example the Samsung HL67A750A1FXZC DLP TV I linked to above. Taken at face value, there isn't any mention of being 3D Vision certified but if you look in the downloadable User Manual, you will see that there is a "3D Sync-Out" (or VESA Stereo 3D) connector in the back of the TV. Since there isn't even a Samsung TV listed in the compatibility section of Nvidia's site, I am going to recommend you do your own research before buying.

For more about the Texas Instruments technology, please click here.

Compatible DLP TVs:
Mitsubishi LaserVue Series
Samsung 3D Ready DLPs


Of CRTs and Projectors


At this point, the only projector that supports 3D Vision is the Lightspeed Design DepthQ HD 3D. On the other hand, those of you who have their old tube-based CRT monitors stored away are about to be very, very happy. That’s right; any CRT which has a DVI connector and supports a 120Hz refresh rate is completely compatible. In all reality if you wanted to save a bit of money you could run out to a computer recycler and pick up a used 21” CRT for a few bucks. Just remember that CRTs weigh a ton and a half and take up a boatload of space on your desk.


Supporting Graphics Cards

You guys already know what’s coming but let me make it official: GeForce 3D Vision is ONLY compatible with Nvidia graphics cards. Considering the recent inroads of ATI GPUs into many areas of the performance and mainstream markets, this will surely be a rude awakening for many of you reading this article. Also, due to the strain of basically rendering two images at once on a 22” LCD, Nvidia recommends their system be paired with nothing less than an 8800GT or 9600 GT. As you will see in the performance testing section, we will probably go one step further by saying right here and now that you will want a 9800 GTX+ (GTS 250) or above powering your GeForce 3D Vision setup.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories



The box for the 3D Vision bundle is definitely unique and it shows the product to good effect while employing a door-like construction for additional space for information. Our sources tell us that this box was designed by the same firm which took care of Razer’s packaging for their new Mamba hybrid mouse. One way or another, the box would definitely capture anyone’s attention.


The back and sides of the 3D Vision box are a bit more rudimentary than the front but they serve their jobs well by conveying all of the information needed for a customer to make their decision.


The inner packaging for the kit is broken up into two sections: one for the glasses and emitter and another for the cables, drivers and other accessories. The front section actually provides support for the glasses by way of a separate section which you can flip open. It is great to see that all of the sensitive components are embedded within a foam backing to protect them from damage.


Cables-wise, you get a DVI to HDMI cable, a VESA 3-pin stereo cord as well as a pair of USB 2.0 male to female wires. One of these USB cables is for recharging of the glasses while the other is used to plug your computer into the IR Emitter.

In terms of additional documentation, accessories and CDs, the list is as long as you would expect from a nearly $300 product. You get the usual driver CD, quick install guide and product information brochure along with a cleaning cloth for the glasses (trust me, you’ll need it), a CD with additional 3D-capable software and a 10% off coupon for CUDA-enabled games. Personally, I feel the 10% off coupon is the icing on an already very complete cake but remember that the code can only be used for digitally downloaded content.


Nvidia also provides alternate nose pieces to ensure a comfortable fit of the glasses. Personally, I used the one which comes pre-installed on the glasses but other people who have used my kit seem to prefer to use the slightly deeper and narrower piece.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the 3D Vision Kit

A Closer Look at the 3D Vision Kit



Upon first glance, you wouldn’t be blamed if you thought that the 3D Vision shutter glasses were in fact some new designer sunglasses. They are extremely light and a bit bulkier than your run of the mill sunglasses but remember; they pack a ton of technology into their svelte frame. Another design queue which will probably tip you off that these aren’t sunglasses is the small bulge next to the left-hand lens which houses the IR receiver. Remember, these are wireless glasses so the IR receiver acts as a form of data port so the glasses can communicate with the emitter.


Basically, the leftmost portion of the shutter glasses’ frame holds the electronics as well as the battery pack. In the picture on the left, you can see that there is a small on / off button as well as an LED that displays the charge level. It should be noted that the bulge on the frame looks like it will hit the temple area of your head but it actually clears it by a wide margin.


The charge indicator LED has three states: green which signifies that the glasses have more than 3 hours of charge remaining, red to indicate low battery and off which means you will be scrambling to plug the glasses in. For those of you wondering, the glasses WILL function while charging.


Charging is done via a mini USB port on the underside of the glasses. Believe it or not, even though Nvidia doesn’t provide a wall charger my old Motorola V3 Razr charger worked fine with these but since it isn’t sanctioned by Nvidia, we really can’t recommend it.


The IR emitter is small enough that it will seamlessly blend into any setup you may have (it is only about 2” in height) and its glossy black finish makes it look like a high-end piece of AV equipment. Its front is devoid of any frills other than a small button with an Nvidia logo on it. This button can be used to turn the Stereo 3D effect on or off in real-time even when you are in the middle of gaming.

Meanwhile, the back of the unit holds a small wheel for on the fly depth adjustment along with a USB plug and a port for you to plug in the VESA 3-pin connector. According to Nvidia, it is important to plug the emitter into a USB port which is able to produce a sufficient amount of power. Believe it or not the unit would not work when plugged into the USB 2.0 port on the outside of my Gigabyte 3D Aurora case but was able to work without an issue when plugged directly into the motherboard’s rear USB port.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Installation / A Quick Control Panel Rundown

Installation


In the past, setting up stereo 3D had always been a frustrating process at best for those new to the market but Nvidia has made the hardware and software installation of their system a breeze. Basically, the entire installation process is handled by a setup wizard that walks you through every step of the process. Naturally, you will want to properly delete any drivers currently on your system before starting this process. Another thing we need to point out is that there may be some of you who prefer a more intricate setup process so you can tailor the stereo 3D experience to your liking. Unfortunately for you, Nvidia took an approach that is more user-friendly but they still offer additional settings in their control panel.


After you install the graphics drivers that are included with the 3D Vision installation package, the wizard will take you through the process of installing the actual hardware. All you need to do set up the 120Hz monitor, plug in a dual link DVI cable and run the USB connector to the IR Emitter. DLP installation involves the same process but an additional VESA 3-pin connector needs to be run between the emitter and your TV.


In order to ensure that the setup is working, a series of images will appear followed by the most important part of the setup: the elimination of flicker. Even though this is supposed to be a flicker-free stereo 3D solution, some flickering in your peripheral vision may occur depending on the type of lighting you use. For example, a compact fluorescent bulb has an operating frequency of 60Hz which will interfere with the image from your monitor before it gets to your glasses and will cause minor flickering. Daylight and standard incandescent bulbs can also cause flickering due to their respective frequencies as well but luckily, this last step in the Nvidia setup wizard will allow you to counteract any flickering.


A Quick Control Panel Rundown


The control panel for 3D Vision resides within the main Nvidia control panel, under the Stereoscopic 3D header. The stereo 3D section is broken down into two parts: Set Up Stereo 3D and View Compatibility with Games.


The setup screen gives you access to low-level system settings such as the ability to disable 3D Vision and a depth (or separation) slider. Both of these functions can also be adjusted in real time by using the appropriate buttons located on the IR emitter. There is also a selector where you can change the display type to suit regular anaglyph (red / blue) glasses or your 3D Vision kit.


Quite a few first person shooter games (including Call of Duty: World at War and Fallout 3) render the in-game crosshair at screen depth instead of at object depth which results in inaccurate aiming when stereoscopic 3D is used. Actually, you will often see a pair of crosshairs instead of a lone crosshair at the center of the screen. To counteract this, Nvidia has added their own proprietary “Laser Sight” which can be toggled on in a game. Within the control panel you are able to change the look of the laser sight as well as its opacity within games.

The keyboard shortcuts dialog box allows for additional on-the-fly adjustments to the finer details of the 3D Vision system. Meanwhile settings which are extremely important to some stereo 3D enthusiasts such as convergence and the cycle frustum can be changed but remember that these settings are for advanced users only and should only be adjusted once you are familiar with the system. While Nvidia has come under some fire for supposedly "hiding" these settings, I find their location understandable since the consumers this system is targeted towards want a plug and play solution while still having the option to fiddle with the finer details once they have more experience with it.


To me, the most useful part of the Stereo 3D control panel is the Game Compatibility section. Here, you are able to see at a glance how well a huge number of games support 3D Vision. After you highlight a game in the list, a short description of known problems and solutions will appear under Issues and Recommendations. This same description will appear as an overlay whenever you start a supported game so you can take a few minutes and configure the in-game settings to properly support Stereo 3D. However, you have to remember that as the Nvidia drivers mature, some of the issues may be taken care of so it is important that you periodically check the games you have installed after the drivers are updated. There are unfortunately some problems with this system; most notably the fact that there are some games missing from this list that do work quite well.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
GeForce 3D Vision: Q&A Session

GeForce 3D Vision: Q&A Session


After using the GeForce 3D Vision for about 3 months and logging more than 200 hours of stereo 3D gaming, there were several questions that popped into my mind over the course of testing. I am sure you have been asking yourself some of these exact same questions and some haven’t popped up in Nvidia’s FAQ...yet. So, to answer many of my own inquiries, I ended up doing a fair bit of testing and left an email paper trail longer than War and Peace.


Will other electronics interfere with the IR Emitter?

To be honest with you I tried wireless keyboards and mice, RF remotes and ran 3 open-air systems at the same time and not once was the signal to the glasses interrupted. While my satellite radio would take a crap (granted, it doesn’t use infrared) due to the interference caused by running an open system, the glasses chugged along. The only time I was able to mess around with their operation was when I used them in the same room as my Samsung LN52A850 LCD TV. This thing kicks up enough interference that none of my IR remotes will work within the room I have it in so the fact that the Nvidia kit didn’t work wasn't too much of a surprise to me. All in all, I would say that 3D Vision is a robust solution when it comes to signal disruption.


What is the range of the IR Emitter?

First of all it is imperative that you have a clear line of site between the emitter and the location where you will be using the glasses. After setting up the emitter in a viewable location, I was able to get 22 feet away from it before I began experiencing signal degradation. This is perfect for those of you who are going to be using this kit with one of the ultra huge 67” DLP TVs it is compatible with and it exceeds Nvidia’s stated maximum of 20 feet.


Will the glasses be sold separately and how much will they cost?

There are some of you out there who are probably thinking that their friends would love to come over and have a look a 3D Vision but you don’t want to spend the price on another full kit. Or maybe your kid brother has ripped apart your glasses in a fit of jealous rage. Unfortunately, each kit only comes with a single pair of glasses and costs a pretty penny so you are out of luck since at this time Nvidia is not selling the glasses separately. Will they ever? According to Nvidia, within the next month or so you will be able to buy the glasses by themselves but the price has not yet been set. If I was a betting man I would predict MSRP to be around $150CAD for a single pair but until the announcement is made, the final pricing is anyone’s guess.


How many pairs of glasses can be used per emitter?

So your buddies come over with their 3D Vision glasses and they want to watch your get your butt whooped in Left 4 Dead. Will they need to bring their own emitters? Nope. Nvidia has designed the emitter so an unlimited number of glasses can pick up its signal. Indeed, at CES Nvidia was showing a demo presentation to groups of about 30 people at a time all of whose glasses were running off of a single emitter.


Battery Life and Replacement

Since the 3D Vision kit uses active shutter glasses, they include a battery-backed power supply which will eventually run out. According to Nvidia, a fully charged set of glasses will last for about 40 hours of gaming which isn’t bad at all but do these paper specs live up to real life expectations? After experiencing an average of 36 hours of gaming per full charge, I can say that their prediction is pretty damn close to reality.

The real question comes when we start thinking about replacing the battery. Since it is stored within a totally enclosed portion of the glasses, you would have to perform a lobotomy on your kit just to access it. So, I would have to say that the battery is not user replaceable but Nvidia’s life expectancy for it is quite good: after six years it is expected to retain a least 80% of its original charge capacity based on one full charge per week.


Is 3D Vision compatible with HDMI?

Yes and no. Current HDMI 1.0 and 1.2a standards do not allow for the necessary bandwidth needed to transmit the high definition signals needed for a true 120Hz signal. This is why Nvidia requires you use a dual link DVI cable since its 9.9 Gbps of theoretical bandwidth is about double that of the current HDMI 1.2a standard. However, the new HDMI 1.3 format will increase bandwidth to 10.2 Gbps which should be more than enough for Nvidia’s solution to be ported to LCD TVs. Also, since DLP TVs aren’t tied down by a refresh rate running a DVI to HDMI connector from your graphics card is doable.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Game Testing & Comments

Game Testing & Comments


After 200+ hours of gaming, you would hope that I have some lasting opinions of 3D Vision’s performance in the games I play on a regular basis. Considering the only games I have been playing regularly over the last few months are Left 4 Dead and Dawn of War 2, I naturally had to expand my repertoire a bit. As such, I chose 11 games which I actually enjoy playing from the old to the very new. The stereo 3D gameplay time was never less than 15 hours (unless the game had major stereo 3D issues) so I could get a good idea of what the overall gameplay experience was like. So without further ado, here they are.


What surprised me the most throughout the last few months of gaming was how well-mannered the 3D Vision kit was. Out of the 12 games I played, only two (surprisingly from exactly the same genre) really stood out as unplayable. All of the others showed compatibility with Nvidia's kit which was above and beyond what I expected for a product that has been on the market for less than two quarters. Most of the popular games are supported to some degree and even the less popular ones have the potential to wow you. As you will see below, when 3D Vision is full compatible with a game the result will blow your mind but there is also the possibility that the experience will be sullied with an incompatible title.

Homeworld 2 is arguably the oldest game used here so its lack of compatibility is completely understandable but since I have a special place in my heart for it, I sincerely hope that Nvidia brushes up their profiles for it. Sins of a Solar Empire was also in the dog house even though I knew what I was getting into considering Nvidia’s own compatibility chart told me it was “not recommended”. However, every now and then there were flashes of brilliance even though on the whole the game was thoroughly unplayable.

Unless you are playing with the camera zoomed in close to the units, I found that stereo 3D really didn’t add anything to RTS games either. This is due to the fact that by their very nature, strategy games usually use a camera placement that gives the player a good view of the battlefield. Trust me, when you are looking at your units from 400 feet in the air, there really isn’t anything that can give the illusion of depth. On the flip side of that coin, when the camera was close enough to the action in games like Medieval II: Total War, I couldn’t help but be mesmerised by the scene. Dawn of War 2 benefited a bit more from stereo 3D since the camera angle Relic used is closer to the viewpoint where stereo 3D functions but there were still some minor rendering issues here and there.

First person shooter games really give 3D Vision the chance to shine even though my experiences with Call of Duty: World at War left a lot to be desired. Since the in-game crosshair renders at the incorrect (screen)depth, the use of the Nvidia laser sight is mandatory. Unfortunately some bugs weren’t ironed out and certain laser sights (namely any round ones) tended to jump around like a Bawls-drinking rabbit. Both Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2 behaved much better with 3D Vision but there were still problems with the VATS system causing some eye strain. Far Cry 2 is really able to show what 3D Vision can do; explosions jump out at you, your weapon bucks into your vision when it is fired and it looks like you can reach out and catch shell casings…I could go on and on but lets just say it looks great.

Finally, we have the racing games like Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box and Need for Speed: Undercover. Let me put it like this: Racing games are just stunning on 3D Vision. Even though Need for Speed: UC isn’t listed in the supported titles, it works quite well in the grand scheme of things regardless of the odd lamp post rendering issue. Racing under a bridge between the cities will leave your mouth hanging open.

If there is one game that personifies what Nvidia’s solution is all about, it is Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box. If you are thinking of buying or have already bought 3D Vision, you need to pick this game up. The implementation of stereo 3D is nothing short of astonishing with wrecked cars flying through the air, close-in scenery buzzing through your peripheral vision and pieces of debris being strewn everywhere. Basically, it is the perfect playground for 3D Vision.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top