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nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System review

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nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System
  • nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System

Summary

Our Score:

8

Stereoscopic 3D gaming is nothing new. Those of us old enough to have played on Sega's Master System might remember the woefully unsupported 3D glasses accessory produced for it, not to mention Nintendo's disastrous Virtual Boy 3D goggles or the range of wretched shutter goggle systems that arrived with the early crop of 3D graphics cards. However, there's a sense that it's a technology that's finally coming of age.

Maybe it's the case that there's now a hardcore games market that's become about HD graphics and is looking for something new. Perhaps it's the publicity 3D is getting with Hollywood's renewed interest in stereoscopic film. Or it might just be that the technology is finally ready, or that it needed a player as big as nVidia to champion it. Whatever the reason, we saw the seeds of change with the Zalman Trimon 3D monitor last year, and those seeds have now taken root with nVidia's 3D Vision gaming system.

It's possible to buy the core system - a pair of glasses and an infrared transmitter - for a mere £129, but most of us will need a new monitor to support them, which is why we're looking at the full system, which bundles in a 22in Samsung SM2233RZ display. The reason is simple, and all to do with the way that 3D Vision works. It's a variant of the shutter glasses system which seems to be gaining traction with consumer electronics manufacturers at the moment.

Basically, the monitor interleaves two images, one for the left eye and one for the right, at 100 to 120 frames per second, so that each eye gets a smooth, moving image of 50 to 60 fps. The monitor is synced via an infrared transmitter to the glasses, which use LCD shutters in each lens to close off each eye when the other eye's image is flicked on to the screen, again at 50 to 60 fps per eye. The result is that the left eye sees only the images designed for the left eye, while the right eye sees only the image designed for the right eye, and as the two images are subtly different, in much the same way that the real-life view perceived by each of our human eyes is different, we get an impression of stereoscopic 3D.

One limitation of this process is that you need a display capable of operating at a 120Hz refresh rate, and at the moment there is a grand total of two available in the UK; the Viewsonic VX2265wm and the Samsung SM2233RZ bundled here. Both are 22in panels with a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution, and both require a dual-link DVI cable (and a dual-link DVI output on your graphics card) in order for the 120Hz refresh rate to work. nVidia provides such a cable in the box, and any graphics card capable of driving 3D Vision at a decent frame rate should have the required connector. A 9600GT is your practical minimum, though you'll need something with a little more beef to get good detail levels/frame rates at the monitor's native resolution.

BobaFett

May 28, 2009, 6:24 am

What about 3D movies? I reckon nVidia could sell a lot more of these systems if they broadened their target audience to males who have an internet connection rather than just gamers. They would need content creator support, of course, but that shouldn't be too difficult given the rate at which new content is produced in that industry. I would be tripping over my feet in my rush to buy nVidia shares, were it the case.



TL1210

May 28, 2009, 8:39 am

Id love to see this on consoles like xbox, ps3 :)





roll on the future of gaming ;)

ilovethemonkeyhead

May 28, 2009, 12:11 pm

will it work for 100Hz tv sets also?

OneSinner

May 28, 2009, 1:38 pm

I had a similar system from e-Dimensional many years ago - in fact I used to use it for Battlefield 1942 etc. Also used nVidia drivers...


Google tells me it's still available and a bit cheaper to boot.





@ilovethemonkeyhead - think the limiting factor is the Dual-DVI - unlikely your TV will support that connection. If I recall the e-Dimensional was good ol VGA so should work with any VGA connected monitor.

StuAndrews

May 28, 2009, 3:55 pm

@ilovethemonkeyhead


As OneSinner says, I think it's a no-go. Though you can switch the refresh rate down to 100Hz, the dual-link DVI will probably be a limiting factor. The system does actually work with some '3D Ready' DLP TVs from Mitsubishi and Samsung (plus one Mistubishi projector), but these aren't particularly popular here in Europe.





On the movies front, nVidia has released some demo video content, but I think content is going to be the issue at the moment. The good news is that there's no reason why nVidia's display system shouldn't be compatible with some of the mooted 3D content standards (e.g. Dolby's or Panasonic's). I suspect it would be a software update, and nothing much more.

smodd

May 29, 2009, 1:57 am

If you want to see a 3d movie look google and use stereoscopic player (in not free) that have a mode 4 choosing polarized glasses and the old anagliphic ones...good luck ..


PS: i use iz3d software and im already watching 3d movies and games old fashion way...=)

Xiphias

May 29, 2009, 8:03 pm

@Andy H: Games are fairly simple to modify for 3d, as everything is already calculated in 3d so it's a simple case of adding a slightly offset viewpoint and making sure it doesn't poke through walls or get abused in multiplayer. Films would have to be recorded with two cameras, so you could only really apply it to future ones.





@ilovethemonkeyhead: I believe most 100Hz TVs only work at 100Hz internally and won't accept signals above 50-60Hz so they'd be capped at 25-30fps. You might be able to synchronise the glasses with the fake extra frames but I'd imagine it's not as good as the real thing.

Carbonizer

May 31, 2009, 1:30 pm

Shutter systems are a nonstarter. You need the expensive glasses for each viewer, many people are very sensitive to flicker at 60 Hz or less, and it halves the brightness. Polarization is a better option. LCD screens are all polarized, 3D can be done by polarizing half the pixels orthogonally, more backlighting helps the brightness issue, and polarized glasses are lightweight and cheap enough to be disposable.

Stacey James Bladen-hovell

December 5, 2013, 9:11 am

If you have a 600hz TV can you use this Nvidia 3d thing without having to buy a new monitor?

aa

February 6, 2014, 5:09 pm

600hz sounds like a plasma which is quadrant updates. Most likely wouldn't support something like that, but you see a list of supported devices on the nvidia site.

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