nVidia 3D Vision Gaming System - nVidia 3D Vision

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


The good news is that this pay-off - and any reduction in resolution over other 22in/23in monitors - is worth it. It's hard to describe the 3D Vision effect because it's not really 3D as you might know it. It's not about things coming out of the screen at you - though nVidia's 3D test shows that such effects are possible.

Instead, it's about looking into your monitor as if it were a window into another, fully 3D world. When it's working well, figures in the foreground stand out in front of objects in the background, and not in some simple, planar manner, but in a way that seems perfectly natural. Play an FPS and you can see that your current weapon is clearly close to you, while targets and buildings in the mid and far distance are further away. And when you're rushed by the zombie hordes in Left4Dead, there's a real sense that those bloodthirsty varmints are headed right at you. We're not quite talking virtual reality, but it certainly adds a new, even more immersive quality to your games.

As you might expect, the effect works best with first-person games and first-person viewpoints. Left4Dead is a definite highlight, as the staging in depth seems to work particularly well, but 3D Vision also delivered excellent results with Far Cry 2 and Mirror's Edge. The latter was a visceral experience played in 2D on a console format, but on a PC with 3D support and the extra graphical bells and whistles of the PhysX version, it's absolutely breathtaking. I can't remember a game that's had me moving back and forth in my chair so much with sheer involvement. When you throw yourself across a gap and grab hold of a ledge or pipe with Faith's fingertips, there's a palpable sense of relief.

Driving games played from a cockpit view also deliver good value. GRID through 3D Vision is an absolutely storming racer, particularly in some of the more manic, pile-up heavy events. And while nothing short of a miracle could make Need for Speed: Pro Street fantastic, 3D Vision comes frighteningly close to doing so, partly because the sensation of depth does something to make the action more convincing and believable. If only the same could be said for the handling and AI.

There are some downsides. Bits of interface and overlaid icons or labels tend to float weirdly over the whole image, and this can have the effect of pulling you out of the experience. It's not a problem in games like FEAR 2 where a heads-up display is part of the fiction, but it can be in some other action titles. It's more of an issue for RTS games and RPGs with an isometric perspective, though your mileage will vary with different titles. Dawn of War II was a bit of a non-starter, with the 3D effect adding little to the game's characters or landscapes, and those floating icons and labels confusing the eyes.

Aging Diablo-clone, Titan Quest, however, was surprisingly good, with trees and towers pushing out into the skyline, and characters appearing to stand tall over the game's Greek landscapes. Platform games can also be rewarding. Tomb Raider: Anniversary is the least advanced of the recent Tomb Raider titles, but the shift into 3D makes the game's big locations look suitably imposing, and adds a new element of vertigo to the game's more vertical sections.


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.


May 28, 2009, 8:39 am

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

roll on the future of gaming ;)


May 28, 2009, 12:11 pm

will it work for 100Hz tv sets also?


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.


May 28, 2009, 3:55 pm


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.


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...=)


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.


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?


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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