We live in an era where every six months a newer and speedier graphics card emerges that pushes pixels exponentially faster than its predecessor, but at its core is still just a faster graphics card. There hasn’t been much in way of truly mind-blowing innovations, until now. The new Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision ($199 list) takes PC graphics in a whole new direction and creates a 3D graphics environment previously only seen in movie theaters.
GeForce 3D Vision is a consumer lever "stereoscopic 3D ecosystem." In layman’s terms, it is a set of 3D glasses that makes certain games, videos, and photos appear three-dimensional. The 3D Vision comes with a set of rechargeable active shutter glasses, a USB IR emitter, a driver disc, and all of the requisite DVI and USB cables. In a perfect world the glasses would be plug-and-play, and you would be (virtually) knocking off bad guys within minutes. Yeah, unfortunately, that’s not really the case. First of all you need a system with a fairly new Nvidia graphics card (a GeForce 8800 or higher will suffice). You will also need to use certain 120Hz monitors and a DVI cable without a VGA adapter, (for testing, we used a 22-inch Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ). The device will also work with select Mitsubishi and Samsung DLP HDTVs and the Light Speed Depth Q 3D projector. Nvidia sends along all the required cables for these displays as well.
Setting up the 3D vision was pretty straightforward. The first thing you need to do is delete your old Nvidia display drivers and install the new ones that come on the included disc. Once this is done, you follow the installation directions, plug in the IR emitter, put on the glasses, and calibrate them with a series of images that are provided on the same install disc. Make sure the IR emitter is within your line of sight to avoid transmission issues and some image flickering. ,,,
I have found that whenever a company launches an innovative product, it is often only useable in a very narrow realm. Remember when the first HDTVs came to market and had a picture that blew away standard definition television? The only glitch was that there were only a handful of HD channels to watch. Nvidia has taken its time with the development of the GeForce 3D Vision and has gotten all its ducks in row before launching the device. The GeForce 3D Vision will work with over 300 games on the market today. I tried the system out with Spore and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and was impressed with the use of 3D rendering—but not really blown away. But when I played Call of Duty: World At War, it was another story: Stereoscopic technology is going to totally change the way we play first-person shooters. Along with a good pair of headphones, the GeForce 3D Vision had me totally immersed in the game. Blood, bodies, and bullets were flying all around me, and it was awesome. The images produced were not quite the 3D we are used to seeing at the movies. ,,,
What about ATI graphics card users?
ATI is currently working on its own 3D technology with monitor maker iZ3D, but it uses a different technology—stacked LCD panels with different polarization and polarized glasses. iZ3D monitors work with Nvidia cards as well, of course, but you if you buy an ATI card, you get a rebate on a monitor. iZ3D also makes a special 3D driver for 3D DLP TVs, which works free with Radeon owners but is a paid deal with Nvidia cards. The iZ3D drivers support other technologies as well, like the Nvidia’s stereoscopic shutter technology. Look out soon for Extremetech editor Jason Cross’s in-depth comparison of ATI and Nvidia’s 3D technology. (full Story)