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The New Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 / GTX 480 GPUs with 3D Vision

March 31st, 2010 · 17 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision


The new Nvidia Fermi-based GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480 GPUs were officially announced a few days ago, but we still don’t have them on the market. Currently one a selected group of reviewers are being able to play with video cards based on the new GPUs, run benchmarks and even try them with 3D Vision, something that I sure most of you are quite interested in. Unfortunately I still haven’t had the chance to personally try a GeForce GTX 470 or GTX 480 video card with 3D Vision, so I can’t tell you much either and this leaves us with only the official results coming from Nvidia. The chart above shows a comparison between a GTX 285 (the former top model) and the GTX 480 (the new top model) running at 1920×1080 resolution with High Detail levels and even with some AA. The results coming from Nvidia are measured in frames per second (the scale on the left) across multiple new and popular game titles like Resident Evil 5, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Left4Dead 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum. And based on these results (and some more perhaps) Nvidia is claiming that the new GTX 480 is up to 2x faster than the GTX 285, and that on Full HD resolution, with maximum detail levels and even with some Anti-Aliasing active. So if we trust these results you can say that the new Fermi-based video cards (the GTX 470 should be a good choice too, especially if you are on tighter budget) are the perfect choice for gaming in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision, so now we just have to wait a bit more for them to be available on the market…



With the introduction of the Fermi GPU architecture comes another interesting new feature that will interest some of the 3D Vision owners. Of course I’m talking about the 3D Vision Surround technology that adds support for stereoscopic 3D gaming on triple monitor setups. That however requires you to have two GeForce GTX 470/480 GPUs in SLI configuration for optimum performance, but it should also work with two GeForce GTX 200-series video cards again in SLI configuration. The reason for needing more GPUs is because 3D Vision Surround requires up to 746 million pixels per second of rendering horsepower and that is one hell of a burden for a single GPU to cope up with and still provide good enough framerate for comfortable playback. You should have in mind that in the currently available release 197 of the video drivers there is not yet support for 3D Vision Surround and you’ll be able to play in stereo 3D only on a single monitor. 3D Vision Surround will be enabled in the next release 256 of the drivers, that is due for release in April 2010, so a few more days of wait… but with no cards on the market yet that should not be an issue, right? And it seems that with the next official driver for the Fermi-based cards we are also going to have support for games using DirectX 11, so we’ll be able to play those in stereo 3D mode without having to revert to DX10 or DX9 anymore… ;)

If you want to pre-order a GeForce GTX 470 video card ($349.99 USD at Amazon)…
If you want to pre-order a GeForce GTX 480 video card ($499.99 USD at Amazon)…


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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Frobozz // Mar 31, 2010 at 23:20

    Hey, just wanted to say I appreciate your blog… always good, timely info.

    We’re getting there… I’ve been thinking about how to make a trio of 2010 consumer 3DTVs to work with 3D Vision Surround + 3DTV Play (assuming NVidia’s first releases allow these together) or Eyefinity + iZ3D.

    The trick is that in this scenario, the user wearing glasses has three TVs blasting out sync info… how can we deal with that?

    Could it really be as simple as:

    – 3 identical 3DTV panels (for same input/output performance/timing)
    – 3 frame-packed video feeds from the PC with near identical latency (e.g. the mini-DP -> active converter to DVI -> HDMI on my Radeon 5970 might be a problem next to the other two DVI->HDMI ports). We’re talking in 1/60th of a second tolerance here.

    If we can assume all 3 panels get their side-by-side or whatever frames at the same time, and will thus all output left and right at the same time… then its just a matter of keeping the glasses in sync with at least one of the displays.

    A bit of experimenting needed with whether or not you need to block 2 of the displays’ IR emitters… or it may be that all 3 synced just give better coverage.

    Anyone out there have access to 3 displays to try this? :) Or got a contact at Nvidia/iZ3D/ATI to see if they’re preparing for this scenario?

    – bozz

  • 2 Frobozz // Mar 31, 2010 at 23:38

    Ack, posted before I was done.

    I think these Fermi cards with adequate cooling would be a great performer in this scenario, with their 3 all passive DVI/HDMI ports, horsepower and a more baked 3D Vision-like experience.

    An ATI Eyefinity6 DP card should get the timing stuff right as well.

    It seems to me that you shouldn’t have to choose only one of 3D gaming, surround gaming or big screen gaming ;) So, if it turns out you could do this TODAY with the chum they’re slinging at Best Buy… people are gonna wanna know.

    – bozz

  • 3 Bloody // Mar 31, 2010 at 23:41

    I’m still not sure that the 3DTV Play software that you’d require for use with a 3D-ready HDTV will even support more than one display. And if we are considering ATI, there is still not even a word about HDMI 1.4 stereoscopic 3D support and the new iZ3D beta driver does not have such an output at this moment, neither does DDD with their TriDef software.

    And considering the fact that most likely all first generation 3D-ready HDTVs with HDMI 1.4 stereo 3D support will work in 720p mode for gaming, then you better think about 3D Vision Surround setup with 3x Acer GD245HQ/GD235Hz displays that will allow you to have them running in 1080p each.

  • 4 Frobozz // Apr 1, 2010 at 01:01

    Aye, information is hard to come by on what is supported by both the display and the source (PC drivers).

    I’ve seen, for example, the manual from the entry-level Samsung UN55C7000 display that suggests support for the new HDMI 1.4a modes for broadcast TV content (1080i/50 and 1080i/60).

    The manual does not call these HDMI 1.4a by name, since the standard is only 4 weeks old, but they’re the same specs. I’m curious if a PC could drive frame-packed 1080i/60 from a game or S3d player with the right driver.

    Nvidia’s 3DTV FAQ page only talks about future 1080p/60 support for when HDMI 1.4 high speed displays (true 120Hz) are on the market… nothing for 2010 yet. I hope something with 1080 interlaced modes is also eventually possible to tide us over.

    As soon as a PC can talk to one of these displays at true 1080p/120 (and for reasonable $), life will be a lot simpler for everyone and open up the choice of glasses quite a bit.

    True 1080p 3D will be next must-have leap, same as when true 1080p 2D displays were the new hotness.

    All that said, big screen surround 3D at 3840×720 today would still be a delight for gaming and other immersive environments. Less so for S3D medical/engineering/other apps where the loss of detail is unacceptable. 1080p/24 might still be tolerable depending on the game or app content as well.

  • 5 btdvox // Apr 1, 2010 at 06:58

    Can you link the reviewers who did 3d Vision and GTX 480?

  • 6 Zerofool // Apr 1, 2010 at 09:42

    GTX 470/480 offer nice performance, but because of the huge power requirements, and high temperatures (I guess it will easily reach 100’C during the summer) I personally will wait for future revision of the silicon, with lower power leakage, or better off – 28nm shrink. Then again, the next generation of ATI cars will probably be out by that time :).

    As for the 3D Vision Surround – you need two cards not (only) because the resolution is demanding, but because of the simple fact that GF100 can drive only two display at a time. In theory, for six displays (like Eyefinity) you would need three cards.

  • 7 Bloody // Apr 1, 2010 at 10:39

    100 degrees Celsius are maybe possible on a too hot summer day, but only if you overclock it quite a lot or want to keep the fan on a too quiet level. With that said the ATI cards are not much cooler in the same situation, although the Fermis seem to have higher power consumption.

    As for one card driving 3 displays and in stereo 3D, even if the GTX470/480 could do that they probably would not be able to provide enough ‘horsepower’ to sustain good enough framerate. Radeon 5870 driving triple monitors has this issue in “plain” 3D with some more demanding games even now, let alone one card with 6 displays trying to manage enough performance for stereoscopic 3D gaming… ;)

  • 8 Zerofool // Apr 1, 2010 at 17:09

    Bloody, don’t get me wrong, I’m not ATI fanboy, or Iz3D one for that matter, I just try to find out all pros and cons of certain product.
    Considering that the cards do reach 92-96’C under load, in the not-so-hot spring days, without any overclock, I don’t know how thay will behave in 40’C summer day, OC aside. If you haven’t heard the card in action, I suggest you do, from what I read the cooler is pretty loud. Just see this review for videos with sound (3D Vision Surround enthusiasts – see the SLI setup as well :)) :
    http://hardocp.com/article/2010/03/26/nvidia_fermi_gtx_470_480_sli_review/7
    The Radeons are not that much quieter btw :).
    I really hope that models with custom cooling will appear (with Arcitic Cooling Extreme for example), so the noise, and partially he heat issues will be resolved, but the high power consumpion still remains. Let’s hope Fermi 2 fill perform better in these areas ;).

    I’m not saying the Radeon cards are fast enough for tripple- or hexa-screen configs, If you ask me there is no single card that will produce satisfactory framerates in stereo for more than one display (no matter nvidia or ati), that’s my personal opinion.

    All I said was that Fermi is designed to only support two (2) active displays at a time. Even if you plan only to use it for bigger desktop space – nope, you can’t drive three displays. Only two active outputs, that’s why for more than two displays you need second card. I read that info on few different sites, I can’t really remeber which ones, but It’s not something I came up with ;). Anyway, when you get the chance to test it yourself, you will learn the truth (I hope you prove me wrong).

  • 9 Bloody // Apr 1, 2010 at 17:48

    I’ve seen in action and heard the cooling of both Fermi and latest ATI-based cards and I know what is the noise level and what the temperatures are. And I can tell that they really are not very different form each other, there are other specifics however like the automatic control of the fan level that is different and things like that. There are also some external factors that may also influence things… try running the fans on both at 100% and you’ll be really annoyed by the noise level, but the temperatures will be kept much lower than 100 degrees C… ;)

  • 10 Frobozz // Apr 2, 2010 at 17:09

    I haven’t had a chance to see/hear a Fermi card yet, but I had a good laugh when I saw some of the new cases made for it… with the giant fans and directed air ducts :)

    My stock Radeon 5970 and GTX295 are the only things in my boxes not using silent fan parts. They do get louder when the cards are cranked, but generally totally unheard over the other audio in the room (game, movie, etc.).

    The 5970 hasn’t lived through a hot summer here yet, but the 295 did just fine. I think with some Fermis, I’d for sure give up on the silent fan thing just to protect my investment.

    Anyone buying the highest end GPUs, wanting to overclock them, SLI/Crossfire them and push them to their limits is probably thinking about liquid cooling or has given up on that range of hearing.

    From my experience with 3-head Eyefinity, two high-end GPUs gets the job done with most every game I’ve thrown at it. To do that in stereo3D means another pair of GPUs.

    6 screens in stereo3D with any kind of acceptable experience seems unattainable with today’s GPU silicon and SLI/Crossfire scaling limits.

    Certainly the barebones servers exist for up to 8 dual-slot cards (16 GPUs) thanks to the supercompute crowd, but due to SLI/Crossfire caps, only useful for raw compute tasks instead of live linked rendering. Note: not #&%@$ silent at all!

  • 11 Frobozz // Apr 11, 2010 at 02:38

    Hey Bloody,

    Wanted to follow up a bit, as I’m sure you’ll find this interesting.

    I had a chance to evaluate a Samsung UN46C7000 46″ 3D LED display for a week, and I have to say I was very impressed both with the live 2D->3D upconvert (photos, TV, movies, games) and native 3D (stereo3d photos, movies, games).

    Because I couldn’t find a beta of Nvidia’s 3DTV Play, I could only test out iZ3D (used the recent beta and Catalyst 10.3 release drivers).

    I’m happy to report that 1080p games using the 1080p60 side-by-side frame method worked beautifully :) They do support other methods at some resolutions as well (top/bottom, interlace, checkerboard, etc.).

    No page-flipping for 3D Vision on account of the 60hz input… but it does seem to me that using 3D Vision with these TVs should be possible with some driver tweaks from Nvidia.

    Send a side-by-side frame, flutter each eye every 60th/sec, have adjustable delay to sync. Or add these displays to the list of ones 3D Vision’s setup can detect and sync for.

    So, for my purposes, the kinds of hardware we want is *here* today (from Samsung at least), and the 7 or 8 games I tried work great with iZ3D. Presumably if Nvidia decides to add 1080p60 support to 3DTV Play, we’re golden there as well.

    Eyefinity 3D surround with iZ3D is not possible at present, as the drivers only attempt 5760x1080p60 side-by-side, rather than 3x1080p60 side-by-side (if you can picture the effect… left/right frames actually split in the middle of the centre screen, rather than left and right split on each screen).

    They can fix that, surely, and hopefully also 3DTV Play.

    On the question of what I thought of the Samsung display overall… it was great, but for two things.

    1) stereo3d ghosting. Seems that all Samsung LEDs have issues here, Plasma should generally be a better technology for 3D in 2010. Backlit LED instead of side-lit may really help though. This one was pretty bad, I’d say not good enough for me to spend $ on for the amount of time I know I’ll be using it.

    2) Brightness… the amount you want in some movies and games/interactive environments plus the extra to counteract the 50% light reduction of shutter glasses = really washed out image (LCD/LEDs and their black levels). You definitely want very different colour pre-sets for 3D and 2D modes.

    In my tests with a bright 2D display on either side, keeping brightness and colour uniform across all 3 with glasses on is a challenge. Best to have 3 identical 3D sets for a bunch of reasons.

    The Samsung C8000 plasma has the exact same input and output processing, so I will likely go that route for the best 3D experience and colour reproduction – assuming I can see a demo that proves the ghosting was the fault of the LED refresh and not a problem with the common Samsung glasses type or the sync.

    What I don’t know:

    Was the display misreporting 1080p as 1080i?
    My answer: I guess perhaps? But truthfully, I don’t care, 1080 wasn’t supposed to be possible at all in 2010 and it looked amazing to me and others.

    Will other 3D sources (PS3, xbox, etc.) be able to pump out 1080i/p like this?
    …nobody is talking, hopefully they’re promising short and delivering long.

    Do 3D displays from Panasonic, LG, Sony, etc. have the same capabilities, or is the Samsung special?
    …remains to be seen!

    Hope you’ve found this info useful :)

  • 12 Bloody // Apr 12, 2010 at 10:11

    Frobozz, Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. I’ll probably be soon able to test the Samsung C7000 myself soon so I’ll definitely be trying how it works with iZ3D while waiting for the 3DTV Play. My expectations for the 3D plasma TVs are also to handle better the ghosting issues, but we’ll have to see about that…

  • 13 Martin // Apr 12, 2010 at 16:22

    Frobozz what cable did you use to connect PC to UN46C7000?

  • 14 Frobozz // Apr 17, 2010 at 04:21

    Bloody: I’m sure you’ll have a blast :) Love to hear what you think as well.

    I was in the U.S. earlier this week looking for the plasmas to see in-store, but they’re still a couple weeks away. If they’re ghost-free, or even moderately better than the LEDs, I’m sold.

    Martin: Glad you asked… I was pleased to find that everything from my best high speed cables to the crap I had lying around was able to drive 1080p60 in stereo3d just fine, though I didn’t do an exhaustive image quality comparison.

    I have not purchased a new HDMI cable since the HDMI 1.4 superduperhighspeed gotta-buy-new-cables crud started and will avoid that moneypit until 4K resolution 2D screens are available.

    I tested via DVI->HDMI and active displayport->HDMI adapters.

    The one thing that did not work was auto-switching… that is, the display does not (yet) receive info that the incoming frame format is changing from standard 2D to one of the stereo3D formats so it can automatically switch modes. I had to use the remote to go 2D->3D and manually select the mode.

    I believe this control signal can be accomplished in future PC GPU drivers or stereo3D wrappers (like 3DTV Play and iZ3D). I’m pretty sure Samsung’s HDMI 1.4 blu-ray player does it, so I don’t see why a PC couldn’t… and I still don’t think you’ll need a new HDMI cable for that, as the only pin changes for HDMI 1.4 are the new ones added for the Ethernet channel that some devices will support.

    Frankly, it’s a real pity that the display can’t just receive a 3840×1080 frame and just assume is a 1080 side-by-side, or 1280×1440 = 720 top/bottom and do the obvious thing… but maybe checkerboard and interlace also look similar on the wire, I dunno.

    One thing I definitely regret not trying was piping the 3D modes through my HDMI 1.3-rated matrix switches to see if everything still worked.

    Based on my other observations, I don’t see why not… just that I suppose the mode switching signal would be missed if an output display was not seeing that particular input stream at the time the 2D/3D frame type was switched *shrug*.

    Also did not try recording any side-by-side frames on an HDMI 1.3-720p60/1080i60 rated capture card. I’ll confess, I was doing a lot of gaming and demonstrating to friends ;)

    My biggest ask? Native stereo3D and configurable depth support for the Windows desktop. The 2D-3D upconvert is kinda cool, but not what I would call useful yet.

    All apps as panes you can move around in 3D space, 3D windowed apps have their own isolated depth, of course, and something that gets around Apple’s head tracking patents so you can look around a window to see what’s in behind rather than moving or minimizing it. You can imagine the effect in a surround environment.

    Not holding my breath for Win7 SP1, though ;)

  • 15 Martin // Apr 18, 2010 at 09:34

    Hi Frobozz,

    I bought UE55C7000 – was too impatient to wait for C8000 series :)
    SO far very happy with this TV – I use it instead of PC monitor.
    Latest IZ3D driver 1.11B1-2 resulted only in black screen when tring to use side by side mode with the several games I tried. I should dig out the older versin 1.11B1 and try it out.
    Avatar The Game works perfect with it’s native side by side 3D mode both with DVI>HDMI and HDMI>HDMI cable.
    Also tried MassEfect 2 with the TV own 2D>3D conversion and it looks awesome :)

  • 16 Martin // Apr 18, 2010 at 12:42

    So to update you guys Iz3d 1.11B1 works – no blank screens – the only issue is that in side by side mode the mouse pointer is one for both left and right screen making it unusable in 3d mode.
    Didn’t tried checkerboard as I can’t select it in TV menu.

  • 17 Massimiliano // May 2, 2010 at 14:43

    I would buy a graphic card: Geforce GTX 480. I want to know if it supports two monitors simultaneously: one for 3D stereoscopic displaying, and one for 2D touch screen.
    Thanks for attention, I would be very grateful if you gave me some information about hrdware configuration.

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