AMD is talking stereo 3D again and their stereoscopic 3D support, based on the open stereoscopic 3D initiative they’ve announced a while ago, and now they have given it a name – it is called AMD HD3D Technology. The list of supported hardware includes all the Radeon HD 5000 and the two new announcements from the HD 6000 series, although apparently only the new Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 support GPU-accelerated Blu-ray 3D playback. Still, considering the fact that AMD is dependent on their partners like DDD and iZ3D for the actual software that creates the stereoscopic 3D output from games, you can use even older hardware with most of the supported 3D viewing solutions. However if you want to take advantage of the new active shutter glasses and a 120Hz LCD monitor, then you should have one of the newer video cards that also have built-in driver level support in order to ensure good synchronization with the shutter glasses.
On their website AMD is still not giving out a lot of information, but they do have a big list of supported 3D HDTVs, 3D DLP projectors, as well as a few of the first solutions that do utilize an AMD GPU, along with stereoscopic 3D support and shutter glasses. These we already know of, but just to mention them again: the new HP Envy 17 with 5850, the MSI Wind Top AE2420 AIO PC with 5730, and the new Viewsonic V3D241wm-LED monitor. Of course there are a few other solutions that do not use active shutter glasses already available that can be used with AMD GPUs and these are the iZ3D display, Zalman’s Trimon passively polarized monitors, some laptops with passive polarization from Acer and Lenovo and quite a few other commercial or custom built products that can be used to provide stereoscopic 3D support.
One important thing again related to the new Radeon HD 6850/6870 GPUs is the fact that they do come with DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a connectors that both do support stereoscopic 3D output. Of course we are yet to see some 120Hz LCD monitors that do use DisplayPort, however the availability of HDMI 1.4a ensures compatibility with all the 3D-capable consumer hardware such as 3D HDTVs already available and the upcoming 3D home cinema projectors with the same interface. So the new GPUs do have support for HDMI 1.4a and the frame packing specifications used for stereo 3D content distribution over the interface, however you still need to have something to provide the 3D content, so you still need the iZ3D Driver or TriDef’s Ignition software to convert games for example, or a software Blu-ray 3D player to output the movie.
One related announcement to the new AMD news is the fact that the new DeusEX: Human Revolution game, supporting DX11 will also have stereoscopic 3D support available. And AMD is claiming support for over 400 game titles in stereoscopic 3D mode through its two main software partners for the gaming in S3D part – iZ3D and DDD. With the company also promising more native stereoscopic 3D games to come out in 2011 (we already know of some like Crysis 2). On the Blu-ray 3D software players support AMD is working with the same major companies like Nvidia is doing with Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 10 Ultra 3D going to be the first to provide the support for hardware accelerated Blu-ray 3D playback of movies from your PC. This will happen on November 5th through a software update that is expected to be released by Cyberlink.
There are however still a lot of unanswered questions like for example will we be able to use lets say an older 120Hz LCD monitor that was introduced with 3D Vision support with AMD’s solution with a new pair of shutter glasses. Will there be only shutter glasses available and not as a bundle at all and who will be selling them or we are going to go for an “open” initiative with 120Hz LCD monitors that are only going to be usable with AMD’s stereo 3D solution and that need to be bought with the glasses bundled. AMD is currently talking about 3D gaming and 3D video, but what about 3D photography that is also gaining more interest… is there support for viewing 3D photos without having to resort to third party software that may or may not work? And what about Eyefinity with stereo 3D support? DX 10 and DX11 support are still quite a bit of a problem for both iZ3D, who have beta support that is kind of working, and DDD who still don’t have anything available to support DX10/11 games. And more and more and more… I’m hoping to soon be able to test the HP Envy 17 laptop to get some first hand impressions from the active shutter glasses support that AMD is starting to offer, because I’ve already had some experience with other stereo 3D products based on both iZ3D and DDD. And I’m eager to get more information from AMD about their stereo 3D support…