I’ve just tried the demo of James Cameron’s Avatar The Game on the Acer Aspire 3D laptop – using passive polarized display and glasses for stereoscopic 3D. And there are some good news and some bad news for the people interested in playing the soon to be released game on this stereoscopic 3D capable laptop. The good news it that the game works well and does not even need the TriDef software to be running, because it has the needed support built in (enable Line Interlaced mode inside the game options). And the bad news is that the mobile Radeon 4570 VGA is not capable of providing you with decent framerates with higher details, so you’ll have to stay with low detail on everything and no Blood or HDR. If you do that and play in the native 1368×768 resolution in 2D mode you’ll be getting about 36 fps and when you activate the S3D mode you’ll still have average of about 22 frames per second which is kind of on the edge, but still playable. Just don’t forget to disable the PowerPlay option in the ATI drivers of the laptop, otherwise you’ll be getting even lower framerate. Now, back to the S3D experience, you can expect to have some barely noticeable ghosting in the right eye for some objects, but this is something that I’ve noticed as an issue also on the 3D Vision, so it is probably coming from the game and not from the stereoscopic technology being used. In general, besides the low detail level and framerate the demo is playable and presents good results in stereoscopic 3D mode, although you should also not forget that you get half of the vertical resolution on the Acer Aspire 3D, but it still looks Ok.
November 25th, 2009 · No Comments · Stereo 3D Games
November 24th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Other S3D Tech
The Acer Aspire 3D or the exact model I have AS-5738DG-664G50Mn is an affordable, but not very powerful in terms of hardware mobile computer that is designed to provide stereoscopic 3D effect with the help of passive polarization filters and DDD’s TriDef Ignition software. The main specs of the laptop are: 15,6-inch screen with 1366×768 resolution (don’t forget that the polarized screen reduces the horizontal resolution in half), the processor is Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo T6600 (Dual core at 2,2 GHz), you get 4GB of system memory, DVD writer and a 500GB hard drive, as for the video cards, it is an ATI Radeon 4570 with 512MB DDR3 VRAM. Now, as you probably have already guessed the mobile GPU used here is not the most powerful you can get and certainly not the best suited one for stereoscopic 3D, because of the additional load this mode places on the GPU and thus resulting in lower performance…
However when running GPU-Z to see the parameters of the video card available in this Aspire 3D notebook something interesting has caught my attention. Note on the screenshot above that the memory of the card should be 800 MHz (1600 MHz effective) and even when under load (FurMark running in the background) the video memory still runs on 500 MHz (1000 MHz effective). Now this might not seem to be that much of a problem at first, but when you think about it… this is 600 megahertz lower effective frequency for the memory and the video card is not that powerful at first, so actually we have a very serious issue here and you can blame it all on ATI and their shitty mobile video drivers! Running 3DMark 2006 just to check what is the performance I’m getting with the fresh installed laptop (default OS and software setup provided by Acer) got me just 3052 points and although I did not expect much, I still considered this as quite low result.
The problem here is that by default you get the PowerPlay function enabled in ATI’s Catalyst Control Center and this should be active for a laptop, as it is an option to control the power usage in order to save the battery. But, there is an issue with the drivers that does not allow you to go to the normal frequency of the memory even if you are not on battery, but are using the AC adapter, so at all times with PowerPlay enabled the video memory is running up to just 500 MHz (1000 MHz). What you need to do is to disable the PowerPlay function permanently or to disable it every time you are going to play in stereoscopic 3D (which would be kind of annoying and you might forget sometimes). So, as I already did say – blame it on ATI and their shitty mobile video drivers..
Now, with the PowerPlay disabled you can get your video memory to run at 800 MHz (1600 MHz effectively) which normally results in better performance. You can see the difference even in the FurMark running in the background in heavy mode with 2xAA active – from 5 to 7 frames per second average. But then again running 3DMark 2006 gives better and more notable results for comparing the whole system performance for gaming purposes. With PowerPlay disabled and the video memory running at the frequency it should normally be running in the result in 3DMark 2006 is with over 1000 points better than before – 4134 points. This is just a little bit more than 35 percent performance increase and these 35% you should’ve been available to you by default and not taken away by, I’ll repeat myself again, the shitty ATI mobile video drivers!
And since I’ve already started talking about benchmarking an performance, I will continue a bit with another results from 3DMark 2006, but this time to show what is the expected performance drop when you are with PowerPlay disabled (you have your full GPU power) and are playing in stereoscopic 3D. Running 3DMark 2006 through TriDef Ignition – the tests are run in stereoscopic 3D mode – results in getting 2384 points in the test. Doing a little math I can conclude that we have just about 73% performance drop. Now this is something to be expected from a more general stereoscopic 3D software solution like DDD’s TriDef Ignition, because it is universal and not tied to any specific graphic card manufacturer, so it is not that optimized as Nvidia’s 3D Vision. This in turn results in heavier load to the video card when playing in stereoscopic 3D mode and with the not that powerful VGA that the Acer Aspire is currently bundled things are not looking too bright for more graphic intensive games. Not to mention that thanks to the issues with the ATI video drivers and the additional 35% performance drop because of the memory running at lower frequency than it should things might be even slower. So forget about running Crysis on this laptop, even at low settings, but it is good for a lot of other games, of course you can forget about going for maximum detail level and AA/AF when playing in S3D mode…
November 20th, 2009 · 7 Comments · Other S3D Tech
Thanks to Acer I now have one of their Acer Aspire 3D laptops for more extensive testing, so you’ll also be seeing some useful articles regarding this laptop and its stereoscopic 3D capabilities along with the frequent 3D Vison posts. Just to remind you that unlike the 120Hz display and active glasses used by 3D Vision, Acer’s laptop relies on passive polarization of the display and passive circular polarized glasses worn by user. As for the software part, the 3D-capable laptop is relying on DDD’s TriDef Ignition software that offers video card independent stereoscopic 3D support – works both on ATI and Nvidia hardware.