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Asus ROG G51J 3D Vision Gaming Laptop Benchmark Results

March 14th, 2010 · 8 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision


About a month ago I had the chance to get my hands for a bit on one of the Asus G51J 3D gaming laptops using 120Hz LCD panel and equipped with 3D Vision shutter glasses. Back then I was able to get some first hand impressions from Asus G51J 3D and how it performs in stereo 3D mode, but did not have enough time to do some benchmarking. Luckily I’ve got a sample of the laptop for a few days to test it a bit more and finally run some benchmarks on the first 3D Vision-enabled mobile computer available as other notebook manufacturers seem to be preparing to follow after Asus’ steps very soon…

The Asus G51J-3D laptop I tested was the one with Core i7-720M processor (quad-core 1.6GHz that goes up to 2.8GHz with TurboBoost) along with an Nvidia GeForce GTX260M (112 stream processors) video card with 1GB of DDR3 Video Memory. The display is 15.6-inch, 16:9 wide aspect ratio, with LED backlight and with resolution of 1366×768 (HD-ready) and not Full HD. I’m telling you this because it seems that Asus will be having a refresh of the model very soon, that will be featuring GeForce 360M video card instead of the currently available GTX 260M. And if you are ready to start complaining that the screen is not with Full HD resolution you should hold it for a bit, at least until you see some performance results, because 1080p resolution in stereo 3D still seems to be a bit extreme for a single GPU mobile computer. So have in mind that when you take a look at the performance results below, measured with 3D Vision disabled and then the application/game running with it enabled and with stereo 3D mode activated.



The results from 3D Mark 2006 on what level of performance you can expect from the Asus G51J 3D laptop when playing games in “plain” 3D and in stereo 3D with the 3D Vision enabled. 10399 3D Marks with 3D Vision disabled and 7077 3D Marks with 3D Vision enabled and active or with other words there is about 32% performance drop with when using stereo 3D mode. And here is the right place for one very important reminder – when you don’t want to play a game in stereo 3D mode you should disable the 3D Vision from the control panel (not just turning it off from the IR transmitter) and then enabling it again when you plan to play in stereo 3D mode! And now for the gaming results…

Avatar the game is the most recent game to feature native stereoscopic 3D support, including, but not limited to 3D Vision so there is no chance in missing to do a test with it on the Asus 3D laptop. The game configured to run at ultra quality, but without any Anti-Aliasing turned on has managed to get around 41 fps in plain 3D mode with the minimum framerate not dropping below 30 per second, so the game actually runs very well. When you activate stereo 3D mode with the 3D Vision with the same maximum quality settings things don’t look so bright anymore, the average framerate drops to about 16 fps and it varies between 11 and 32 frames per second. This means that you need to sacrifice some of the details in order to reach comfortable framerate when playing the game in stereo 3D mode, so going to High details and maybe lowering some of the effects should be Ok for you.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – yet another quite nice and popular game that also plays very well in stereo 3D mode. This game also takes advantage of Nvidia’s PhysX technology which can be quite demanding at times, especially if you want to max everything out in terms of graphic detail and effects. Again with the game set to Very High with all effects enabled and PhysX set to Normal level and no Anti-Aliasing turned on he game did pretty good in plain 3D mode with an average framerate of about 45 frames per second. Enabling the 3D Vision and playing the game in stereo 3D mode however produced only about 27 fps average with the minimum framerate going to 14 frames per second, so in order to make things comfortable you should probably sacrifice the PhysX effects disabling them and leaving the graphics to high.

Battlefield: Bad Company is a very recent game title with support for DirectX 11 that did not play very well with stereo 3D while in beta, but the final game has received a day 1 patch to make it 3D Vision friendly. Of course you cannot play it in DX11 and in stereo 3D yet, especially on the Asus G51J 3D laptop, so it is DirectX 10 with High detail settings, no Anti-Aliasing and HBAO disabled for the test on the laptop. This has resulted in 39 fps average framerate with a minimum of 25 frames per second when playing in plain 3D and dropping to about 20 fps average in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision enabled. This result is not unexpected, because BFBC2 is indeed quite heavy on high details in stereo 3D mode even on the top desktop GPUs. The good news is that with a little detail level sacrifice it is still playable on the Asus in stereo 3D mode…

Bioshock 2 supposedly a stereo 3D-ready title, but we are still waiting for a patch to fix some of the basic issues it has like a 2D crosshair, may seem like a challenge for this laptop, but it actually turned out not to be. Setting the game to High detail with all of the effects enabled and again no AA resulted in a comfortable and playable framerate of about 40 fps in plain 3D and playing in stereo 3D mode with the 3D Vision on resulted in just only 4 frames drop in the average framerate to 36 fps. This result is pretty interesting as enabling the stereo 3D mode did not decrease the performance so much, just 10%, meaning that the game is probably well designed with S3D in mind, but it was not entirely implemented as it should.

Dark Void, a yet another 3D Vision-ready title that looks and plays great in stereo 3D mode and being able to take advantage of PhysX-capable hardware. With highest detail levels set and all the effects enabled and with PhysX set to Medium Dark Void performed very well in plain 3D mode with an average framerate of about 65 fps. The drop in framerate with the same settings with 3D Vision active resulted in average of 35 fps, but with a moments when the minimum framerate drops to about 5 frames per second with the reason for that being the PhysX effects. So again on the Asus G51J 3D you’ll need to sacrifice PhysX effects by disabling them in order to get the game comfortably playable in stereo 3D mode just like in the case with Batman: AA.

Far Cry 2 is the next in line for testing on the Asus G51J. This FPS game also plays nice in stereo 3D mode and is not that demanding even on high details while at the same time provides very realistic looking virtual world. Set to Ultra High in the settings and with all the additional effects enabled Far Cry 2 has managed to squeeze an average of 50 frames per second framerate and drops to about 30 fps average when you enabled the stereo 3D mode. So you’ll have to go for High or Very High details in order to make the S3D playing experience more comfortable which is still Ok.

Need for Speed: SHIFT is a popular racing game that can look and feel really great when played with in-cockpit camera and not with the default outside view of the car, although even then it is Ok in S3D, but the experience is not as realistic as it can be. This game also takes advantage of PhysX, but it does the calculations on the CPU and not on the GPU, even if you have a compatible graphics card that can do that. This can be considered either a good thing or not so good, but in the case of Asus G51J 3D that has a fast quad-core CPU it is not such a problem as it can easily handle the additional load. With the game configured to High detail level and all effects enabled, no AA as with all the other tested games, the result was an average framerate of 64 fps in plain 3D mode with the minimum not dropping below 50 frames per second. With stereo 3D mode active the average framerate drops to about 35 frames per second with the minimum not going below 20 fps, so a little lowering of the effects or detail levels is a good idea for comfortable S3D playing experience.

Tomb Raider: Underworld is the last game I tested with on the Asus G51J 3D laptop, a game that has been released at the end of 2008, but is one of the best looking titles in stereo 3D mode and can be quite demanding at times. With detail level set to high and all effects enabled, no Anti-Aliasing of course, the game managed to work out about 56 fps average in plain 3D mode and just about an average of 30 fps in stereoscopic 3D mode. So a little sacrifice in terms of effects or detail level may be needed for a comfortable playing in S3D mode again, something which I should say that kind of surprised me, but then again these are the real results.

As a conclusion I can say that the Asus G51J 3D laptop with its current GPU and CPU configuration and a screen that is not Full HD is quite well put together in order to provide you with satisfying results when playing event he latest and most demanding games. When you play in plain 3D mode at the highest detail levels, but with no AA you can manage to get very satisfying average framerates even with the latest “heavy” game titles that just came out. And that is almost true in stereo 3D mode too, but for some games you might have to go one or two levels of details below the absolute maximum or disable some very heavy effects. So instead of Ultra High or Very High detail level you’ll have to be playing on High detail levels in stereoscopic 3D mode and that achieved on a gaming laptop is not bad at all if you ask me, if you are more demanding than you should go for a high-end desktop computer where you have more powerful GPUs available and options to group them together. In the end I can say that I really loved reviewing and benchmarking the Asus ROG G51J 3D Vision gaming notebook and although it is not perfect in every aspect I would still recommend it to anyone in need of a stereoscopic 3D-capable mobile solution… and that goes not only for gaming needs ;)

The ASUS G51J 3D Vision Gaming Laptop is available at Amazon for $1,699 USD…

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Optimizing your Aspire 3D Laptop for Best Performance in S3D Mode

November 24th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Other S3D Tech

acer-aspire-3d


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…


radeon-4570-500mhz-memory


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.


disable-ati-powerplay


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..


radeon-4570-800mhz-memory


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!


performance-drop-in-s3d-mode


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…

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Do Not Hide the S3D Mode with 3D Vision While Playing in Normal 2D

September 11th, 2009 · No Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

3d-vision-control-panel


I just noticed some strange behavior when you have installed and enabled 3D Vision or 3D Vision Discover mode, but you use the option “Hide stereoscopic 3D effects when game starts” in the control panel, hit CTRL + T or just hide it from the IR transmitter (if you have the shutter glasses). When you hide the S3D mode you get little increase in performance, but the framerate you get is still lower than when you don’t have the 3D Vision drivers installed or the stereoscopic 3D mode not enabled. That is why I decided to do some testing with 3D Mark 2006 in different modes and compare the results just to see if I was right to believe there is something wrong. So here are the results from 3D Mark 2006 in the different modes and they do speak for themselves, I’ve used the latest 3D Vision drivers version 1.11 for this test and a Dell XPS 1730 laptop with dual Geforce 9800M GT video cards in SLI mode…


3dm06-1280x1024


Here is the normal result I got from 3DMark 2006 with stereoscopic 3D disabled.


3dm06-1280x1024-3dv-hidden


Here is the result I got from 3DMark 2006 with stereoscopic 3D enabled, but hidden.


3dm06-1280x1024-3dv-enabled


Here is the result I got from 3DMark 2006 with stereoscopic 3D enabled and active.

You can clearly see that when the stereoscopic 3D mode is active, but hidden it still gives you some serious drop in performance although you are seeing things in normal 2D and normally this should not happen. Andrew Fear confirmed that even when hidden by the Hide option, CTRL + T or by the button on the IR transmitter the driver still renders two frames, even if only one is being displayed on the screen and thus the performance drop even when playing in 2D mode. So when you want to play in 2D you better disable the 3D Vision driver by deselecting the “Enable stereoscopic 3D” from Nvidia Control Panel to get full performance in 2D and then switch it back on when you want to play in S3D again.

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