3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Using GeForce GTX 580 for 720p and 1080p Stereo 3D Gaming

April 26th, 2012 · 16 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

It has been over a month already since the official introduction of the GeFocre GTX 680 video card and the demand is still quite high, so that these models are still out of stock in most places and you can usually find them in places that sell them for more than the recommended end user price. It would be strange is Nvidia is still not able to provide enough supply a month after the initial launch, so I’m going to be benchmarking the GeForce GTX 580 here. The idea is to find how well the GTX 580 card performs in stereo 3D mode with the more recent games and if it really is already outdated or you can wait a few more months for better availability and pricing of the GTX 680, or maybe even skip the GTX 680 and go directly to GTX 685/690 or why not even 7xx…

I’ve started doing the following tests with the idea to see how well is the GTX 580 handling 720p resolution with 4xAA (Anti-Aliasing) in order to see if the card is still powerful enough for people using 3D-capable projectors or 3D HDTVs for gaming in stereoscopic 3D mode. You know that the 3D-capable TV sets and 3D-capable projectors limit you to 720p resolution with high-enough (50/60Hz) refresh rate for gaming in stereo 3D mode, unlike 3D monitors, most of which do support 1080p 3D mode with 60 fps. And in the process I’ve decided to also compare with 1080p mode using no AA as well as to give a stereoscopic 3D rating to the games I test with. And the list of games grew to 20 popular and more demanding game titles released roughly in the last 6-8 months, regardless of them being 3D ready or not. So in the end I’ve managed to do a few things, do some performance comparison using a single GTX 580 card in 720p and 1080p 3D mode and check the situation of the 3D support for some of the popular games released recently.

In the table above you can see the results from my testing that took quite a while more than I initially have planned, and I do plan to extend it even further in the next few weeks of time. Note that the fps listed in the table are the ones achieved in stereo 3D mode with 60 fps being the maximum (120 frames per second in total, 60 for each eye to get the 3D effect). The benchmarking at 1080p 3D mode is with the games running at high detail settings with no AA, unless the game does not allow you to completely turn it off. For 720p 3D mode the games were running again in high details, but with 4xAA applied in order to compensate for the more easily visible jagged edges that the lower resolution produces. Have in mind that some games had a frame caps and others needed to have the AA forced trough the Nvidia control panel in order for them to work, so have in mind this when you see the lower framerates with some games. The 3D Rating is something that I quickly devised based on my personal requirements for a good stereoscopic 3D experience, the things that I expect to see in a game, with the maximum rating being 10 points and the minimum 1. A game with a rating of 1 would be actually unplayable in stereoscopic 3D mode, a rating of 5 is on the edge of ensuring decent playability in stereo 3D mode with some tweaking of the settings in the game and a rating of 10 would mean perfect stereoscopic 3D experience. As you can see there are no tens, but there is a game with a rating of 1 and quite a few with 5 or less, but there are also a lot with higher ratings as well, meaning that things are not so bad when talking about stereoscopic 3D compatibility.

Have in mind that all the benchmarking has been done using the games with no tweaks, mods or fixes of any kind in order to give an idea about what experience the user can get out of the box when he gets a game and tries to play it in stereoscopic 3D mode. There are some annoying things and limitations that could easily be overridden like the 30 fps frame cap limits in Alice Madness Returns or L.A. Noire, or get a better experience in stereoscopic 3D mode using user mods like the ones available for Skyrim or Mass Effect 3 that can help in getting much better experience. Not to mention different performance tweaks and optimizations that can help you get better looking graphics, more details or even higher fps without sacrificing visual quality. But as I’ve said, the idea was to get an adequate overview of the situation with out of the box game compatibility and performance in stereoscopic 3D mode and I think I’ve managed to do it quite decently.

And now for a bit of statistics. Out of 20 games that I’ve tested with 10 are with rating of 8 or 9 out of 10, meaning that they are looking very good in stereoscopic 3D mode and that is half of the titles that I’ve used and I did not specifically go for games that are being optimized for 3D, but instead for games that were released roughly in the last 6-8, are more popular and generally more demanding in terms of performance. There are some games that are on the edge with a rating of 5-6, but for some of them such as Mass Effect 3 using some user made modifications you can get much better stereoscopic 3D experience. There are also some games with very low rating that are practically unplayable in stereo 3D mode due to some serious issues and I’m actually quite disappointed, because sports simulators such as NBA or FIFA could benefit a lot from proper stereoscopic 3D support and that also goes for other sports games as well. Other games like Alan Wake for example started quite bad in terms of stereoscopic 3D support (although the developer of that particular one was claiming good S3D support), but they have been improving the situation a bit by bit with updates, so in a few more updates the game might actually movie among the titles with twice as high 3D rating than the one it currently has. Some other games have already walked this way, for example Dirt 3 and Hard Reset weren’t working very well in stereo 3D mode at first, when they were released, but with updates the experience in S3D mode that they now provide has been significantly improved.

And now back to the GTX 580, definitely still more than capable for stereoscopic 3D gaming and will be for quite a while actually. Have in mind that the results in the table above have been made on a system running Intel Core i5 2500K CPU on an Asus P67 motherboard and neither the processor, not the video card have been overclocked for the testing – they were running on stock speeds. So you can get even higher framerates after overclocking your hardware and if you already have a second GTX 580 in SLI, then unless you are using 3D Vision Surround setup, there is even less reason to upgrade at the moment. However if you are still using a GTX 480 or a slower card form the 400 or 500 series, then upgrading to GTX 680 or the upcoming slightly slower models might be a good idea, especially considering the fact that the latest GeForce 600 series GPUs are coming with some new useful features, along with the improved performance and the reduced power consumption.

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GeForce GTX 590 is a New Dual-GPU Video Card from Nvidia

March 24th, 2011 · 10 Comments · General 3D News

Today Nvidia has announced their new GeForce GTX 590 solution that comes in the form of a quite powerful dual-GPU video card. The GTX 590 pretty much has two GTX 580 class graphic processors on a single board, with the full 512 CUDA cores per GPU, but with operating frequencies and voltages that are lower compared to the GTX 580. The result is a powerful single video card that features two GPUs and supports up to four monitors, as well as 3 3D monitors for a 3D Vision Surround setup. The GTX 590 shouldn’t be faster than two GTX 580 cards in SLI, but will be faster than a single GTX 580 and with a price of $699 USD it is quite attractive alternative to either a single GTX 580 or dual GTX 580s for SLI. Below are the full specifications of the new dual-GPU card:

Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 Specifications:

Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 590 3GB
Graphics Processing Clusters: 8
Streaming Multiprocessors: 32
CUDA Cores: 1024
Texture Units: 128
ROP Units: 96
Graphics Clock: 607 MHz
Processor Clock (CUDA Cores): 1215 MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate): 3414 MHz
Total Video Memory: 3072MB GDDR5
Memory Interface: 384‐bit
Total Memory Bandwidth: 164 GB/s per GPU
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear): 38.9 GigaTexels/sec per GPU
Fabrication Process: 40 nm
Transistor Count: 6 Billion total
Connectors: 3x Dual‐Link DVI‐I, 1x Mini DisplayPort
Form Factor: Dual Slot
Power Connectors: 2x 8‐pin PCI-E Power
Recommended Power Supply: 700 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP): 365 Watts
Thermal Threshold: 97°C

What is interesting to note is that the GTX 590 is supposed to be working quite silently even under heavy load, thanks to the good cooling solution. It should also offer some overclocking potential, but not as much as a GTX 580 would, and as with the GTX 580s here with the GTX 590 we are also getting a Power Limiter to keep the card in the TDP specs, so that can be a bit of a setback for people wanting to clock the new card. After seeing the GTX 590 announcement I’m pretty sure I won’t be replacing my dual GTX 580 water cooled SLI setup with a single GTX 590, although a Quad-SLI setup with two GTX 590s may sound as a tempting deal for some people. However I’ll be doing a quick comparison how well do the GTX 590 compare to two GTX 580 in SLI in both 2D mode (plain 3D) as well as in a stereo 3D mode in a few games, so expect a separate post about that in a bit. And I’ll also try to get three 3D monitors to do some 3D Vision Surround benchmarks with the GTX 590 for next week…

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My Second GTX 580 Died on Me, So SLI-less Stereo 3D For a While…

March 7th, 2011 · 9 Comments · Other S3D Tech

My bad luck with the hardware has struck me again, although this hasn’t happened for a while now. My second GeForce GTX 580 SLI card started showing artifacts all of a sudden even in 2D mode and it has turned out to be the card that has no warranty that I can use to get it replaced (be careful when getting hardware from abroad). So the last chance was to try to fix things with the help of an Infrared Heating Rework Station (this has helped bring quite a few cards back from the dead), but again no luck, meaning that the issue was not caused by the GPU or the memory chips not having good contact with the PCB for example as is the usual case after cards being overheated. I didn’t have high hopes for that anyway, since I’m using water cooling and both GTX 580s are kept very cool all the time, but still I had some hope. So thanks to my bad luck I’ll probably be using just a single GTX 580 for a while… and Crysis 2 is just coming, did I say I have really bad luck with hardware in the worst possible times ;)

Not that a single GTX 580 video card is not good for stereo 3D gaming, it is Ok in most of the cases, but you get spoiled when you have two in SLI and are not worried anymore of not hitting 60 fps per eye in stereo 3D mode… unless you try playing Metro 2033 with maximum details settings. I’m wondering when we are going to see a new Dual GPU video card (rumored to be called GTX 590) from Nvidia as AMD is getting active lately about their own such solution – Radeon HD 6990…

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