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Should You Pull the Trigger on Radeon HD 7970 for Stereo 3D Gaming

January 19th, 2012 · 13 Comments · Other S3D Tech

About a month ago the new Radeon HD 7970 GPUs were revealed by AMD as the must have solution for gamers willing to have a really powerful next generation video card in their system. And a bit earlier than that AMD has released a Catalyst Preview driver 12.1 announcing some new and exciting features for gamers. Both of these also came with some very interesting promises for gamers interested in stereoscopic 3D as well, such as multi-gpu CrossfireX support in stereo 3D mode, HDMI 1.4a 30Hz 3D mode on supported hardware, 60Hz 3D mode support over HDMI, Eyefinity setups with active stereoscopic 3D monitors.

So the question that many gamers interested in playing their favorite game titles in stereoscopic 3D mode were asking themselves (and me too) is if they should buy a new video card based on the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs. And while a lot of people may be really tempted in pulling the trigger on a Radeon HD 7970 for stereoscopic 3D gaming platform, I would strongly suggest to wait a bit more and not to be in a hurry. There are a lot of things that we are now expecting from AMD, but they are apparently not in a hurry to deliver them, especially after the release of the HD 7970 that yet again brings some architectural changes and probably way too many features for the company to quickly bring them to the users. It has been about a month already since the official announcement of the Radeon HD 7970 and while the card is “Out of Stock” already in most places or is being sold for an extra high price where there are some quantities, there is still no proper driver available for that GPU. Let me explain what I mean by that, on AMD’s website there is still only one driver available for the AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series of GPUs, released on 1/9/2012 with no version or information what features it supports, it is only available for Windows 7 64-bit OS, so you can pretty safely assume this is not the typical official video driver you are used in getting from AMD for their products.

The problem with this driver release is that there is no information about what features it supports, not only regarding the stereo 3D, but in general what from the all new things that were announced with the release of the new GPU are already supported. The latest official Catalyst Driver 11.12 is from 12/13/2011, or over a month ago and it does not have support for the new GPUs. So AMD may need some time for releasing a proper driver and for making available all the features initially introduced in the Catalyst Preview driver 12.1 as well as all the new things announced as supported for the new GPU. And especially if you are interested in using the HD 7970 for stereoscopic 3D gaming you might have trouble not only in getting the new software related features, but also in getting the 3D-capable hardware that is going to be compatible with them. Not to mention the fact that you may have trouble finding more than one of these cards or that you will have to pay extra for them and then find out that stereo 3D mode is not yet supported in CrossfireX in the driver. Better play it safe now, instead of being sorry later on, because of being too eager to get your hands on the new hardware. I do plan to do some testing of the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 in stereo 3D mode when a proper driver for it is released…

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Shivoa // Jan 20, 2012 at 00:31

    I understand this new higher frequency HDMI allows for more data so we aren’t limited to DL-DVI for a 120Hz 1080p signal but doesn’t it also need me to buy a brand new 3D screen as I’m assuming everything on the market doesn’t also support this new HDMI feature (so my Acer 3D screen would still only give me 24 or 30Hz per eye over HDMI and DL-DVI is the only way to feed it a full signal, ie one at the 1080p native res and 120Hz refresh rate for (either high refresh rate gaming or) 3D gaming).

  • 2 Gavi // Jan 20, 2012 at 03:26

    A very interesting article, this one on 3Dvision blog.

    I would add that an additional reason to wait a couple of months is that the next Nvidia generation seems very strong and very near.

  • 3 eqzitara // Jan 20, 2012 at 04:37

    Feel free to correct me but here goes.
    the radeon 7970 supports 30hz 1080p(only displays that will allow it)
    The reason to buy a 7970 is because it is future proof hdmi. Meaning when hdmi 1.4b(or whatever they wind up calling it) with hdmi 1080p @ –(whatever it winds up being.. we hope 60).
    Now it enables crossfire on amdhd3d games(like 10…..)

    I still think its worth waiting because their are no displays for it and won’t be for a long time since no display has even been anounced. Also I really dont recommend amd for 3d gaming. Nvidia has its own 3d gaming system with better support and supports sli. It also works with tridef + iz3d.(non sli) I do think tridef could be better because of all the features but nvidia is overall better because of support/actively updated.

    Buying this video card is like buying the engine before the car.

  • 4 eqzitara // Jan 20, 2012 at 04:42

    Hopefully this will be the start of amds campaign of getting into 3d. I do like amd as a company more then nvidia(nvidia makes you pay for the brand. while amd charges you reasonably for the card).If I was a 2d gamer I’d buy amd. If amd were to buy tridef out or just the software make it exclusive and constantly update it with driver updates as nvidia does I would sign up.

  • 5 eqzitara // Jan 20, 2012 at 05:35

    I did further research. Aparently its still tech. hdmi 1.4 just with a 3ghz chip. It will work with normal hdmi 1.4 technology under the same requirements 1080p@24hz(or 30). 720p@60hz. However if a display has a matching 3ghz chip it can do 1080p@60hz.

  • 6 Bloody // Jan 20, 2012 at 12:07

    Yes, you need a 3D-capable monitor with a higher bandwidth HDMI chip that is capable of supporting the optional 1080p 30Hz 3D mode or more, there should be already some 3D displays that support that, but I haven’t seen any of them yet. As for 1080p 60Hz 3D mode, we are going to have to wait more before these start appearing on the market.

    It seems that AMD is trying to push more Display Port for a better solution for stereo 3D and multi-monitor configurations (it certainly has better capabilities than HDMI or DVI), however not a lot of 3D monitors supporting that interface are still available. If you want to build an Eyefinity 3D setup with active 3D monitors you can pretty much go for the Samsung 3D monitors only, for passive 3D setups there are more options, but passive was already supported (unofficially through the middle-ware 3D partners of AMD).

    CrossfireX in stereo 3D mode is something that a lot of people were waiting for a long time, especially those with dual-GPU video cards and the appearance in the Preview driver was a good thing, but now we need it properly supported in an official driver release.

  • 7 BlackShark // Jan 20, 2012 at 17:15

    So far nobody has attempted an Eyefinity + 3D setup with the AMD HD7970.
    I currently have this card and I need to run Eyefinity 2×1 displays for my special Dual-projectors setup (no using AMD HD3D, just Eyefinity alone).
    The current AMD driver has a huge V-sync problem. The primary display is properly synched but all other displays have very bad screen tearing that cannot be solved in any way.
    Given how sensitive 3D is to Vsync, I can predict that running simultaneously HD3D and Eyefinity currently does not work on the HD7970. We are waiting for a new driver release.

    An other issue regarding Eyefinity : the previous card (HD6970) has also had bad tearing problems if you plugged your screen to different types of outputs. In order to get a perfect Vsync in eyefinity, you had to plug your displays to the exact same type of plug, regardless of whether or not you were using converters (ie : 3 display port, or 3 DVI).
    The AMD reference cards do not have 3 identical outputs. In order to get a perfect Vsync, users had to wait for special non-reference cards such as the Eyefinity 6-ports cards (with 6 mini-display port) or the special FLEX cards (with 3 DVI).

    It is completely unknown at this time whether or not this problem has been solved by AMD on the HD7970 since the drivers don’t work properly.

  • 8 josh // Jan 21, 2012 at 04:17

    sorry to lazy to read, is ati 3d anywhere near as good as 3d vision, similar, not as good, less compatible with games and movies, etc… ?

  • 9 eqzitara // Jan 21, 2012 at 05:31

    ATI/AMD is much worse in gaming.Equal in movies. They use Tridef(ddd) only(which has less compatibility) then 3d vision. Amd rarely gets an exclusive game while nvidia gets many. However with nvidia you can use tridef and 3d vision. Also tridef is not crossfire or sli compatible while 3d vision is sli supported.
    I personally use tridef and 3d vision. Tridef is better in some games(like 1/4). Tridef has a much better movie watching program as well.

  • 10 josh // Jan 21, 2012 at 07:01


    i figured that. most pc gaming forums i look at usually have a ratio of 10 ati related problems to every 1 nvidia related problem.

    just out of curiosity what is tridef and how do you use it? (i have a 27 inch ASUS VG278H and 3d vision glasses)

    how would you know if tridef or 3d vision is better for a particular game or movie?

    what would make tridef movie program better than something like cyberlink power dvd (which i have used and was impressed with it’s 3d capabilities).

  • 11 eqzitara // Jan 21, 2012 at 08:03

    no idea how cyberlink performs on movies. Tridefs movie player lets you adjust the convergence(amount of pop-out) Which is good since movies are pretty tame when it comes to that.

    Tridef is much more complex then 3d vision. Download the trial. Click the enable 3d vision button in your start menu. Set tridef to 120hz 3d display. Then it should start up. Keep in mind there are tons of settings to play around with to find a setting you want.(convergence depth etc etc)

  • 12 Ashi // Jan 21, 2012 at 12:35

    @eqzitart “Buying this video card is like buying the engine before the car.”

    @Bloody “As for 1080p 60Hz 3D mode, we are going to have to wait more before these start appearing on the market.”

    These monitors support 1080p 60Hz 3D mode and have been on the market for months.


  • 13 Bloody // Jan 21, 2012 at 13:21

    Ashi, we are talking about support for 1080p 60Hz 3D mode OVER HDMI 1.4 interface, these monitors do support 1080p 60Hz 3D mode, but only through DVI or DP interface, not through HDMI!

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