3D Vision Blog

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

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Entries Tagged as 'GeForce 3D Vision'

The Importance of GPU over CPU in Stereoscopic 3D Gaming

September 13th, 2012 · 10 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

If you have an older PC that you haven’t upgraded for a while and consider finally doing that in order to be able to play games in stereoscopic 3D mode you may think that you need to really do a serious upgrade of pretty much everything. And while you may not be that wrong in such an assumption, if you still have a decent processor and enough system memory the only thing that you may need to replace could be the video card in order to “get into the game”. The truth is that in the last few years the GPU has become way more important that the CPU in many areas and when talking about gaming and stereoscopic 3D gaming in particular it is even more important. With a high-end graphics card you may be able to get a good stereoscopic 3D experience even if you processor is not the latest generation and doesn’t have four or even more cores. The reason for that is that we’ve reached a state where the processors have become quite powerful performance wise, so that not that many programs (excluding most professional apps) can take full advantage of them… and the truth is that most games are not able to yet fully utilize the full performance of all the cores in a powerful processor, even if you play them in stereo 3D mode.

Lets not just talk about that, but give it a try to see how does the CPU performance affect the game performance in stereoscopic 3D mode. As an example I’ve used an Intel Core i5 2500K processor (3.3GHz Quad-core Sandy Bridge), on an Asus Sabertooth P67 motherboard, 4GB System Memory, and two GeForce GTX 580 video cards running in SLI mode under Windows 7. What I’ve done is to run five different recent and more demanding games on this setup at 1920×1080 resolution, maximum detail levels with no AA and in stereoscopic 3D mode using 3D Vision with the CPU at the default 4-core state (not overclocked), and then disable one, two and three of the cores so that the processor will behave as a single, dual, triple and quad-core. At each of these four states I’ve ran a benchmark and recorded the framerate as well as the CPU load of all of the available cores in each situation and you can see what are the results below…

As you can see from the table with results the situation is bad only when just a single core is enabled, the CPU load is hitting 100% while playing a game and the framerates are very low as clearly the processor is not able to deliver enough performance for the video cards to be utilized at their maximum potential. Note that the framerate listed is the average one in stereo 3D mode (the per eye value) and the CPU load in percentage is the one from all available cores. When we have two cores active not all games are hitting the maximum processor load and we can see up to double the framerate in some games as compared to when we have just one core, so clearly Dual-Core is the minimum for a decent experience nowadays. Going to three and four cores active we can see that the CPU load is gradually getting lower and the framerate is going just a little bit higher and the difference between 3 and 4-cores is even smaller.

So even if you have an older Dual-core processor you might still be able to enjoy good performance in games, even in stereoscopic 3D mode by just upgrading your video card to a more powerful and recent model and leaving your older CPU, motherboard and system memory for a while longer. So better spend on upgrading the video card now, instead of upgrading the CPU, motherboard and RAM at the moment and leaving the VGA upgrade for a later time if you have a more limited budget. As I’ve already said, the video card is way more important for stereoscopic 3D gaming compared to the processor, so with a more powerful GPU and not so powerful CPU you can still get good performance in games. Of course if you want to push for SLI with more video cards, go for multi-monitor setup and especially for multi-monitor combined with stereo 3D, the faster – the better, but again the video card(s) remain more important that the processor for gaming. So consider that the next time when you think about upgrading your gaming PC.

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Again About Replacing a Dead Battery in 3D Vision Glasses

August 28th, 2012 · 3 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

It is not the first time that the rechargeable battery of a pair of 3D Vision glasses dies in my hands and it is not the first time I’ve replaced a dead battery (or have revived one that has had its voltage drop below the recommended level). Recently the battery in my very first pair of 3D Vision active shutter glasses has stopped working, these glasses are over 3 years old already and have seen a lot of use, and while the last time I was lucky to have a suitable rechargeable single cell Lithium-Polymer battery available, this time I did not have. Fortunately, after a lot of searching for a small size single cell LiPo battery with similar capacity to the original battery used in the 3D glasses I have found out some suitable ones. The original battery used in the 3D Vision glasses is a 50mAh 3.7V 1S LiPo and these are not very common and widely used, but apparently some small radio controlled models use similar batteries.

The ones that I’ve found out are a 50mAh battery for $2 USD and a 70mAh for $1.84 USD from one of the largest Chinese online store for RC models and parts. Both batteries are very similar in size with the most notable difference being that the 70mAh one is 1mm thicker, but it also fits Ok in the glasses (no need to use double sided tape). At the time I’ve found the batteries only the 70mAh one was in stock so I’ve ordered a few to try them, but at the moment the 50mAh model is also available.

To replace the batteries you need to first desolder the old battery and remove the small electronics board that is soldered to the two terminals of the battery, this is a protection circuit that you need to solder on the replacement battery as it does not come with one. Then you just solder back the plus (red) and minus (black) cables to the new battery, recharge the glasses so that the new battery is fully charged and if everything is fine they should start working again (the batteries do come with some charge left in them, so you can test even before fully recharging them). In the end the good old pair of 3D Vision glasses is back in action and it can take up some more use before/if something else fails, the good news is that you can easily do the repair yourself and it will not cost you much, you only need a soldering iron and some basic skills using it.

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The Successor of GTX 560 Ti is Here, Meet the GeForce GTX 660 Ti

August 16th, 2012 · 20 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

Nvidia has just announced the new GeForce GTX 660 Ti GPU for use in high-performance mid-range priced graphics cards targeted at gamers. The new GeForce GTX 660 Ti GPU is here to replace the very successful GeForce GTX 560 Ti from the previous generation. The new GPU provides users with improved performance, lower power consumption, better overclockability and silent operation, but all this however comes at a slightly higher price as compared to the GTX 560 Ti ($299 USD MSRP vs $249 for the 560 Ti at launch). Below you can find the reference design specifications of the GTX 660 Ti, though most of the cards we are going to see on the market will most likely be factory overclocked…

Specifications of GeForce GTX 660 Ti:

CUDA Cores – 1344 +960
Graphics Base Clock – 915 MHz +93
Graphics Boost Clock – 980 MHz
Texture Fill Rate – 102.5 billion/sec +49.9
Standard Memory Configuration – 2048 MB GDDR5 +1024
Memory Interface Width – 192-bit -64
Memory Clock – 3004 MHz (6008 MHz effective) +1000 (2000)
Memory Bandwidth – 144.2 GB/sec +16
Texture Units (TMU) – 112 +48
Raster Operator Units (ROP) – 24 -12
Power connectors – 2x 6-pin PEG
Power consumption – 150W TDP -20
GPU Thermal Threshold – 98 degrees Celsius +1

* The numbers in red and green represent the upgrade or downgrade of the specific parameter in the GTX 660 Ti as compared to the GTX 560 Ti!

I’ve had a chance to do some testing of the new GT 660 Ti GPU on a Gigabyte GV-N66TOC-2GD card that is one of the first GeForce GTX 660 Ti-based solutions to be available on the market after the official announcement from Nvidia. As you can see from the GPU-Z screenshot above Gigabyte has significantly increased the GPU Base and Boost clock frequencies over the stock specifications and you can go even further should you decide to overclock the card yourself – there is room for even higher frequencies.

What I like about this card is the cooling solution that Gigabyte uses, it is silent and effective allowing the card to operate cooler and to use the maximum boost clock. As you can see from the image above taken after playing in stereo 3D mode in Battlefield 3 the GPU is fully loaded, but the temperature remains quite low, the cooling fans operate at low RPM and the card is working really silent, and this allows the GPU to be boosted to 1200 MHz. So Gigabyte has done a really great job with this card.

But is the GeForce GTX 660 Ti an interesting product for stereoscopic 3D gamers as compared to the GTX 560 Ti? Until now when I’ve been asked about a more budget oriented video card suitable for stereoscopic 3D gaming I was recommending the GTX 560 Ti as a minimum for a decent experience and a good performance. But the GTX 560 Ti can struggle at times with more demanding games in stereo 3D mode at lower graphic details, something that is much less of a problem with the GTX 660 Ti. So my new recommended graphics card as a minimum for stereo 3D gaming is now going to be the GTX 660 Ti, though if you can afford a faster card it will be even better.

You should not forget that the GTX 660 Ti is not the fastest card on the market, so don’t expect to be able to push everything on the max with high AA settings in every game and add stereoscopic 3D mode on top of that, however the card is more than capable of providing good framerates even for the more demanding games in High to Ultra settings with no Anti-Aliasing enabled. In the table above I’ve listed the framerate in stereo 3D mode (each eye sees that number of frames per second) you get by using the Gigabyte GV-N66TOC-2GD video card on a fairly high-end system with an Intel Core i5 2500K processor and 8GB system memory. There are two fields for each game, the minimum framerate and the average one, have in mind that when using 3D Vision you are limited to 60 fps per eye, so you cannot go higher anyway. Pretty much only Metro 2033 is still a bit too much for the GT 660 Ti at higher graphics settings in stereo 3D mode, but the game remains playable if you lower the details a bit and not use all the extra features. Of course in more demanding games like Battlefield or Skyrim you cannot go to Ultra settings and push AA filtering in stereo 3D mode, however you may still be able to go higher should you decide to play the games in non-stereoscopic 3D mode.

So the GeForce GTX 660 Ti most definitely looks very promising for stereoscopic 3D gaming on more limited budget and the good thing is that later on you could be able to add a second card in SLI setup to get some extra boost in performance and be able to push even higher fps in games even in stereo 3D mode. The GTX 660 Ti is my new must have minimum video card if you plan on playing games in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision, that is if you really want to have a nice experience and good framerates without having to sacrifice resolution of graphics details. The GTX 660 Ti isn’t going to be much slower when compared to a GTX 670 card, but with a price of about $100 USD lower the GTX 660 Ti is definitely going to be an attractive video card for gamers in general and for stereoscopic 3D ones with more limited resources in particular.

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