3D Vision Blog

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

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Toshiba Has Announced a 3D-ready Laptop Using 3D Vision

June 8th, 2010 · 5 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

Toshiba has announced its first 3D-capable laptop and it is called Toshiba Dynabook TX/98MBL for the Japanese market and Toshiba Satellite A665 in Europe (and maybe in other regions). The laptop is equipped with a 120Hz LCD panel and uses Nvidia’s 3D Vision active shutter glasses to provide stereoscopic 3D capabilities. Have in mind that Toshiba Satellite A665 will come in two versions, one without 3D capabilities and one with, so you have to be careful should you decide to go for it in order not to get the non-3D instead of the 3D-capable model. Both models should be available on the market during the third quarter of 2010 throughout Europe and Middle East, so Asus G51J/G51Jx 3D is still the only available mobile solution for 3D Vision for the moment that is currently on the market and it will be for some more time.

Toshiba Satellite A665 is using 15.6″ 120Hz LCD panel with LED backlight, resolution of 1366×768 pixels and 200 cd/m2 brightness which should be OK for a mobile solution. Especially having in mind that the laptop will be based on a NVIDIA GeForce GTS 350M GPU with 96 stream processors (CUDA cores) and 128-bit memory bus. The processor will be mobile Quad Core Intel Core i7, probably the i7-740QM (mentioned in the Japanese market model) which operates on 1.73GHz by default, but when using turbo boost can go up to 2.93GHz. So it should not be very different from what Asus is currently offering with their G51J 3D gaming laptops in terms of performance, and we can only hope to get better quality from Toshiba – brighter display, higher viewing angles and less ghosting.

Toshiba Satellite A665 3D Vision model specifications:
– Intel Core i7 (Quad Core)
– RAM: up to 8 GB DDR3 (1066 MHz)
– 2.5″ HDD up to 750 GB (as of Aug. 2010) with HDD 3D impact sensor
– 39.6cm (15.6”) TruBrite HD display (120 Hz) with LED backlighting, 1366×768 pixels(16:9), 200 cd/m2
– Dedicated graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 350M, 1GB VRAM
– Blu-ray Disc rewritable drive, ready for playback of Blu-ray 3D Disc or DVD Super Multi drive (Double Layer)
– Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, WLAN (802.11 b/g/n), Gigabit Ethernet LAN
– 3 x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA / USB combo port with Sleep-and-Charge and Multi-Card Reader, HDMI
– 1.3 MPixel Webcam with Face Recognition
– Sound: Harman Kardon stereo speakers, Line-In with Sleep-and-Music function, Dolby Advanced Audio
– Analog and DVB-T hybrid TV Tuner
– Toshiba Resolution+, Toshiba Media Controller, Toshiba LifeSpace, Toshiba PC Health Monitor
– Size: 380.5mm x 254mm x 28mm (front) / 35.6 mm (rear)
– OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)
– ENERGY STAR 5.0 qualified.

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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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Asus Republic of Gamers G51J-3D Gaming Laptop Short Review

February 16th, 2010 · 9 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

Last week during a joint Asus and Nvidia event I was able to try for a bit the first laptop that has a built-in 120Hz LCD display and comes bundled with Nvidia’s 3D Vision shutter glasses – the Asus G51J-3D. This is actually the first gaming laptop that is intended for stereoscopic 3D gaming using the 3D Vision active shutter glasses, although you can still play in 2D mode at 120Hz without any problems if you wish to. I did not have much time to play with the laptop, but I’ve managed to test in a brief how good the laptop performs in stereo 3D mode, something that I suppose everyone else here is most interested in too. And I do hope to get the laptop for more extensive testing when it becomes available on the local market where I live to get more details and information on general performance and feedback on other features…

Asus did very well in designing a very nice and attractive looking laptop on the outside with an extensive set of features and quite powerful hardware inside. Along with the laptop you also get a nice bagpack to easily carry it everywhere with you along with all the additional accessories and these include not only the bundled 3D Vision glasses, but also a gaming mouse in the form of Razer Abyssus, so you can actually be ready for gaming on the go and in S3D too. Of course by gaming on the go I do not literally mean to play while traveling as the battery life you get won’t allow you to enjoy your 3D games for too long, it is more like you can easily move with the laptop and all the needed accessories along with it. So you can actually have a compact and mobile stereoscopic 3D solution to carry around with you and that does not only include use for gaming, but you can also enjoy stereo 3D videos and stereo 3D photos. The mobility factor is especially good if you shoot S3D photos and videos at different locations both as an amateur or professional and you need to check them out right away, but then again still not a lot of people do that and the Asus G51J-3D is mainly intended for gaming as I said.

A quick look at the most important specifications among which are the Core i7-720M processor (quad-core 1.6 – 2.8GHz) along with an Nvidia GeForce GTX260M (112 stream processors) video card with 1GB of DDR3 Video Memory. Other specifications are quite good, but these two are the most important components when we are considering if a laptop is good enough for gaming and then again if it can handle the additional load that is introduced when you are playing in stereo 3D mode. And considering what is “under the hood” of the Asus G51J-3D I can say that it offers really top performance for a 15-inch mobile gaming solution and will handle stereoscopic 3D gaming very well.

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, something which you can actually consider to be a good choice. Although being one of the top video cards in the mobile segment the GeForce GTX260M can have some problems managing high framerates at Full HD resolution in some games, especially when you add the S3D in the formula, but for a resolution of 1366×768 everything is just fine. Moreover having a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels on a 15-inch laptop can bring some issues like things being too small on the screen etc., besides some performance issues in stereo 3D mode with some very demanding games, although it seems that Asus might offer another model with Full HD resolution. The LCD panel as I already said is a 120Hz one, but just like its desktop counterparts it can work in 60, 100, 110 and 120Hz refresh rate and you have the option to switch between the settings.

Checking the LCD panel it seems to be a bit brighter at the bottom part only which is actually very hard to notice by a normal person using the laptop when playing a game or working with something that does not include a completely black background. The uniformity of the backlight is better compared to quite a lot of other laptops, although not perfect, but for that also helps the usage of LED backlight instead of CCFLs. As you should know brightness is a very important factor when you play in stereo 3D mode as the active shutter glasses actually do block some of the light coming from the monitor and thus the image perceived is a bit darker than when not wearing the glasses and playing in 2D mode. Visually the level of brightness of the screen here is lower than what the desktop 120Hz displays are offering, this is to be expected from a laptop screen, but the brightness level was still Ok. And yo can resort to the brightness level adjustment from withing the options of games that do have darker atmosphere and you have trouble differentiating some details int he environment because of them seeming too dark.

The viewing angles of the screen are Ok and just about what you can expect from a mobile TN panel. The image is looking great for a single person using the laptop and considering this is a gaming laptop this is the most likely usage scenario, so you should not have trouble with that. But considering this is also a stereoscopic 3D capable laptop on which you may also want to look at 3D photos and 3D videos and that you might not be doing alone the lower viewing angles might be an issue. For two people sitting in front of the display and looking at the content being shown it is still Ok, but if you add a third person it might be so that only the one in the center will be seeing good image and the two on the sides might have trouble with seeing inverted colors on the display like on the picture above. Still as I said the viewing angles for a single person using the laptop everything is just fine with the viewing angles, for more people – you better go for at least a 3D-ready desktop display or start considering to get a 3D-capable HDTV this summer.

Top and bottom screen ghosting of objects when playing in stereoscopic 3D mode is here, as expected and as available on every other 120Hz monitor so far I’ve seen. It is not too much and it is easy to be ignored, you’ll very quickly learn to do that and it is not like that you’ll have much time looking for it while playing your favorite game. You should be just aware that this issue with the current generation of 120Hz LCD panels did not magically disappear on the screen used by the Asus laptop and you can expect to see it there too, just like on the desktop displays, including the second generation panels used by Acer and Alienware.

I was a bit surprised to see some colored ghosting effect similar to what I saw on the Acer GD245HQ display, but here it is less apparent and the colors are not so bright so you can much easily not notice it at all if you are not specifically looking for it. It seems that this issue is something available on the second generation 120Hz LCD panels and although it appears only from time to time if a specific conditions are met about the image shown on the screen it is stil there and you should be aware of it. Also it is more easily seen on the picture taken with the camera tough the lens of the shutter glasses than when you are looking with your eyes on the screen and much like the top/bottom ghosting it is something that you can easily learn to ignore and it is not like you’ll have much time to “enjoy” it while playing anyay.

I’ve left the Windows 7 Experience Index for last just to give you some idea on how Windows 7 rates the laptop and maybe if you want to compare with your laptop to see the difference. It is interesting to see that the overall rating is a bit low – 5.9, but that is because of the slow hard drives, all other results are higher and the performance is generally quite high, especially for a laptop. So I can conclude that Asus did quite well in providing us with the first mobile stereoscopic 3D solution that uses a 120Hz display and 3D Vision active shutter glasses. The system is well designed, powerful in terms of performance and offers some nice features… of course all this comes at a price, but if you need the mobility then the price should not matter for you. There are some minor drawbacks, but then again most of them are not uncommon for a laptop or for the new 120Hz panels in general, so I would lie if I said I did not expect to see them on the Asus. The only recommendation would be to stick to single person usage and not to try to have more people watching 3D movies or photos on the laptop as then the experience might not be the best for some of the viewers. Feel free to ask some additional questions as I might’ve missed writing something…

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

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