3D Vision Blog

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

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New GeForce 301.24 Beta Drivers Bring New Features to Old GPUs

April 9th, 2012 · 9 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

Nvidia has just released new R300 beta drivers in the form of 301.24 that bring most of the new features introduced with the GeForce GTX 680 GPUs to owners of older graphics hardware such as the GTX 580 or GTX 590 back to GeForce 8-series. This means you will get access to NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA Adaptive VSync, and NVIDIA Frame Rate Target and all NVIDIA Surround-capable GPUs now support the new NVIDIA Surround features, like the ability to use a fourth accessory display for example.

The new NVIDIA’s FXAA anti-aliasing technique can now be enabled for games that does not feature built-in support from the Nvidia Control Panel allowing better image quality at a reduced performance drop. FXAA can be up to 60% faster than 4xMSAA and provide similar or even better anti-aliasing, so definitely a better choice especially for more demanding games and especially when using AA in stereo 3D mode. It is of course not as good as what the latest TXAA technique can provide, but if you don’t have the latest GPUs, then even being able to enable FXAA is an improvement over the MSAA.

The new NVIDIA Adaptive VSync feature is an automated technique that disables VSync (Vertical Synchronization) when frame rates fall below the locked rate (60 or 120 for example), and re-enables it when they return to the locked rate resulting in significant reduction of stuttering whilst still preventing tearing. This means that you are going to be getting much less noticeable stuttering when the framerate drops while using Adaptive VSync, although it will not be completely gone, it will be much better than when using traditional VSync where the framerate might be constantly jumping between 30 and 60 fps trying to stay for as much as possible at one of these values resulting in micro stuttering.

The new NVIDIA Frame Rate Target will allow you to limit a game’s frame rate to a specific value and the video card will try to keep up that framerate, not trying to go over it. This feature requires some extra software such as EVGA Precision X and using it can help you resolve problems when playing old games by keeping them maxed out at a lower framerate than they may try to achieve, or even as an alternative to VSync by locking the maximum framerate to 60 or 120 fps (depending on your monitor) preventing tearing. The ideas behind this feature is that there is not much point for the GPU to render let’s say 2000 fps at a game’s menu or trying to achieve a higher framerate than you need – having some power and lowering the heat and noise level of the video card when there is no need for it to be maxed out for full performance. The owners of GeForce GTX 680 can benefit more as this function also takes advantage of the GPU Boost technology to dynamically overclock and underclock the GPU based on the performance level currently required.

The new NVIDIA Surround Enhancements features include: the ability to use of a fourth “Accessory Display”, the ability to maximize applications to a single physical display, the ability to have the Windows Taskbar to stay only on the center display, the ability to “Peek” behind monitor bezels, the ability to play single-screen games with full acceleration on Surround setups and the add or remove some of the extra Surround resolutions that you may or may not need. Of course on older generations of GPUs before GTX 680 you would still need to have either a multi-GPU video card or at least two cards in SLI in order to drive a Surround setup with three displays, only on the GTX 680 you can do it with a single card.

There are also some SLI profile updates as well as new and updated 3D Vision profiles included in the GeForce 301.24 beta drivers in order to get you better performance and thus an experience when playing in stereoscopic 3D mode:

– All Zombies Must Die! – Rated Fair
– Ghosts ‘n Goblins Online – Rated Good
– Krater – Rated Poor
– Oil Rush – Rated 3D Vision Ready
– Postal III – Rated Good
– Rayman Origins – Rated Good
– SevenCore – Rated Fair
– Stacking – Rated Good
– Unigine Heaven Benchmark v3.0 – Rated 3D Vision Ready
– Wargame: European Escalation – Rated Good
– Warp – Rated Good
– Wings of Prey – Rated Fair

Thanks Nvidia, now I have even less reason to upgrade my dual GTX 580 SLI setup to GTX 680s… ;)

To download and try the new GeForce 301.24 Beta drivers with all the new features…

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Maingear Titan 17 is a New 3D Vision-Ready Gaming Laptop

March 30th, 2012 · 9 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

Maingear is the next company to announce a high-end 17-inch 3D-capable gaming laptop with support for 3D Vision that you can customize, similar to what Origin PC has recently done with their EON17-X3D 3D Vision Gaming Laptop. And much like the Origin PC’s solution, Maingear also uses the same bulky desktop replacement chassis made by Clevo – the Clevo P270WM, but the new thing here is that you can build the system to use the recently announced GeForce GTX 675M GPU – single or dual cards in SLI. Have in mind though that the GTX 675M is not based on the new Nvidia Kepler architecture and is not produced using the 28nm process, it is just a new revision of the Fermi architecture and the basic specifications are pretty much the same as the ones of GTX 580M. Alternatively you can go for a NVIDIA Quadro 5010M, but that will add quite a lot to the price and it is not an available option for the 3D model. You can of course decide if you want to get the 120Hz 3D-capable Full HD display or stick with a 60Hz model, the 120Hz is required if you plan on being able to play games in stereo 3D mode though and you can add a pair of 3D Vision 2 glasses. The minimum price you’d have to pay for a 3D-capable Maingear Titan 17 system with a pair of 3D vision glasses is $2878 USD with a single GTX 675M and the estimated shipping date is currently set for 4/29/2012 if you order it now.

For more information about the 3D Vision Ready Maingear Titan 17 gaming laptop…

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Playing Deep Black: Reloaded and Depth Hunter with 3D Vision

March 29th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Stereo 3D Games

My attention was recently pointed at two interesting new games developed by the independent game developer Biart with 3D Vision support – Deep Black: Reloaded and Depth Hunter. So I took a quick look to see what the games are and how they work in stereoscopic 3D mode as the developer is saying they offer official 3D Vision support. The game Deep Black: Reloaded is actually even 3D Vision Ready and that rating from Nvidia is well deserved as it really looks great in stereoscopic 3D mode. Now, there is something very important that I should mention here before actually starting to talk about the game Deep Black: Reloaded and that is the fact that it is an arcade third person shooter with arcade being a key here. Deep Black: Reloaded won’t offer you some sort of a deep and very engaging storyline, but it will offer you several hours of fun with the single player mode walking around in different environments in 40 different missions (haven’t played them all yet). The game comes with surprisingly good graphics and effects with a lot of underwater action, something that we’ve rarely seen in games lately and there is also a multiplayer mode available (not that usable actually as it is not server based). Back to the stereo 3D, the game is performing great, everything important renders well properly in stereo 3D such as the scenes, lights, shadows, even the crosshair and enemy markers are rendered in 3D. And as any good 3D Vision Ready game should be you can easily max out the depth and get really impressive volume without having to tweak the convergence as the default setting for it is really good (convergence is not locked). Another important thing here is that there is a demo of the game available that you can download and try to see what to expect from the full game, before actually having to play for it…

The other game from Biart, Depth Hunter is a bit more specific as it is essentially a virtual underwater spearfishing game (not sure if it can be called a simulation), so it might not be to everyone’s liking. In it you are essentially hunting for different fish species underwater with a mechanical harpoon with some other things to make it a bit more exciting, and aside from the tasks you have to do there is also a free mode that allows you to explore the multiple different locations freely. Depth Hunter is rated as Excellent in 3D Vision from Nvidia and it also renders and looks very nice in stereo 3D mode, although the sea bottom and the underwater surroundings and in the water itself may be lacking a bit of extra details and extra objects, so the stereo 3D experience may not be so impressive here. Still the game renders properly in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision and you can also easily crank up the depth a lot, playing with convergence might also help a bit at times here, it is also not locked. While not quite the James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge the game Depth Hunter in stereo 3D mode can be quite fun for some, but it can as well quickly bore other people, the good thing is that you can download the demo and try it out first.

Both the Deep Black: Reloaded and Depth Hunter games are based on Biart’s biEngine that has support for stereoscopic 3D rendering with 3D Vision. I’m mentioning that fact, because this has been made by a small independent game developer and they have managed to do quite well and integrate stereoscopic 3D support in their game engine, so the question is why do the much bigger and with more resources game developers are not following this good example. Oh yes, I forgot that most of them think that the stereoscopic 3D gamers are still a small niche, so there is no point in putting just a bit more resources and efforts to make their game engines stereo 3D compatible and ready for the future. The stereoscopic 3D gaming community will just keep growing and growing, and the people that are part of it are going to be playing more and more important role, so totally ignoring them might not be a good idea. Big game developers seem to get blinded by the money and forget that they need to provide what gamers want and expect, after all this is where the money comes from, while there are more and more new small independent game developers appearing everyday and they are offering nice and interesting games worth supporting by the people…

For more information and to download the Deep Black: Reloaded demo…
For more information and to download the Depth Hunter demo…

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