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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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AMD Has Announced The New Radeon HD 7970 High-End GPUs

December 22nd, 2011 · 5 Comments · General 3D News

It seems that AMD wanted to kind of make happy the gamers around the world right before the holidays, by announcing their next generation Radeon HD 7970 graphics processors based on 28nm production technology. And while the announcement is now a fact, the video cards based on this new GPUs are still not available on the market, they should start appearing sometime in January next year, so don’t be too eager… yet. The new GPU should be the first GPU based on 28nm technology to hit the market, the first with support for the new PCI Express 3.0 and the first one supporting DirectX 11.1 expected with Windows 8). But these are the more general “firsts”, there are some interesting things regarding stereoscopic 3D support as well that will be available in the new Series 7000 GPUs from AMD…

If you remember not long ago AMD has released Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver that has finally added support for CrossfireX (multi-GPU configurations) in stereo 3D mode as well as support for the optional HDMI 1.4a 1080p 30Hz 3D mode. And while these features are still only available in a beta driver, they should be finding their place in the next official Catalyst release that should also have the support for the new Radeon HD 7970 GPUs. But in the new graphic processors AMD has more new features prepared for gamers using AMD-based hardware to play in stereoscopic 3D mode, hardware-based features that kind of build on top of the newly introduced software-based ones.

With the new video cards based on Radeon HD 7970 graphics processors you should be able to use multi-monitor setups (Eyefinity) in stereoscopic 3D mode as well and with a single video card (over DisplayPort 1.2). So with this AMD if finally kind of catching up with Nvidia by offering alternative to the 3D Vision Surround, a technology that has been available for a while. And while you should be able to run multiple monitors in stereoscopic 3D mode with Eyefinity from a single video card you would probably want to have two of these for best experience, especially for playing games, and with the addition of CrossfireX support in stereo 3D mode you should finally be able to do that.

The other new interesting feature coming with the Radeon HD 7970 video cards will be the support of the higher bandwidth HDMI 3 GHz specifications that will allow you to get 1080p 3D mode with 60Hz per eye. And while this sounds very nice as a feature to have, you should not be to eager to try it out as this is support only on the video card’s side, you would also need a 3D monitor or a 3D HDTV that will support this mode. Unlike with the optional HDMI 1.4a 30Hz 3D mode that some 3D-capable products support even now, for the new 1080p 60Hz 3D mode there will be some time needed before display products supporting it will start coming out on the market.

And now we are hitting one of the still problematic areas for AMD, namely not having a wider choice of compatible 3D-capable active displays, as for the compatibility with passive 3D solutions things are pretty much Ok. But hopefully next year we’ll start seeing some positive development in that area as well, I’m saying hopefully as AMD is still a bit slow in successfully convincing partners to make compatible hardware just the same way that Nvidia had when 3D Vision was initially announced… so it just takes more time and effort. But the big question now is how soon and with what will Nvidia respond to the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs, what do you think?

For more information and the specifications of the new Radeon HD 7970 GPUs…

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