3D Vision Blog

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Asus ROG Swift PG278Q is the First Official Nvidia G-SYNC Monitor

January 7th, 2014 · 8 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision


Here comes the announcement of the first Nvidia G-SYNC enabled monitor at CES 2014 fromm ASUS – the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q. The monitor supports WQHD 2560×1440 resolution and ASUS says it is a 120+ Hz display, so this is also the first monitor to officially support 120Hz refresh rate with a resolution over 1920×1080. What is not so good news for some people is the that the display probably uses a TN panel, something that is suggested by the announced 1ms response time. And the other not so good news is that there is not a single mention of 3D Vision support, so apparently this display from ASUS is not 3D-capable, meaning we are still don’t have a 3D Vision monitor with a resolution higher than 1080p.

The ROG SWIFT PG278Q is also the world’s first WQHD monitor powered by NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. NVIDIA G-SYNC, a breakthrough in display technology, synchronizes the display’s refresh rates to the GPU. The ROG SWIFT PG278Q eliminates screen tearing, minimizes stutter and input lag to deliver the smoothest gaming experience possible. With G-SYNC technology objects look sharper and more vibrant, while gameplay is more fluid and responsive.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q Specifications:

– Display: 27-inch WQHD 2560×1440 (16:9)
– Narrow 6mm bezel designed for multi-monitor setups
– Pixel Pitch: 0.233mm
– Brightness: 350cd/m2
– Display Colors: 16.7M
– Refresh Rate: Over 120 Hz
– Response Time: 1ms (GTG)
– Connectivity: 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x USB 3.0 ports
– Stand Adjustments: tilt (+20° ~ -5°), swivel (+60° ~ -60°), pivot (90° clockwise), height adjustment (0 ~ 120mm)
– VESA-wall mountable (100 × 100mm)
– Special ASUS Features: GamePlus and 5-way joystick OSD navigation

According to ASUS the ROG SWIFT PG278Q monitor availability is expected at the beginning Q2 this year for the Asian Pacific, European and North America markets. So we can expect to see this monitor available as early April this year with an expected price of $799 USD. As a comparison you might be able to get earlier an ASUS VG248QE monitor modified to support Nvidia’s G-SYNC technology for about $500 USD, however this is a 24-inch model with 1920×1080 resolution and the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q monitor is 27-inch and with 2560×1440 resolution. It would’ve been nice if this was also announced as a 3D Vision monitor, but there is still some time left until it’s release, so it could get certified by the time for the official release on the market as it has the required features to support stereoscopic 3D as well.

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Review of the 23-inch Asus VG23AH Passive 3D IPS Display

June 21st, 2012 · 23 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Back in April, when Asus announced their VG23AH passive 3D monitor with IPS panel I was quite interested in the product and now, a bit later I’ve got the chance to do some testing with a sample unit that I got from Asus for this review. I’m assuming that you already know what are the differences between an active and a passive 3D solution, so I will not be comparing the two technologies here, but instead will focus on the features and performance of the Asus display in question. The 23-inch Asus VG23AH 3D monitor uses passive 3D technology (FPR 3D) on top of an IPS LCD panel, it features HDMI 1.4 interface with support for frame packaged content as well as Side by Side and Over/Under and there is also a built-in 2D to 3D conversion functionality. What is more interesting, especially for stereo 3D gamers is the fact that Asus does not bundle this 3D monitor with any kind of stereoscopic 3D solution for transforming 3D games into stereo 3D ones. This is neither an “Optimized for GeForce” product, not it comes with the TriDef 3D software or the iZ3D Driver, however the good news is you can use pretty much any product that provides you with Row Interleaved output together with the monitor to output in 3D.

Asus VG23AH Specifications:

Panel Size: 23.0″(58.4cm), Full HD 1920×1080
Panel Type: IPS LCD, LED backlight
Pixel Pitch: 0.2652mm
Brightness(Max): 250 cd/m2
ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR): 80000000:1 (dynamic)
Viewing Angle (CR>=10): 178°(H)/178°(V)
Response Time: 5ms (Gray to Gray)
Display Colors: 16.7M
3D Technology: FPR 3D Technology
Signal Input: 2x HDMI 1.4, D-Sub, DVI-D
Power Consumption: <40W (Typical), Power Saving/Power Off Mode <0.5W Phys. Dimension with Stand (WxHxD): 550.2x419.5x250mm Net Weight (Esti.): 6.5kg

The Asus VG23AH monitor comes bundled with two pairs of passive 3D glasses – one normal and one clip-on for use with prescription glasses. This is a typical configuration for passive 3D monitors and the good news is that the monitor is compatible with pretty much any RealD-compatible passive 3D pair of glasses, these can be found really cheap, but you can also use them together with a better quality, more comfortable and nicer looking while still affordable glasses such as the ones made by Oskav that I’ve also tested the display with and they work perfectly fine. There are of course much more expensive designer passive 3D glasses available, but going for such is a bit more of a personal preference, I probably am not going to spend a three number figure for passive 3D glasses, unless I really like the design a LOT. With that said, the standard glasses that Asus bundled with the display are quite OK, but they were a bit small for me personally and the larger Oskav glasses (both the frame and the lenses) that I’ve had handy were more comfortable for use with the display. The clip-on glasses were OK, but I prefer to wear normal glasses on top of my prescription glasses when using stereo 3D monitor than to use clip-on glasses, again this is more a matter of personal preference.

The monitor comes with two HDMI 1.4 connectors that support 3D as well as with a single DVI and single VGA connectors and there are some things that you should know when using these different video interfaces, especially regarding the viewing of stereo 3D content. Officially only the HDMI 1.4 interfaces support stereo 3D since the monitor does not come with a software solution to allow you to output any kind of stereoscopic 3D content, but since this is a traditional passive 3D display you can use most of the stereoscopic 3D software configured to output in Row Interleaved mode. There are some functions however that will only work with the HDMI interface for example the manual switching capability to Side by Side or Over/Under mode from the monitor’s menu is only active when using the HDMI interface. The built-in 2D to 3D autoconversion functionality is available for all interfaces and it does quite a decent job, although I won’t recommend it over any software that supports stereoscopic 3D output or a video that has a 3D version. You can also control the level of simulated depth when using the 2D to 3D conversion feature, something that is good to play with if you are getting more ghosting if you increase the strength of the simulated effect more. And a bit more on the levels of ghosting that the VG23AH provides you with in a bit.

If you’ve seen the active 3D model VG236HE from Asus that was released back in 2010 you may notice quite a few similarities between it and the VG23AH, at least in terms of the external appearance of the two products. Of course being able to review the Asus VG236HE 3D monitor I’ll have to compare it to this one in terms of performance and the good news is that the new model performs better in terms of stereoscopic 3D quality compared to the older active 3D solution. That of course does not necessarily make it the better choice and if it did not perform better I’d personally be disappointed, especially since there is quite a big time difference between the release of the two products. One of the things that I was not too happy when the VG236HE was released was the glossy display that it used, now that drawback has been improved significantly with the VG23AH, it is still a glossy display, but with much better coating that behaves almost like a matte display than a glossy one.

Considering the fact that we have an IPS LCD panel used in the Asus VG23AH it is normal to expect good out of the box results in terms of color reproduction, however the factory settings disappoint a bit. The most likely reason for that is that Asus wanted to really keep up to their specs and provide really high brightness – the one they list in the specs is covered. It is hard to say anything about the incredibly high dynamic contrast ratio that Asus claims for this monitor, however at the factory settings I’ve measured around 0.29 cd/m2 black point with 855:1 contrast ratio.

Calibrating the monitor does bring really good results with very little brightness loss, still over 200 cd/m2. The color accuracy after calibration is what you’d expect from an IPS panel, but the funny thing actually is that the latest generation of 120Hz TN panels such as the one used in the Asus VG278H active 3D monitor does provide just slightly worse results after calibration. This just means that TN LCDs are starting to catch up to IPS at least in color accuracy, although they are still behind in terms of the width of the viewing angles, on the other hand you can say that IPS is also catching up in terms of response time and getting close to what TN can do. After the calibration the black point of the monitor remains at pretty much the same level, but due to the decrease of the total brightness level you can expect that the contrast level will be lower. Don’t forget that this calibration is done in a way to achieve best results while retaining the highest brightness level possible, so at the cost of some more brightness you may also achieve better results if you need.

Now, since I’ve mentioned the response time I’ll have to talk a bit more about it here as it is something important that may affect your experience using this monitor in stereo 3D mode. You should know that the response time of the pixels in a 3D display is a very important factor as if they are not fast enough you are going to be getting more of the so called crosstalk or ghosting. And while IPS is still not fast enough in terms of response time for 120Hz panels in active 3D monitors, it is quite Ok for use in the 60Hz passive 3D displays. With that said you should not expect perfect results on the Asus VG23AH with the stock settings as the Trace Free function of the display is set to 60 (this controls the level of overdrive used to improve the response time of the pixels) and this actually introduced quite a lot of crosstalk/ghosting with contrasting objects that are moving. So you’d want to lower the Trace Free value than the stock 60, going down to 20 makes things more acceptable and you may want to even go to 0.

Time for some crosstalk/ghosting testing, starting with the extreme black and white test photos that I’m using to see how things look in close to worst case scenarios, though you’ll hardly get things so bad when using the display normally in stereo 3D mode. The moire effect you can see on the white in the photo is caused by the “interlacing” of the display when viewed trough one of the lenses of the glasses, when viewed normally you will not see this effect, so don’t be bothered by it. The situation with the white is really good and the black is also quite good and these are extreme case scenarios with really high contrasting objects on completely white or black. Here, as with other passive 3D solutions you should be aware that you should keep within a very narrow vertical viewing angle in order not to loose the stereoscopic 3D effect, otherwise the level of crosstalk may significantly increase to a state where you’ll completely loose the feeling of volume. The tests here were performed at a vertical viewing angle of zero, normally you should be OK within 5 to 7 degrees, but not more, so be careful when you setup a passive 3D monitor and don’t blame it if you are getting bad results just because you are not using it right.

The sailboats 3D video test exposes just some faint and very hardly visible ghosting, so again very good performance here, although not perfect as there are some 3D displays that don’t show any crosstalk at all on this test.

And finally some real-world tests using the game Tomb Raider Underworld in stereoscopic 3D mode, a good example to show that the Asus VG23AH does indeed have just a little crosstalk and performs very well in stereoscopic 3D mode. The top of the screen does not show any crosstalk at all if you lower the Trace Free, if you keep it at the default value of 60 you will see some afterimage. The bottom part has some faint crosstalk visible, but no color ghosting due to the overdrive (something we’re used in seeing with active 3D monitors).

So what is the conclusion about the 23-inch Asus VG23AH passive 3D IPS monitor? A very good IPS monitor for use in 2D mode and very well performing in stereo 3D mode passive 3D display, not to mention that it comes with quite attractive price for a monitor with an IPS panel and 3D features. If you don’t have a license for iZ3D or TriDef 3D you’d probably have to add in the expense for getting one as there isn’t one bundled, but you’ll need that only if you plan on playing games in stereo 3D mode on it. And if you are not bothered by the fact that you are limited to 60Hz in 2D mode and you have only half vertical resolution when you are using the display in stereo 3D mode, then you might as well go for the Asus VG23AH instead of a more expensive active 3D monitor. It is a bit of a shame that this monitor did not get into the “Optimized for GeForce” Nvidia program as it would’ve made it an almost perfect solution for stereoscopic 3D use out of the box, but still Asus did a surprisingly good job with this product. So if you are considering to go for a passive 3D monitor you’d probably want to put the Asus VG23AH among the top models in the list of possible candidates.

If you want to get the Asus VG23AH 23-inch LED-lit IPS Passive 3D Monitor…

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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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