3D Vision Blog

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

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More on the Upgrade to Sandy Bridge and Overclocking for S3D Gaming

March 12th, 2011 · 7 Comments · Other S3D Tech

A few days ago I’ve written that my second GeForce GTX 580 video card has died, but now thanks to support from Nvidia I got the issue resolved and a replacement card, so I’m back with a working SLI setup and thus I was able to finish testing with the new Sandy Bridge platform. In the previous article Intel Sandy Bridge Plus SLI for Stereo 3D Gaming with 3D Vision I’ve compared the older Asus Sabertooth P55 motherboard with an Intel Core i5 750 processor overclocked at 4GHz along with the two GTX 580s in SLI to the newer Asus Sabertooth P67 (Sandy Bridge) motherboard with Intel Core i5 2500K running at 5 GHz. In the previous tests however the focus was the CPU and motherboard and what benefits are there in terms of performance increase for gaming in 2D (plain 3D) as well as in stereo 3D mode. But I’ve went further by overclocking the two GTX 580 video cards and repeated the tests to measure the additional performance increase you can get besides just overclocking the processor and changing the platform…

The two GeForce GTX 580 video cards in SLI were with GPUs overclocked from 772 MHz to 950 MHz or that is 170 MHz increase of the default frequencies for both. And the working frequency of the memory was overclocked from the default 4008 MHz to 4850 MHz which is a bit pushing it, but is easily achievable when using water cooling, because operating temperatures remain quite low even under high load for long time. Of course the system is already with an overclocked Intel Core i5 2500K processor running at 5GHz and in the tables below you can see a comparison between the results achieved with the processor at default and at 5 GHz with the video cards not overclocked and with 5GHz with the VGAs also overclocked.

Starting with popular synthetic benchmark 3DMark 2006, the performance increase here is quite small after overclocking the GPUs, but that is to be expected as this test is more CPU dependent than GPU limited. The newer 3DMark 11 that is heavily relying on the video card is showing much better performance increase as expected…

After overclocking the video cards in the game tests in 2D mode (plain 3D) the increase is not that significant, but here we already have high enough average framerate with about 100 fps for the more demanding games and even more with not so heavy titles.

Moving to the game benchmark in stereo 3D mode, after overclocking the two video cards and with the processor at 5GHz almost all games are hitting average framerate of 60 fps per eye, except for Just Cause 2 and Metro 2033. These two titles that are a bit more demanding when played with high detail settings do show much higher performance increase after overclocking the GPUs as compared to overclocking the CPU only. But still with them you may need to sacrifice a bit of extra details or effects to get an average fps of about 60 frames per eye in stereo 3D mode, not that with an average of 40 fps per eye these games are unplayable, on the contrary, but yo would expect a bit more with such a high-end system that is also decently overclocked to get the maximum performance out of it for stereoscopic 3D gaming in Full HD resolution with maxed out detail levels and even some AA enabled in games to smooth out the edges…

Still I can say that I’m pretty happy form the additional performance increase after the upgrade to the new Sandy Bridge platform, and now the new B3 revision of the Sandy Bridge chipsets are becoming available, so you can safely do the upgrade as well. The new K-series i5 and i7 processors offer better overclockability than the previous generation, but still when talking about gaming, you may be able to get better performance increase with a higher-end video card, or by adding a second video card in SLI, than by just pushing the CPU frequency or increasing the number of cores. Because the truth is that still most of the latest games still cannot yet take advantage of more than one CPU core, but they can fully utilize the additional video performance that a more powerful video card can offer. So if you are just gaming in stereo 3D mode, then it may be more worth to upgrade your GPU than to go for a Sandy Bridge upgrade, but if you already have a high-end GPU or even more than one, then upgrading the processor and the motherboard can still be a good choice. And although most games can’t fully utilize the total performance that a new multi-core processor can offer, there are a lot of applications that can do that and you are probably using quite a few of these as well, for example software for video editing and conversion.

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My Second GTX 580 Died on Me, So SLI-less Stereo 3D For a While…

March 7th, 2011 · 9 Comments · Other S3D Tech

My bad luck with the hardware has struck me again, although this hasn’t happened for a while now. My second GeForce GTX 580 SLI card started showing artifacts all of a sudden even in 2D mode and it has turned out to be the card that has no warranty that I can use to get it replaced (be careful when getting hardware from abroad). So the last chance was to try to fix things with the help of an Infrared Heating Rework Station (this has helped bring quite a few cards back from the dead), but again no luck, meaning that the issue was not caused by the GPU or the memory chips not having good contact with the PCB for example as is the usual case after cards being overheated. I didn’t have high hopes for that anyway, since I’m using water cooling and both GTX 580s are kept very cool all the time, but still I had some hope. So thanks to my bad luck I’ll probably be using just a single GTX 580 for a while… and Crysis 2 is just coming, did I say I have really bad luck with hardware in the worst possible times ;)

Not that a single GTX 580 video card is not good for stereo 3D gaming, it is Ok in most of the cases, but you get spoiled when you have two in SLI and are not worried anymore of not hitting 60 fps per eye in stereo 3D mode… unless you try playing Metro 2033 with maximum details settings. I’m wondering when we are going to see a new Dual GPU video card (rumored to be called GTX 590) from Nvidia as AMD is getting active lately about their own such solution – Radeon HD 6990…

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Preparing to Test the Intel Sandy Bridge Platform For S3D Gaming

February 19th, 2011 · 7 Comments · General 3D News

Those of you that follow the blog should remember the 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D test system with water cooling that I’ve built. In the meantime I’ve been upgrading the test PC a bit by bit, but since it is based on a bit older platform already I decided to do some testing with the recently announced Intel Sandy Bridge platform. The 3D test computer currently used an Asus P55 Sabertooth motherboard together with an Intel Core i5 750 processor overclocked to run at 4 GHz 24/7, together with dual GeForce GTX 580 video cards in SLI setup. So I’ve got two more recent high-end motherboards from Asus for testing that are based on the new platform and use the P67 chipset – Asus P67 Sabertooth and the P67 Maximus IV Extreme and an Intel Core i5 2500K processor with unlocked multiplier (for overclocking of course). The goal of this test is to reach five gigahertz by overclocking the processor and measure the performance of the new Intel Sandy Bridge platform versus the older one that I’m currently using. As you can expect the tests would be related to gaming in stereo 3D mode and comparing the framerates with both platforms and the different motherboards to see if the upgrade is worth it or not.

With all of the above said, I should also mention that currently upgrading to a Sandy Bridge platform may not be the best choice, considering that not long ago Intel has officially announced a bug in the chipset that can potentially cause SATA 2 performance degradation over time. As a result of that announcement there was a big recall of potentially affected motherboards, but that is not something that can stop an enthusiast, especially when there is still some time before the motherboards using the revised chipset can be available on the market again. So even if you get an Intel Sandy Bridge motherboard now, you can avoid using the affected SATA 2 ports and get it replaced when the revised versions become available on the market in march/april. But as an enthusiast I’m not willing to wait for a few months for the revised chipsets, so I prefer to get the platform now and test it and if needs replacing the warranty can cover that when the revised models are available later this year. So stay tuned for some results of the tests soon… ;)

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