3D Vision Blog

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

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Testing Nvidia 3DTV Play Stereo 3D with a Panasonic 3D HDTV

November 1st, 2010 · 42 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

After finally managing to get the AMD HD3D Technology working with the Panasonic 3D HDTV I’ve moved to testing the 3DTV Play functionality from Nvidia, which did not have any trouble working with the 3D TV and making it work was just a simple matter of plugging in the TV to the PC… hopefully AMD will work that out too in the near future to make things work as simple as that and resolve all the issues they have, including providing support for Crossfire configuration with multiple GPUs. And since I did not have trouble making things work with 3DTV Play, I’ve moved to testing with games and as expected I’ve seen a few mostly minor issues that need to be fixed by Nvidia in order for the 3D HDTV support to be further improved. The test system I’ve used is with two GeForce GTX 480 video cards running in SLI (no problems with dual GPUs here), under Window 7 Pro 64-bit and with the latest drivers version 260.99 in order to ensure most up to date functionality and the best possible performance. All of the 20 recent games I’ve tried were set to maximum details with no AA by default, although I’ve also tried them with anti-aliasing if they had available in the game options, just to be sure, but the fps results mentioned below are with no AA. My goal was to find if the games work in the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode, so I’ve started with that, before also trying them out in 720p 60Hz 3D mode. And another thing I was interested in was if they worked in the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode were they comfortably playable in that mode that is originally designed for 3D movies and not for games. So below you can see what were my findings…

Here on the video you can see how the difference looks when playing a game in the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode with vsync enabled and disabled with Bioshock 2 used as an example. In the video it might not be that noticeable, but with vsync enabled the game is pretty much unplayable and disabling the vsync makes with more comfortable to be played at that mode, provided that you can get high enough average fps. You can also see some of the other minor issues I’ve encountered with pretty much only the problem with Darksiders being more serious and thus preventing the game to be played in stereo 3D mode. Another thing that needs to be worked on a bit is the optimization for 3DTV Play to utilize the graphic processors with their full potential, especially in multi-GPU configurations as stereo 3D at high resolution can be quite demanding and getting a good average framerate ensures the good experience. But now lets take a look at each of the twenty games I’ve tested with and see some of the specifics for each title, I do plan to try out some more games, but as it is a quite time consuming task it will take some time.

1. Avatar the Game
The game Avatar works without problems in 1080p 24Hz 3D mode and can be played pretty comfortable even with Vsync enabled, although you better disable it for a bit better experience. The problem however turned out to be the average framerate I was getting from the game which was around 30 fps (per eye) at 1080p mode with maximum details with both GPUs loaded to just about 48%. So definitely some performance optimizations can help get the user better experience from the game.

2. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode worked just fine here too, but the game is playable only with vsync disabled. Bad Company 2 is quite a demanding game even when not played in stereo 3D mode, so with maximum details and no AA and HBAO disabled I’ve managed to get just an average of 35 fps with about 55% load on both GPUs.

3. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
This is one of the games that I could not make the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode work as the game tries to force 60Hz refresh rate by default, however there were no problems to play it in 720p 60Hz 3D mode. The game itself is not so demanding anyway, so the GPU load was quite low here.

4. Bioshock 2
Here the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works just fine, but the game is unplayable with vsync enabled, disabling it however improves the situation a lot and as you can see from the video above with over 100 fps average the game is using both GPUs at maximum with them being loaded at over 95%.

5. Borderlands
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works just fine here too, however the performance the game can provide in that mode is a bit low as at times the framerate drops below 20 fps at some moments. There is no vsync control option in the game and the sync is off by default, but in order to get better experience higher performance is required, so you might need to compromise a bit with the level of details. Both GTX 480 GPUs in SLI were loaded to just about 50%, so some optimizations can definitely be done to improve the situation.

6. Civilization 5
In Civilization V the 1080p 24Hz 3d mode works just fine and with vsync enabled the game is quite playable, although scrolling the map can be a bit choppy, so disabling the vsync can also help here. An interesting issue I’ve noticed here was that the in-game cursor is flashing in the right eye, but only in the menus and not while you play the game. Similar issue with the cursor blinking in just one of the lenses and thus creating a bit uncomfortable feeling I’ve also noticed in a few more games I’ve also tried. And although it is not a serious issue, this needs to be addressed, you can get an idea of what I’m talking about from the video above where I’ve demonstrated the problem.

7. Darksiders
Here the game switches on in the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode, but there is some issue that is preventing it to be played, also present in the 720p 3D mode and even disabling the stereo 3D mode by pressing CTRL + T does not help. There are some strange gray lines passing over the screen and in order to play the game normally in non-3D mode you have to go to the control panel and completely disable the Stereoscopic 3D mode. It is important to note the fact that I’ve also tried Darksiders with a 120HZ 3D LCD and there it works just fine without the problem with the gray lines, I’ve included a short demonstration of the issue int he video above. I’ve also noticed the same issue with the blinking cursor as in CIV V here too, but the other issue is dfar more serious and needs to be addressed first.

8. Dead Rising 2
In that game the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode also works and the game is not very comfortable when playing with vsync enabled, so you better disable it if you want to play it in the higher resolution mode. The GPU utilization is over 60% for both video cards and most of the time the provided framerate is quite high (over 70-80 fps), but there are some moments when entering big open spaces with a lot of zombies when it drops down to less than 20 fps and surprisingly enough the GPU utilization is also drops to less than 20% at these times. The issue with the flickering mouse cursor in the right lens is also present in this game.

9. Fallout: New Vegas
In this game the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode also works, and with vsync enabled from the game it is kind of playable, but you get a feeling of inertia of your crosshair when panning around, so disabling the vsync again can improve things. You get about 35 fps average framerate per eye which can be a bit on the edge and both GPUs are loaded to just about 45%, so some performance optimizations can help here too.

10. F1 2010
In Formula 1 2010 the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode worked just fine and surprisingly enough the game is quite playable with vsync enabled, although you might want to disable it for better experience. Something interesting I’ve noticed is that with no AA enabled the game behaves weirdly, the performance when the 3D mode is activated drops significantly to just about 0-1-2 fps and the game becomes unplayable, disabling the 3D mode brings things back to normal framerate and enabling 4xAA resolves the issue.

11. Just Cause 2
Here the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works, with vsync enabled there is again the issue when panning with the feeling of acceleration for the crosshair movement. With vsync disabled the performance is just around 35 fps per eye and the GPU load is 99% for the first and just 20% for the second GPU which makes it better, but for more comfort a higher fps is needed with vsync disabled. And some performance optimizations would help as well in getting better experience.

12. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works, with vsync disabled the game it is quite comfortable to be played. Over 50 fps average with around 55% load on both GPUs.

13. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works just fine, the game is played better with vsync disabled, although you can still play with it enabled at 24Hz. This title is not very demanding, so there are no issues with the performance of the SLI setup.

14. Metro 2033
Quite a demanding game as you should know, the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works, vsync is disabled by default, no in-game option for controlling it. With DX11 mode, very high details, no AA gets you just 20 fps average (per eye), around 53% load on the GPUs, not very playable in that situation, so had to lower the details to get around 40 fps average which makes it playable.

15. Need for Speed: SHIFT
This is another game that I could not make the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode work, although there is an option for selecting the right resolution and refresh rate int he game options.However the game runs at 60Hz no matter that you’ve set it at 24Hz from the in-game options, after restarting it to apply the change it is reverting to 1080p 60Hz automatically. Running it at 720p 60Hz 3D mode and with 8xAA gives out an interesting warning window that the AA will be downgraded to 4xAA to ensure good performance in the game (recorded it in the video above), did not have trouble with other titles where AA was set to 8x or even 16x like the message in NFS. The average fps in this situation is around 37 with both GPUs loaded to around 53%.

16. Prototype
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode does not work here, when switching to 1080p resolution from within the game it goes to 50Hz, no matter if the desktop is set to 24Hz 3D mode or not. 720p mode works just fine, but again at 50Hz only. At 720p 50Hz, 4xAA the game runs with an average of about 40 fps and both GPUs are loaded to just around 30%.

17. Singularity
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works, and at 24Hz vsynced the game is playable, but looking around creates a kind of strange feeling, like there is some kind of inertia when you are moving your crosshair. Disabling vsync from the in-game menu makes it much more comfortable to play at 1080p 24Hz 3D mode. Around 60% load with vsync off for both GPUs and fps of over 100, with vsync enabled the load on both GPUs gets to just about 10%.

18. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
In that quite popular title the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works just fine and with vsync enabled the scrolling of the map is not so good, but with vsync disabled is it much better and the game is quite playable. Over 60 fps average with both GPUs loaded to around 50%.

19. Transformers: War for Cybertron
Here the 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works as well and the the game is playable with vsync enabled, when vsync is disabled it rises just to 30 fps, because the game is capped at 30 max fps.

20. X-Blades
The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode works, vsync is off by default and there is no option to enable it. The game works very well with over 140 fps average framerate.

So out of 20 tested games, just a single one is unplayable due to some weird behavior, two games are completely playable, but have some issues when using AA, some others have minor issues. The 1080p 24Hz 3D mode did not work in only three games out of 20 and the reason for that is something within the games that forcing higher refresh rate. If you want to play at 1080p 24Hz 3D mode you should disable the vsync and be sure to have a high average fps in order to make the experience better. And finally some performance optimizations would also help a lot, especially with more demanding games and for multi-GPU configurations.

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AMD HD3D Technology + Panasonic 3D HDTV (TX-P50VT20E) and iZ3D

October 30th, 2010 · 19 Comments · Other S3D Tech

After trying the Panasonic 3D HDTV (TX-P50VT20E) with the latest DDD TriDef software with no success in making the TV work with stereo 3D content from the PC, I’ve decided to switch to iZ3D. And I was not even sure if the iZ3D Driver actually does have support for working with 3D HDTVs using HDMI 1.4(a)’s frame packing through AMD’s video driver.The reason for that is due to the fact that they don’t clearly state that and the naming convention of their stereo 3D outputs in the driver is not helping for that at all. But after some discussion about it here and going through the iZ3D forums I saw people confirming that the driver has the support and should work, so back again to the testing…

Unfortunately after a few hours spent in making sure everything is right – reinstalling video drivers with the latest Catalyst 10.10c, the latest iZ3D Driver 1.12 build 4016, trying with different cables and cable adapters there was still not luck in making things work the way the should. The closest thing was kind of making them act as they should, but not exactly as you can see in the video above. I’ve managed to get the same results as with the TriDef Ignition software – the picture is there, you can see some depth of the objects on screen when wearing the glasses, but there is annoying flicker and artifacts all over the screen making it totally unusable in this state.

As you can see from the video the driver shows “ATI Presenter”, which means that it is using the Quad buffer support which in turn should mean that the sync should be perfect and everything should be working just fine, however it is not. Note in the video that even before activating the stereo 3D mode the on-screen image is having the same strange behavior, just no 3D, and after activating the 3D mode the FPS counter still shows 120 fps in the game which is kind of strange… shouldn’t it be 24 or maybe 48, after all this is in the 1080p/24Hz? After switching to 720p resolution from the game to ensure support for 60/120 fps the strange behavior of what is being displayed on the screen is still not gone – the artifacts and flashing are still there. So still no luck with the AMD HD3D technology in terms of support for my Panasonic 3D HDTV, and the problem is that I’ve only seen a lot of complaints from other people trying to make their 3D HDTVs work too. But since both iZ3D and DDD have the same issue I’m starting to think that they are not at fault here (although they can improve in a few areas too), but the actual problem lies withing AMD’s Catalyst driver that probably needs an urgent update or yet another hotfix to resolve the issue.

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Trying AMD HD3D Technology with Panasonic 3D HDTV (TX-P50VT20E)

October 28th, 2010 · 53 Comments · Other S3D Tech

When I got the Panasonic 3D HDTV (TX-P50VT20E) I was eager to try out the recently announced AMD HD3D Technology with the TV as well as the 3DTV Play functionality from Nvidia, although I’ve already seen the later in action. So I started with a quick test with 3DTV Play and as expected everything worked just fine by using a 5 meter DVI to HDMI cable to connect the GTX 480 to the 3D TV, the driver immediately detected the TV and enabled the 3DTV Play functionality. Everything was running just fine and I was able to try out some games in both 720p and 1080p in 3D, as well as Play a Blu-ray 3D movie with PowerDVD 10 Mark II, watch a few clips with the 3D Vision Video Player and play a few 3D photos. Everything worked pretty much fine, apart from having some trouble with a few games to make them work in 3D mode at 1080p resolution with 24Hz. The other thing that kind of surprised me was the red warning message I’ve got when I tried running a game at 1280×720 at 60Hz per eye in stereo 3D mode with 8xAA – the drivers have automatically lowered the AA to 4x to ensure better performance. Now, that would be acceptable if you have a low end video card, but with two 480s in SLI running at 720p 3D mode with 8xAA should be like a breeze… I’d might want to try playing at 64xAA, because at 4xAA with that resolution you are still quite far from smooth edges. But anyway, I’ll dig more into that later on when I have more time to test that, so now let me get back to the AMD HD3D Technology with the 3D TV…

Now, switching to the other AMD-based system with an ATI Radeon HD 5970 video card I was ready to test the Panasonic 3D HDTV with the same cable and with the software that AMD and their partners provide for ensuring the support for their AMD HD3D Technology. Just to make sure I reinstalled the required Catalyst 10.10 drivers, installed the latest DDD TriDef software that has support for HDMI 1.4a transmission of stereoscopic 3D content (the latest iZ3D Driver still does not support that). However when I ran the TriDef 3D Experience launcher (you can see that on the video) or TriDef 3D Ignition with a game the result was kind of disappointing. The depth of the 3D objects can be seen, however there is a weird flicker and a lot of annoying flashing artifacts on the screen that totally ruin the experience. I’m not sure where the problem lies yet, because for example on AMD’s supported hardware page there is no mention of the TX-P50VT20E, but there is support for TC-P50VT20 which is pretty much the same. But the reason for the problem might not be that at all, but in the fact that you need a 6000 series video card in order to use that mode, although AMD and DDD say on their websites that the AMD HD3D Technology is compatible with 5000 and 6000 series of GPUs.

So if you have a 3D HDTV and an ATI/AMD video card from the 5000/6000 series you can try the DDD TriDef software and its HDMI 1.4a mode for 3D and report your success or lack of such in the comments below. The TriDef software is available with a 14 day trial period, so you can download and test it on your system without actually having to buy anything. Also anyone else having the same issue with his setup as shown on the video above?

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