NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 provided by: NVIDIA
No compensation was received for review of this product
Price: TBD (Approx $500.00 USD)
Class: 3D Desktop Ecosystem for the Mainstream
HiTech Legion has been evaluating 3D Vision since May of 2009 and has had the opportunity to participate in its evolution. We have evaluated both hardware and 3D ready games and have been including 3D performance benchmarks in all NVIDIA based video card reviews since 2009. Based on this experience with the 3D Vision ecosystem, you can feel secure that our evaluation is based on product knowledge.
I’ll start with the monitor and Lightboost Technology. The monitor tested was the ASUS VG278 LCD Monitor (27”) with LED backlight. It has a response time of 2ms, a 120Hz double frame refresh rate, 50,000,000 to 1 dynamic contrast, 1080p Full HD resolution and 2X 3D brightness (Lightboost). Connections are either HDMI 1.4a or Dual Link DVI and is Blu-ray 3D capable. The ASUS VG278 has a built in IR emitter and does come with one pair of 3D Vision 2 (Active Shutter) Glasses, which helps defer the cost of purchasing the hardware independently.
I’m quite familiar with ASUS 3D Monitors, having used the prior generation (VG236H) for over a year. The physical differences in the monitors are quite obvious; the VG278 has a matte screen where its predecessor did not. Next would be the size of the monitor, 27” opposed to 23.6” (although there will probably be a 23” or 24” version), and the addition of the IR Emitter. Visual differences include the addition of the LED backlighting. The backlighting makes the monitor appear to have a cooler image and the colors are brighter. I also noticed less ghosting, which was not an issue with the prior generation, it is just something that was noticeable.
When the monitor switches to 3D mode, more noticeable differences occur. The LED backlight synchronizes well with the Stereoscopic 3D Vision 2 glasses. The LED backlighting brightens the screen and you do not feel as if a loom of darkness has fallen upon you, as you did with the prior generation of 3D Vision. I would have to admit that I have grown accustomed to the glossy screen of the last generation and my only complaint is that the visual image of a matte screen lacks the pop a glossy screen portrays. Again, this happens to be my preference, matte screens produce less glare, which many people prefer.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Glasses
Improvement! With a 20% larger lens and a new design, the 3D Vision 2 glasses allow less light in from the sides which, in my opinion, increases my peripheral vision while playing, which gives me a broader playing field of visual depth. Compared to the first generation glasses, the new ones seem to be a little heavier but I found that after long periods of use, they are more comfortable. I also noticed that there is less visible flickering of the lenses. With the first generation, there were multiple times where I was able to see the shutters adjusting, which caused flickering. The new glasses sync better with the IR emitter, reducing the flicker.
The most noteworthy change is the combination of the monitor's Lightboost technology and the glasses. Without actually knowing the difference, you may feel that since the new 3D Vision 2 glasses allow less light in from the sides top and bottom, it would produce a darker environment. This couldn't be further from the truth; better active lens synchronization and Lightboost technology combined produce a brighter 3D environment and give you the ability to see your desktop clearly. I find this very important. With the first generation 3D Vision, you were basically S.O.L. if you were not familiar with your keyboard, as the environment was dark and it obscured your vision of physical objects.
Gaming and Movies
I like 3D gaming. It breaths new life into games that have been played out and have been put to rest on the shelf. When I first tested 3D Vision, there weren’t many games available that took advantage of the technology but that has changed. There are approximately 500 games that are compatible and new games are being released monthly that are 3D Vision ready, straight out of the box. (Or Digital Download) The NVIDIA 3D ecosystem is no longer in its infancy, where it was considered a niche. It has matured and become part of the mainstream.
The NVIDIA Geforce Graphic drivers contain the support for creating the 3D image. There is no need for third party software. All you need are the Monitor, Glasses, IR Emitter and an NVIDIA 8000 series or higher based graphics card. In the drivers’ settings is an option to set the depth of the 3D experience, which defaults at 15%. The slider can be adjusted from 0 to 100%, the higher the depth, the wider (distance between images) the overlay of the stereoscopic image. I am probably the only person I know who can play at 100% depth. This is something I would not recommend to someone who has not used 3D vision. Increasing depth takes time and, as overlay moves farther apart, your eyes will need to be trained to accommodate. My suggestion is to start at 15% and move from there. The sweet spot you should aim for is about 35 to 45%. Anything over that may increase ghosting or the ability, at times, to see part of the overlay.
Ghosting, flutter (the up and down movement at the top and bottom of the screen) and brightness are three areas in which I have seen improvement. Monitor companies have had over two years to make refinements on firmware, which has decreased ghosting and flutter 10 fold. Now don’t get me wrong, it has not totally disappeared. There are some occasions where I have experienced ghosting but these have been limited occasions. LightBoost Technology is a godsend! I had always felt that once the shutters on the lenses engaged, I was sunk into a hole. Everything got dark and I found myself adjusting the brightness of my monitor, or in game, since it appeared obscured. Lightboost adds another dimension and that is light. Infamously, any type of 3D that involves active shutter lenses darkens surroundings and image. When Lightboost engages, the 3D image is clearer (without adjusting brightness), which in turn creates a better immersion into the game itself, with the ability to see your keyboard.
I have a big screen 3D TV and a 3D Blu-ray player, which means that I normally watch a 3D movie on that. For those of you who may not have a large screen 3D monitor, NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 does that as well and all you will need is a compatible Blu-ray drive for your computer. I have found a benefit to watching 3D movies on a smaller monitor. The image looks clearer and the effects pop out of the screen better. If you still prefer to watch a 3D movie on the big screen, you can still bring your computer system to your 3D monitor, hook it up and play it from there.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 is new and improved. It’s important that a manufacturer listen to the consumer and NVIDIA must have. The new glasses are more comfortable and have a 20% larger lens, the improved active shutter lenses synchronization with the IR Emitter produces less stress on the eyes and Lightboost technology built into the monitors brightens up the 3D environment, giving the user a more immersive 3D experience.
No award given at this time.
Coming Soon: 3D Vision and AMD HD3D a Head to Head Comparison