NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision ReviewFri, Feb 06, 2009 - 12:00 AM
The 3D Experience and Conclusion
When it comes to gaming in 3D the experience is truly beautiful and I’m not trying to sugar coat it. I’ve been playing PC games since the late 1990′s and this is by far the most significant advancement that I have ever seen. When AGEIA originally announced PhysX technology back in 2006 it was only available on limited number of game titles and demos. When the dedicated PhysX cards hit the street they retailed for close to $300 and for how much you paid it really didn’t make sense to run out and buy the product. Now three years later PhysX software is widely adopted by over 150 games, is used by more than 10,000 developers of all types and is supported on Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PC. It takes time for developers to adopt new technology and what makes GeForce 3D Vision so impressive is that it is supported on over 350 game titles right now. NVIDIA was able to support an insane number of game titles right off the bat as they were able to make a driver ‘wrapper’ for their own drivers. Since NVIDIA makes their own graphics drivers they can quickly and easily come out with 3D game support. This should mean that stereoscopic 3D should take less time to catch on compared to previous technologies like PhysX.
“Unlike some other stereoscopic 3D solutions which rely upon a driver “wrapper” which can dramatically decrease performance and adversely affect compatibility, GeForce 3D Vision makes use of NVIDIA’s own graphics driver. In doing so, NVIDIA is able to leverage the same resources and relationships from The Way It’s Meant to be Played program to ensure the best possible stereoscopic 3D gaming experience.
In the same manner that NVIDIA’s driver has SLI profiles which have the ideal settings for a specific game, GeForce 3D Vision relies upon a custom profile for each game. Because no two titles are identical, NVIDIA has researched the optimal stereo settings for each game and made it a default within the driver. When you install a game and want to see what it looks like in stereoscopic 3D, you do not have to waste time configuring settings and trying to figure out what looks best. When gaming with GeForce 3D Vision, you simply start the game and begin playing in fully immersive stereoscopic 3D.
The NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D control panel includes a compatibility list that specifies the level of stereoscopic 3D compatibility for hundreds of games. In addition, this information will be available online at www.nvidia.com/ged3d“ – NVIDIA PR
One other thing that really improved the gaming experience is that when you start-up a game for the very first time there is an on-screen text message giving you tips on how to adjust game settings to those known to give the best 3D gaming experience. In Left 4 Dead for example it tells you that setting the film grain to off provides a better stereoscopic 3D effect, which it does. By providing tips when the game launches, NVIDIA has improved the game play experience by just letting gamers know what works best. NVIDIA has done a really great job at making stereoscopic 3D a complete package and it worked great on the dozens of game titles that I have tried it on over the past month. Some games are better than others, but it works on them all.
“The issue of having varying experiences with different games is easy to explain. Few (if any) games on the market today were designed with stereo in mind. As a result, when we identified an issue with stereo within a game we would have to lobby the developer to go back and fix the problem. In some cases, we’re able to get the developer to make the fix and release it (along with other fixes) in a patch. However, in other cases the developer is already working on another title and doesn’t have time to make the fix. In those cases, we have to work around the problem. These situations are why you sometimes need to disable a feature or lower a quality setting in order for stereo to work properly with a specific game. Moving forward, we have enabled all major developers with GeForce 3D Vision and are involved with a game’s development at the earliest stages. In doing so, the game is ensured to work in stereo and the developer can also add stereo enhancements like out-of-screen effects. In the future, you’ll be able to play these games without any degradation of image quality or features. Stereo will simply “work”…Developers are excited about stereo and there is some major gaming news surrounding GeForce 3D Vision coming in the near future. Note: Blizzard just released the World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.0.8 that has all the new stereo goodness! http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html” - NVIDIA PR
As you can tell NVIDIA is really working with game developers to make GeForce 3D Vision get better as time goes on, so with every game patch and graphics card driver release it only means that 3D gaming will get better!
When it comes to pricing, NVIDIA is currently listing the GeForce 3D Vision kit for $199 direct from their site, or you can find it for $178 on Google Shopping. This GeForce 3D Vision stereoscopic gaming kit (NVIDIA item 942-10701-0003) includes everything inside the box, but does not include a monitor or HDTV. The GeForce 3D Vision kit that I reviewed here today includes the monitor and is sold under part number 942-10223-0000-000 which includes the kit with a Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ 22″ widescreen 120Hz LCD monitor for $598. Once again you can find this same package at retailers like CompUSA for roughly the same price.
It is a shame that the economy is doing badly, but economies like that of America thrive off consumer spending and launching a product like this might be perfect to get people out and spend some money. You have to see it to fully understand how great gaming in 3D is, but I can honestly say that it is the best thing to happen in gaming in years. Hard to believe that PhysX technology came out three years ago and that not much has really happened since then. If you want a game changer this could be what you have been waiting for.
Legit Bottom Line: NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D has come out with guns blazing and it looks good, real good! If you are getting bored of PC gaming in general 3D gaming will invigorate your gaming appetite and make you wonder why it took this many years to come to market.