3D Vision Surround makes debut in beta GeForce driver

What’s geekier than sitting in front of a 3D monitor while wearing stereoscopic glasses? Sitting in front of three identical 3D monitors while while wearing stereoscopic glasses, of course. Nvidia hopes to bring out that geek in all of us with its latest beta driver, which is the first to enable 3D Vision Surround—the company’s name for multi-monitor stereoscopic 3D.

Enjoying stereoscopic 3D on three displays takes much more than a beta driver, of course. First, you’ll need three 3D Vision-ready displays or projectors of the "same exact make and model"—a necessary evil to avoid synchronization issues and the like. Compatible 22", 1680×1050 displays like ViewSonic’s FuHzion VX2265wm have been available for a little while, and Alienware also offers a 23" 1080p model for $450. Nvidia tells us additional 1080p monitors from Asus and LG will be out later this summer. The mandatory 120Hz refresh rate pretty much guarantees those displays all have TN panels, but word is that the upcoming 1080p offerings look pretty darned good, all things considered. We’ll have to see for ourselves.

 

Rendering a game in 3D on a triumvirate of 1080p displays is no small task, of course. You’d have a 5760×1080 total resolution in 2D, but adding a dimension to the mix means rendering two frames where normal the system would render one. So, it’s almost like the GPU has to fill a 5760×2160 display a la AMD’s Eyefinity6. Cranking out all those pixels requires awesome computing power, which is means it’s probably just as well that Nvidia mandates the use of two graphics processors for 3D Vision Surround. The other relevant limitation, of course, is that current GeForce GPUs only support two display outputs each. You can use anything from the GeForce GTX 260 up, but you need two of ’em. Owners of dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 cards with dual DVI and single HDMI outputs get a pass if, and only if, they hook up to a projector. Otherwise, you’ll need to use a Quad SLI setup with two GTX 295s running in tandem—and that setup isn’t even supported yet. Quad SLI support is planned for a future driver release, but isn’t provided in this first beta.

Running dual Nvidia graphics cards in SLI mode requires an SLI-capable motherboard, naturally. In addition, Nvidia doesn’t officially support 3D Vision Surround on anything but Windows 7. Too bad for Vista users. (That they’re still running Vista, I mean. Seriously, Windows 7 is much nicer.)

Provided you’re rich enough to ride the 3D Vision rollercoaster, Nvidia has endeavored to make the experience relatively painless. The Nvidia Control Panel has gained a purportedly "very easy to use" setup wizard for triple-display configurations, and you get user-configurable bezel correction right out of the box. (AMD now offers bezel correction, too, but Eyefinity users initially had to do without it.) Nvidia also says it tests games for both 3D Vision and 3D Vision Surround. The company provides a list of supported games in this PDF file on its website.

As a consolation prize for folks unwilling to don funny glasses, Nvidia offers a plain "Surround" mode, which basically enables triple-display gaming without the 3D element. In this configuration, Nvidia supports resolutions of up to 7680×1600 with displays arranged in a landscape configuration and 4800×2560 in a portrait configuration. Interestingly, Nvidia told us you can’t use 3D Vision Surround in portrait mode—that’s because both the displays and the 3D goggles have polarizing filters, so rotating either component 90 degrees would block most of the light coming through.

The beta version of Nvidia’s GeForce 258.69 drivers is available right now for both Windows 7 x86 and Windows 7 x64. Nvidia hopes to have a WHQL-certified driver up around July 12.

Comments closed
    • bcronce
    • 9 years ago

    I just want a 120hz monitor with 36bit color depth… is that too much to ask?

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      That part about the colour may be.

    • Sunburn74
    • 9 years ago

    Whats that case/enclosure in the back? It looks pretty sweet

      • albundy
      • 9 years ago

      i’m betting lian li or silverstone.

    • scribly
    • 9 years ago

    I’d rather have support for windowed mode instead of surround support

    • Jon
    • 9 years ago

    The bezel between monitors needs to go.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Nvidia just fails or knows that the entire thing is a lame marketing gimmick.

    Eyefinity was never great, but Nvidia’s version is even worse.

    Nvidia should stop messing around with useless gimmicks and focus on getting something competitive on the market. GTX 480/470 are terrible halo products and 465 is a laughing stock.

      • shank15217
      • 9 years ago

      Eyefinity has applications far beyond gaming, its silly that you think eyefinity isn’t useful. I don’t know anybody who would complain having the ability to use 3+ monitors with one card.

        • Krogoth
        • 9 years ago

        The marketing behind it isn’t pointing in that direction.

        Eyefinity should be catered towards the professional crowd in areas where seamless multi-mointor support on a single virtual screen is welcomed.

          • shank15217
          • 9 years ago

          There is a business push for eyefinity cards, you just don’t see it on a enthusiast website. AMD does push these cards to OEMs on those merits.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    So the big problem here is the response time of TN panels. Overdrive means that sub-8ms G2G times are achievable these days but that’s sub-8ms to reach “approximately the right colour”.

    Basically, “exactly the right colour” in less than 8ms isn’t something current 120Hz panels can do, not within an acceptable ‘delta E’ of 2. Couple that with the awesomeness of retinal image persistance and you’ve got a recipe for ghosting: Even if the pixel colours are close enough to fool your eyes in a still image, your left eye will recognise the slightly incorrect colours (as pixels change from the right eye’s image) because human eyes are better at spotting differences when motion is involved – It’s an evolutionary survival trait.

    Maybe I’m fussy, but if I’m being asked to pay huge premiums for the extra GPU and CPU horsepower, 120Hz screens and a set of shutter glasses, I don’t want to be rewarded with a ghosted mess that spoils the illusion of 3D.

      • Mr Bill
      • 9 years ago

      The RealD 3D system does 144 frames per second. Overall perceived throughput is 24 fps. Each eye get a burst of three frames then the other. So 3X24 is 72 images of 24 frames. Times two is the magic number 144 fps. I suppose one needs to compromise on a 120Hz monitor. Maybe they slow it down to 20 frames per second.

        • Chrispy_
        • 9 years ago

        Indeed.

        If it takes 144Hz to give a decent 3D effect for 24FPS movie content, I don’t think 20FPS will be acceptable to people spending the required funds for a 3D Vision Surround setup.

        Things will improve over time, but I guess 180Hz screens would be the minimum acceptable for gaming with the RealD 3D setup – that gets you a paltry 30FPS

    • Convert
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, it’s pretty much July and they only have a beta driver.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    That’s one horribly exaggerated bezel correction example picture in the screenshot. They don’t even align.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Went and saw my first 3D movie the other day, Shrek Forever after. The glasses totally killed my movie experience and I watched about 80% of the movie with the glasses off. Despite the screen being blurry, the colors were much more vibrant and enjoyed the experience more, blurry vision and all.

    Wanting to give 3D another shot, I saw Toy Story on the imax screen with the more “form fitting” glasses. I watched the whole movie with the glasses and walked out throughly disgusted that I wasted my money on 3D. Saw Toy Story the next day in a “simple” 2D theater and had a much more enjoyable time.

    3D glasses are a hack and they totally ruined my theater experience.

    I suspect the same for any computer enviroment.

      • potatochobit
      • 9 years ago

      if you think the color ‘looks’ better and is more ‘vibrant’ with your glasses off it means you have very bad color recognition.

      over saturation does not equal a better picture
      please do not set all the buttons on your television to max

        • Palek
        • 9 years ago

        Either I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying or you’re misunderstanding what he’s saying.

        If you take the polarizing glasses off colors will in fact appear more vibrant, simply because the entire picture is actually brighter to your eyes. The glasses filter out every other frame of the picture, therefore your eyes will receive less light from the projection screen when you have them on.

        Your post could do with less sarcasm.

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        You’re wrong.

      • Palek
      • 9 years ago

      It is entirely possible that your eyes are the problem:

      §[<http://www.vision3d.com/whycant.html<]§ The quoted figures wildly differ, but according to this website as much as 12% of the American population has some sort of a problem that gets in the way of fully enjoying 3D movies.

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    Nvidia’s solution:

    Two video cards required
    Identical monitors
    Having to pay $450 for each 1080p TN monitor

    ATI/AMD
    Any 5xxx video card
    Whatever monitors you have access to. Might require the use of a displayport adapter (included)

    Yeah, if ATI’s setup was a little extreme than the Nvidia solution is outright ludicrous.

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      The 120Hz monitors are only required for 3D viewing, not multi monitor setups like eyefinity. Your comparing apples to oranges. Although i agree that nvidias solution is far less elegent than AMD’s because its restricted to 2 monitors (of any kind) per card.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Glasses 3D need to die…until they have enough proof that it’s safe for us.. especially for kids..

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      What’s with this “for kids” thing again?

        • geekl33tgamer
        • 9 years ago

        Trust you to twist what he was trying to get at…

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        Even Nintendo recommend that kids don’t use the 3D mode on the 3DS. I’m not sure whether there’s any evidence that it is harmful, but it’s an industry standard thing with 3D to say that now.

          • Palek
          • 9 years ago

          It’s an industry standard thing to say EXACTLY because there is not enough evidence right now to back up claims regarding safety. 3D with shutter glasses has not been around long enough and is not widespread enough to provide a large enough sample audience to prove or disprove that the technology is harmless for kids even for a very limited duration. TV/display manufacturers provide the stern warnings with 3D tech to pre-empt an endless stream of class action suits.

        • Palek
        • 9 years ago

        Found this link via one of the shortbreads:

        §[<http://www.audioholics.com/news/editorials/warning-3d-video-hazardous-to-your-health/<]§ Apparently you do really need to think about the children!

        • cegras
        • 9 years ago

        Having each eye focus on slightly offset images while you’re physically developing is an excellent way of developing lazy eye.

          • Mr Bill
          • 9 years ago

          Its not offset, its circular polarization.

            • cegras
            • 9 years ago

            Doesn’t matter. For 3D images you need slightly offset images.

    • zgirl
    • 9 years ago

    Never mind Stereoscopic 3D triggers severe headaches and usually a migraine for me.

    No, thank you.

    • thermistor
    • 9 years ago

    I agree with the smells-of-hack sentiment…there are physically enough ports on almost any 480GTX to automatically do a 1×3 monitor setup, yet SLI is required.

    With Eyefinity, you take and convert the 3rd port via a DAQ adapter dongle (displayport to VGA or DVI, generally), and can run all 3 displays on a single card.

    So SLI is required for more than just pixel-pushing power; it is there because they can’t get all the ports active at once on a single card methinks.

      • wira020
      • 9 years ago

      Tomshardware explained about it in their new review of nvidias 3d tech… something about the gpu only have 2 port for display..

      • geekl33tgamer
      • 9 years ago

      In the real world, is any top card from Nvidia or ATI going to be able to drive 3 1080p displays with full 3D going on at the same time, all rendered in real time too for that matter?

      I have my doubts. Sure, any product is fast enough for standard gaming up the top end, but maybe Nvidia’s SLI requirement is just a realistic expectation of what you will need to make it work at decent frame rates, rather than it being a technical limitation of the Nvdia cards?

        • demani
        • 9 years ago

        I’d love to see the next iteration: use 3 projectors on three walls, with the correct compensation for the shape. That way there aren’t monitor, but full field of view 3D with plenty of focal depth. This cetainly seems to be heading in that direction.

        I wouldn’t mind the glasses so much if there were a standard or two so I could get my own with my prescription built-in so I don’t have to wrestle with my regular glasses.

          • internetsandman
          • 9 years ago

          The problem with that is not so much cost, but space. Who do you know that has a room in their house barren of both furniture and windows that could accomodate such a setup? not to mention that the room would have to be a perfect size: to small and the projectors would overlap, to large and the image would become blurry and the images would be separated, possibly. A basement might be a good solution, but usually those are to large, or the walls aren’t smooth and plain white.

          In short, it’s a brilliant fantasy. But it’s only a fantasy.

            • geekl33tgamer
            • 9 years ago

            Clearly, you have not seen student accommodation!

            • Farting Bob
            • 9 years ago

            You only need a room big enough, with blinds over the windows. Then use projector screens in carefully worked out positions and your good to go. The room would need to be pretty big to make 3 projectors a serious option, but if youve got the money for such a setup (3 120Hz HD projectors? do they even exist?) odds are you’ll find a room for it.

        • Farting Bob
        • 9 years ago

        Sure it will need epic amounts of GPU power to use 3 1080p monitors at 120fps, but the fact is every consumer nvidia card is limited to 2 monitors. So the SLI requirement is there because of that, its probably just “recommended” to use the most GPU you can afford to play 3D surround.

        • jbraslins
        • 9 years ago

        I doubt it.

        I have 295GTX and running games in 3d on a single monitor cuts my FPS in half. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy 3D gaming. Mirror’s Edge with 3D glasses is simply amazing.

        I would imagnie you’d want at least one top-level GPU per monitor.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    So there’s the desktop drivers. Where are those equivalent notebook drivers they’re supposed to be releasing simultaneously?

      • ShadowTiger
      • 9 years ago

      They never said “Beta” drivers would release simultaneously, did they?

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Seems like you would need the side monitors to be at a certain angle to the main monitor in order to maintain a consistent and realistic 3D effect across all 3 monitors at a certain viewing distance. Not sure if that’s true or not, but it seems like it would be a logical question to ask.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      This is true for most dual or triple setups beyond 21″g{<. <}g

        • bdwilcox
        • 9 years ago

        Those would affect the visual surround effect. I’m talking about maintaining a consistent 3D depth effect across the three viewing planes.

    • Cannyone
    • 9 years ago

    I might be interested in the “Surround” part, but have absolutely NO Interest in 3D in any format that includes shutter glasses.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Ditto. Smells and feels of hackg{<.<}g

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 9 years ago

        THE 3DS WILL BE THE BEGINING OF THE END, IT WASN’T OBAMA THE REPULICANS WHERE WRONG.

          • bdwilcox
          • 9 years ago

          Off your meds again?

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 9 years ago

        I agree. Wearing anything you wear that might change your perception or increase your depth perception!

        Down with headphones! Down with contacts! Down with eyeglasses! Down with sunglasses! Down with goggles! Down with hats! Down with oxygen masks! Hell, down with clothes!

        Au naturel for all! Down with the hacks!

          • cegras
          • 9 years ago

          Are you being sarcastic?

          If you aren’t, you’re an idiot.

            • Chrispy_
            • 9 years ago

            You had to ask?
            If you did, you’re an idiot.
            Oh, wait….

            • cegras
            • 9 years ago

            You never know, he sounded pretty serious. He could be Brian_S, for all we know.

          • indeego
          • 9 years ago

          At the expense of losing fidelity in other areas? yeah, 3-d in its current implementations is a hack that is too much of a compromise for my tastes.

          Your examples are “hacks” that have their own compromises, but not enough to detract from their original intention or interfere with other areasg{<.<}g

      • Mr Bill
      • 9 years ago

      RealD 3D in the theater puts a shutter glass in front of the projector. Why object when its needed at home?

        • Mr Bill
        • 9 years ago

        NVIDIA’s is a kluge in my opinion, because they require SLI. However, that may be because a 3D blu ray would be delivering two separate video streams. Its probably easier to kluge that using crossfire or SLI. But even then, either you’ll need a monitor that can interleave fast enough to give ~24 alternately polarized frames/second (then you could wear cheap circularly polarized glasses), or you will need expensive shutter glasses (but cheaper than that monitor).
        I’ll bet the next generation of video cards will be able to handle two separate video streams in alternating frames.

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    I feel the problem with 3D Vision Surround is that it requires SLI 🙁

      • geekl33tgamer
      • 9 years ago

      Yes and no… Nvidia may make a card similar to AMD’s Eyefinity 6 Radeon so you can use more than 2 monitors on a single card. But, I’m not so sure a single GTX 480 could drive 3 displays with 3D Vision enabled – Frame rates could be an issue?

        • TheEmrys
        • 9 years ago

        Quite a few of the HD 5xxx series cards can do 3 monitors.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This