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CES 2009's (Nvidia) video card news.

GeForce 3D Vision

The news on the Nvidia side was a little more substantial. I visited their spacious booth and even though they had a total of 0 video cards located outside a computer case (in fact all their cases were windowless) I thought it was worth the trip. Nvidia was showing off their new GeForce 3D Vision product. The $199 3D Vision kit includes:

 

    
  • 3D active vision glasses
  • Adjustable nose pieces
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • 3D Vision USB controller/IR emitter
  • 5 foot VESA stereo 2.5mm stereo audio plug cable
  • 10 foot DVI to HDMI cable
  • 10 foot USB to mini USB cable (for the emitter)
  • 6 foot USB to mini USB recharge cable (for the glasses)
  • Quick start guide
  • Installation CD

 

Glasses box

Now here is my understanding of how the GeForce 3D Vision works. The compatible video card is connected to a 120Hz monitor via a dual link DVI connection. The emitter is connected to the PC via USB and it sends the IR signals to the active vision glasses. The video card displays the image on the screen twice with one image shifted slightly to the side. The emitter then works with the glasses to consolidate the image on screen into a 3D image.

So that is how it works, but does it work? Let me tell you all that it works like a dream! Right out of the box, the 3D Vision works with over 350 PC games including Far Cry 2, Mirror's Edge, Tomb Raider Underworld and one of my current favs, Left 4 Dead. I have being playing Left 4 Dead since the demo came out and I play it for over 10 hours a week. I was completely blown away when I experienced a game I knew so well in 3D for the first time. I decided right then and there that I had to frickin' own this kit. To that end I have officially requested a review unit from Nvidia, so hopefully I will get the opportunity to review the 3D Vision for you guys.

 

Far Cry 2

  The cord on the glasses is for security only.

The PCs that Nvidia was using to provide the power required for the 3D Vision experience contained either 2 or 3 GTX 280's in SLI. In that repsect I am ready to try out 3D Vision on my PC (I have GTX 280 SLI) but I do not own a 120Hz computer monitor. In fact, no one does right now. To that end Nvidia has partnered with Samsung to offer a bundle of one of the first 120Hz PC monitors (the 22" Widescreen 2233RZ LCD) with Nvidia's 3D Vision kit for $598 (which makes the monitor $399). According to this page, the bundle will be ready to ship in 7 to 10 days.

There are a few more details I would like to mention before I end this 3D Vision business. More games (mostly future games) will be made compatible with driver updates from Nvidia. Games that have already been released can be patched by their developers to include in-game effects that are designed to move out of the monitor and towards the player. For example, imagine having spells and/or swords coming at your face while playing World of Warcraft. Now none of the games I played or saw had those type of effects. I was convinced by the depth of the objects and the 3D mass of the bodies (and blood) alone. One of the people playing Left 4 Dead turned on the FPS counter via the console and I so I can tell you that the game was running at 56 FPS at 120Hz using a PC containing 2 GTX 280s in SLI. And lastly, I must say that Lara Croft's virtual ass looks so damn good in 3D. So good that I think Crystal Dynamics deserves a freakin' medal, so good that I felt compelled to mention how good that ass looked to at least two Nvidia employees. Sorry about that. My overt display of sexuality is over now.

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