Back in January at CES 2009, I spent a bit of time playing with the NVIDIA 3D Vision glasses at the NVIDIA booth. I think the 3D effects that the glasses provide were one of the coolest things that I saw at the show. The active glasses have been available for a while and now that several notebook makers are starting to go 3D, we are seeing the glasses turn up in more places.
Asus announced a new gaming notebook today called the G51J 3D that includes the NVIDIA 3D Vision active glasses system for 3D effects. The notebook has a 120Hz refresh rate LCD that measure 15.6-inches. The NVIDIA 3D Vision system requires a 120Hz refresh rate to operate.
The notebook runs an Intel Core i7 CPU and has graphics via an NVIDIA GTX 260M video card. The machine is expected to launch "soon" for about $1700. That is not such a bad price really considering the 3G gaming goodness it offers.
So the Zune HD is finally getting some decent games. It took Microsoft a little less than two months to get them out but now that they are hear Zune HD owners can finally begin to show off the power of the Tegra inside their PMPs.
As of this morning the Zune Marketplace is showing roughly seven extra free games and apps. Of special note are PGR: Ferrari Edition and AudioSurf Tilt. We had the chance to grab these free games and to take them for a short spin. We can honestly report that the Zune HD is quite the gaming platform.
In PGR: Ferrari Edition we found the graphics to be excellent while the Accelerometer in the Zune HD offered better control than the one in the iPhone 3G (or 3G S). The game was fast paced and the audio processor is excellent at maintaining in game sounds.
On the other side is AudioSurf Tilt, this game does fail at the graphical level but as a whole is very fun to play and addictive as well. In the game you "drive" along a race track created based on the audio track you chose. You have to maneuver along it collecting colored cubes while avoiding speed bumps. It has a very fun Guitar Hero feel to it and was one that I found it hard to put down.
But with the good there is always a little bad. In this case the Zune HD's lack of a speaker can make the games awkward. To get the sounds you have to use a set of headphones, this makes holding and controlling the player awkward. There is also the slightly annoying issue that most of these games have an ad that you have to watch before they launch. So while the games are free, you end up paying with that annoying intro ad and the wasted time to get into the real game play.
The Zune HD launches tomorrow to what should be a great reception. According to early previews and information on the internals for the new Microsoft Media Player the Zune HD is looking pretty formidable.
The question is; will it be able to make a dent in the iPod/iPod Touch's massive market share? Well, MS is facing two problems; the first is the most important. MS has almost no idea how to market the Zune HD. Their marketing department is terrible. When you compare them to the highly polished Apple team it is almost comical. The second problem is one that is easier to tackle.
To compete at all the Zune HD must, hands down, outperform the iPod Touch. I am not talking about simple video playback; I am talking about in all respects. So far the Zune has probably the most powerful SoC out, the nVidia Tegra. This gives the Zune HD an advantage over the touch in terms of RAW CPU and GPU power. But having a great CPU/GPU is not enough.
The OS must do and have things that the Touch does not/cannot. As of right now the Zune has a few checks in this column. HD Radio, (rumored) Flash Support, 720p(+) playback, remote control (with Dock), and now it may be that the Zune HD has the upper hand in gaming. Check out this promotional video showing it playing Forza 3.
Maybe if the MS Marketing team can get their heads out the Zune HD might actually have a fighting chance.
So Microsoft might release project Natal in 2010 and they might have a new XboX 360. That is a lot of mights to be perfectly honest. But Sony on the other hand is saying they will have 3D TV support for the PS3 in 2010.
This was demonstrated recently. The new 3D Support will come in the form of a firmware update for the PS3. This simple (relatively) update to your console will enable 3D support for all existing titles.
That last line is the most important; this is not an update that will make it available for "future products" no it will enable it for all existing titles. All I can say there is wow.
3D gaming has been something of a dream for game developers. It allows the eye-candy and visual element of the game to become more active. Now if they can get the motion capture/control elements working then we are talking about a completely new level of immersive gaming and something to really look forward to in the future.
There is nothing like a new cool gadget and Fujifilm has one. This is a 3D Digital camera for the masses. The new camera is a small compact device that is capable of capturing 3D Images that are viewable without the need to special glasses.
The concept behind the capture is surprisingly simple; through the use of two lenses (similar to the old stereoscopic viewers) the camera is able to combine different fields of view (depth) into an image or movie that is fully 3 dimensional.
Fujifilm will also offer a special printing process for these images. The new FinePix REAL 3D W1 should hit the stores in Japan early next month followed by a general release late next month.
The REAL 3D W1 will not be an inexpensive gadget though; it will run about $640 US dollars.
Rumors are fun things, at times you can picture them happening and being a great jump forward for a product, company, etc. At other times they are just plain silly.
This is exactly where the rumor that Microsoft will be putting in stereoscopic 3D support into next generation Xboxs fits. The rumor says that the next Xbox 360 will have Natal motion sensing technology but that the Xbox 720 will not only have Natal but those cheap and cheesy 3d glasses you see at movies.
It then goes on to say that the new Xbox 720 won't start shipping until 3D HD TV support is more wide spread. This means that in 4-5 years Microsoft would be putting in support for a 3D technology that is outdated today.
Read more here.
So while the Xbox 360 would be getting Natal, the Xbox 720 (or whatever you want to call it) could have Natal and 3D immersion. TeamXbox claims that the 720 won't be launched until 3D television solutions go more mainstream, which by my guesstimation won't happen within four years.
Still, with Hollywood's focus on 3D, it's not hard to believe that Microsoft would design their home entertainment console to match-even if the risk would be huge.
Ok time for one last round of iPhone rumors before the end of my day. It seems that there is a lot of speculation on what Apple will bring forth onto the world at WWDC. Much of this speculation surrounds the iconic Apple iPhone.
For months there have been rumors, fake shots, blurry cams, everything you can imagine but as we get closer to the time when the announcements should be dropping we hear some good ones.
The latest is that the new iPhone will have a 3D Graphics Chip in it. I am not sure the purpose of this unless perhaps it is an nVidia off shoot and Cuda/OpenCL capable. At that point perhaps Apple might be looking at a way to push off some of the iPhone overhead onto the GPU.
But then again since we have heard a ton of other rumors who knows until the great bitten one gives us the details.
Read more here.
It is widely expected that Jobs' Mob will be showing off its new iPhone and according to the latest rumours this will include a 3D graphics chip, and operate on a new, higher-speed network. Apparently the new phone will have better Bluetooth support, an upgrade that will allow third-party developers to to release add-on products like a keyboard or game controller.
Apple is tipped to release the new gadget on July 17. The rumour has been largely sparked by an advert where Apple is seen to be hiring in-house game developers. It is unlikely that Apple will start producing games for its Macs so it is fairly likely the outfit wants to install games on the phone.
Another launch from nVidia, this time it is the 3D Glasses we told you about yesterday. Now that the lid is off we can tell you that nVidia has gone for a shutter technology that has some interesting requirements.
While most of the hardware needed is nothing special (you need a dual core CPU, Vista, and a series 8, 9, or 200 GPU from nVidia) where you will get hit is in the compatible monitor arena. There are very special requirements for this piece of hardware. For your average LCD you need a 120Hz model or a 100+Hz analog CRT. There are also a limited number of supported HD TVs and only one listed projector.
There is also a performance impact running the glasses so if you have a slow game it will be even slower running in 3DMode. Most seem to agree that the actual 3D view is very good but at $200 it is a tad on the expensive side.
Some reviews from around the Web:
Well CES kicked off today so the news will be full of interesting products. Our first article comes from Charlie Demerjian at the Inq.
It seems that Charlie was able to get a shot of nVidia's new 3D Glasses while checking out a projection system from Samsung.
These new glasses are very cheap looking (remind me of something found on a gas station sunglass rack) and if Charlie is right won't be great performers either.
Take a look for yourself here.
They were being demo'd on a Mitsubishi rear projection TV, one of the few that are certified at this time. I guess we don't understand the point of tying your product to a projection TV when every sane person has abandoned them for LCDs.
Maybe it is just us, but this is so 1990's.
nVidia is still having a rough time, Not with GPUs and MCH chips. No this time it seems they are going in the wrong direction with their newest 3D Glasses.
If you have ever tried a pair of these (not just from nVidia) they are not exactly the easiest thing on the eyes. They usually consist of a pair of glasses that are little more than small displays that alternate the image between your town eyes creating a 3D Effect. The last pair I used gave me a headache that lasted a couple of days.
According to Charlie Demerjian; nVidia is using a similar technology to the migraine inducing ones I remember. The Green team are choosing this technology at a time when everyone else is moving away from active glasses for that very reason.
Read more at The Inquirer.
NVIDIA IS BANGING the 3D drum with their new glasses called GeForce 3D Vision, but they are entirely missing the point. In typical fashion they are going about it not only the wrong way, but trying to counter the direction of the entire consumer electronics industry.
The technology they are using is active shutter glasses, something that went out of style when sane companies realised the costs involved. This is not to say it doesn't work, it does, but they are jacking the costs up for consumers in a way that doesn't make sense, halving the effective frame rate, and inserting a host of other problems as well.
Wow. 3-D. On Blu-ray.
On August 19th, Disney unveils the beast that is Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour replete with 1080p 3D version, and presumably 3D glasses.
So those of you who cannot get enough of Ms. Cyrus in 2 dimensions (yes, you in the back) can enjoy the experience that little bit more.
At Computex earlier this year Zalman was showing its upcoming 3D displays and they've finally launched them. We're looking at a 19 and a 22-incher and we're not sure if Zalman has come up with Trimon name as a play on Trinitron or Pokemon. Either which way, these new 3D display requires you to wear a pair of glasses for them to work and you need to use an Nvidia graphics card.
You might wonder about the latter requirement and the answer is simple, Zalman relies on Nvidia's 3D stereoscopic driver, which is flaky at best. At least the glasses you get with the Zalman displays look more like a pair of naff shades than something really nerdy as early types of stereoscopic glasses with LCD shutters used to be like.
For some odd reason, Zalman has decided to go with a traditional square 19-inch display with a native resolution of 1,280x1,024 while the 22-inch model is widescreen and does 1,680x1,050. Both displays features a DVI and a D-sub connector and are supplied with all the cables needed plus the 3D glasses. Both models also features a pair of built in 2W speakers, but we can't see any gamer that'll really want to use them.
There are some real downsides to using these displays if you've got a multi-core system, as several games are limited to only using one core and you have to disable the rest, which is simply just pathetic. You can also only play games at full screen resolution, as otherwise the 3D effect doesn't work. You're also limited to using a GeForce 5, 6 or 7-series card, as the 8-series isn't supported and if you've got Windows Vista, well then you can forget about it all together, at least until next year when Nvidia is expected to release a new driver.
Apparently you can use any graphics card if you want to watch videos in 3D with these displays but it seems like a bit of a waste of money to us. Zalman has a list of supported games and if they work with multi-core CPU's or not as well as with what display and what resolution they work with and currently this list consists of less than 40 games.
Club 3D has announced the availability of its HD2900 GT Heatpipe graphics card and the specs aren't far off from what we reported on here. The specifications don't differ significantly from what we already knew and the Club 3D card looks very much like a reference card with a sticker on it. None the less, the Radeon HD2900 GT is here.
As we mentioned, the GPU is clocked at 600MHz and it's based on the ATI R600 GPU. It has 240 stream processors and a 256-bit memory interface. It's of course a 256MB card and the GDDR3 memory is again as we told you earlier, clocked at 800MHz or 1,600MHz effectively.
On an interesting note, the PCB of the card on the picture above is not the same as the one used for the 2900 XT/Pro, as it only features an 8-pin PCI Express power connector and it has some odd holes at the rear that looks very much like screw holes. The power regulation also seems to have been redesigned, but the card appears to use the same heatpipe cooling as the other 2900-series cards.
Club 3D will ship a DVI to HDMI and a DVI to D-sub adapter with the card as well as an S-Video and a component video out cable and a Crossfire bridge connector. We don't have a price or an exact date of availability as yet.
You can find out more here
Following on from our early look at the performance of AMD's latest HD 2900 series offering in the HD 2900 PRO, we begin to see add-in partners announce variants of this awesome bang for buck card. Club 3D have issued out a press release detailing their HD 2900 PRO 512MB GDDR3 - Limited Edition graphics card.
The perfect choice for fast and smooth DirectX 10 gaming with a massive 320 Unified stream processor engine. Running on 512-bit 512MB GDDR3 memory. Built to get the best out of your games for an attractive pricing level. High performance intelligent cooling design for optimal reliability.
An announcement from Club 3D today lets us know they've added a new completely passive-cooled 8500 GT graphics card to their lineup, sporting 512MB of GDDR2 memory running at 800MHz and a GPU clock speed of 450 MHz.
Further information on it can be found here folks.
Club 3D is proud to announce today a new graphic card based on a NVIDIA chipset. The new generation of DirectX® 10 graphic cards increases with a new mid-range product with completely passive cooling.
The Club 3D 8500 GT 512 MB passive is based on the latest G86 chipset from NVIDIA. The graphic card is clocked with a 800 MHz 512 MB GDDR2 memory and a GPU speed of 450 MHz. The Club 3D 8500 GT 512MB passive is now the most attractive low priced DirectX® 10 graphic card with passive cooling available. The perfect graphic card for HTPCs or modern noiseless PCs with support for HD Video.
NVIDIA make even more noise today with yet another announcement which lets us know that they are currently demonstrating the world's first prototype implementation of the Khronos OpenKODE™ 1.0 specification for handheld devices, this being shown off at the 3GSM 2007 World Congress in Barcelona.
Learn more about it via the press material here.
SINGAPORE - FEBRUARY 13, 2007 - NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today announced that it is demonstrating the world's first prototype implementation of the Khronos OpenKODE™ 1.0 specification and using this new open standard to accelerate an intuitive user interface concept design at the 3GSM 2007 World Congress in Barcelona. The demo showcases:
• Multi-tasking in a multi-windowed environment
• Fully accelerated translucent window compositing
• Innovative 3D user interface with transition effects
In line with the release of Windows Vista, NVIDIA have just issued out a press release emphasising their dedication towards providing you the best Vista experience with Vista-Certified GPUs and motherboards.
Get the full rundown in their press room folks.
SANTA CLARA, CA-JANUARY 30, 2007-Today's launch of Microsoft Windows Vista marks the first time that a major operating system requires a graphics processing unit (GPU) for the best experience. In fact, both The New York Times and CNET Networks have reported that Windows Vista requires a graphics processor, while USA Today noted that, "To use Vista's slick graphical interface, users need a sophisticated graphics card."
To meet the needs of enterprise and consumer PC users, NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) has certified the industry's broadest range of GPUs and media and communications processors (MCPs) to be Windows Vista Ready. NVIDIA is the only graphics company with four generations of GPUs and MCPs to be certified by Microsoft to be Windows Vista Premium Ready, and the only graphics company to release Microsoft DirectX 10-capable GPUs. For consumers, this means a stellar out-of-the-box experience with Windows Vista driven by the NVIDIA hardware inside the PC.
Deal of the Day details:
Offer: These are probably going to be out of stock every soon, so get it while you still can. $50 rebate is set to expire 2/25/07, but probably won't last much longer. Where else can you find a 2GB flash drive for free!
No Thanks to Microsoft, if it wasn't for Creative having just finished working on and released a new OpenAL wrapper, a lot of people would be VERY pissed off, and for damn good reason :-
Microsoft made the (quite stupid?!) decision to remove the hardware abstraction layer on their new Vista operating system, basically meaning no DirectSound3D and EAX support in Pre-Vista game titles. Sure if you only use 2 speakers then this wouldnt effect you, but there's a HELL of a lot of us that get a big kick outta playing our games with surround sound goodness as well.
Creative's own "ALchemy Project" gets around Microsoft's audio limitations and enables hardware acceleration for DirectSound and EAX audio algorithms. Thankyou-thankyou-thankyou Creative!!
More info over at the DailyTech folks.
Creative Labs has opened up the doors to its ALchemy Project to enable hardware acceleration for DirectSound and EAX audio algorithms in Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista. The Alchemy Project is currently in its beta stages and intends to work around Microsoft's audio limitations in Windows Vista due to the removal of the Hardware Abstraction Layer, or HAL.
Microsoft's removal of the HAL removes the software layer required by digital signal processors to enable hardware acceleration for various 3D audio algorithms including DirectSound3D and EAX in pre-Vista games. Nevertheless, digital signal processors that support OpenAL can still take advantage of hardware audio acceleration.
AMD/ATI's responding (R600) graphics card family to the new 8800 series from NVIDIA isnt due to be launched for another 2 to 3 months yet, but the Inquirer have managed to source some indefinite details behind the development of this card and it's looking to be one hell of a monster.
ATI'S R600 GPU features a number of innovations and improvements that are interesting, to say the least.
First of all, you need to know that this PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is the most expensive one that the graphics chip firm has ever ordered.
It's a complex 12-layer monster with certain manufacturing novelties used in order to support the requirements of the R600 chip, most notably the 512-bit memory controller and the distribution of power to the components.
Two more media kits have also made their way to us from GIGABYTE a short time ago, these being for a new addition to their CPU cooler lineup in the "3D Rocket II", as well as a new revision of their 3D Galaxy to be released dubbed the "3D Galaxy II".
We expect these new products to surface around the same time as the 3D Aurora 570 Chassis, sometime next month.