3D Vision has been out for a while now and is available to many people for an equally long amount of time. But unfortunately many people does not include us folks in Australia. While we could essentially get a hold of a 3D Vision kit from the U.S, getting a monitor was another story, until now that is.
Both Samsung and ViewSonic have released their 120Hz 3D Vision compatible monitors to the market here and it's time to see what exactly is going on. We've got the ViewSonic VX2268wm FuHzion monitor with us today along with the 3D Vision kit.
The problem with reviewing 3D Vision is that all you can really give is an opinion. While this is true with all reviews, when you have a look at a video card review you have a number of graphs with performance numbers; you can see the bundle, check out the cooling and noise levels and so many other things. Really, you're able to make up your own mind on a product like this without us giving our thoughts.
3D Vision on the other hand is different; we can't take a picture of a game in 3D because it will mean nothing to you. We can't compare the 3D image to a standard one; there are so many things we can't do. What I can do, however, is test a bucket load of games and give you my own opinion on 3D Vision in that game before wrapping everything up and giving my final thoughts on it.
First, though, we'll have a closer look at the 3D Vision kit from NVIDIA and the VX2268wm FuHzion from ViewSonic. Hopefully I'll then be able to make your decision a little easier as to whether to buy or not to buy 3D Vision.
The 3D Vision Kit
Having a look at the front of the box, you can clearly see what we're looking at. Looking through the plastic front, you can also see the glasses that are required to make use of the 3D Technology.
One of the most important areas on the box would probably have to be the right hand side. Here we see the requirements for 3D Vision; you have to remember it's not just a simple requirement to have an NVIDIA card and any monitor. You need to have a 3D Vision compatible monitor like the VX2268wm FuHzion one we have from ViewSonic. The main feature you're looking for from a monitor is the 120Hz refresh rate; it's best to check out the manufacturers website before buying a monitor if 3D Vision is something you're interested in.
Inside the box we're got a heap of paperwork that lets you know how to get the device up and running. You've also got a driver CD, but we opted not to use it. Instead we went to the NVIDIA website and grabbed the latest version of the 3D Vision drivers. The biggest benefit to the new drivers is the game profiles which will make sure you get the best possible use out off 3D Vision.
Inside the package we've got three mini-USB to USB cables. While we've seen other packages with two, we're not sure if we've got one too many or others have one less. Either way, you only really need two; one connects the IR Receiver to the PC while the other is used to charge the glasses.
The 3D Vision Kit - Continued
Continuing to look at the cables, we've got two other ones here. The first is a communications cable that connects between a DLP TV and the IR Receiver; you only use this in the event that you aren't using a monitor.
The other cable we have is a DVI to HDMI cable which is used if you want to hook your DLP TV up to your computer. These two cables are mainly for people who will use 3D Vision on something like their home theater PC. We didn't have to use either of these cables, but it's good to see that NVIDIA has included the necessary cables so that people with capable DLP TVs can use the kit out of the box.
As far as extras go, we've got a cleaning cloth for the glasses along with a pouch for them as well. We've also got some covers that go over the nose part of the glasses so you can be feel comfortable wearing the glasses if your nose shape is a bit different. It's again nice to see that NVIDIA has put the thought into the product. I've found with some glasses I can get a headache if the nose piece is too tight. I'm glad to report that inside the bundle there was one which was perfect.
Outside of all these cables and extras, there's really only two main pieces to the whole kit. The first would be the IR Receiver that sits near your monitor. The front lets us know it's running while the back gives us a connection to hook it up with your computer and DLP TV. We've also got a scroll wheel here that lets you control the 3D depth. Once you're in games you might find that you fiddle a little with this to find a perfect setting. With this device you can turn on and off the 3D effect, so if you find one game doesn't work great with it, you don't have to completely unplug the device or anything like that.
The second part to the whole setup is of course the glasses. Now, you're not going to see these down any Milan runway, but the good news is you don't look as stupid as you could and that in itself is a win. The only really stand-out point of the glasses would be the mini-USB port that is on one of the arms; this is used to charge the glasses.
NVIDIA say that it takes four hours to fully charge the glasses and out of that you'll get around 40-hours of game play. When there's two hours or less available, the LED light on the other side of the frame will flash red. Really, what we would suggest you do is when you're not gaming, leave them plugged into the USB charger. With 40 hours available you shouldn't have to worry about the glasses going flat at any stage.
The ViewSonic FuHzion VX2268wm
The glasses are only one half of the whole combination that is required to get 3D Vision up and running. The second part is to have a capable monitor like the ViewSonic FuHzion VX2268wm. The thing is that this isn't just a monitor worth looking at if you're interested in 3D Vision, the main feature of a 120Hz refresh rate is a huge plus for gamers, period.
There's not a huge amount to say about the monitor; inside the box we've got a manual and driver CD and along with them we have a few cables which include DVI, VGA and power.
The monitor sits in two parts when in the box. The stand in this case actually screws onto the monitor as opposed to clipping in like most other monitors. The setup is easy, but more importantly, it adds a higher quality feel to the whole unit which makes it really stand out as a quality piece of equipment.
My understanding of the VX2268wm when compared to the more regularly available VX265wm in the U.S. is that the 68 has a better on-screen display, better stand and 0 lag. The most important feature of these would be the last one. In saying that, though, you only have to look on forums around the world and see people in the U.S. are raving about how good the 65 model is and how it's the first time they've been able to use an LCD monitor after using a CRT one with a high refresh rate for so long.
While I personally can't comment on any of the above, in a direct comparison I can say the stand is excellent. The OSD is a pain like every other monitor's OSD and the thing looks sensational when playing fast moving games without 3D Vision.
If you're a regular gamer and you're looking at buying a 22" LCD, this is the one to get. The bottom line is that the 120Hz feature in itself is going to be enough for people to buy it, while the fact that it also includes 3D Vision is a bonus.
The VX2265wm is going to set you back $249.99 at Newegg. This isn't cheap considering that 22" monitors can be had for $154.99 and the cheapest ViewSonic being $179.99. However, in saying that, it's also not the most expensive with the new ViewSonic LED based 22" coming in at a huge $459.99. And while this monitor doesn't offer the same brightness levels as the LED based one, it looks simply fantastic and the bottom line is that the 120Hz refresh rate makes gaming absolutely sensational.
If you're looking at getting a new monitor anytime soon and you don't mind spending a bit more than the cheaper units out there, check out one of these 120Hz ViewSonic monitors. By the end of the review, you might just find that you'll also want to get a 3D Vision kit to really bring the whole unit to life.
Test System Setup and Install Ease
Test System Setup
Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.67GHz
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5
Video Card(s): GIGABYTE GTX 285
Memory: 6 X 2GB Kingston Value RAM PC3-12800 1333MHz DDR CL9
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 640GB SATA 2.0 HDD x 2 in Raid 0
Operating System: Windows Vista 64-Bit
Drivers: ForceWare 195.62 and 3D Vision v1.17
While I would tend to test just about everything on my test beds, today I opted to use my own computer. The main reason was that it was much easier to game on as opposed to my testbeds which have mice all over the place and keyboards and monitors in weird positions.
So with my much beloved Dell 30" monitor with its 2560 x 1600 resolution being demoted to the floor and the much smaller 22" ViewSonic VX2268wm being upgraded from the box to the prestige position that is my desk with its 1680 x 1050 resolution, it was time to get everything going.
So what I did is pulled out the games catalogue and started installing everything I could. I used these new games I had with ones already on my machine to determine my thoughts on 3D Vision.
What we'll quickly do before we dive into the experience in a number of games is just firstly talk about the setup of 3D Vision.
If we could only describe the setup of 3D Vision in one word, it would be "Easy." While I tend not to use manuals, I thought I had better this time as I didn't want to muck anything up. The manual is written so well in the sense that it means that anyone could setup the device. If you're able to install a mouse, you shouldn't have any problem installing 3D Vision.
While we didn't use the included CD, we downloaded the latest version of the software from the NVIDIA website, opened the ZIP file, ran the setup and the whole process tells us how to install the device and then allows us to test it to make sure everything is working.
I really thought that 3D Vision would be quite easy to setup because it needed to be. But this was just such a breeze and there's really no reason why anyone should run into any problems getting 3D Vision up and running.
3D Vision Experience - Sims 3
NVIDIA list 3D Vision support for Sims 3 as Fair. Since we don't really know what any of the ratings really mean at the moment, we've got a good chance to have a look now and see what exactly is going on.
With Sims 3 installed, it was time to fire it up and see what we've got going on here. Once you get into the game and start playing you can easily notice the 3D effects; it really looks quite good with many 3D effects being seen.
If you've played the game before you can clearly see that the bottom menu and your cursor sits on another level. If you zoom in and have a look at the house, you can get that 3D effect with the walls and some of the furniture.
The problem is that with the cursor, when you try to click things it can be a bit hit and miss. You might feel you're sitting on top of the icon you want to press, say the newspaper on the foot path, but you can't click it. You have to move your mouse around a little bit to get the right icon showing up so that you can select it.
This was the first game I tried, though, and for the most part it was really a lot of fun and a really different experience. To be honest, I think NVIDIA has done a really good job here giving the game a Fair rating. It's not perfect, but you can clearly experience 3D Vision and as time went on you'll get used to having to work the cursor.
Our Rating - Fair. NVIDIA are pretty spot on with the rating they have given it. While the game works in 3D from an effect stand point, the nature of the game and having to click on small items makes it really quite difficult.
3D Vision Experience - World of Warcraft
When I initially setup 3D Vision it was maintenance night on the WOW servers. While this isn't much of a surprise to WOW players, considering it's been a few months since I played and had completely spaced out on the fact that there was weekly services, it was kind of bummed out.
The thing is it went from bad to worse; the guys behind WOW added 3D Vision support a bit back in a patch update. This meant that you can go into the options and actually enable the technology. The instant I turned it on and was sitting at the menu, I found myself WOWed over WOW.
The menu looked so good and seeing the Skelton Dragon that comes down from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack really kind of pops out at you; it's simply amazing. So, now it was just a matter of playing the waiting game, go to bed and fire it up the next day to find out exactly what we have going on.
Combining all this with the fact that NVIDIA give the 3D Vision support of the game as Excellent, I found myself with high hopes. The sensation of playing WOW in 3D is awesome, and I mean like really awesome. You can't fault the experience you get from the game when you play.
But, in saying that, it can be a little hard to read the standard text box. You really need to increase the font size. Also, in a raid it's a bit crazy; you have so much going on and your mind is going into overload, with "Ohh, Aww." etc. We're not sure we would want to work through Ulduar. It's really full on and I can feel my brain doing more than it really needs to.
Our Rating - Excellent and a bit. Once you hit level 80 I'm not sure how much use you'll get out of it when you do some hardcore raiding. It's really quite full on and does feel like it's a bit too much. You can adjust the depth and what not, but you would probably just be better off playing without it. In saying that, though, if you're going around helping out some lower level people with easy quests or you're starting a new character, it's great because these situations aren't as intense as massive level 80 raids. If Excellent was an A and Game Changing was an A++, this would be an A+.
3D Vision Experience - Red Alert 3
NVIDIA list Red Alert 3 as Good. Firing up the game and playing it, though, we're not sure if this is the best rating. While the game really does work for the most part pretty perfect, with 3D Vision there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of effect.
The only thing I can really notice that sits on a different level is the cursor. Unlike Sims 3, though, the icons are quite big in the game and you don't run into that issue where you're trying to hit the right building or unit.
So while the rating of Good is probably fair enough and a good representation of how the game works with the 3D Vision kit, due to the lack of effects that you get from the game you don't really get much of a 3D experience.
I actually went back to the game a few times to make sure my feelings on it remained the same and the more I played it, the more I felt there was some kind of effect, but I almost felt as if I was talking myself into it.
It's not exactly a new game at the end of it all, so we're not sure how much use it would get with a 3D Vision kit. In the event you buy the kit, you now have a little bit better idea of how it's going to look.
Our Rating - Fair. While NVIDIA have given this a Good and the rating is probably fair in the regard that using the kit doesn't have any negative effects when playing, the bottom line is that this is due to the limited 3D effects and for that reason we've given this game a fair as opposed to a good.
3D Vision Experience - Far Cry 2
This is another game that NVIDIA has given an Excellent rating to and to be honest, once you fire up the game you can clearly see why. As someone who's already had a good run through Far Cry 2 when it launched, playing it again with the 3D Vision kit was like a whole new experience.
Due to the first person nature of the game, you don't have those same issues that we saw in games like The Sims 3; there's no trouble aiming and hitting what you want and doing things like driving are just a completely different experience with the kit.
Really, if this game was launched around the same time as the 3D Vision Kit it would clearly be a 3D Vision Ready title, because to be honest, it feels like that now.
Our Rating - Game Changing. The simple fact is that if you've got Far Cry 2 installed or nearby, you're going to want to play it again with the 3D Vision Kit. It adds another dimension to the game and we're not just talking about the 3D effects. I really enjoyed playing Far Cry 2 with the kit and it's clear why it has an excellent rating from NVIDIA.
3D Vision Experience - Mirrors Edge
When Mirrors Edge first came out I had a brief look at it due to the fact that it was one of the first games to support PhysX. The game in general did very little for me, but I thought it was time to give it another crack, except this time with 3D Vision. NVIDIA give Mirrors Edge a Excellent rating which means we're expecting some big things from the game.
Getting into the game and playing it, there's plenty of 3D goodness. You get a really nice effect from the game with the 3D Vision kit, but we're not sure what made this game an Excellent as opposed to a more appropriate Good.
It's really difficult to put your finger on it to be honest. I'm not sure if the game feels a little blurry from the effect or what, but there's just something there that doesn't feel quite right about the game. What you would probably find is while you would probably take the time to have a good bash with Mirrors Edge using the kit, it's not something that you're going to find revolutionary.
We think that the NVIDIA rating was a little too generous in this case. There's clear 3D effects and you can play the game with the 3D Vision kit with no real dramas, but it clearly feels like there's something there that separates the game from being in the Excellent category. We tried adjusting the depth and while it did get a bit better, there was still that weird sensation of something being off.
Our Rating - Good. While the 3D effects are no doubt present, there's just something about the whole experience that feels slightly off putting. If this was the first game that someone played with 3D Vision, they would likely go, "The effects are cool, but it just plays a little funny." It's better than Sims 3 for playability, offers greater 3D effects then Red Alert 3, but it's not the same as playing some of our Excellent rated games.
3D Vision Experience - Darkest of Days
Up until Darkest of Days I had really found myself not disappointed with 3D Vision. Having a look through the game support list over at NVIDIAs website, a search didn't find NVIDIA giving the game a rating. Due to the OpenGL nature of the game, it doesn't offer any support for 3D Vision.
While for the most part it's not the end of the world considering it's one of the more recent games to come which manages to make good use of PhysX, you do find yourself disappointed that you're unable to enjoy any 3D goodness within the game.
This is something to remember when it comes to games. If you do play something older and it's OpenGL based, you're right out of luck when it comes to making use of 3D Vision. The good news is that few games these days run on OpenGL so you shouldn't have much trouble with many recent titles.
Our Rating - Fail. It doesn't work. There's not much more you can say; we understand that it's not NVIDIAs fault that the game is based on OpenGL and it did remind us that the kit doesn't work on OpenGL based games, but at the end of the day, if it doesn't work, it fails.
3D Vision Experience - Batman: Arkham Asylum
I've actually played a heap of Batman: Arkham Asylum on my PS3 and 52" Full HD Sony XBR LCD TV and to be honest I really felt myself entrenched into it. Since I played it just before bed, I felt after having to deal with the Scarecrow that I needed to put some South Park or Family Guy on just to clear my head a bit.
In saying that, I found myself really looking forward to firing up Batman: AA on the PC, especially since NVIDIA label it as 3D Vision Ready. You can't get any better than this as far as NVIDIA is concerned. And with already having some great experiences with the excellent rating on Far Cry 2, the bar had been set high.
Once you get into it you find yourself feeling the 3D effects instantly with the menu and the good news is it only goes from good to better. If you've played the game you would clearly remember the starting bit in which you follow the guards to take the joker to his cell. Hardly anything to get excited about, but with the 3D Vision kit you find yourself in awe of the effects, walking up close to the guards and a bit past them to see the 3D effects happen right in front of your eyes.
With PhysX and full 3D Vision support, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a real flagship title from NVIDIA. The good news is it has received fantastic reviews around the world and the game play is fantastic with it only being beaten by the story and voice work.
Our Rating - Game Changing. If you've played Batman: AA already on normal difficulty or easy, here's the perfect reason to fire it back up on hard and get stuck into it. This is an A1 title for NVIDIA with PhysX and 3D Vision support. The fact that the game itself is so awesome is just a massive bonus. While I might be playing on something that is 30 inches smaller than what I was on, the experience is simply awe inspiring; it's one of those titles that you will be showing off to your friends.
3D Vision Experience - Resident Evil 5
If there was a word to describe Resident Evil 5 with 3D Vision, it would be "Awesome!". One of only three 3D Vision Ready games, playing this with 3D Vision enabled is simply an experience in itself.
Turn the lights down, crank up the audio and be prepared to play a Resident Evil game like you've never played one before. It's really hard to fault the experience of this game in any way; you can see the time and effort has been put into RE5 to make sure that the gaming experience with 3D Vision is top notch.
This is really demo material when it comes to trying out 3D Vision. The style of game being a third person shooter makes it an ideal candidate for this kind of technology and you can clearly see why it is one of only three 3D Vision Ready games. If you've already played the game I really doubt that you would have any problem firing it up again and going through it.
Our Rating - Game Changing. While NVIDIA classify the game as 3D Vision Ready, when it comes to our rating we classify it as Game Changing. This game with the 3D Vision kit is a bit like Crysis in the sense that you played the game because it was such a big jump when it came to graphics. The difference here, however, is the game doesn't suck and you don't need hardware that doesn't exist yet to play it.
3D Vision Experience - Sid Meier's Civilization IV
Here you've got a game that was released in 2005 and NVIDIA has given it an Excellent rating when it comes to 3D Vision. Before firing up the game I really found myself a bit skeptical about this. I had a look at Red Alert 3 which received a Good and while it was good, the lack of 3D effects had me feeling it wasn't quite deserving of that rating.
Civilization IV is different, though, and it's really one of the first times I understood the ratings that NVIDIA gives the games. Here you've got a game where the mouse pointer is one of the most important aspects of the game and you don't have that weird feeling like you're kind of guessing where to click to select what you want like Sims 3.
I tend to play Civilization IV from the highest camera point and you get a good feel of 3D effects. The menus sit right in front of you and give the feeling that you could kind of grab them and start selecting what you want. As for the players and animals, you also get a really good sense of 3D. As you zoom in, though, that effect is just multiplied; moving in to look at the elephant camp, you have this really great sensation.
Civilization IV is one of those games that I play when I want to sit back, put on some music and spend a good couple of hours not having to worry about anything. While initially it does take a little to get used to, the whole effects of 3D Vision with little things like "Press Enter to end turn" not being as noticeable as it sits more in front of you, after a little bit of time you get into the swing of things and it becomes a fantastic play.
It's not like Resident Evil 5 in the sense that it's a completely new experience, but it has a good feeling about it and just brings a bit of new life into a game that has been around for almost five years. You wouldn't buy the 3D Vision set if all you played was Civilization IV, but if it was just one of the many games you played you can know that you're going to see some value in playing the game with the kit.
Our Rating - Excellent. This is a really good balance of effects and playability. While I felt a bit skeptical going into it thinking it would be a bit more Sims 3 and Red Alert 3, when it come to effects it really wasn't. It offered some really nice effects and while it did affect my game play initially, it didn't take that long to adjust.
3D Vision Experience - Dirt II Demo
Dirt II doesn't get a rating over at the NVIDIA 3D Vision game support site so we didn't expect a lot from it. Once you fire up the game you're quickly going to become concerned with what's going on. There's some serious weird effects taking place that really make your eyes go all over the place.
The problem is that you see glimpses where the 3D detail is perfect, and I mean Resident Evil and Batman: AA perfect. What I found myself doing at the menu was closing one eye when reading some of the text. It made the whole process quite easy; I figured I had taken the time to install the game, so I should at least fire up a race to see just how wacko it was.
You get into a game, though, and your mouth just drops. You find yourself sitting on the grid and the effects are instant. You increase the depth of field which you've dropped down to make the menus more bearable and the game is just instantly satisfying.
Our Rating - Excellent. There's some serious issues with the menu system when it comes to Dirt II, but unless you're playing in the menu it doesn't matter. Close one eye and quickly navigate through them and you don't run into any real trouble. Once you're in a game, however, the effects are amazing and it just breathes new life into the game. Considering how big this release was for ATI due to it being DX11 based, the 3D Vision effects are much more noticeable when it comes to racing. If the menus get fixed up like we're sure they will, this would easily go from an Excellent to a Game Changing experience. You simply can't look past the wackiness of the menu system at the moment, though.
3D Vision Experience - Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Demo
Sitting at the bottom of the 3D Vision game support website is a few games that are Not Recommended and in the middle is Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. What does Not Recommended mean, though? Firing up the game and getting into the battle, you notice that the screen is really messed up. You have a real sensation of being very drunk as you find yourself staring down two barrels, looking at two crosshairs and realizing you only have one gun.
The thing is that if you drop the depth of field down via the IR Transmitter right to the bottom, the guns match up and the game begins to looks really good. So while I went in and thought, "Oh, I can see why it's not recommended", within a few minutes my thought process went more like "What was NVIDIA thinking? this is kick ass!"
So you start going out to the local waypoint, enjoying the 3D effects that go on around you and you notice an enemy. Right, you think, time to deal some hurt. As you start moving towards the enemy you zoom in and start to see two dots on where you're supposed to aim. If you try to aim at the enemies head with either of those dots, you're not going to hit anything. On the other hand, if you place his head directly between the two, you're right on the money.
Our Rating: Fail. The bad news is 3D Vision is not recommended in this game and it's clear why when you start to engage the enemy. The good news is that the game isn't all that great; it's got a short single player game and the multi player is really horrible. The game looked really exciting from initial previews, but the problem with hype is that it has to live up to it.
3D Vision Experience - James Cameron's Avatar: The Game Demo
As we come to the end of our game testing, we check out the new Avatar game based on the new James Cameron movie. While the movie looks absolutely sensational, the game hasn't really received the same praise with some poor storytelling and weird controls. With the game falling under the Excellent category, I found myself hoping that I could experience it in a way other people haven't had the chance to.
Once you get into the game you notice some issues with it crashing and the device drivers failing. The good news is that it seems to be a common issue that NVIDIA are working on and there's a really easy work-around that I found when googling "Avatar 3D Vision Not Working".
If you're running into the same problems, here are the easy steps that I followed:
1. Go to the NVIDIA Control Panel, Stereoscopic 3D and enable the "Hide stereoscopic 3D effect when game starts" option (if you haven't already). This will allow you to avoid the crash you are getting at the start when you try to run the game with 3D Vision enabled.
2. If you completely disable the 3D Vision from the control panel, you won't see the mode present in the list of S3D options inside the game menu, but the game will also start, avoiding the crash when you have it with Stereoscopic 3D mode enabled. So you need to have it enabled, but hidden when the game starts!
3. Run the game, go to the Options menu, Display and Enable 3D, choosing NVIDIA 3D Vision in the list if 3D formats. This will activate the 3D Vision and you don't have to press the button on the IR emitter to activate it, although it was set to be disabled when the game starts.
4. As an alternative to step 3, you can skip the activation from the in-game menu of the 3D mode and use the button on the IR emitter or CTRL + T. This basically does the same thing as activating the mode from the in-game Options, just be sure that the NVIDIA 3D Vision option is being selected in the Options menu as a 3D format, otherwise you might happen to have two different 3D modes activated at the same time and this might lead to significant performance drops and visual problems.
Anyway, with the game all sorted, it was time to get stuck into the demo level. If the 3D effects of the game are anything to go by, the 3D effects are going to be nothing short of stunning. The game looked absolutely fantastic and you'll probably find yourself picking up the full version after having a bash of the demo with the 3D effects on. Why this game isn't part of the 3D Vision Supported list is beyond me as it even has in game settings under the options for 3D Vision.
Our Rating - Game Changing. The game hasn't received the best reviews around the world, but in the demo when it comes to fighting hammerhead you really feel so much a part of the game that it's amazing. While you probably don't want to get the game at the MSRP, when it hits the bargain basement it's going to be something worth picking up. After playing the demo first with 3D Vision off, you go from what is another run of the mill 3rd person shooter to something that has jaw dropping 3D effects and gives you a real sense of being a part of the game.
Benchmarks: The Performance Hit
With 3D Vision enabled your computer is technically doing twice the amount of work than what it would do with 3D Vision disabled. Apart from the huge amounts of memory that I have which make programs like Photoshop a whole lot more pleasurable to use, there isn't anything that is too stand out on my main PC.
Since I really don't have heaps of time for games, my PC doesn't carry anything that any performance gamer probably doesn't already have. So with my i7 920 clocked at its default 2.67 GHz speed and the GTX 285 that has served me well the past 12 months, let's have a look at how performance was in a few of our games that have built in benchmarks.
Of course, all our benchmarks will be ran at 1680 x 1050 only and we'll use the same in-game settings as we used in our games when using 3D Vision which we thought where comfortable.
- Far Cry 2
- Resident Evil 5
We can see under both games there's a clear drop in FPS. The good news is that really, once we started playing the games with 3D Vision, we didn't really notice any noticeable slow down. The good news is there's plenty of ways to gain some extra FPS if need be; overclock your CPU or video card, drop in game detail or upgrade to a faster video card, albeit another option would be a GTX 295 and with new NVIDIA models coming next year, we wouldn't recommend it.
While it might really feel like a bit of a slobbering love fest when it comes to 3D Vision, not everything is perfect and before we wrap it all up in saying how wonderful it is, let's just mention some of the cons.
For starters, with 3D Vision enabled your games become a fair bit darker. What you will probably need to do is up the contrast on the screen. Also, in my peripheral vision my notebook could be seen and when 3D Vision turned on, that screen would begin to flicker when my email was being shown or something else that's text heavy. If I dropped back to the desktop or the screen saver came on, the issue was gone.
The main elephant in the room is of course the performance. While you're only gaming at 1680 x 1050, you don't want a card that can only handle that resolution. Because the card is doing twice the work, the resolution is equivalent to something that would sit between 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600. So while you might think that 3D Vision might be a good option for you and your GTS 250, you might want to think twice. In saying that, though, new NVIDIA cards are coming which are going to give a good upgrade path, be it if you're looking for something new, or something second hand.
The final negative that is worth mentioning would have to be that when you're in 3D Vision you go from a 120Hz display to what is essentially a 60Hz one. For so many people this isn't going to be a problem, but if you bought the FuHzion monitor because of the massive refresh rate and you wanted that extra smoothness, you're not going to get it. In saying that, though, I've been on 60Hz LCDs for years now and I have no issue with them. You do kind of realize what you're missing out on, though, when you fire up a first person shooter at 120Hz on this bad boy.
Now for all the good. You know there's not a whole lot more that I can say that hasn't already been said throughout the article. For so many games the inclusion of 3D is just simply awesome with some games finding a whole new experience being offered.
The other thing is while you might not like NVIDIAs "Way it's meant to be played" program, it's this same program that's going to advance 3D Vision into more and more games over the coming years. Unless you're an ATI fanboy, there's really no reason not to like the program. It's just unfortunate that ATI don't seem to have the same resources as NVIDIA when it comes to helping companies with game development.
The price on the setup is going to be a bit hit and miss for people; the 120Hz screens have come down in price and you don't feel like you're getting something second rate so you can use 3D Vision. It's the opposite, really, with you getting something that's much better than many other displays in the same category.
Gaming support is also something that is fantastic. While I knew what 3D Vision was, how it worked and all that other stuff, I wasn't sure how game support would go. But to look at a game like Civilization IV that is going on five years and supports this technology in such a great way, you know NVIDIA have really put a lot of effort into this device.
The biggest downfall for me personally as someone who isn't a major gamer would be the fact that I'm currently limited to displays that are only offering 1680 x 1050. As someone who cherishes desktop real estate, it kills my productivity in many ways and while I did this entire review on this 22" VX2268wm monitor, ranging from editing photos to doing graphs, it's been a long time since I had to full screen something that wasn't a game.
If you're looking for a new monitor, check out the VX2268wm from ViewSonic, it's nothing short of amazing. Grab yourself a 3D Vision kit, albeit second hand or new, and take it for a spin and see what you think. Worst case scenario, you could get rid of 3D Vision for hopefully only a small loss and still own one of the best 22" monitors on the market.
While not for hardcore multiplayer gamers, 3D Vision is an excellent option for casual to heavy casual gamers that enjoy a good single player game, but feel it's time to kick it up a notch. While not perfect in some games, there's many that look fantastic and NVIDIA continue to add more and more to the list as the months go on.
While I can't tell you to really buy it or not to buy it due to the simple fact that the effects and the experience you get from 3D Vision is very personal, I like to think that I've at least broadened your knowledge on how the device is running these days on some of the hottest games around. I personally love it and think it's a major step forward in 3D gaming and I think that many people out there will have the same experience. In saying that, though, we understand that people still get eye strain or headaches from the technology and unfortunately that might not be something you discover till you try it. I found myself fortunate enough not to run into any of these problems and just enjoy 3D Vision for everything it was, is, and will continue to be in the future.