Twice As Bright: NVIDIA Announces 3D Vision 2

Hardware

3D Vision 2

October 14th, 2011
By James Wang

Since NVIDIA launched its 3D Vision 3D stereoscopic solution in 2009, 3D gaming on the PC has been steadily rising in popularity. Today, over half a million users are using 3D Vision. Over 550 games are supported, and a loyal legion of 3D fans exchange photos and videos on 3DVisionLive.com and 3D YouTube.

While feedback from the 3D Vision user base has been overwhelmingly positive, they have been asking for larger and brighter 3D displays. The only drawback of the first generation 3D Vision monitors is that they appear darker in 3D mode. Furthermore, the active shutter glasses also make the environment light dimmer, making it difficult to read individual keys on a keyboard.

Today, NVIDIA announced 3D Vision 2, a new range of panels and glasses that increases the brightness of 3D images by up to 2 times. At the heart of 3D Vision 2 is a new technology called NVIDIA 3D LightBoost, a technology that lets monitors go beyond their standard level of brightness when used in 3D mode. This effectively compensates for the loss of light from the LCD lenses shuttering, making the 3D image feel almost as bright as a standard 2D image.

3D Vision 1 vs. 3D Vision 2

3D Vision 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor. Thanks to larger panels and 3D LightBoost, the image is bigger and brighter. Environment lighting is improved too, making the keyboard easy to read.

In addition to increased screen brightness, 3D LightBoost monitors also increase environmental lighting. Currently, the 3D vision glasses are closed in both eyes during right-to-left and left-to-right transitions. With the new 3D LightBoost monitors, the backlight is switched off during frame transitions and the glasses stay open longer. This brightens up not only the image but also the overall environment, making the keyboard much more readable. This is great for those who play games such as World of Warcraft that require lots of keystrokes and macros.

As part of 3D Vision 2, NVIDIA is introducing a newly redesigned set of glasses with 20% larger lenses and improved ergonomics. The new design slims down the earpiece, making the glasses comfortable to wear with gaming headsets for hours of 3D gaming. A light blocker has been added to the top side of the lenses to cut off unwanted outside light, providing for a more immersive experience. Perhaps best of all, the improved glasses will stay at the same price point at $149 for the glasses + emitter kit and $99 for the glasses only.

3D Vision 1 vs. 3D Vision 2

The redesigned glasses block out unwanted external light. They are also more comfortable when used together with gaming headsets.

Having heard about all of these technical improvements, I was eager to see if 3D Vision 2 greatly improved the 3D experience. After spending some time comparing the original 3D Vision solution to 3D Vision 2, I found the difference quite startling.

Putting on the original 3D glasses and playing on existing monitors was like entering into a dark room. Everything from the screen to the table to the keyboard became darker. It's understandable why the loss of brightness was a concern for some users.

Switching to the new glasses and the new ASUS VG278H 3D LightBoost monitor revealed a different story. The improvement in brightness was instant. The dark veil was gone. The environment was fully visible but not distracting. The image coming off the monitor was bright and detailed. Individual keys on the keyboard were easily legible. The new 27” monitor also has 50% more viewing area over the original 22” displays from two years ago. The expanded display improves peripheral vision, and when combined with 3D, often comes close to replicating a theatre like 3D experience.

Overall, 3D Vision 2 offered a much better gaming experience than its predecessor. The larger size, doubled brightness, reduced ghosting, and improved ergonomics make for a highly immersive experience when playing 3D games and added a ton of fun when looking at 3D photos or movies. Being native 120 Hz panels, the latest 3D Vision 2 monitors are also highly compelling 2D monitors, allowing you to play first person shooters at 120 frames per second without screen tearing.

In the next few weeks two of the year's most anticipated titles, Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City, will be released. The predecessors for both of these games were developed with 3D in mind (they were rated "3D Vision ready") and their successors are expected to work just as well if not better.

Battlefield 3 Beta

Battlefield 3, like Battlefield 2 Bad Company, is designed with native 3D support. If you think the game can't look any better, wait until you see it in 3D.

I’ve had a sneak peak of both games with 3D Vision 2 and they are looking fantastic. If you want to have your own sneak peak of the characters in Batman: Arkham City in 3D, check out our gallery on 3D Vision Live.com.

While the original 3D Vision kit was geared more toward enthusiasts, 3D Vision 2 feels more mature, polished, and at $149, accessible to mainstream PC gamers. If you've been wanting to upgrade to 3D, this may just be the perfect time.

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