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nVidia 3D Vision





nVidia 3D Vision 


Just about all of us have used those stylish anaglyph cardboard glasses with the red and blue lenses to experience 3D movies or games at one time or another. If you’re like me, you were probably not very impressed with the “3D” effect they produced. nVidia has raised the bar with their 3D Vision gaming equipment allowing you to play your PC games in ultra realistic 3D.

The 3D Vision setup consists of three critical components: a compatible nVidia graphics card, a compatible true 120 Hz monitor, and of course the 3D glasses. The setup I am reviewing includes an aging yet compatible nVidia GeForce 8800GT graphics card, a Samsung SyncMaster 2233 monitor, and the standard nVidia 3D Vision glasses. Visually the Samsung monitor looks just great. Its shiny black finish and smooth curved edges give this display a very modern high-tech look. Even when not being utilized for 3D gaming, the monitor produces bright and crisp images regardless of what its use may be. The 3D Vision glasses themselves are much more aesthetically pleasing than their cardboard predecessors; however this did not seem to squelch the giggles of my wife as she entered the room and observed me wearing my nifty new spectacles. I shrugged off the mockery and continued my journey into the brave new world of 3D gaming. I could write pages on the amazing quality of 3D imagery these glasses produced. I first tested the setup with Batman Arkham Asylum which was one of only two games designed for 3D Vision at the time of testing. If you’ve ever been to a modern 3D movie where objects and characters appear to jump off the screen and enter the theatre, this is exactly what you experience when playing games that support 3D Vision. I was quite skeptical of what I had heard and read about this technology until I experienced it for myself. It is truly a 3-Dimensional gaming experience right in your own home. To get all of the details on this technology, I would suggest visiting the nVidia website.

I wear eyeglasses and cannot see well enough to use the computer without them. My concern was that the 3D Vision glasses would not allow me to wear my regular eyeglasses at the same time. According to nVidia, their glasses are designed to fit comfortably over most standard eyeglasses. I found this to be true for about the first 5 minutes. After that I began to notice some discomfort in the nose area, which in my case is a considerable area. The added pressure from the 3D glasses began to press my standard light-weight glasses down onto my nose which increased gradually from slightly distracting to annoyingly painful. This is likely my biggest complaint about the hardware as it somewhat ruins the immersion experience. I attempted playing without my eyeglasses but squinting and leaning in within inches of the screen not only detracts from the experience but also causes your level of perceived coolness to suffer. In addition to the physical pain these specs are capable of inflicting, you could also experience a massive headache if you play for too long. I initially found that playing for more than 30 minutes or so would begin to cause eyestrain and would eventually lead to a full blown headache if a break wasn’t taken to rest the eyes. Of course as your eyes adjust to the 3D visuals, in time you will be able to play for longer periods with less fatigue.

The glasses are wireless and will require recharging on occasion. The glasses supposedly can allow gaming for up to 40 hours before requiring a recharge. I have not tested this claim as I have found it simple enough to just plug them into the provided USB charging cable when not in use. I should also note that you can use the glasses while they are connected to the USB charging cable. I have done this while at the same time wearing my headphones. This of course results in numerous dangling wires and causes you to resemble a Cylon on life support. The lithium-ion battery pack in the nVidia glasses is integrated into the frame and is NOT replaceable. This is concerning since a replacement pair of glasses will set you back $149 bucks. According to nVidia, the battery pack when used and charged as directed should function for at least 6 years. Realistically by this time a newer and less expensive technology will be available and the glasses will have become as obsolete as your dust buster.

It is hard to argue that this technology has any usefulness beyond that of entertainment. I know this because I tried to think of everything I could to justify the expense at the time of purchase. The fact is that unless you are an avid gamer and have the time and money to spend playing 3D compatible games, it may be wise to wait another year or two and see if the price drops. At the time I purchased this equipment the price tag was nearly $500. Keep in mind that this did not include the graphics card which I already owned. You can easily figure another $200 for a compatible card if your current one isn’t up to snuff. One amazing thing about this technology is that nVidia has managed to make it backward compatible with hundreds of games that were released years prior to the release of 3D Vision. This was one of the selling points for me as I already owned several games which were rated either “good” or “excellent” on nVidia’s 3D Vision compatibility list. Overall this should be considered a luxury item and I would caution buyers that they may experience some remorse after purchasing. The technology is very cool, but the sticker shock is not so cool. I have sadly underused this equipment as the initial novelty has worn off a bit. Perhaps you can benefit from my hindsight.

As for the family friendliness of this equipment, I would say that most games designed to work with this are not necessarily going to be designed for families. In addition to the lack of family friendly games, it is not much fun for others to watch you play. You see, while you are viewing an incredible 3D world full of life and excitement, other observers lacking a pair of 3D Vision glasses will see fuzzy double imagery and may find that they have become temporarily cross-eyed. Your hard earned dollars are likely going to be much better spent doing something together as a family that everyone can enjoy.
- Roger


Graphics: 95%
Sound: 65%
Replay/Extras: 75%
Gameplay: 55%
Family Friendly Factor: 45%
System: Personal Computer
Publisher: nVidia
Rating: 'NR' for Not Rated

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