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Closer Look at Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision

The glasses are shipped in a medium-size box painted Nvidia’s corporate colors. You can see the left part of the device through the transparent window. It looks like regular glasses with a large frame.

The box has an original folding design. Opening it up, you can find a pair of 3D glasses, a transmitter for synchronizing them with a computer, and a set of replaceable caps for the tips of the frame.

The glasses have a normal design and you can even wear them outside without being made fun of. The sides are rather too wide, but you can hardly suspect the glasses to have any electronics at first sight. When turned off, the lenses let pass about half the light, but I don’t recommend you to use your GeForce 3D Vision as sunglasses. Direct sunlight is harmful for the liquid crystals the lenses are made from. For you not to forget to take the glasses off before going out, they are equipped with a protective mechanism: the lenses begin to blink after a while when you don’t use the glasses.

All the electronics is located in the small excrescence on the inner left side. The glasses do not require a wire connection when working. They are powered by an integrated lithium-ion battery and receive the sync signal from the IR transmitter.

An On/Off button and a Power/Battery indicator are located on the top of the frame. The glasses shut down automatically after a few minutes of being idle. They blink with the lenses before doing that in order to remind you that you should take them off.

A standard mini-USB connector is used for recharging the battery. Theoretically, this interface might be used to update the device’s firmware, but Nvidia’s folks have told me that the firmware won’t be updated unless really necessary. Recharging takes 3 hours. The battery life is specified to be 40 hours (I did not have an opportunity to check this out myself).

The glasses are light. Its electronics does not feel as a weight when you wear them. An obvious disadvantage is that you cannot combine them with ordinary glasses for eyesight correction. The passive polarizing glasses from Zalman and iZ3D can be designed as clip-on lenses, but Nvidia’s glasses require a frame with electronics.

This problem can be partially solved by the nose pads included into the kit (three pads of different sizes). I wore them together with my ordinary glasses when using the GeForce 3D Vision and did not find them to be much uncomfortable, yet I did think about contact lenses.

The 3D glasses must be synchronized with the computer to dim the left or right lens simultaneously with the monitor’s change of the frames. This is done by means of an infrared transmitter that is guaranteed to work at a distance of 5 meters. It looks like a small black plastic pyramid. The transmitter must be located in direct view of the glasses.

The computer and glasses have a unidirectional connection, so you can use as many 3D glasses as you want with only one transmitter – all of the glasses will receive the same signal. It is yet impossible to buy the glasses apart from the transmitter, but Nvidia has promised to provide this opportunity in the future.

The transmitter has a mini-USB connector for connecting to the computer, a 3D Sync In socket for TV-sets that support GeForce 3D Vision technology (Mitsubishi’s DLP models are listed as such; you don’t need this socket when using the glasses with an ordinary monitor), and a wheel for on-the-fly adjustment of 3D depth. Although you can change various parameters, including the depth of 3D space, with hot buttons, the wheel is handier: you don’t have to remember the hot buttons, and the latter may not work in some games.

The GeForce 3D Vision needs an LCD monitor that supports a refresh rate of 120Hz (there are two such models available as yet: Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ and ViewSonic VX2265wm), a DLP TV-set from Mitsubishi (the model list is available at Nvidia’s website), other 3D-ready DLP TV-sets or a DepthQ projector. I have little doubt that the list of compatible display equipment will get much longer in the following months, and this is one of the strong aspects of the GeForce 3D Vision technology.

Unfortunately, many modern LCD TV-sets that are specified to have a refresh rate of 120Hz can only receive 60 frames per second from a computer and are not compatible with the GeForce 3D Vision as the consequence. Hopefully, this drawback will be soon corrected by the manufacturers. At least, they’ve got a good incentive to do that now.

The stereoscopic technology is compatible with all more or less advanced gaming graphics cards from Nvidia, starting from the 8800 GT and 9600 GT. This is because you won’t be able to get enough speed on weaker graphics cards – the graphics load grows twofold when you enable stereo mode. Both single- and dual-chip cards are supported including SLI configurations with two cards.

There are no other critical hardware requirements.

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