3D Performance
Here is the part of the article NVIDIA didn’t want to see – our results of apples-to-apples testing going from 2D mode to 3D mode.  In this section we took the same image quality settings we used in the 2D mode and simply enabled 3D stereoscopic gaming and re-ran our same testing scenarios.  The reasoning for this was our own curiosity: how much of a performance hit does enabling 3D gaming at this resolution actually entail? 

The reason NVIDIA doesn’t like this comparison made is because it is going to make 3D Vision look bad as a technology when that is definitely not our intent.  I think any consumer should realize that there is a performance change when enabling 3D gaming modes as the GPUs are forced to render twice as many pixels.  The solution is OF COURSE to lower the resolution or image quality settings until you find the new “best” playable features in the 3D mode.  And on the next page, we do just that and write about my experience using 3D Vision Surround as it was meant to be used.

As for the results below, think of it as an endeavor into the world of scientific theory.

NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  1

NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  2

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a game rated at “3D Vision Ready” according to NVIDIA and as such is completely ready for the stresses of running in 3D.  In my testing the performance drops nearly exactly 50% which is kind of what we expected – doubling pixels and halving performance.


NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  3

NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  4

DiRT 2 is actually not recommended for 3D gaming by NVIDIA due to some graphical effects like the dust kick-up behind the cars not having appropriate depth information to be rendered correctly.  We ran it anyway and actually I didn’t find the experience all that awful.  Performance going from 2D mode to 3D mode only dropped by about 35-40% in part to that automatic AA-reduction we mentioned on the previous pages; NVIDIA took our 4xAA settings and reduced them to 2xAA in 3D mode.


NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  5

NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  6

Metro 2033 didn’t drop AA levels since we it had set to “AAA” in the game options but performance saw a drop of about 58% which is again in the range we were expecting.  Obviously playing in 3D mode at this resolution and quality settings would be recommended but simply moving down to “Normal” would do the trick!


NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  7

NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround Revealed - Graphics Cards  8

Left 4 Dead 2 was a different story all together.  Apparently there are some complications in the way the AA is rendered in the Source engine that affects 3D Vision performance pretty drastically as we see a drop in performance from over 140 FPS to under 20 FPS!  I talked with NVIDIA about the issue and while they agree there may be a bug here they just say that this is sometimes the result of 3D Vision’s “hacks” to get 3D working across so many different gaming titles.  Using NVIDIA’s recommend settings of 4800×900 with 0xAA the game did run just fine in 3D mode at more than 50 FPS.

I should also make sure everyone realizes that with 3D Vision enabled these displays have to run with Vsync enabled otherwise the 3D effect can be negatively impacted.  That is most of our tests above show the 3D version of the benchmarks settling on frame rates that are a multiple that corresponds to the 120 Hz refresh rate (60/30/20, etc). 

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