3DVision and 120HZ Displays: Are they right for you?

A long time has passed since the old days of anaglyph 3d images and the wearing of goofy looking red/blue tinted paper glasses.  If you frequent our Facebook page, I posed the question a couple weeks ago to everyone, and asked what the general consensus was on 3D anything.   Ranging from ad’s for 3DTVs, to 3D movies in the theaters, these are just some of the commonly hyped terms that you just can’t seem to avoid.   Well, what about gaming?  In terms of gaming, NVidia has become a synonymous name in bringing this “3D” fad into your gaming world.  I recently decided it was time to jump into a 120HZ display and it just so happened that 120HZ displays are often 3d ready, so why not give it a go right?  120+HZ alone is simply eye candy that provides good function in terms of gaming or watching movies.  From Battlefield 3, Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2, and all of the other titles I played this past weekend, the fluidity  and refresh rate is instantly noticeable coming from a standard 60hz display.   The 3D Vision on the other hand, was hit or miss (depending on it’s compatibility), and depending on the person it might not exactly be for you.  Before making a decision on a 120HZ display or 3d Enabled monitor, you have to decide a few things and see if this tech is something you can take advantage of.

  1. Does your graphics card support NVidia 3D Vision?
  2. Does your system allow your games to achieve higher than 60FPS?

Question number 2 being most important, you will need the power to push your games over  60FPS to get good performance out of the display in either mode (3d Enabled, or not).   Getting back to what I had asked on Facebook earlier, the general consensus was that the technology was overrated and not quite to what it needs to be.  Despite that, I decided Id give it a go.  Worst that could happen, Im stuck with a 120HZ fluid display to game on, and I lose 60 bucks on the glasses.   Generally, my experience with NVidias 3DVision was overall fairly good.  Games that are “3DVision Ready” showed fantastic results while games with a “fair” rating for being 3DVision ready made my head hurt in a matter of minutes.  Is 3D Vision something you can live without?  Of course.  You aren’t missing out on anything by not running 3D Vision.  I ran 3d Vision in Dirt 3, Battlefield 3, Torchlight, Diablo 3, and quite a few other games.  While I had a fairly decent time playing the games in 3D, the active shutter lenses cause a good amount of dimming of the screen that some users might not like at all, but there is just something about diving into a dungeon crawler in 3D, and although it’s not perfect, it does add another sense of feel into the game itself.   Nvidia’s software works by examining the “Z” co-ordinates already programmed into every PC game which means it works with virtually any video game. Some games work much better than others with 3D Vision and some  games (all OpenGL games) are not supported by Nvidia’s 3D Vision drivers at all.

Next question, is do you play fast paced games such as FPS shooters?  From Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, CoD, and Battlefield, gaming over  60FPS can provide pro gamers and casual gamers alike an advantage when running at 120HZ refresh rates.   Playing Battlefield 3 consistently for almost 200hours on a 60HZ display and switching to a 120HZ display was simply fantastic.  The gameplay seems so much smoother and your reaction time seem to coincide.  Console players need not apply if you are running on a 120HZ TV, your frame rates are no where near needed to be noticed.

Back to the glasses, my biggest qualm with the 3D Vision is the fairly prominent dimming of the screen itself when activated.  Rather than try and describe it to you in words, I will show you an example.  It seems these issues have been addressed in Version 2 of Nvidias 3D Vision but I am simply basing this review off of Version 1.

Active Shutters Off (3D OFF)

Active Shutters On (3D Activated)

As you can see it’s a pretty drastic difference.  If you’re in a low lighted room you won’t care much as the brightness reduction can offset a bit and give you a better viewing experience.  Overall I experienced very little ghosting and flickering found on previous generation “3D” devices I had tried out, and I was easily able to go over an hour in most games without experiencing any side effects.   So my advice to you if you are in the market for a new monitor and considering 3D, give it a shot and invest in a 120HZ monitor.  Even if the 3D experience doesn’t tickly your fancy at all, you still have an amazing monitor.  Most 24″ 120HZ displays are priced on average 150-200 more than typical 60HZ panels.  Remember, if your games dont play higher than 60FPS at native resolution you won’t see much benefit from a 120HZ display.

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