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Eyewear: GeForce 3D Vision

Tom's Hardware's 2009 Gift Guide: Part 2, System Add-Ons
By: Devin Connors

From 3D movies like Avatar to the hardware being pushed by Silcon Valley, 3D technology seems to be the future for digital entertainment. Nvidia is putting its weight behind enabling 3D gaming, picture, and movies, and the GeForce Vision 3D kit represents the graphics giant's foray into this not-quite-new, but rapidly developing frontier.

In the 3D Vision Kit box, you’ll find a pair of active shutter LCD glasses (with pouch and cleaning cloth), a 3D Vision USB controller/IR emitter, VESA to 2.5mm stereo cable, DVI to HDMI cable, a USB cable (A to mini-B), and the install CD.

The stereoscopic LCD glasses are “based on modern sunglasses,” and certainly have some futuristic, angular style to them. The glasses are very lightweight (1.76 ounces), and have built-in rechargeable batteries (via USB).

The best part about the 3D Vision Kit and the technology behind it is its compatibility with previously-existing software. Nvidia claims it works with over 350 DirectX game titles, with no need for tweaking or special patches. This means that older titles like Battleifleld 2 and Call of Duty 4 can come to life in 3D without you pulling your hair out trying to get it working. New titles like Resident Evil 5 and Batman: Arkham Asylum come “3D Vision Ready,” meaning they are actively optimized for the Vision kit.

The one caveat with 3D Vision is the required display technology. In order to use Nvidia’s 3D Vision with your TV or computer, you need a 120 Hz display or a DLP TV. Since most LCD monitors are 60 Hz (unless stated otherwise), you’ll need to upgrade in order to take advantage of the 3D functionality. Actually using GeForce 3D Vision is also taxing on your graphics card, since each scene is essentially rendered twice. You'll need a GeForce graphics card, and we'd recommend using something with some muscle behind it, like a GTX 285 or two. For more on our GeForce 3D Vision coverage, check out this launch story from earlier in 2009.

If you have a 120 Hz display, a compatible Nvidia graphics card, and a Windows Vista/7-based PC, the 3D Vision Kit from Nvidia will bring your games to life with eye-popping performance and 3D so real, you’d swear that Navy Seal with the SCAR is actually in your room barking orders.

Chris' Take: while it would have been good to catch Sarah with these one, we didn't. Boo.

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