Gaming has undergone drastic transformations since the old days of the original Doom or Castle Wolfenstein. Antiquated mip-mapping/sprite rendering has been replaced by higher polygon counts, larger textures/mapping techniques and faster graphics processors. Users' relationships to their 3D environments, however, are still achieved through interpretation of a solely two-dimensional projection.
Enter the wonders of the Neurok Optics's new iZ3D 17" LCD monitor. The manufacturer of this little gem hopes to stimulate greater interactivity/realism by extending visualization of video output along the viewer's Z-plane. Any of you who have had the pleasure of viewing 3D projections utilizing shutter-based, "nausea-inducing" glasses won't be disappointed to hear that the polarized frames used with the iZ3D are passive.
The monitor ships with one set of glasses and you have a choice of two types. One is a Kenny Loggins, "Highway to the Danger Zone - Top Gun" edition, while the other looks like something Bono would be proud to wear on the warpath of U2's recent Vertigo tour. The company also manufactures clip-ons for users that wear prescription lenses. We couldn't discern any visual difference between the units provided and regular "off-the-shelf" polarized sunglasses.
Let's Get Started
To get things going you'll need a dual-output Nvidia graphics card to take advantage of the monitor, as there is currently no support for comparable ATI products. Users willing to lay out the scratch for the display shouldn't be too put off if they need to purchase a supported video card, as the MSRP on the iZ3D runs $1,299. Our benchmark uses an Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT card with 256 MB GDDR3 memory, which will set you back around $250. Hey, if you've got the money for the car you've probably got some "spare change" kicking around for the gas...