The video card is a critical component in any 3D gaming projector setup. Unfortunately, the decision of which video card to choose is a complex one.
Before you select a video card, you should know that there are essentially two stereoscopic drivers to choose from: the eDimensional stereoscopic driver, or the Nvidia stereoscopic driver.
Choice A - A video card for use with the eDimensional driver
The eDimensional driver is a mixed bag, with some really good and really unfortunate traits.
The good traits first: the eDimensional driver allows the use of any 3D videocard! Because it is hardware independent, it does not require a specific brand of hardware. The eDimensional driver will also work with your LCD screen: this is a very useful trait, as LCD screens are the new standard in PC monitors.
The eDimensional driver is also compatible with projectors.
The eDimensional driver sounds perfect, but there are some real problems with it when projecting. First, it works by using interlacing: this means that if you're broadcasting on a 1024x768 projector, each eye sees only 1024x384 resolution. This is a pretty big detriment to visual quality.
It's second, and worst, problem: it's not a native part of the video card driver, so it's not exactly reliable. In fact, it can be downright buggy; so buggy, in fact, that we found its controls simply didn't work most of the time. Once it was manually disabled, we found, to our surprise, that it would often find a way to remain enabled, providing interlacing artifacts even on the Windows desktop.
We wanted to test each game on the projector with both the eDimensional and Nvidia drivers to compare results, but we were unable to get the eDimensional drivers to work with the projector at all. This is odd, because we did have limited success in some games on our LCD monitor - like Star Wars Battlefront and even Blazing Angels - but the projector was a no-go.
As it stands, the eDimensional driver's biggest asset is its compatibility with any hardware, which means you probably don't need to go out and replace your videocard. But its visual quality and reliability problems are so pronounced that it's not really an option if you want to experience great stereoscopic gaming. Still, it is available, and since we did manage to get it working with our LCD monitor with some titles, we felt it was worth mentioning.
Choice B - A video card for use with the Nvidia driver
For the best quality stereoscopic 3D you can get right now, there is only one choice: the Nvidia stereoscopic driver. There are a few very important reasons for this.
While the eDimensional driver severely degrades image quality by interlacing the image, the Nvidia stereoscopic driver does not interlace the image. This means the Nvidia driver delivers twice the vertical resolution of the eDimensional driver.
Nvidia's drivers work with almost everything, and have far fewer technical issues with games than the eDimensional driver. If you're serious about stereoscopic 3D, Nvidia is the way to go.
Unfortunately, the Nvidia stereoscopic drivers also have some harsh limitations.
First, the Nvidia driver won't work with LCD screens. This is not a huge deal if you want to watch on a 3D projector, but it's worth mentioning.
Second, the Nvidia drivers don't work with projectors unless you purchase an inverter. This is because a projected image inverts the 3D effect, so that the right eye will see what the left eye is supposed to see. The Nvidia stereoscopic driver does not have an option to invert the 3D effect, so you'll need to purchase a 3D stereo inverter (more information on the 3D stereo inverter below).
- The Poor Man's Virtual Helmet: Wall-Sized 3D
- Choosing A DLP Projector For 3D Compatibility
- Equipment Check List: What Else Do We Need?
- Video Card
- Video Card, Continued
- 3D Stereo Inverter (for The Nvidia Stereoscopic Driver)
- Step 5: Configure The Stereoscopic Driver For Use And Test Operation
- Test System & Gaming Experiences
- Flight Simulations
- First Person Shooters
- Racing Games