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Nvidia 3D Vision Surround: Is This The Future Of Gaming?

Benchmarking 3D Vision Surround

You’re going to see fewer benchmarks here than you otherwise might in a GPU-based review. Much of this is a direct effect of 3D Vision Surround’s compatibility. 3D Mark Vantage, Crysis, Aliens vs. Predator, and DiRT 2 are all titles we’d normally include. But because they don’t render properly, you’re realistically not going to run them in 3D. It’s a small consolation that you’ll at least be able to play in Surround 2D.

To show off what 3D Vision Surround can do (and to demonstrate how quietly a pair of GeForce GTX 480s can really run in SLI—a claim that I corroborated in my GeForce GTX 480 Update), Nvidia brought over a beautiful machine built by Digital Storm. The Core i7-960-based processor was overclocked to 3.8 GHz, opening up plenty of headroom for graphics performance. The Raven RV02-based enclosure (complemented by a few custom touches by Digital Storm) is well-suited to a high-end graphics configuration, since it exhausts hot air out the top.

Bear in mind that the benchmark results with Eyefinity 6 listed don’t refer to a six-display array, but rather a pair of Radeon HD 5870 2GB boards driving the same three displays as Nvidia’s Surround (2D) arrangement, so it is, in fact, an apples-to-apples comparison.

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i7-960 (Bloomfield) 3.20 GHz, 4.8 GT/s, 8MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings enabled. Turbo Boost enabled
MotherboardEVGA X58 FTW3 (LGA 1366) X58/ICH10
Memory6GB Tech NPS DDR3-1600 (3 x 2GB) @ DDR3-1600
Hard DriveCorsair CMFSSD-128GBG1D 128GB SATA 3 Gb/s SSD
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB SATA 3 Gb/s Hard Drive
Graphics Cards2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 480 1.5GB
2 x Radeon HD 5870 2GB Eyefinity 6
Power SupplyTech NPS 1,000W Power Supply
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectXDirectX 11
Platform DriverIntel INF Chipset Update Utility 9.1.1.1019
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce 258.69
AMD Catalyst 10.6
Games
Just Cause 23D: All settings maxed out. 2D: All settings maxed out. Desert Sunrise benchmark, 4800x900 / 5760x1080
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 23D: All settings maxed out, Depth of Field: off, AA: disabled. 2D: All settings maxed out, Depth of Field: enabled, 4xAA. Second Sun, 45 second sequence, FRAPS, 4800x900 / 5760x1080
DiRT 23D: Not compatible. 2D: High Settings. Steam version, Custom benchmark script, DX11 Rendering, 4800x900 / 5760x1080
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat3D: Static Lighting, Extreme settings. 2D: DirectX 11 Lighting, Extreme settings, SSAO: default. , Benchmark tool, 4800x900 / 5760x1080
Battlefield: Bad Company 23D: All settings maxed out. 2D: All settings maxed out. Opening cinematic, 145 second sequence, FRAPS, 4800x900 / 5760x1080
Far Cry 23D: DirectX 9, Bloom Disabled, Post FX: low, Shadows: medium. 2D: DirectX 10, Ultra High quality settings. Benchmark tool, Ranch Medium, 4800x900 / 5760x1080
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • killerclick
    What are those lines between the screens? Oh yeah, it's the black plastic the monitors are made of! Three monitor gaming = FAIL.
    Reply
  • meat81
    Without sounding ignorant like killerclick, they do need to start producing mainstream monitors that have little to no bezel. If not then i might as well buy a 32-40 inch TV that does 120-240hz and go with that.
    Reply
  • liquidsnake718
    Hell you might as well go all out and connect 3 32 or 42 inch samsung series 6-8led tvs and tri sli or crossfire 5970's..... one would definitly need watercooling systems and core i7 6 core chips, with an ROG x58 board with ssd's max RAM, win 7 64bit, and 1000watts... this machine would then have to played in full airconditioning and with crazy sounds with some amps and extra lighting effects.....

    You would then have total fun playing games like Crysis, Resident evil, left for dead, Dirt, and Cod MW2..... one can imagine
    Reply
  • liquidsnake718
    all for the cost of around $7500... this would last you for about 3years of fun.... then after, youd have to get rid of it
    Reply
  • gxpbecker
    better yet, a single fold out (nearly bezel-less) display.
    As the article says, this is all nice and dandy but the costs are high, to say the least. However as time passes this technology will be more affordable for us average joes. Good too see GRFX companines are pushing new toys
    Reply
  • gxpbecker
    liquidsnake718Hell you might as well go all out and connect 3 32 or 42 inch samsung series 6-8led tvs and tri sli or crossfire 5970's..... one would definitly need watercooling systems and core i7 6 core chips, with an ROG x58 board with ssd's max RAM, win 7 64bit, and 1000watts... this machine would then have to played in full airconditioning and with crazy sounds with some amps and extra lighting effects.....You would then have total fun playing games like Crysis, Resident evil, left for dead, Dirt, and Cod MW2..... one can imagineAnd will cost as much in power to run that machine as an Air COnditioner during the Houston Summer.
    Reply
  • Onus
    The scales are way too big. Too much money, too much power needed (which means more money), and way too much physical space. Cost and power usage may come down, but space? In the mainstream, I'd sooner expect the VR headset to make a return.
    Reply
  • Reynod
    I wish I could afford all of that hardware ... alas not.

    The Samsung 120HZ 24" monitor, glasses and GTX card cost us arond $780.

    Played it for a few days and got sore eyes.

    Gave it to the kids.

    They played with the glasses for a week.

    Now the glasses are in a drawer.

    Not much more to tell really.

    The whole experience with the glasses reminded me of:

    The yoyo
    The pogo stick
    The hat with the beer cans on top of it and the tubes
    The Bling "Gaming" case with neons that I disconnected
    The Superfloppy
    The external CD Burner
    The ex-wife

    All terribly short experiences of delight (dynamic quality) followed by a feeling of bewilderment and a sense that I had been played by a consumerist market.

    C Wright Mills please save me ... from myself.

    Chris ... is there a cure ?
    Reply
  • ravnoscc
    I have a question:

    Could you explain how the bezels are compensated for in 3D Surround mode? I am trying to imagine how having 2-3 inch spaces in between each projected image would look in 3 dimensions... Having difficulty, but maybe a short explanation?
    Reply
  • theroguex
    So long as there is a bezel, there is no point to having surround in games. None at all.

    Well, racing games could get away with it.
    Reply