Video Card, Continued
Finally, the newest Nvidia 3D stereoscopic drivers currently available are beta 93.71 drivers, which are now months old. This means that they do not support the new 8800 series. Nvidia has hinted that new stereoscopic drivers will be released in the future, but the best possible card you can get for stereoscopic viewing at this time is the Geforce 7950 GX2.
Of course, you have to keep in mind that most digital projectors around $1,000 are limited to 1024x768, and the power of a monster card like the GX2 will be wasted at that resolution. You could buy a more expensive projector with higher resolution, but to keep the budget down you could simply invest in a cheaper 7000 series card like the Geforce 7900 GS. The 7900 GS will easily handle most games at 1024x768.
With this in mind, we chose the Sparkle 7900 GS (model SF-HPX79SDH) to showcase our ultimate 3D gaming rig.
It sports a completely silent heat-pipe cooling solution, which is great for a PC that's in the living room - it stays quiet while you're watching a movie or playing a game. In addition, the SF-HPX79SDH is HDCP compliant, which means it will be able to display the digital output of HD DVD and Blu-ray movies - another plus for a movie theater PC.
Hand in hand with its HDCP compliance, the Sparkle 7900 GS features an HDMI output, an extremely rare connectivity option on video cards and a big plus for the home theater system. It's a nice feature that guarantees a bit of longevity with respect to hooking up an HDTV and HD DVD/Blu-ray drive in the future.
Assuming you don't already have a compatible video card in your PC, a 7900 GS can be bought today for as little as $170. A premium card with features like silent cooling and an HDMI output - like the Sparkle SF-HPX79SDH card in our test machine - will probably be a bit more.