Stereoscopic 3D with AMD HD3D and an Acer GR235Hbmii

This hot piece of Taiwanese hardware is my new monitor. It’s a 23” gaming monitor with stereoscopic 3D using polarization technology. My verdict after a few months of using it? It’s for sure worth the money! The Acer is currently priced around 170 Euro and is not only “3D ready” it IS “3D enabled” even for AMD users (like me) as you connect the monitor via HDMI 1.4a and this allows using native AMD HD3D support (i.e. in games like Battlefield 3, Dirt 3, Deus Ex Human Revolution) or running TriDef for other or older games.

There are a few confusing and misleading specs floating around the interwebs so let me clarify:

  • Make no mistake, this not 120Hz! It runs 60Hz or 75Hz in 2D and 23Hz in AMD HD3D mode.
  • The TriDef driver IS included and supported.

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Low input lag and response time
  • Nice design
  • Feels large even as a 23” monitor
  • Supports AMD (former ATI) graphic cards via AMD HD3D and TriDef
  • The polarization 3D glasses don’t need any batteries and are thus are not heavy
  • You can use any polarization 3D glasses, even those you brought from the cinema
  • Games with native AMD HD3D support run with DX11 and only a small performance impact (a good example is Battlefield 3 – with AMD HD3D I can play on high – with TriDef I have to switch to medium quality settings)
  • The TriDef forum is pretty cool and helpful

Cons:

  • Polarization 3D feels a bit blurry as it’s using interpolation
  • TriDef is a performance eater. It cuts the FPS of a game in half.
  • TriDef creates more ghost images than AMD HD3D.
  • Not all TriDef profiles work as expected. In Assassins Creed Brotherhood i.e. players have black eyes. A work around is avaibable but you have to find that in the TriDef forum.
  • AMD HD3D is scaling down the image via HDMI. This can be fixed in 2D mode via the overscan/underscan settings in Catalyst Control center but in 3D mode you get black borders. This looks like a bug and reported this to AMD and Acer

So what games do I enjoy most with stereoscopic 3D?

  • 3rd person games like Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction or Avatar the game just look cool as the character you play always creates a level in the foreground.
  • FPS shooters like Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3 look pretty good but actually I tend to close an eye when aiming so it’s even hindering the gameplay a bit. The only advantage I noticed was in Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer where you have small maps and other players often come out of corners or doors close to you. In that case the 3D was helpful to notice the enemy is close and make a melee attack.
  • Surprisingly Sonic Generations looks super cool in  stereoscopic 3D
  • Racing games like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit look sweet too

What about movies?

  • The are are few demos that come with the TriDef drivers and there is a site where you can watch and buy 3D movies online: yabazam.com
  • I have no Blu-Ray drive in my PC so I can’t tell if playing 3D Blu-Rays would work. I plan to buy such a drive though. Will update the post with learnings of course.
  • YouTube works perfectly with 3D and this monitor and actually has a lot of nice content.

Asus 6870 DirectCU

This is my new graphics card. An AMD Radeon HD 6870 based Asus with custom heat-pipe air cooling. More info: http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/AMD_Series/EAH6870_DC2DI2S1GD5/.

Before buying it I read tons of reviews on the AMD 6000 series and compared it to Nvidia GTX 460 and 550 Ti cards in the same price range… but first let’s start with the motivation why I upgraded: When I put together the configuration of my AMD Phenom II machine I had to be careful with costs. I even considered using the on-board HD 3300 graphics unit of the 790GX chip set motherboard (an Asrock AOD790GX/128M) but in the end went for an low-end 4800 series card, the ATI 4830. The performance of it is somewhere in the range of a Nvidia 8800 GTX. Basically sufficient for the majority of games that are currently on the market. Not sure if you noticed but games these days rarely go over the hardware limits of a Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Crysis 2 is a good example of that. Game developers develop cross platform so you don’t need a high end graphics card in your PC as the GPUs of the Xbox and PS3 are a bit outdated by now.

Moreover cloud gaming is upcoming! With OnLive your games will run on remote servers and also remote graphics cards. More Info: http://www.onlive.com/#1 Another argument for not spending much on a graphics card.

So why the new graphics card?

  1. There are actually some game titles on the PC that go beyond console limitations and one of them even came included with the 6870: Shogun 2 Total War! A game that would make an Xbox CPU + GPU smoke. A console simply could’t handle it.
  2. DirectX 11games are picking up. More and more titles make use of it and there are even value games like Stalker Call of Pripyat or Metro 2033 for 10 Euro that have DirectX 11 support. Of course the DirectX 11 launch-title Dirt 2 looks even better on it.
  3. OnLive is not available in Europe yet and the quality of the streaming video isn’t that good.
  4. I consider getting a 24″monitor for stereoscopic 3D and the 6870 supports AMD HD3D. Moreover you need 1GB video memory to run games with full HD resolution.
Why the Asus?
  1. The Asus has a kick-ass heat-pipe based air cooling system that allows to overclock it to 1 GHz.
  2. It’s relatively silent for such a powerful card.
  3. It came with a Shogun 2 Total War Steam key voucher.
Why not Nvidia?
  1. I don’t like these guys. Nvidia pays game developers ridiculous amounts of money to get exclusive support of their physics acceleration standard PhysX. AMD cards can do physics acceleration as well.
  2. Nvidia has some weird deal with Microsoft making these guys look even more bad.
  3. In the same price range (160 Euro) Nvidia cards suck performance-wise at the moment.
  4. Nvidia 3D Vision stereoscopic glasses cost about 130 Euro. Shutter glasses for AMD HD3D come included with Viewsonic 120 Hz monitors for example.
  5. The future belongs to AMD and to Fusion… the melting of CPU and GPU. This is why Nvidia is so pissed about Intel integrating this in their new Sandy Bridge chips. They didn’t complain about AMD because they probably would look just foolish 😉

Complete review @Legit I recommend to read if you consider getting the Asus 6870 DirctCU: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1605/

AMD’s HD3D


Since I read that the new AMD 6000 series supports stereoscopic 3D I’m obsessed with the idea of getting a 3D monitor + one of the new AMD 6850… the first monitor that will have HDMI 1.4a (needed for an AMD HD3D) is the Acer HS244HQ and I think I will get it. After reading many reviews I picked the XFX Radeon™ HD 6850 1024 MB dual fan Black Edition as my first choice.

More Infos:

http://3dvision-blog.com/acer-hs244hq-is-the-first-3d-monitor-with-hdmi-1-4a-stereo-3d-support/ &

http://xfxforce.com/en-us/products/graphiccards/HD%206000series/6850.aspx#3

DDD TruDef Ignition seems to be also the best 3D driver for games (although I’m a bit disappointed that I need to spend additional 50 bucks ): http://www.tridef.com/ignition/3d-games.html

There are voices about AMD HD3D that are skeptic but I think I will give it a try! (source: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776-3.html)

This whole stereoscopic 3D idea is everything but not new. I think for me it’s now cheap and technically mature enough to go for it. About 10 years ago my neighbor bought the ELSA 3D Revelator 3D glasses together with a Nvidia Riva TNT2 board but we never made any game really work with it. The 3D effect has been very poor and barely visible.


More info: http://www.stereo3d.com/revelator.htm (BTW: ELSA went bankrupt and doesn’t exist anymore)

Even more funny is that Sega tried to introduce this technology with the Sega Master System around 20 years ago:

Of course a Blu-Ray player makes sense for 3D… why not even a writer? LG has a n1: LG BH10LS

AMD site: http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/amd-hd3d/Pages/hd3d.aspx