NVIDIA’s 3D Vision Surround: A Game Changing Experience?

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: June 28, 2010
Product Name: NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround
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Somewhere in the last five years, PC gaming lost its allure. Gone are the days when we see multiple triple-A PC exclusive titles released over the Christmas season or developers who are able to push the boundaries of PC hardware. For the most part we have begun seeing a general tendency for the large game developers to gravitate towards consoles. No matter how much we PC gamers decry these facts, console hardware is less expensive, more adaptable to a home theater roll and in many cases easier to set up and maintain. Those are the facts but both NVIDIA and ATI have realized it is possible to bring gamers back into the PC fold by offering them innovative technologies that improve the overall gaming experience. Instead of concentrating on technologies which involve players flailing around like idiots, a new focus is being put on display immersion by taking advantage of surround gaming.

The concept behind surround gaming is quite simple: to expand the image across more than one display which in theory allows for a wider field of view along with heightened situational awareness. Unfortunately, this genre had been mostly reserved for a select few who were willing to dive into an expensive and honestly not very well supported niche. We can’t really go further into this article without mentioning the fact that ATI blazed a trail by making their Eyefinity surround gaming technology accessible to a much broader market than any past solutions. With it, the possibility of three or more displays was suddenly within reach for gamers who wanted something a little more from their PC. In its relatively short time on the market, Eyefinity has found a legion of devoted fans.

Late last year we began hearing about NVIDIA’s own multi display technology but in true competitive fashion, they took surround gaming and added their own twist. Not only will NVIDA allow for up to three monitors to be used but their 3D Vision technology is also being leveraged to further engross people in the games they are playing. Dubbed NVIDIA Surround for the standard 3-monitor setup and 3D Vision Surround for the full-on 3D setup, consumers now have a choice of either a high end monitor configuration or a no holds barred stereoscopic experience. Naturally, this puts significant load upon the graphics subsystem which should definitely benefit the newest GTX 400 series cards but unlike ATI’s technology, NVIDIA’s Surround solution is compatible with past cards as well. That means people who have some higher-end GTX 200 cards will also be able to experience the glory of surround gaming.

NVIDIA believe their 3D Vision Surround will appeal to more people than ATI’s Eyefinity for a number of reasons. While we will wait for a future review to pit both technologies against one another, this article will act as an overview about this new entry into the gaming market and give some of our initial impressions. Expect a follow-up article shortly with complete benchmarks and more so let’s call this a primer of sorts before we get into the real meat of the situation.


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