Nvidia debuts 3D Vision 2 tech

I reviewed the first version of Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology over two years ago. Since then, 3D has become a word synonymous with controversy. Whether its higher movie ticket prices, 2D-to-3D conversions, or the home 3D TV dilemma, 3D definitely sparks interest.

Nvidia 3D Vision 2 Nvidia debuts 3D Vision 2 techAccording to Nvidia, the number of 3D-capable monitors increased by 112 percent in 2011 from quarter one to quarter two and the number of 3D notebooks increased by 126 percent in the same time period. And with more than 550 3D games available on the PC. So, it would seem that at least hardcore gamers taken with the tech.

The technology isn’t perfect though and Nvidia seeks to improve the 3D experience in a couple key ways with its new 3D Vision 2.

Glasses get a redesign, not a an “upgrade”
The orginal 3D Vision glasses were made of hard plastic and thanks to its active shutter technology made game images look a lot darker than when playing normally. Nvidia seeks to change that.

While none of the actual hardware or base technology in the 3D Vision 1′s glasses have changed for Vision 2, it increased the size of the the lenses by 20 percent, giving the user a wider viewing area and according to the company, the glasses block out external light more efficiently, resulting in higher color fidelity.

There’ also now a silver Nvidia logo on the sides and the material is now made from soft composites, in hopes that the combination of your 3D glasses and headphones are no longer digging into your head, leaving unsightly marks.

The glasses are also backward compatible with older 3D Vision content and hardware.

Boosting light levels
One of the criticsms of 3D gaming on the PC is the just how darks games look when viewing them through 3D glasses. It kind of comes with the territory with active shutter technology, but Samsung has found ways to minimize it. Nvidia is taking a different approach, however.

According to Nvidia, monitors supporting it’s new 3D LightBoost technology deliver up to 2 times brighter 3D images “than existing 3D solutions” as well as improved color quality. Nvidia also points out that environmental lighting is also increased dramatically, making gaming keyboards and mice more visible in your dark, dank, man cave office. LightBoost also purportedly reduces 3D ghosting.

The ASUS VG278H is the first 3D LightBoost-certified desktop display. The monitor has a 27-inch LED-based screen, with a 1920×1080 resolution, an HDMI 1.4 and a Dual-link DVI input.

The monitor will also utilize Asus’s upgraded overdrive technology called Trace-Free II and will feature a 120Hz refresh rate and 2ms response times. More LightBoost-compatible monitor are expected from Acer and BenQ, in the next few months.

No verdict yet
Right now it’s hard to say how much of a leap in performance 3D Vision 2 offers over the previous generation as well as active shutter tech on the PC from Samsung. Once we’ve had a chance to spend more than an hour with it, we’ll have a better idea and will be willing to pass that info on to you.

The 3D Vision Kit 2 launches this month with a wireless USB IR emitter for $149 with the glasses alone, available for $99. The Asus VG278H will also be available in October and come with a built-in IR emitter and 3D Vision 2 glasses for $699.

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