Asus VG236H 3D Vision Monitor Review
If there is one element of 3D that is impossible to get around, it's the horsepower necessary to run it. It's definitely possible to use lesser hardware if all you want to do is watch films or use it for viewing 3D photographs, but for gaming you need every last ounce of power available.
Because the graphics card has to render both a left and right eye image you instantly double your overheads. So whereas once you might require 60fps to get a rock steady image, now you need to be able to provide 120 frames per second to achieve the same effect utilising 3D. Thankfully one of the benefits is that because the images appear much more realistic it lessens the need for such heavy anti-aliasing and so you can recoup some of the power needed by using lower settings.
Nonetheless we wanted to make sure we had as much power available as we could, and to this end our test setup was as follows :
Asus P7P55D Motherboard
Intel i7-870 overclocked to 3.8GHz
4GB G.Skill RAM
Windows 7 64-bit
Asus VG236H monitor and 3D Vision
Here is definitely an occasion where my wordsmithing skills are tested to the absolute limit. Normally when reviewing a monitor we can show you a couple of screenshots to get a feel for the quality of the image you can expect. This does of course have the problem that you're looking at it on your monitor. Anybody who has seen the advert for the Sharp TV with Mr Sulu extolling the virtues of RBGY technology will understand the exact problem.
However because it's impossible to take a photograph of 3D, and the glasses do alter the image quality slightly, then I have to rely solely upon words to get the point across. This is made even harder as 3D is one of those things that until you've seen it, you can't fully appreciate it.
This is easily one of the most mind-blowing aspects to the whole 3D setup. It's possible to produce, using special cameras or some very exacting photography skills, a stereo image and then view it on the VG236H using the glasses to see it in 3D. When OC3D were invited to London for the nVidia presentation on 3D technology by far the most impressive usage was in photographs.
The benefits over a standard photograph are fantastic.
Firstly you get the brilliant quality that we have come to expect from high-resolution digital images these days, ensuring that every detail is captured. The VG236H does a great job in displaying these with well reproduced colours and, thanks to its good pixels per inch courtesy of a high resolution in a sensible sized monitor, the details are sharp.
But the real star of the show is the 3D itself. With some clever subject choice it is possible to have elements clearly in front of the screen, others deep down the Z-axis, and the whole thing has the extra element of being able to move your head and look around the shot to some degree. This really gives a feeling of being there and so photographs which were once more of a memory jogger than a sense of being there, now become a teleport back to that place and time.
The application of this for holiday photos or scenery is sparkling, but to be able to have photographs of loved ones that can really make you feel like they are there with you is unparalleled. It makes me sad this technology wasn't around when my daughter was young or my grandparents were alive.
Because it's a still image you are much more focused on the small details than on the movement or focusing on not dying like you are with a film or game, so it really allows the Asus VG236H to shine. If you aren't lucky enough to own a 3D capable camera (and that'll be almost everyone) then nVidia actually provide a selection on the CD that accompanies the Asus VG236H, with even more available on their site.
Films and other Media
Most of you will have become aware of 3D technology primarily through its introduction into the world of the movies via titles like Avatar and Coraline. Curiously this is actually the weakest of the three applications of 3D technology.
Photographs take something we've always been aware of and transform it almost beyond recognition. Gaming has always required a large amount of imagination and so to find yourself even more immersed than you normally are really changes the way you play and how much adrenaline you find coursing through your veins.
Films though have always had phenomenally talented cinematographers and cameramen to provide sweeping vistas that work around the limitations of the medium. After all nobody believed there were any limitations. There are two main ways in which you can view films in 3D. The first is obviously to have a film that has been specifically designed for 3D and play it via the Asus VG236H to see it in all its splendour. The second method is to use a program to fiddle behind the scenes and provide a pseudo 3D effect. CyberLink PowerDVD is one such program.
As I spend my life reviewing all the latest hardware for you my dear Overclock3D.net readers, I haven't actually been to the cinema to see a 3D film and so to see one in all its glory is quite something. Once again the VG236H really shines as it provides very good colour reproduction in both dark and light scenes. Movement also isn't an issue as it is capable of displaying all but the fastest moving scenes without a hint of smearing. The sense of depth really has to be seen to be believed and more than once I found myself getting up to check that the monitor hadn't become 10 foot deep.
Understandably using PowerDVD to 'tweak' a standard film into 3D doesn't have such a profound effect, but there is still definitely a depth there. It's one of the primary uses of the "on-the-fly" depth adjuster on the IR transmitter because you can watch all your standard clips and films using your setup without constantly having to delve into the control panel.