Asus VG236H 3D Vision Monitor Review
Gaming is what you're all here for though and gaming is what we'll provide.
Before I delved into the world of 3D gaming it was important to see how the VG236H performed normally and the results were much like those of the film and image tests. The VG236H has a very sharp image quality with everything nice and crisp, especially for a TN panel. Colour reproduction is equally impressive with no real tweaks needed to get nicely saturated hues with good gradient differentials.
The Asus responded well to all of our testing with no ghosting visible even in fast games such as Unreal 3 and Need For Speed Shift. There was good shadow detailing and deep blacks which is one of the major areas that cheaper panels fall down on.
Having warmed up with the usual OC3D test suite it was time to have a go at some 3D games. It's important to note here that whilst nearly all games are compatible with 3D because it is some driver jiggery-pokery rather than anything the game itself needs to do, nonetheless many use workarounds and other tweaks to provide their performance, not all of which are compatible with the 3D process.
nVidia kindly provide a pretty comprehensive list of those titles which work well, and those which don't. For titles which are great without being perfect they also list the problems that you will experience. This is a huge benefit as it saves so much frustration of installing that title to see it in 3D, only to discover that the HUD is a 2D bitmap and the shadows don't render properly. Much kudos has to go to nVidia for this.
It also means that if you have a small selection of games you can check beforehand if it is worth the upgrade. I'm a complete game addict and so have far too many to choose from, but if you would like to view the list it is available online here. Although the title "good" would normally mean you should be fine, experience with the Asus VG236H and the 3D Vision setup means that unless you are a diehard fan of a game listed under "good" I'd recommend you stick to either the nVidia accredited titles or those listed as excellent. A quick scroll down the list shows that one of OC3Ds, and my, favourite games Dirt 2 is actually listed as "poor". Stubbornly trying it I can tell you that "unplayable" would be closer to the truth.
Anyway, what about those titles that do work?
Obviously some titles are better suited than others. Company of Heroes works almost flawlessly and yet doesn't really benefit from 3D. It's a similar situation with the otherwise excellent Blood Bowl, Rollercoaster Tycoon etc. Generally games which take the most advantages out of the good old Z-axis are the ones that are most enjoyable. Driving games and First-Person Shooters mainly, but some sports games actually get a boost.
Unreal Tournament III, despite being the most disappointing outing in the series, really works well with 3D Vision enabled. The maps come alive and judging your jumps while flying through a deathmatch becomes a cinch. The only caveat is that the game is so fast it does become a bit smeary round the edges, but that is more a limitation of the 3D process than of the Asus VG236H itself.
Devil May Cry 4 is another title that really does the business in 3D. The Capcom port is one of the finest ever and it makes the absolute most out of the 3D with monsters easily gauged in the depth field to allow you to keep those Smokin Slick Style combos going with ease. It's no suprise that a shot from DMC4 is one of the few that nVidia supply on their 3D CD to demonstrate the technology.
Obviously I can go on for ages about the benefits and the various games I tested in the time I've had with this before Asus come to snatch it back from my death grip. However one more is worth mentioning, Metro 2033.
This actually nicely demonstrates the problems with 3D technology when it comes to performance needed. Metro 2033 is a hard game on your system anyway, but once you introduce the need to render every frame twice it quickly becomes unplayable. It's not a problem with its compatibility as it handles the 3D with aplomb. It's just a single GTX480 hasn't got the gumption to be able to run it at a playable level.