NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 and The Asus VG278H LCD Review

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When we first took a look at NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology a couple of years ago, we came away impressed. We understand that gaming and watching video in 3D isn’t for everyone, but after using NVIDIA’s first 3D Vision kit with one of Samsung’s then-new 120Hz LCD displays, we truly enjoyed the experience. Not only was a new dimension (literally and figuratively) added to the games we played, but there were inherent advantages to using a 120Hz LCD, both when 2D gaming and just working on the desktop. There was no denying NVIDIA had an uphill battle convincing gamers to put on a pair of beefy, active-shutter glasses, and spring for a new monitor, but for those that took the plunge, there were definite benefits.

Since its initial introduction, NVIDIA has put significant effort in to continually improve its 3D Vision technology and ecosystem. Almost 600 games—both old and new—are now supported, the price has come down significantly on the glasses, tons of 3D content is now available on 3DVisionLive.com and YouTube, and a number of partners have released 3D Vision capable monitors, like Asus, Planar, Acer, Viewsonic, LG and of course Samsung. There are also some monitors and notebooks now available that feature integrated 3D Vision IR emitters (and bundled glasses), so users don’t have to have to use an external USB emitter at all. We actually took a look at a couple of 3D Vision ready monitors not too long ago if you’d like to see some examples.

If you are not familiar with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology, take a look at our initial launch coverage for the complete low-down, because we’re not going to cover everything again in this piece. Our launch articles explains how the technology works, how to install and use it, and features a few example videos of 3D Vision in action—although the videos cannot and do not do the technology justice. To quickly reiterate some of what is covered in the launch article, 3D Vision basically takes a pair of high-quality active-shutter glasses, and couples them with a USB IR transmitter, which keeps the shutters in-sync with the 3D content being displayed on a compatible screen, using NVIDIA’s proprietary software / drivers. Since launch, the base technology hasn’t changed much, but NVIDIA has learned much from the initial batch of products and is ready to unveil its newest iteration, 3D Vision 2.

On many levels, 3D Vision 2 is very similar to 3D Vision. The technology works in exactly the same way. It uses the same software, and the new glasses we’ll be showing you later are backwards compatible with the original emitters. Conversely, the original 3D Vision glasses are forward compatible with newer 3D Vision 2 kits. But NVIDIA has made a number of physical and technical tweaks that enhance the technology in a few key ways. NVIDIA has redesigned its active-shutter glasses and incorporated 20% larger lenses and worked with ecosystem partners to bring new, larger, full-HD 3D Vision compatible monitors to market. They’ve also developed a new technology dubbed LightBoost that ultimately results in brighter on-screen imagery and better environmental lighting characteristics as well.

We’ll talk more about the new 3D Vision 2 glasses and a new Asus VG278H monitor that works with the technology a bit later. For now, let’s talk LightBoost for a bit.

One of the complaints from users using virtually any active-shutter 3D technology is that on-screen images appear darker than they normally would when viewed in standard 2D mode. The darkening of on-screen images is an unfortunate side-effect of the glasses alternatively blocking light to each eye in rapid succession. Lightboost combats this issue in a couple of ways.

Lightboost is enabled by the LED backlighting in the display. Lightboost pulses the backlight at double brightness when in 3D mode, to brighten on-screen 3D images. 3D LightBoost increases the power of the LED backlight in the monitor to pulse twice as brightly in unison with the LCD lenses in the 3D Vision glasses. This simply wasn’t possible with older 3D monitors and laptops that featured CCFL lamps, because they can’t pulse or switch on and off fast enough, with consistent brightness.

Another advantage to Lightboost has to do with how the active-shutter glasses and screen are synched. With older monitors that feature CCFL lamps that are on all the time, both lenses in the original 3D Vision glasses were forced into a dark phase, where both lenses were blacked-out, while the image shifted from the left to right eye, and vice versa. Since the LED backlights can switch on and off so quickly in-between frames with Lightboost capable monitors, refreshing at 120 times per second (120Hz) with a 2ms response time, the 3D Vision 2 glasses can ultimately let more light through because they don’t have to enter this double-black phase.

The end result is that more ambient light gets through to your eyes, so you can see things in the environment, like your keyboard or mouse for example, much better.

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OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"Wow, I was just searching all over for more info on this monitor since Asus announced it in a Contest earlier today. Good to have this review right away. Those are some cool looking glasses , reminds me of Kill Zone 3 for some reason. The price is a tad expensive, but so are the 3D Samsung 27 inchers, though those are thinner. I don't mind that its 1080P and 27", I don't think 3D, for the time being, works beyond that resolution and movies default to 720P in 3D right? Good to see this out, Asus makes some great monitors."

"If anyone is interest in winning one of these , Heres the link : http://promos.asus.com/us/VG278H Enter by making a Facebook comment."

AKwyn 3 years ago

Just read this... I do think that NVIDIA's 3D Brightness is somewhat of a gimmick seeing as how most 3D monitors have a setting that allows you to increase the contrast. Other then that, the bigger glasses are a nice improvement.

The ASUS monitor, great as always... Nice to see such a respected brand be the first to be won in a "Facebook" contest and the first to use NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2.

ThunderBird 3 years ago

Great Review Marco I but I gotta ask how is the clarity while gaming? I guess I just equate 3D to being kinda blurry.

marco c 3 years ago

@Taylor - Brightness and contrast are two different things And Lightboost is far from a gimick. The LED backlight pulseing and extra brightness has a huge affect on brightness and eliminates the need to black out both lenses, which lets more light through to your eyes.

@ThunderBird - There is no blurriness involved per say. There is always some 3D ghosting which can be perceived as a blurring effect, but it is not scene-wide and usually affects only part of the screen when / if it happens.

RRahim 3 years ago

Thanks for the great review, and so quickly as well!

All i need is a release date and i'll be ready for this!

Been waiting for almost a year for this monitor, and it seems that it isn't going to disappoint

DBona 3 years ago

I recently bought the Acer 27 HN274H. The monitor is the best 2D gaming monitor I ever owned. Bright, great color picture all while gaming at 120FPS with vsync on. Very nice.

Turn on 3D mode and it's another story. Even with spending a ton of time tweaking color settings, factory settings, contrast, etc, Image is almost unbearably dark and the "Crosstalk" double imaging bleeding through looks terrible and kills the 3D experience. Even sadder is that many reviews said that it was the best 3D experience to date, even more so then the 24" alienware models.

My main question before I buy this new model and 3D vision 2 is simple: Is the Crosstalking really reduced? How much? Is it still really noticeable in gaming? I don't mind a TINY bit, but if it's as clear as day then I won't even bother.

realneil 3 years ago

If I were going to take a chance on a 3D screen, It would probably be this one.

I liked the review Marco, what a lot of information, explained in plain-speak, that anyone could understand.


MLevesqueAlam 3 years ago

It would also have been helpful to know whether it would be worth it to pair the new glasses with an existing 3D monitor and whether the new glasses work with existing receivers.

DBona 3 years ago

Both the monitors, and the glasses, are compatible with each other. 1st gen monitor + 2nd gen glasses works, 2nd gen monitor + old glasses works. But Nvidia recommends using 2nd gen with 2nd gen to get the best results.

Basically aside from the size/shape of the glasses, not much has changed.

The huge improvement is coming from the monitor, which reduce "crosstalk" /' double images and increased brightness of the image when 3D is turned on.

I'm hoping that someone who's had hands on with the monitor can tell us if the crosstalk is really reduced, and by how much. I can't stand crosstalk, it kills the 3D effect for me.

RRahim 3 years ago

Is there any word on the release date of this monitor as yet?

ATigre 3 years ago

This will eventually slip into the laptop domain as well.

turkeyfox 3 years ago

L4D2 in 3D sounds incredible.

JOliver 2 years ago

We need much faster response for TN panels as currently the use of slower response panels with Overdrive to increase the response time of crystals is what is causing some of the issues with crosstalk/ghosting. The 3D Lightboost technology is good innovation to increase the brightness in stereo 3D mode, but apparently it does not help much in reducing crosstalk/ghosting.

AKwyn 2 years ago

[quote user="JOliver"]

We need much faster response for TN panels as currently the use of slower response panels with Overdrive to increase the response time of crystals is what is causing some of the issues with crosstalk/ghosting. The 3D Lightboost technology is good innovation to increase the brightness in stereo 3D mode, but apparently it does not help much in reducing crosstalk/ghosting.


Well what do you expect; we haven't reach the point where OLED's are on the market in drones... OLED I think is good as a successor but only if they fix the flaws such as short lifespan, reducing burn-in... FED was a suitable replacement but Canon stopped production on it so I guess we'll never know how it turned out...

I do think that the Planar SA2311W is the best 3D Vision monitor out there, it's so good in fact Planar needs to step up to the plate and make a sequel; maybe with the gimmicky Lightboost technology that does seem slightly useful. Personally I think that the SA2311W and it's contrast setting is good the way it is, mainly because Planar was a 3D display maker before 3D Visions screens became widespread; therefore their experience passed down to this very monitor; still hate that it's a TN screen though but hey, what are you going to do?


JuicyFruitSweeT 2 years ago

Anyone here actually bought both of these NVIDIA 3D Vision?

Really want to know if there is a huge difference in term of visual effect. Soon or later, I'll purchase a 3D for myself since I love watching movies you know

AKwyn 2 years ago

[quote user="JuicyFruitSweeT"]

Anyone here actually bought both of these NVIDIA 3D Vision?

Really want to know if there is a huge difference in term of visual effect. Soon or later, I'll purchase a 3D for myself since I love watching movies you know


Well HotHardware already reviewed the ASUS monitor and the visual effect is better from what I read but I still think of gimmick mainly because of the "pulsing claim". I mean all it is really is just them increasing the brightness so that the image would appear brighter when seen from 3D glasses.

AKnudson 2 years ago

This is amazing, the technology that is being developed the shutter glasses have been improved, but i believe they wont catch on. It is more plausible that people will use the glases free version of 3-d sreens.

AKnudson 2 years ago

That being siad i would kill to have the new kinect starwars game with the glasses and monitor, that would be the most effectice use ever for this product.

aj34 2 years ago

Review was great! When is the release date?

Der Meister 2 years ago

very cool not if there were only more monitors that could run 120hz.. That Asus screen looks sweet! but not $700 sweet. 

DDeveaux 2 years ago

Agree completely.  Where are all the 120Hz monitors?  As I'm looking for a dual monitor setup, the price of the ASUS displays is way out of reach for me (since I want two of the same display).  

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