June 2010 | What's the buzz?

The new generation of stereo monitors

Stereo monitors have come a long way in the past few years, spared mostly from the popularity of 3-D gaming and movies. Most everyone who views stereo imagery has had the joy of using a CRT either with the heavy and awkward active glasses or the very delicate Z-screen that covers the front of the CRT monitor. Although there are other viable, current stereo technology solutions available, this summary discusses the configuration and benefits associated with the new 120-Hz LCD monitor technology now available.

BAE Systems has been evaluating new technology for stereo viewing, and we are impressed with the resolution and cost of the stereo NVIDIA 3-D vision solution. This package includes an infrared (IR) emitter box and active glasses that are not heavy or awkward when used with a 120-Hz LCD monitor.

Tests included configuring workstations with two graphics cards. After initial troubleshooting and configuration changes, the NVDIA 3-D vision seems to be a solid solution.

Test one

HP Z800 workstation, 12 GB RAM, 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 operating system
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 graphics card with 1 GB of memory:

This graphics card requires the use of an additional three-pin adapter to sync with the IR emitter box. The FX3800 has one DVI output and one display port output that uses the display port to DVI adapter that came with the workstation to run a secondary monitor.

The 120-Hz LCD Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ monitor was tested using this setup. This monitor has a very good resolution; I kept it at the recommended 1680 x 1050 resolution. To properly run the IR emitter box, the monitor comes with a USB cable for power and requires a three-pin adapter to sync with the graphics card. The active glasses are lightweight, with a battery that can be recharged by a USB cable from the workstation. This is a much more efficient solution than having the equivalent of enough batteries to power a small town’s energy consumption in your desk drawer, as required for the old active glasses.

The initial steps required to get this monitor configured for viewing stereo imagery in SOCET SET or SOCET GXP with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 were difficult, but successful in a short amount of time. The following steps can be used to configure this workstation for stereo viewing:

  • Remove all the NVIDIA drivers on the workstation.
  • Restart the machine.
  • Install the 197.59_Quadro_win7_winvista_64bit_english_whql.exe driver.
  • Restart the machine.
  • Install the Quadro_3D_Vision_197.03_USB driver, which is important for allowing the IR emitter box to run properly.
  • Restart the machine.
  • Launch the NVIDIA control panel.
  • Select Manage 3-D settings.
  • Scroll down to Stereo-Enable and select On.
  • Directly above that is Stereo – Display mode; select On-board DIN connector (with NVIDIA IR Emitter).
  • Click Apply at the bottom and close the NVIDIA control panel.
  • At this point, you can launch either SOCET SET or SOCET GXP and load a stereo pair. You will notice that your IR emitter box has an icon that goes from dark green to bright green. This means that everything is working properly and you should be able to see stereo imagery through your NVIDIA active glasses.

Test two

HP xw8600 workstation, 8 GB RAM, 64-bit Windows Vista operating system
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 graphics card with 512 MB of memory:

This graphics card has a three-pin plug already built into the graphics card and dual DVI output. The dual DVI output can run two 120-Hz monitors at the same time; dual stereo monitors also are an option.

To configure a stereo setup on the HP xw8600 workstation, follow the steps as outlined above for the HP Z800 workstation. I used the same drivers and selected the same settings on the NVIDIA control panel to view stereo on a single monitor. To enable a dual monitor stereo configuration, a few extra settings must be selected on the NVIDIA control panel:

  • Select Change resolution and make sure the refresh rate is 120-Hz for both monitors.
  • Select Manage 3D settings and select Base profile under global presets.
  • Scroll down to Multi-display/mixed-GPU acceleration and select Compatibility performance mode.

These settings allow you to view the stereo imagery properly on both monitors. If this was not selected and it was left on the default Multiple display performance mode, it would show one stereo pair on one monitor as inverted and the other stereo pair as not inverted.

Graphics cards that support the new 120-MHZ LCD stereo viewing:
http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro_pro_graphics_boards.html

Additional resources for 3-D vision drivers supported for SOCET SET and SOCET GXP:
http://www.socetgxp.com/content/support/knowledgebase/samsung-syncmaster-2233rz-120hz-lcd-hardware-drivers
http://www.socetgxp.com/content/?p=3655

Latest supported NVIDIA drivers for NVIDIA 3D Vision using SOCET SET and SOCET GXP:

  • NVIDIA Quadro FX series graphics drivers
  • Windows 7, Vista 64 bit – 197.59_Quadro_win7_winvista_64bit_english_whql.exe
  • Windows 7, Vista 32 bit – 197.59_Quadro_win7_winvista_32bit_english_whql.exe
  • Windows XP 64 bit – 197.59_Quadro_winxp_64bit_english_whql.exe
  • Windows XP 32 bit – 197.59_Quadro_winxp_32bit_english_whql.exe
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision USB drivers
  • All Windows Operating Systems 32 or 64 bit use – Quadro_3D_Vision_197.03_USB_driver.exe

To ensure you have the correct graphics card to run 3-D vision, please refer to http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro_pro_graphics_boards.html, which identifies the Quadro FX graphics cards that support 120-Hz stereo.

Current supported drivers for SOCET SET and SOCET GXP are on our FTP site. To gain access to these drivers, please fill out the FTP request form:
http://www.socetgxp.com/content/support/request-for-ftp-site-access

Please state “NVIDIA 3D vision drivers” and the operating system you are running in the comments section of the form. For example, “NVIDIA 3D vision drivers using Windows XP 64 bit.”

I hope this helps alleviate some of the stress involved in getting new stereo monitors configured for use with SOCET SET and SOCET GXP. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact a customer support representative at 877 762 3873 or socetgxp.support@baesystems.com.

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