Nvidia 3D Vision First Take: So far, so buggy

When playing a 3D Vision-compatible game with the glasses on, the intent is to give the game additional depth.

James Martin/CNET

The Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision Kit includes a pair of 3D glasses and an Infrared (IR) Emitter.

When playing a 3D Vision-compatible game with the glasses on, the intent is to give the graphics additional depth. For example, when playing Unreal Tournament 3, your map and menu items look as though they are stickers, stuck to the screen and the rest of the graphics--characters, vehicles--look much further away.

The glasses look like normal sunglasses you'd find on a person who doesn't pay much attention to the latest fashion trends. The frame of the glasses is a glossy black that, like its lenses, attracts fingerprints very easily. On the right arm, about midway between the lens and the tip, is a USB port used to charge them. On the top side of the left arm is a light-emitting diode that glows green when the glasses have enough juice to work, red when the battery is running low, and clear with a dead battery. Next to the LED is the On button.

The IR Emitter measures about 2 inches by 2 inches and is shaped like a pyramid. On the front of the emitter is the power button, illuminated by a backlit green LED. On the back is a USB port, for the required connection to the computer, and a VESA stereo cable input for connecting to DLP HDTVs.

The glasses come with three different sizes of rubber nose pieces. Each piece proved fairly easy to replace.

The kit requires Windows Vista in order to work. It also requires either a GeForce 8800, 9600, or later card or a GeForce GTX 200 series card. There are only two computer monitors available that are compatible with the kit: the ViewSonic FuHzion VX2265wm and the Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ. These two are the first LCD consumer computer monitors capable of a 120Hz refresh rate.

Unfortunately, we could not get the 3D effect towork properly with our GeForce 8800 GTS card. If we increase the visual depth to anything above 5 percent, we noticed a lot of ghosting--where each polygonal model has a "shadow" next to it--when models go closer to your eye. This adverse effect is so distracting that we would say games are unplayable if set to anything over 5-percent depth. We noticed this in the Nvidia drivers' diagnostic test and Unreal Tournament 3.

When we switched to the GeForce 9600, the ghosting effect diminished significantly, but was still noticeable in Nvidia drivers' diagnostic test and Unreal Tournament 3.

While we're still excited about the technology and we can see the potential in games, we going to hold off on doing a full review. Once we've tested a bunch of games on both the aforementioned Samsung and ViewSonic monitors, we'll post a full review.