In the past few months, AMD ATI has cornered the DirectX 11 market by offering the only graphics cards capable of it, edging out Nvidia as the dominant GPU provider. While AMD has been doing this, Nvidia has not been idle, and apart from working on the very-soon-to-be-released Fermi DX11 graphic cards (the GTX 480 and GTX 470), it has made big strides in 3D graphics, with its GeForce 3D Vision technology. 3D Vision technology seems to be incredibly practical, and “automatically transforms hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D” with simple software and active shutter glasses, supporting both normal LCD/CRT displays and specially 120Hz 3D ready monitors. It also offers 3DTV Play technology, which allows users to connect their laptop/PCs to 3D ready televisions via a HDMI 1.4 cable. Nvidia will also retail its 3D Vision Surround very soon, which will provide a 3D experience on 3 monitors.
At a time when Nvidia might make its GPU comeback - the launch of the Fermi chips, AMD has decided to concentrate their efforts in the 3D field, in an attempt to catch-up with the green graphics giant. It does this in typical Advanced Micro Devices style, by setting the open source atmosphere with what it calls Open Stereo 3D. Similar to its Open Physics venture which goes head to head with Nvidia's PhysX, AMD now launches its open offensive against the 3D Vision front.
While no concrete plans have been shared, AMD said at GDC that this open initiative is an attempt to try to foster 3D innovation and while lowering the cost of 3D technology and products in general, collaborating with manufacturers of displays and other hardware, as well as 3D games/software developers. As Neal Robison of AMD said, “We will work with our ecosystem partners to enable multiple 3D solutions, encourage cooperation and standardize development with industry-wide participation”, offering “consumers additional choices”.
Neal Robison went on to say that AMD ATI will be introducing new stereo 3D capabilities in the near future, based on Eyefinity technology, which will allow for multiple monitor configurations and “significantly enhance the gaming experience”. An array of 3D products will also be available soon, including 120Hz 3D displays, active/passive shutter glasses, quad buffering, 3D Blu-ray discs, stereo notebooks, 3D-supported DX 9/10/11, and of course, 3D Eyefinity.
While AMD tries hard to play catch-up in the 3D game, Nvidia can't count itself too far ahead just yet. The market for 3D is still young, and prohibitively expensive. Until prices drop, 3D-glasses turn less unwieldy, 3D Blu-ray discs become widely available, and true-3D games/software become commonplace, the race is still on!