Last update: October 11, 2013
Stereo technology has fully transitioned from using CRT monitors with emitters and shutter glasses to LCDs with either shutter glasses or passive image polarization. Whereas CRT stereo technology sprouted from the demands in engineering and research, LCD stereo is being targeted largely towards the gaming community. This, combined with the fact that LCD support is relatively new to the consumer market, means we can't be certain to what extent the stereo LCD technology will develop for Linux research workstation purposes. Regardless, we'll continue to test the latest options available and advise structural biologists that recognize a benefit in stereo 3D imaging.
There are two recommended stereo LCD configurations. The technology you choose is largely dependent on your budget, workstation type (Mac/Linux) and desired application support.
Active stereo is provided through LCDs that offer a high refresh rate (120Hz). This allows LCDs to provide a similar stereo experience as the old CRTs. And like the CRT stereo solution, it requires the purchase of an NVIDIA quadro card and an emitter/glasses (the NVIDIA 3D Vision kit). This solution is Linux-only.
Nvidia maintains a list of monitors compatible with their 3D Vision technology. Click here to access their list.
Passive LCD monitors superimposes two images onto the same screen through different polarizing filters. As each filter passes only that light which is similarly polarized and blocks the light polarized in the opposite direction, each eye sees a different image. Despite its overall lower cost, passive stereo is qualitatively lower quality than the NVIDIA solution and in stereo mode, you have half the monitor's vertical resolution available to you due to the underlying polarization technology. Because it doesn't require specific graphics cards / drivers, this solution is the only viable stereo for Mac users.
We don't have much recent experience with passive monitors as most of our stereo users on using Linux workstations.
The problem with CRTs is that they are only available as used/remanufactured from 3rd party vendors and the Quadro cards required to drive them are becoming increasingly expensive. That said, if you have a CRT monitor (or can find one) that's capable of sufficient refresh rates and a Quadro NVIDIA card with a 3-pin stereo DIN, you can continue to use them for your stereo needs.
For CRT stereo displays only: * Edit the “Screen” section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf to include:
Option "Stereo" "3" Option "AllowDFPStereo" "1" Option "UBB" "1"
For LCD stereo displays only: * Edit the “Screen” section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf to include:
Option "Stereo" "10" Option "AllowDFPStereo" "1" Option "UBB" "1"
Add the following to the end of your xorg.conf:
Section "Extensions" Option "Composite" "Disable" EndSection
Last edited by Mick Timony, 2016-07-25 19:39:37