Planar3D Configuration
Recommended Computer

Although there is no minimal computer power required to drive a Planar SD stereoscopic monitor, there may be limitations with graphics cards or special software. Use the specifications recommended by your software or graphics card provider. Of course, more memory and faster processing will provide better results. If you plan to use one or two side monitors in addition to the stereo monitor, we would recommend a computer with two PCIe graphics card slots.

Graphics Card

This answer depends on the application being used. If the Stereo Display is to be used in a dual monitor mode, then any type of dual DVI output graphics card or cards can be used.

Quad-buffered OpenGL stereo applications such as those in the table in the next section will require a more specialized video card such as the nVidia Quadro line, the Wildcat Realizm cards from 3Dlabs, or the Matrox Parhelia or SDT cards. Planar has good success with the nVidia Quadro cards and we would recommend these Quadro FX graphics cards for each SD monitor:

SD Model Display Resolution Per Eye Appropriate nVidia Quadro Graphics Card
SD1710 1280 × 1024 Quadro FX1500 or better
SD2020 1600 × 1200 Quadro FX3400 or better
SD2420W 1920 × 1200 Quadro FX3500 or better
SD2620W 1920 x 1200 Quadro FX3500 or better

It should be noted that a Quadro FX1500 is capable of driving the SD2620W; however, you may see a drop in performance in moving large image files or complex 3D volume rendering. A Quadro FX4500 or better graphics card should process the stereo images faster. Likewise, a Quadro FX5600 would be a great graphics card to drive the SD1710 and there are some applications that may benefit from the top of the line card; however, a Quadro FX3500 would be sufficient for most tasks. The selection of the graphics card depends on the processing requirements of the stereo content.

The nVidia GeForce 7000 and 8000 series are good choices for DirectX and most PC game applications. They require downloading the consumer 3D drivers from nVidia’s website to support stereo viewing.

OpenGL Stereo Software Setup

If you use the software in the table below, then the instructions for OpenGL stereo configuration should work.

Company Application
3D Slicer Open Source medical visualization software
Accelyris Discovery Studio
Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI) STK
Boeing Photogrammetry Software
CAChe Group CAChe workspace
CambridgeSoft Chem 3D Ultra
DAT/EM Systems International Summit Evolution
Groupe Alta DVP-GS
Intergraph GeoView
KLT Associates Atlas
Leica ERDAS, Stereo Analyst
Overwatch Systems Remote View
Schrodinger Maestro
SolidWorks SolidWorks
Template Graphics Software Amira
Tripos SYBYL Suite, Benchware 3D Explorer

OpenGL Stereo Graphics Card Setup (NVIDIA Quadro)

  1. Setup the SD Monitor
  2. Set both monitors to their full native resolution
  3. Go to Advanced Settings
  4. Put the two monitors into Clone mode
  5. Enable stereo in OpenGL
  6. Use nView Clone mode for stereo display mode
Image of graphics card setup screen in Windows for NVIDIA Quadro
Selecting a Side Monitor

If the side monitor matches the polarization of one of the displays used in the StereoMirror monitor, then you will only be able to see it with one eye when wearing the polarized glasses. A simple “workaround” is to select a monitor that has a different polarization. The table below shows Planar’s recommended desktop monitors to be used as side monitors with the given SD product.

SD Model Recommended Side Monitor
SD1710 Planar PX212M or PX2611W
SD2020 Planar PL1911M, PL2011MW, PL2210MW, PX2211MW or PX2411W
SD2420W Planar PL1911M, PL2011MW, PL2210MW, PX2211MW or PX2411W
SD2620W Planar PL1911M, PL2011MW, PL2210MW, PX2211MW or PX2411W
Graphics Cards for the Side Monitor

If you plan to use an additional one or two monitors besides the Planar stereo monitor as part of your workstation there are a couple options. You can use a second graphics card in your computer or you can use a graphics card that has more than two DVI outputs. If your computer only has one PCIe slot, then the nVidia Quadro FX 4500 X2 or Quadro FX4700 X2 are good graphics card solutions with 4 DVI outputs.

If you have a computer with two graphics card slots, there are a couple considerations. It is important that the second graphics card be compatible with the card driving the SD monitor and the application being run. For example, if you are running an OpenGL stereo application and using an nVidia Quadro FX PCIe graphics card to drive an SD monitor, you will need to use a second Quadro FX PCIe card to drive additional monitors. Otherwise the application may not operate correctly on all monitors. We would recommend using an nVidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics cards to drive the stereo monitor and a Quadro FX 1500 for the side monitor. We have found that it is better to use a pair of the same generation of Quadro cards.  For example, use the Quadro FX3700 with the FX1700, or use two of the same Quadro cards. Older PCs that use an AGP graphics card such as the nVidia Quadro FX 2000 or 3000 can use a PCI bus graphics card such as the Quadro FX 600 to drive the side monitor.

Laptop Computer

The Dell M90 laptop is the first laptop we have found that will support dual monitor stereo. The M90 has an nVidia Quadro FX graphics card (2500 or 3500 so far) and has both analog VGA and digital DVI video outputs. We have tested the laptop with all three of our SD models and found them compatible for stereo. The analog VGA output can be connected to the lower monitor of the SD unit. The DVI output can be connected to the mirror flip card that will invert the image sent to the upper monitor. The mirror flip card can be installed in the M90 laptop docking station or as a standalone mirror flip box (currently offered as engineering prototypes). The diagram below shows how the video cables connect to the laptop.

The nVidia Quadro graphics card is capable of driving two displays. When the laptop is connected to the StereoMirror, there are three display options: the laptop, the lower SD monitor driven with an analog signal, and the upper SD monitor driven with the DVI signal.

If an OpenGL stereo application such as RemoteView or SocetSet is being used on the laptop, then the two SD displays should be put in Clone mode. Make sure that stereo is enabled in the advanced global settings and that the stereo viewing mode has nView Clone mode selected.

If stereo pictures are to be shown, then the monitors can be put in dual monitor mode with the analog selected as the primary and the digital selected as the secondary.

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