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Zalman Stereo

has its own article.

Nvidia 3D Vision 2

  1. 3D Vision Pro is not what you want, this is for professional CAD/CAM applications, and is expensive.
  2. The quality of Nvidia 3D Vision 2 is better than that of Zalman, because Zalman stereo means halved vertical resolution.
  3. The Nvidia 3D vision emitter that requires connection via USB and Quadro 3-pin connector only works on Windows, not Linux!
  4. Linux traditionally needs the DIN 3-pin connector found on the high end Quadros and NuVision or CrystalEyes stereo glasses and emitter. The cheapest (2014+) Nvidia Quadro with 3-pin DIN Stereo connector is the K4200 ( which starts at ~ €700. Compatible stereo monitors (120 or 144Hz) are listed but this website has not been updated for years.
  5. The currently (2013+) most affordable NVIDIA 3D Vision solution on Linux is to buy a monitor with built-in IR emitter (such as BenQ XL2420TX or ASUS VG278HR), and a cheap Quadro, e.g. (2013) the FX380 or (2015) K420. The latter has a Dual-Link DVI and a Displayport outlet, so can drive the stereo monitor, and an additional monitor. This solution avoids the USB/3-pin hassle altogether. See below for xorg.conf! GeForce cards (instead of Quadro) do not give openGL Quad Buffered Stereo on Linux (on Windows neither).
  6. The Nvidia page that names monitors with built-in emitter also has not changed for years. now has a "inkl. 3D-emitter" attribute. This currently only returns the Asus 278HR which can only be bought in Poland, or through EBay.
  7. Cheap Quadro cards with DVI-I Dual-Link Connector (DVI-I DL or DVI-D) or DisplayPort work well. Make sure the card can do dual-link DVI if your monitor has only DVI-D input. Any card (including the "Windows only" ones!) listed should work if a) it can do dual-link DVI if the monitor has only DVI-D input, and b) if the monitor has built-in emitter. DisplayPort works well with the BenQ XL2420TX.
  8. If the Quadro has DisplayPorts 1.2 only, you will need a Club-3D CAC-1051 active DisplayPort/Dual-Link DVI Adapter 330MHz for about 110 € (do not buy the 270 MHz model, it will not work as the bandwidth is too low for 1920x1080@120hz) or for cards with miniDisplay ports, the Club-3D CAC-1151 active miniDisplayPort/Dual-Link DVI Adapter 330MHz.
  9. specs of latest ("Maxwell") and previous ("Kepler") generation of Quadro cards are at . A comparison of all PCIexpress Quadro cards is at . Latest (2014+) with prices are at . Currently (2015), the K620 is the entry system with the best price/performance ratio; in the middle range the K2200 still seems affordable.



Zalman Stereo is supported by Coot; no drivers or other software must be installed.

NVidia 3D Vision 2: Using NVidia's 346.35 driver on RHEL/CentOS/SL 7, I changed /etc/X11/xorg.conf (see to have

   Section "Device"
      Driver      "nvidia"
      Option      "Stereo" "10"

but there was no stereo (coot only shows a slightly rotated view), nor was there any hint in /var/log/Xorg.0.log that stereo is disabled. In fact, stereo is disabled, due to the Composite Extension (see If this extension is itself disabled by

   Section "Extensions"
      Option     "Composite" "Disable"

then the login screen (gdm) crashes (discussed at The only way out is to install a different display manager, like documented at e.g. (confirmed by Dirk Kostrewa in 9/2014). This works well - I'm now using lightdm and the MATE desktop with a NVidia Quadro K420 and a BenQ XL2420TX. The graphics performance is very good for electron density inspection and fitting.

Mac OS X

The following command needs to be run for Macs to be able to support stereo in X11 programs, such as Coot [1] :

    defaults write enable_stereo -bool true


You also need to set the environment variable STEREO for the stereo to work properly in ono: setenv STEREO on (tcsh) STEREO = on; export STEREO (bash) [2]

Stereo on conventional CRT monitors

Some of the NVidia Quadro cards support stereo. The cards that have an output called "stereo" under "Display Connectors" listed at Nvidia's Quadro overview page have a 3-pin DIN outlet that fits with NuVision or CrystalEyes stereo glasses.

The cheapest of these used to be the FX1400 (difficult to find these days, around 450 €), but now appears to be the FX3450 (around 750 €). These cards are by far fast enough for protein crystallography or modelling.

For stereo, the xorg.conf might need the following lines

       Section "Extensions"
         Option     "Composite" "Disable"

if the X log file (e.g. at /var/log/Xorg.0.log) says that stereo is not supported by composite.

Another option that will be required in xorg.conf by programs running stereo is

    Section "Device"
      Driver      "nvidia"
      Option      "Stereo" "3"
   End Section

For an example of how else to configure xorg.conf, see old versions of this article.

See also

Stereo on TFT: see Zalman Stereo