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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 must be connected to both USB and Quadro 3-pin DIN Stereo socket. This setup works on Windows and nowadays Linux (consult this link, and search this link for the word "USB". The cheapest (2014+) Nvidia Quadro with 3-pin DIN Stereo connector is the K4200 ( which starts at ~ €700; cheaper and older ones can be found e.g. on EBay; they may require one of the long-term Legacy (Long Lived) Linux drivers. For specific products, see also [1] .
  4. For Linux, a Nvidia 3D vision emitter "workaround" requires the DIN 3-pin connector found on the high end Quadros and NuVision or CrystalEyes stereo glasses and emitter.
  5. Compatible Stereo monitors (120 or 144Hz with DVI-I Dual-Link Connector (DVI-I DL / DVI-D)) for the above setups are listed but this website has not been updated for years.
  6. The currently most affordable NVIDIA 3D Vision solution on Linux (2013+ workaround) is to buy a monitor with built-in IR emitter (for example BenQ XL2420TX or ASUS VG278HR), and a cheap Quadro, e.g. the FX380 or K420. The latter has a Dual-Link DVI (DVI-D) 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).
  7. 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.
  8. Cheap Quadros with DVI-I Dual-Link Connector (DVI-I DL / 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. The DisplayPort 1.2 (Quadro) to DisplayPort 1.2 (monitor) connection works well (e.g. with the BenQ XL2420TX).
  9. To connect a DVI-D monitor to ar Quadro with DisplayPort 1.2, you will need a Club-3D CAC-1051 active DisplayPort/Dual-Link DVI Adapter 330MHz (110 €: do not buy the cheaper 270 MHz model, it will not work because 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.
  10. 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 and 3D Vision 2: Requires the appropriate hardware as detailed above. With the NVidia proprietary graphics drivers installed, 3D Vision will work with a few minor tweaks. The Xorg configuration file needs to be edited (usually located at /etc/X11/xorg.conf -- see [2] for more information) to recognize that the NVidia 3D vision receiver is connected. This is done by adding an option for stereo mode under the section labeled "Screen":

   Section "Screen"
      Option      "Stereo" "10"
      ---------(etc) ----------

The value of 10 is specific to the 3D Vision system. This process can also be done in a single step by running the following command as root:

   [~]# nvidia-xconfig --stereo=10

This should be enough to get stereo working. However, note that there is a major issue on linux with window compositing causing stereo images to display improperly. This is a problem with the window display manager, and is not inherent to Xorg or NVidia. If you try to turn on stereo in Coot in a display manager that makes use of the Xorg compositing extension (e.g., Gnome3, or Unity in Ubuntu) then what you will see when you activate hardware stereo is a slight rotation of the view, but stereo remains disabled. In order to get around this problem, you must use a display manager that does not make use of compositing as part of its eye candy. This author has found the MATE desktop to work quite well for this purpose (and may in fact be one of the few that still does not use software compositing by default). Note that you do not need to disable the Compositing extension in the Xorg configuration file to make this work -- this will allow you to switch back to Gnome3, Unity, etc when you don't need stereo if you prefer! Not disabling the window compositing extension globally allows for a more flexible setup depending on your preferred workflow.

Mac OS X

The following command needs to be run for Macs to be able to support stereo in X11 programs, such as Coot [3] :

    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) [4]

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