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Getting stereo 3d to work on a Mac under Bootcamp Windows 7

April 24, 2010

YES, it does work – but it’s a bit tricky – see below:

My initial post to the NVIDIA 3D forum elicited no response:


Apple Mac Pro+ Bootcamp (Windows 7) + Geforce 3D Vision + Alienware OptX AW2310 23″, Getting stereo to work on a mac

I’m interested in getting stereoscopic 3d running on my Mac Pro (early 2008 3,1 config) if possible and wondered if anyone has had a go with the following configuration:
1] Under Bootcamp running Windows 7
2] Using a EVGA GeForce GTX 285 card (this is available from the Apple Store and also compatible with the NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit under Windows)
3] Using the Alienware OptX AW2310 23″ monitor.
The links are to the Australia stores as that’s where I’m located.
I am optimistic that this config may work on a Mac (albeit running Windows) – and save the cost of purchasing a dedicated Windows machine with a suitable GPU or the horrifically expensive Quadro FX4800 (which will do quad-buffered stereo for specialist applications, but from what I can determine is not compatible with the NVIDIA 3D vision kit.)

Any thoughts on this welcome – I am interested in running the Unity game engine in stereo (realtime graphics) as well as full HD stereoscopic video (1080p) (prerendered material)



on the Stereoscopic 3-D Professionals Worldwide linked-in group I was much luckier: an NVIDIA Senior Product Manager assured me it should work fine – and he was right (thanks:)) (This was after an EVGA on-line person told me it wouldn’t)

As far as I can tell this works fine when I use Bootcamp to start up under Windows 7. The USB IR sync device works with the glasses (it’s a bit flakey), the monitor is running at 120Hz – the NVidia stereoscopic movie player plays 3D movies just fine.

BUT: These are all driven by the latest drivers from the web – not the ones on the CDROM you get with the kit. It took an entire afternoon to figure this out  – installing and de-installing drivers- so if you are trying to do this I hope this saves you some time:

1] Do NOT install the drivers on the disk

2] Download the latest 3D drivers & software from NVIDIA – run and install (it’s very stupid: you have to burn them to a CDROM then run the installer from the CD – lots of buggering around with downloads, burning, installing – make sure it’s an ISO disk)

3] Make sure your Windows 7 install is up to date

4] finally reboot and hope for the best

I currently have no idea whether this is ActiveX or OpenGL – I know nothing about Windows, apart from being an intermittent user – but this works. I note that it does not work under Parallels because of virtualisation and that the Parallels video drivers run at 60Hz – so booting in Windows is the only option.

From an HCI point-of-view this is terrible – it is completely non-obvious what to do – I made many visits to support forums and reading tech help. You can only uninstall everything if you make a mistake and start again – that means any NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit USB drivers and the NVIDIA 3D vision Kit software.  The ‘wizard’ won’t do this for you – you need to explicitly load the Alienware Monitor drivers too – via ‘advanced’ settings (i.e. manually select the drivers from the Alienware driver CD, otherwise Windows will install some generic Windows drivers for a 120Hz monitor). Sigh.

But, finally, it works – but it’s clunky, no doubt about it.

I want to make content using my Mac (nice software), reboot to Windows to check the stereo (the common platform) – and see how I go. It’s the best <$1000 option I’m aware of  – but now – how do you author a Blu-ray 3D disk? Software is coming from Sony and Panasonic (Windows) and 3D TV all over the place – but it’s like the old standard wars and DRM wars – where do adventurous media artists start?

BTW I am platform agnostic – if it’s Windows, Mac OSX, Linux. or anything else I can run, I don’t care – my concern is getting what I want to do, done – within my very limited means.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rab236 permalink
    March 21, 2011 12:03 am

    Great article. I’m waiting for AMD 3D drivers native to OS X, though. I tend not to run windows software unless it’s I Wanna Be the Guy.

  2. Deon permalink
    May 11, 2011 5:32 pm

    thank you so much for sharing this!!!
    I been looking to do exactly same thing and I spent days and days trying to figure things out
    as it wasn’t a straightforward process (mac + nvidia + 3d vision).
    thanks again and all the best to you!

    • May 11, 2011 5:41 pm

      Cheers Deon – lets hope it becomes OSX native in the future 🙂

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