Alienware's three-way 3D set-up. Would you buy it?


Alienware showed off a triple win of processing power yesterday at Dell's Tech Camp at the Roundhouse in London, with a three way 3D set-up running Crysis 2.

The three monitor display rig is powered by a single GeForce GTX 590 card, and ran the game stereoscopically at consistently playable framerates. It's the most convincing display of 3D tech that I've seen so far.

It's also possibly the most expensive: a quick run through the Alienware configuration tool on their website puts the total cost including three monitors and an Ergotron stand at over £4000. Out of reach of most of us for now, but it's only a matter of time before the kit required is affordable.

Whether or not 3D adds anything to games at the moment is debatable, and indeed was hotly discussed by a panel of pan-European journalists and representatives from Alienware and Dell after the demo. That, in turn, was dominated by three main topics.

  • Is 3D the future of gaming?
  • Is the current 3D tech mature enough to make it worth gamers buying compatible screens - or is there something better just around the corner?
  • Should games designers spending time putting stereoscopic effects into their games? Right now, 3D an added bonus if you have the hardware, but filmmakers have learned that some of their traditional techniques look awful in 3D, and the best places to put the camera can be different.

Naturally there wasn't a group conclusion by the end of the night, but my thoughts on the subject are, briefly:

  • Obviously, but who knows within what timescale. My hologram visor will beam 3D images into my brain while I ride my hoverboard to work, but not tomorrow.
  • So long as manufacturers are honest about the capabilities of their machines and don't sell laptops that promise 3D gaming but can't deliver the framerates, gamers can make an informed decision themselves.
  • Hadn't really thought about that before, I assumed most devs would rather spend time perfecting things like multithreading and DX11 routines.

Without sounding like one of those terrible blogs that end 'what do you think?', I'm genuinely curious to know how you'd like us to be covering 3D hardware as more emerges.

In other Alienware news, the company also showed off the neatly sized M14x gaming laptop too. The 14 inch screen size is a new one for the company and first impressions of this are good. I'll be getting one in for review shortly to see exactly how well it bridges the gap between underpowered ultralights and the monstrously unportable laptops Alienware is more famous for.