The TouchSmart 610 came out to some pretty solid nods for its combination of power in an all-in-one PC and unique tilting design. How do you make it a little better? Upgrade components, sprinkle on a bit of 3D awesome and call it the “TouchSmart 620 3D.” It looks very similar to the 610 with the big difference being a 3D panel, a 3D webcam camping at the top of the bezel, some interesting 3D-enabling software ….and a pair of active-shutter glasses you’ll find in the box. So, for the sake of this little hands-on test drive with the 620 3D, I’m going to focus on digging deeper into what the 3D experience brings to the touchscreen.
If I were to get reductive about it, think of how the 3D worked on the Envy 17 3D. Active-shutter glasses worked with the monitor to create the 3D effect. Same here, but the screen’s bigger and it does something when you touch it. But you’re gonna notice the additional software is doing a lot of the work.
3D Video CyberLink PowerDVD 10 software is what makes the 3D happen when watching videos and looking at photos on the 620 3D. This is your new default Blu-ray movie player as well. Drop a movie in – even if it’s an old-school 2D DVD and the software can convert it into 3D. Got some old AVI videos? Ditto. You get the idea. You can toggle 3D on and off to see the difference (on 2D content it pushes depth a little further back into the screen). Of course, if you have content specifically made with 3D in mind, then you can fiddle a little more with the 3D depth settings.
The only thing I wished that there was a workaround for: Enabling live video in 3D. I’m one of those knuckleheads that watches a LOT of TV through my PC. Besides stuff like Netflix and Hulu, I even have FOUR (no, that’s not a typo) HD TV tuners plugged in back. I’d love to be able to see that content in 3D on-the-fly. Hey, I can dream, right?
The nifty Webcam parked on the bezel is perfectly capable of snapping 3D images that you can stash locally or upload to image sharing sites from within the photo app. But what if you had a plain ol’ 2D picture? When looking at a picture Just click the 3D button at the bottom of the frame (pictured here). As a gag, I just downloaded an old Facebook profile pic and –boom – it’s jumping off the screen. Not that I need to see myself in 3D….but you can!
A couple things that I came across during my testing process: If you want to look at 3D pictures that you’ve taken, make sure to turn off software for the 3D webcam, first. It’s an odd thing I noticed, but both are making calls to the screen/glasses and as a result, you can’t see pictures you’ve created or converted into 3D until you close the webcam app.
Before you can go 3D in-game, remember one thing: The PC is rendering frames twice. Adjust resolutions and settings a little…and the games should perform just fine. Then you just need to make sure that the TriDef 3D Ignition software is set up. This is the same software that we used on the Envy 17 3D to give games a 3D kick in the pants. Basically, you need 3D Ignition to serve as the launcher to your games.
A while back, we had Cameron from the Envy team go into how it worked on a basic level. The short version: The TriDef software looks into the DirectX 3D calls within a game and translates that into 3D gaming. I went on to show exactly how to set up 3D profiles inside of 3D Ignition launcher. (Just follow the steps in this story and you should be fine.)
A couple games worth giving a go:
The Fallout 3 games
Assassin’s Creed series
Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2 (and just about anything else made by Valve)
World of Warcraft
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (in Call of Duty: Black Ops, I ran into a slight graphic issue with broken textures.)
If there is anything else to point out concerning the 3D-ness of the 620 is the added price of glasses. You get one pair of active-shutter glasses in the box. If you want to bring over buddies to impress them with the effects, you’ll need to a) share (what’s up with that?!?) or b) shell out for a second pair.
…some other 3D stuff
You’re going to be hearing a lot of noise about HP’s ongoing push into 3D this week. We’re also announcing the HP 2311gt monitor that delivers 3D to any PC. It’s pretty interesting with good effects…and surprisingly affordable at under 300 bucks. And then there’s the 3D projection screens we’ve talked about before – on display in Vegas showing Earth, Wind & Fire in action as well as recently during a Marchesa show during Fashion Week in NYC.
….and some of the non-3D stuff
OK, we’ve navigated all the 3D mania, let’s get back to the guts of this machine for a second. The test machine I had came rocking the following ….
Hang on for a sec. Take a look at the hard drive. A 5400rpm drive gives you a lot of value, but doesn’t access data as quickly as a 7200rpm drive. That actually affects some of the performance you see in-application. So, for example, if you’re stashing tons of MP3s and photos, a 5400rpm drive is fine. If you’re more into editing video or playing higher-end videogames – any activity where the PC is constantly seeking on the hard drive - speed can impact performance. Just something to keep in mind. (If I were to buy a 620, I’d make sure to buy one with a 7200rpm hard drive).
And here’s how it fared in some quick tests:
Boot to Windows 7: 56 seconds
System Shutdown: 10 Seconds
System sleep: 2 seconds
System wake-up: 3 seconds
Total War: Shogun 2
1080p High, Direct X 11 Benchmark: 12.22 fps (Frames per second)
720p Balanced, DirectX 11 Benchmark: 33.21 fps
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II – Retribution
1600 x 900, settings at high – to – ultra (translation: looks purty!): 43.82 fps
1360 x 768, settings at high – to – ultra: 52.74 fps
One last thing to throw out there: Like the TouchSmart 520 that came out last month, the 620 3D also runs TouchSmart 5.0 software. All right, I gave you guys my honest two cents on the 620 – what do you think? You have questions that need answering? I’m here for ya!
Darren Gladstone (@Gizmogladstone) TNB's Blogger-in-Chief geeks out over games, gadgets and hot laptops.