3D craze hits PCs

MSI and Asus show off all-in-one 3D desktops and laptops

The growing 3D trend has spread from cinemas to TVs and now to computers, with PC makers including MSI and Asus showing off systems at Taiwan's Computex show this week that can play back 3D movies, games and Internet content.

The PCs are home entertainment systems and come with 3D screens, glasses and high-quality speakers, the companies said. Some PCs also include software to convert 2D content to 3D, and HDMI 1.4 ports to play back 3D content on TVs.

A few 3D PCs are already available, but the adoption has been slow because of cost and lack of interest. The 3D technology is now being built into laptops with larger screens and new form factors such as all-in-one PCs to drum up renewed interest. (An all-in-one PC comes with all components built into a panel holding the screen, but with a separate keyboard and mouse.)

MSI showed off the Wind Top AE2420 3D, an all-in-one 3D PC that comes with a 24-inch multitouch screen, the company said. It comes with 3D glasses developed by the company, and software included can convert 2D content -- ranging from DVD movies to on-screen images -- into 3D. The Wind Top includes Intel's latest Core series of processors and Advanced Micro Devices' ATI Mobility Radeon discrete graphics processors, according to MSI. The availability and pricing for the PC were not immediately available.

Asus showed the EeeTop PC ET 24", another all-in-one 3D desktop designed to replace home theater systems. The desktop will come with USB 3.0 connectivity, which will allow for fast data transfers between PC and external devices. That should make it faster to move 3D content from external hard drives to PCs.

The company also said it would offer its fastest Blu-ray writer that will instantly convert 2D movies in the 720p resolution to 3D. Pricing and specifications for the Asus PC were not immediately available.

For 3D PCs to be used, content must be available. Chip company Nvidia at Computex demonstrated 3D video streaming live over the Internet using a video player based on Microsoft's Silverlight multimedia platform. Nvidia offers PC graphics cards and 3D glasses as part of its 3D Vision platform.

Nvidia also announced it was partnering with companies including Dell and Asus to bring 3D PCs with 3D Vision technology to consumers.

Prices for such PCs will begin at about US$1,500 and include the screens, glasses and drivers, wrote Phil Eisler , general manager of 3D Vision at Nvidia, in a blog entry.

Asus also announced 3D laptops with Nvidia's graphics cards. The laptops include the G73Jw laptop, which includes a 17.3-inch screen and the G53 laptop, which comes with a 15.6-inch screen and includes an HDMI 1.4 port to display 3D content on TV sets.

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