Knowledge Base

What hardware and software do I need for hardware stereo display using Maestro?

Maestro supports two hardware stereo methods: interlaced and quad-buffered. It also supports anaglyph and Chromadepth stereo, which only require special glasses for viewing, not special hardware.

Interlaced stereo

Interlaced stereo is inexpensive and easy to set up but is lower quality, and might not be suitable for sustained use. It requires a monitor that supports interlaced stereo, which are produced by Zalman and iZ3D. It works on all platforms supported by Maestro: Linux, Windows, and macOS. The graphics card must support stencil buffering and support the native resolution of the monitor (which most modern cards do). To view in stereo requires only simple polarized glasses. You can also plug one of these monitors into a laptop to display in stereo.

Quad-buffered stereo

OpenGL Quad-buffered Stereo is professional-level hardware stereo and has tighter requirements on the hardware, software, and setup. Note: despite NVIDIA's decision to no longer support 3D Vision, it clarifies in a FAQ article that this does not affect OpenGL Quad-buffered stereo, which will remain supported on its Quadro GPUs. Schrödinger is looking into alternative hardware vendors for goggles and emitters now that NVIDIA is stopping their own production. Contact us if you would like more information.

A summary of the options and requirements is given below.

Operating system: Quad-buffered stereo can only be used under Linux or Windows. It is not available under Mac OS X.

Window manager: On Linux, a non-compositing window manager (desktop environment) is recommended, such as KDE, Gnome 2D, XFce, or MATE. Newer versions of Gnome 3, a compositing window manager, coupled with up-to-date NVIDIA drivers, are also compatible with quad-buffered stereo. If you are having trouble getting stereo to work under Gnome 3, try one of the non-compositing window managers first. On KDE, disable the "Desktop Effects At Startup" option in the System Settings utility. Stereo doesn't work with the Unity desktop environment on Ubuntu; the Gnome Classic (Metacity) environment can be used instead, which you can install with:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
Once installed, log out and choose this environment when you log back in.

Graphics software: Maestro is an OpenGL application. It does not support DirectX stereo on Windows.

Graphics card: The Nvidia Quadro series of graphics cards is the only current option for use of quad-buffered stereo with Maestro. On Linux, the graphics card must have a 3-pin mini-DIN to connect to the emitter if an external emitter is used. On newer Quadro cards like the P4000 and P5000 this connector is on an external bracket that connects to the main card via a jumper cable. This image illustrates it on the right-hand side. If your computer or purchase did not come with this external bracket, contact your vendor.

Graphics drivers: Always use a recent driver from Nvidia, and preferably the latest driver that has long-term support. Many stereo-specific options and settings (e.g., optimization for 3D Vision monitors on Linux) are only found in newer driver versions. Many of the regular non-stereo OpenGL/GLSL features and options can only be used with the latest drivers and are constantly being updated.

Remember that if you update your operating system, you will have to reinstall the graphics driver.

Display devices: A monitor with a refresh rate of at least 100 Hz is required. Most modern LCD monitors support this refresh rate, as do CRT monitors (if available). Any monitor listed on the Nvidia website as "3D Vision-ready" should work. Nvidia also supports stereo HDTV screens made by Mitsubishi. Some newer LCD monitors have built-in emitters. Stereo projectors can also be used for larger audiences.

If you want to use lighter passive (polarized) glasses instead of active LCD shutters, with a mirror-based dual-monitor or dual-projector setup, you can consider the devices made by Planar ( or by Omnia MIMO (

There are also autostereoscopic 3D stereo monitors that require no glasses at all: see for example

Glasses and emitters: Nvidia has optimized their drivers for use with 3D-Vision-approved devices. If the choice of monitor requires an emitter, you will need to obtain one. There are special stereo options 10 and 11 that you can set in the xorg.conf file when using Nvidia graphics drivers on Linux.

You should also be able to use CrystalEyes shutter glasses and emitter. On Linux, this will require a 3-pin mini-DIN stereo connector on your graphics card.

If the monitor has a built-in emitter, it should work normally under Windows. On Linux, there may be some synchronization issues with the built-in emitter.

Laptops: Some laptop (mobile workstation) models include NVIDIA graphics cards that are capable of driving an external 3D display either with or without a dock. Those that do are listed as compatible on the following page: The following requirements must be met:

  • Laptops that have Optimus graphics must have an output port for a GPU display, not just an IGP display.
  • The output port must be either a dual-link DVI or a DisplayPort.

The monitor must be compatible with this laptop:

  • If the laptop DisplayPort output is used, then monitor must support 3D Vision on either a DisplayPort input connection or on a dual-link DVI input connected via a dual-link DVI cable and an active DisplayPort to a dual-link DVI adaptor.
  • If the laptop dual-link DVI output port is used, then the monitor must support 3D Vision on a dual-link DVI input connection.

You should check the NVIDIA website for details on what hardware and software is supported and is not supported for quad-buffered stereo!

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