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What is the optimum system and graphics card for SL?

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The system requirements will only tell you what standard you ought to exceed.  That is, anything better than that will work.  The farther above those specifications you can get, the better your performance is likely to be, and the longer it will be before you have to replace your machine with something even more high-powered.  It's impossible to say what's 'optimum," because technology changes too fast to give a reasonbable answer.  Besides, it's really a personal choice.  When you're shopping, though, remember that you are entering a fairly demanding 3D graphics world.  Put your money into a good monitor and the best graphics card you can afford.  There have to be limits, because a high-powered graphics card will require a bigger power supply and an impressive cooling system, so don't go crazy.  What's "best" really does depend on what you expect out of a system.  I am still getting quite acceptable performance (for my taste) with a GeForce 9800GT card in my desktop, but I don't really care whether I can run on Ultra settings. 

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The system requirements will only tell you what standard you ought to exceed.  That is, anything better than that will work.  The farther above those specifications you can get, the better your performance is likely to be, and the longer it will be before you have to replace your machine with something even more high-powered.  It's impossible to say what's 'optimum," because technology changes too fast to give a reasonbable answer.  Besides, it's really a personal choice.  When you're shopping, though, remember that you are entering a fairly demanding 3D graphics world.  Put your money into a good monitor and the best graphics card you can afford.  There have to be limits, because a high-powered graphics card will require a bigger power supply and an impressive cooling system, so don't go crazy.  What's "best" really does depend on what you expect out of a system.  I am still getting quite acceptable performance (for my taste) with a GeForce 9800GT card in my desktop, but I don't really care whether I can run on Ultra settings. 

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I'd go with Debian Linux on amd64, and any recent vintage higher-end Radeon.  NVIDIA also works, but seems to be a bit more glitchy and harder to troubleshoot for the same performance.  

It's hard to do worse than any version of Windows, given that Microsoft totally hates supporting OpenGL (despite the fact the rest of the industry uses it) because they're pushing that DirectX **bleep**.  Combine that with a desktop environment that already rides the GPU pretty hard, and Windows becomes a fantastic boat anchor on your SL performance.

Bottom line: Go with linux, stick to ATI or NVIDIA, can't go wrong.

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My personal minimum specs are an i3 based computer with and an NVIDIA GTX 550ti video card.  That seems to run medium settings quite nicely.   Pretty sure I could run high settings on quiet sims, but I don't try.

You can run with lesser hardware with varying degrees of success. (I run at low settings with a GT 520 card, and lesser CPU, but no dancing and frame rates are modest).  If you want to go to ultra settings you'll want a much better video card and probably an i5 series (or amd equivalent) CPU.

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Well, now, I disagree with my colleague Baloo...I'm a Windows girl, and I hate and fear the wild and wooly geekdom that is Linux.  And I'm an Intel girl too...AMD is soooo second rate when it comes to CPUs today.

Tom's Hardware is a good place to start looking for high performance gaming systems.  They do a quarterly "System Marathon" build at several different price points.  Those builds are a good place to start, and you can be sure that all the components will work together.

Another place is http://pcpartpicker.com/  There you can start with one component, and add others.  The system won't let you add components that are incompatible.

Speaking in general terms, I'd start with an i5 processor (i7 if the budget allows).  A name brand motherboard like ASUS or Gigabyte.  A good quality case, and a quality power supply, 650 watts or more, from a company like Seasonic.   8 GB of RAM.  NVIDIA GeForce 560 or better graphics card -- a 670 if you can afford it.  24" monitor.  Windows 7...stay away from that Windows 8 junk.  A 2 TB hard drive, and a 128GB solid state drive for the operating system. (You can do without the SSD, but it makes startup SO much faster.)  DVD or BluRay optical drive.  If you're uneasy building your own computer, hire a high school nerd to do the job.  A decent gaming computer can be had for around $600, but I like the extra performance that you can get with a budget closer to $1,000.

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amd64 is just the name of the architecture, even at intel, for the most popular 64-bit CPU architecture on the market. AMD came up with the design. As for your hate and fear issues, get over it, you have it harder in terms of the "wild and wooly" stuff in Windows. And you probably already use Linux every day without even realizing it (for example, most flat screen TVs, Motorola set top boxes, Android phones, some ATMs, TiVo, and other stuff that absolutely positively has to work with as little intervention as possible).

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As of June 1st 2013

Any 2 or 4 core cpu will be fine as long as it's 3 Ghz or faster

See here for options: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-2.html

The faster the better, but there's really no reason for any more than 4 cores so.. if you're going with intel and gaming is all you're into, there's no reason to get an i7. Only difference between the i5 and i7 is hyperthreading. Hyperthreading allows each core to run two threads so.. an i7 is like having an 8core cpu and there are very few games available that can actually utilize that many. 

My computer is about three years old now. i have an amd 1090T X6 processor that is 3.2 Ghz. Although, i've disabled three of the six cores and over clocked the three to 3990 Mhz ( *shrugs* 4 Ghz ) and i've found that my games run much more fluidly. - maybe someday i'll get a better cpu cooler and enable the other three - ( no rush )

Second Life definitely falls into the Advanced Gaming category because of the elaborate 3D environments, especially if you want decent frame rates while running with deferred rendering (Adanced Lighting / Shadows n Stuff). 

So as for the graphix: i'd at least recommend a GeForce GTX 660 or a Radeon HD 7870

but.. you'd love your SL experience more if you went with a GeForce GTX 670 or a Radeon HD 7970

Here's the recent low down on Graphic Cards: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

And between Amd and Nvidia.. it's just whatever suits you best. If you're running multiple monitors and you have them combined together for an increased resolution..  Amd has been in that game for the longest, so their software for that may be more mature. On the other hand, if you're wanting an actual 3D experience with some games or movies then Nvidia would probably be the best route. 

I use both between my desktop and my home theater pc and i actually prefer Nvidia... but mostly just because Nvidia's software is easier to install on a linux system.

but there are lots of nice documentation on installing Cataylst ( a.k.a. fglrx ) that i'm thankful for : )

Nvidia's cards are a bit more efficient too ( not as power hungry ) AND.. If you are using Windows, there are some nice new Nvidia utilities available that could make Fraps obsolete ( if you know what that is ). 

Now since i've mentioned "linux," i will go on to say that within my experience using Second Life on Windows 7 and any linux distribution [ i've used ubuntu (including mint), arch, and openSUSE (currently) ]. Second Life is about three times faster when using linux.

and if you want to try it.. i'd recommend beginning with a 32 bit install of Linux Mint. There are multiple desktop environments and i like KDE but just regular linux mint install, using cinnamon or mate may be easier to grasp for a beginner. Also, if you're wondering about the 32 bit part and installing it on a 64 bit capable machine.. don't fret. Second Life actually runs better on a 32 bit operating system (os) because it is a 32 bit program. Linux also detects how much memory you have during installation and knows when to use a PAE ( Physical address extension ) kernel, so you'll be able to efficiently use up to about 8 GB of RAM for multitasking and such.

After reading all about Linux Mint from all of the many links on Mint's website and then formating and installing ( the install disc makes it pretty easy but i'd read a little on "formating for linux" first ). You'll want to install your graphics driver the "hard way" for best performance. That consists of downloading the driver directly from Nvidia or Amd's site.. just like i hope you do for Windows. 

yeah. just read the readme on the driver's site....   or call google for help..  Hell, IM me if you want and i'll point you in the right direction.

 

Here are three PC builds that i've recommended to friends:

( using their choice of websites )

Aleda's PC (excluding case & psu)

http://www.ebuyer.com/407824-evga-gtx-670-ftw-2048mb-gddr5-dual-dvi-hdmi-displayport-pci-e-graphics-02g-p4-2678-kr

http://www.ebuyer.com/267107-crucial-256gb-m4-ssd-ct256m4ssd2

http://www.ebuyer.com/367824-intel-core-i5-3570k-3-4ghz-socket-1155-6mb-cache-oem-processor-cm8063701211800

http://www.ebuyer.com/398376-asrock-z75-pro3-socket-1155-vga-hdmi-7-1-channel-audio-atx-motherboard-z75-pro3

http://www.ebuyer.com/370057-corsair-16gb-ddr3-1866mhz-vengeance-memory-cmz16gx3m2a1866c10

----------------------------------

Perle's damn near state of the art PC

http://www.materiel.net/mini-boitier-pc/corsair-obsidian-350d-90621.html

 

http://www.materiel.net/alimentation-pc/seasonic-g-series-550w-82482.html

http://www.materiel.net/processeur-socket-1155/intel-core-i5-3570-78982.html

http://www.materiel.net/carte-mere-socket-1155/asus-p8h77-m-pro-90312.html

http://www.materiel.net/barrette-memoire-pour-pc/g-skill-kit-extreme3-2-x-4-go-pc19200-ares-cas11-91016.html

http://www.materiel.net/disque-ssd/samsung-serie-840-pro-256-go-83233.html

http://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique/evga-geforce-gtx-660-ti-ftw-2-go-90884.html

http://www.materiel.net/kit-de-watercooling-complet/antec-kuhler-h2o-620-v4-85860.html

http://www.materiel.net/lecteur-optique-dvd/samsung-sh-224db-boite-3-coloris-91153.html

---------------------------------

Perle's Budget PC

http://www.materiel.net/lecteur-optique-dvd/samsung-sh-224db-boite-3-coloris-91153.html

http://www.materiel.net/barrette-memoire-pour-pc/g-skill-extreme3-2-x-4-go-pc15000-ares-cas9-75942.html

http://www.materiel.net/disque-ssd/crucial-m4-256-go-sata-revision-3-0-67167.html

http://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique/evga-geforce-gtx-660-superclocked-2-go-83929.html

http://www.materiel.net/carte-mere-socket-am3-/asus-m5a97-r2-0-82299.html

http://www.materiel.net/processeur-socket-am3-plus/amd-fx-4350-black-edition-90867.html

http://www.materiel.net/alimentation-pc/corsair-gs600-edition-2013-gaming-series-600w-85679.html

And here's three different computer cases in the 60 - 70 Euro range ( i just couldn't pick one..  but you'll need to )

http://www.materiel.net/boitier-pc/corsair-carbide-300r-77057.html

http://www.materiel.net/boitier-pc/cooler-master-silencio-86863.html

http://www.materiel.net/boitier-pc/zalman-z11-77233.html

And you might want to use the cpu water cooler from the "state of the art" build above. Most people say that the stock cpu fans that come with the cpus are noisy.

i've never actually used one myself so i really don't know, but they are all generally small fans and big fans are much quieter than small ones. Although the sealed and "ready to use" cpu water-cooling systems that are available cost about the same or less than the nicer heat-sink and fan 'cooling solution.'

Another Suggestion to a friend:

Evidently hardware is much more expensive in Sweden

 July 9th 2013

1. CPU

http://www.inet.se/produkt/5310046/intel-core-i5-4670-3-4-ghz-haswell

2. Motherboard

http://www.inet.se/produkt/1902483/asus-z87-plus-atx

3. Memory

http://www.inet.se/produkt/6110012/corsair-16gb-2x8gb-cl10-2400mhz-vengeance-pro-rod

4. CPU Cooler

http://www.inet.se/produkt/5322250/cm-eisberg-120l-prestige ~ Preferred for it's Copper Radiator

5. Graphics

http://www.inet.se/produkt/5409914/evga-geforce-gtx-770-2gb-sc

6. Boot SSD

http://www.inet.se/produkt/4304475/samsung-ssd-pro-basic-840-series-256gb


1. 1 933 kr
2. 1 490 kr
3. 1 649 kr
4. 1 199 kr
5. 3 790 kr
6. 1 890 kr

~ 11, 951 Total kr = $ 1763.78 USD


***************Lower Price Option:***************

Substitute a GTX 760 for the GTX 770 ( 760 is almost equal to a GTX 670 ) - Aleda has a 670

http://www.inet.se/produkt/5409911/evga-geforce-gtx-760-sc

______GTX 770 - 3790 kr
____ - GTX 760 - 2299 kr

Subtract & = 1491_________ - 1491 + 11951 = 10460 kr = 1546.22 US Dollar

 

[04:47] Transann: Well all i need is a PC that last a long time and works good in Second Life *giggles* all the rest is not necessary...not for me ;)
[04:49] Alisa Menna: yeah.. i'd keep that board "Z87-plus" and then if you wanted to knock the price down.. get 8GB of the 2400Mhz RAM, instead of 16.
[04:51] Alisa Menna: Then if You still want to drop the price down.. get a 128 GB SSD instead of the 256.. but instead of the 840 Pro - samsung.. get a Crucial M4
[04:53] Alisa Menna: But if i were buying a Graphics card today.. i wouldn't want anything less than the gtx 760
[04:53] Alisa Menna: 770 if i could : )

Installation tips:

1. If thermal grease isn't pre-applied to your cooling solution (cpu cooler / water block). You must apply some yourself onto the cpu. It only requires about half of a pea size. If the heat pipes are exposed on the bottom of the cooler / block, pack some grease into the crevices / gaps. Google for a video tutorial.

2. Avoid touching any gold or copper electrical contacts and either wear a grounding strap or touch something with bare metal occasionally to discharge any static electricity, especially when handling the memory modules. Static Kills.

3. Before installing your operating system be sure that the BIOS / UEFI system's device controller is set for AHCI (usually is by defualt, but check to confirm).

4. If you're not using intel or xmp compatible memory, you'll need to set the memory timing manually for memory speeds above 1333. Look up the memory on the manufacturer's website or check the vendor's listing for information.

5. There's sometimes buggy and/or irritating software included on the mother/main board's disc/s. Only install what you need.. or better- Only install the NIC ( Network Interface Card )'s driver if needed and then go to the board's website for the latest drivers.


Oh and Windows and linux can coexist on the same machine and even the same drive. Just install Windows First.

Be sure to make a Windows Repair disk, in the event that you want to remove linux...  and no, removing linux doesn't hurt / break windows in any way.. You'll just want the repair disk to make your computer boot directly into windows again instead of giving the option between linux or windows

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SL 3x faster in Linux? I never experienced any increase in performance but that was a couple years ago. Maybe your AMD cpu benefited in Linux and your Windows wasn't optimized for SL? Windows can throttle the video card when using SL (in the past but seems to be recognized as a game now) unless you use a gaming profile in the Nvidia Control Panel. Also the cpus can be parked sometimes if not recognized as a game. I had both those issues.

 

Disabling cores. That's a neat trick. Be interesting to see if it's a performance hit.

 

cheers

Ormand

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No, Windows legitimately is crippled for OpenGL applications. It's done to force DirectX on developers in an effort to make it hard to do exactly what the Lindens are doing (multiplatform support). So you can either have a single codebase that compiles on all platforms and runs crippled on Windows, or you can have something that is optimized for Windows and runs literally nowhere else (since DX is MS-proprietary). Or you can just flush all your cash down the toilet and maintain two vastly different codebases and trying to keep them in synch. I wouldn't say 3 times faster, but I would say pretty reliably you do get about 20-30% faster in terms of framerate, all other options equal.

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I never saw a 20% increase either but that was a couple years ago and I am more proficient at tweaking windows than Linux so maybe that makes a difference. Also in Windows I run SL in a RamDisk which I do not know how to do in Linux so maybe that accounts for the difference. I did notice YouTube and the browser runs a lot smoother in Linux.

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There's FRAPS alternatives for Linux out there...I'm not much of a machinima nut but I do know people have done machinimas on Linux. Also, RAMdisk is implied on Linux, dynamically. Any unused RAM is used as a filesystem cache, your most recently used accessed and written to files are cached in RAM until the file's closed AND it hasn't been accessed in long enough for you to run out of space in the cache. So, creating a RAM disk for the purpose would actually hurt performance: Let the filesystem handler do it's job! If you throw excessive hardware out of the problem, you can get comparable performance out of Windows, but it is a tradeoff: You do need more resources and a LOT more user intervention to get Windows to do the same task as effectively as Linux.

 

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