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Second Life PC building guide

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Hello from Croatia  o/

I decide to write a tutorial how to build good desktop PC for playing Second Life in ultra preferences.

Why in ultra? Because it looks so much better and expirience during gameplay is awsome :)

Im reading so much bad advices here on forum, like buying expencive i7 laptops, or crappy prebuilded office PC´s like dell, alienware or some other companies, and those people are conviced they have awsome computers because they can play SL in medium - high.

First you have to know your budget, and for what you using your PC. You also have to know what monitor-screen you have, and what resolution you play.

Many peoples think buying most expencive pc is fastest pc, but that is nowhere a true.

For example my 5 years old 50$ procesor core 2 quad  outpreform most of laptops i7 procesor 200$+. Why? Because laptops are not designed for gaming, those who are are 3x price of 10x faster custom made desktops (ill explain that later)


Saying you have small budget and you want to play SL with good framerate (40+) in ultra with 256 draw distance, AA 16x, antistropic filtering, and walking in sim with 20+ avatars. With laptop impossible, but good, cheap 300$ used pc can do it without a sweat! How?

Procesor: Look for Intel quad cores!

if you are on realy small budget, go on ebay and search for core 2 quad models!  yes they are old, but they are powerfull.

If you have bigger budget, go for i5 haswell models (4th generation of i5).

why im so against laptops for gaming?  Because 7 years old desktop procesor like Q9300 will outpreform any laptop i5 by miles. You will feel that speed during gameplay, spetial if you do a lot of multitasking in same time. Buying newer quad cores i5 are more futureproof, and you will avoid buying expencive ddr2 ram, and have 3 year warranty.

procesor under load produce heat, and you need a good heat sink to disperse that away from case, so never use stock cooler, pay little more money for aftermarket one.

Difference between new i5 and i7 is hyperthreading what 90% of aplications and gamen dont use, including SL. So there is no need for i7, because same clock speed i5 will preform identical, in some cases even better than i7. i7 is i5 + hyperthreading (SL dont use that) and that extra money you can invest in better graphic card

Motherboard: Dont buy stuff you dont need or you dont use! More expencive is not always better. If motherboard have 3 pci-e expansion slot, SLI ready, m2 ssd compatible, and you dont even know what that stuff are, you wasting money that can be invested in better graphic card for example. My advice is to buy motherboard with 4 expansion ram slots, because you can buy more ddr3 ram sticks and use extra memory for RAM-disk (more on that later)

Powersupply: incredible important part!  is a heart of your PC and ONLY BUY PREMIUM brands like SEASONIC, CORSAIR, ENERMAX, ANTEC.  All other producers are at least 50% less quality.  Check 12V rails on PSU. is only way to say how strong-capable your psu is. Chinese no name psu labeled 550w, often have less than 200w real power, and without protections, they can burn and destroy your other components. Never ever buy cheap powersupplys. Ill explain later why.

Graphic cards: As many people saying here, go Nvidia. It have way better openGL support, better drivers support and generaly SL preforms better on most of them. Here things go littlebit more complicated to explain in one thread, but newer dont allway mean better-faster. For example, new GTX 970 is awsome

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sounds good.... but ... if your machine can run SL quite ok, it might be wise to wait a year till there's more news about SL2, if the whole world is changed a lower spec machine might. like on slgo. run perfect.

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Memory: If you have older motherboard like 775 socket one, you will mostly use DDR2 memory. Only disadvantage of that is a price. DDR2 is not producing anymore, and still 50% of PCs in this world using them, so demand is high and price is often higher than DDR3 memory.  I recomedn more than 4GB of ram if you using Windows operating system and playing SL. Linux users are fine with only 4 gb  (ofc i allways advice you use 64bit operating system).

when you use more than 4 gb ddr2-ddr3 ram, you can ulitize that extra for ram-disk, wich is way faster than ssd, and awsome solution for SL chache storage.


Hard Drives: use SSD for operating system, and HDD for storage. There is many advantages of doing that, and you dont need big SSD drive, prices are way lower today and is a must have solution. Dont use SSD for SL chache!!! Install viewer on that, but move your chache folder inside your viewer on your storage HDD or even beter , use RAM DISK is you have more than 4 gb of ram.


(2 x 4 gb is common and somehow standard today, if you still using ddr2 and have 4 ram slots on your mainboard, go with 4 x 2 gb). Dont spend money on faster memory if you dont overclock, because is wasting money that can be invested in better graphic card)


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Lets talk now about graphics cards and SL. 

Most of noobs looking for a memory size of graphic cards and that is one of most common mistakes. More memory dont mean graphic card is faster.

for example my gtx 260 with 896 mb ddr3 ram is 5x faster than gt640 with 4gb ddr3. More memory on graphic card is important only when you use rezolutions above 1080p, like 4k monitors and multiple bigscreen monitor what common users simply dont have need for.

Also newer dont always mean faster- better.

Important stuff to consider when buying graphic card is

price, power usage, compatability with rest of system.

my advice is to go with older high end cards if you are on budget but that is my oppinion. I rather spend on high end 3 years old quality graphic card 50$ than on new crappy one 150$.

stuff you should looking for is

Bus size : 256 bit or better

PSU requirement: older nvidia cards demand high quality and wattage (12V amp rail specification and amperage, not number of watts on sticker)

go research on sites like tomshardware or guru3d, and read reviews on cards you looking for.

Some cards i used in my systems are GTX 260, GTX 560 ti, GT 9600   ...all of them are capable producing high frames per second on resolution 720p and 1080p without problem

If you have good budget go futureproof and use new maxwell arhitecture of GPUs (some of 7xx series and all 9xx series of graphic cards) but you dont have to if you have good powersupply, then go with 560 ti.

Check ebay and neweeg if you are located in USA, you can found graphic card capable doing ultra maxed SL with 50+ fps  for less than 100$

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And finaly...if you are not in PC´s so much, fell free to ask here in this thread if you need advice for buying parts.

tell me your budget and send me link of stores close to you, ill be happy to advice you what pc parts to pick,  save some money, and have ULTRA graphic expirience for Second life  for lot less money you may spend without good info



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Yes :)


First rule, never ever buy pc in stores that sell all kind of electronics, go in some hardware store or buy online. Check in your area for PC shop and check they web site.

You just pick parts, and tell them to build PC for you. Is their job and they will do it.

prices in usa are littlebit lower than in europe, but in my area is +- like this

good configuration for smaller budget

i5 4460  processor  + - 220$

asus H81 motherboard  -50$

ddr3 4 gb   -50$

GTX  660 ti  +- 150$

SSD for operating system (go fast and little, 80 gb is enaugh) 50$ +-

HDD for storage (depends how much space you need, im organised and dont keep data i dont use or need on my pc, so 500gb is plenty for me, someone who have large data 2TB is small....depends)

Powersupply  (search for ANTEC, Seasonic, Corsair, FSP,)  99% of other companyes sell junk and dangerous low quality PSU, and they MUST be avoided!  buy for 20$ more and buy good.  Check specification of 12V rails amperage, best is with only one 12V rail and minimum 40A (12V x 40A = 500w +-), powersupplys with multiple 12V rails can be good, but better with only one and strong. Go futureproof!  I use Corsair TX650, cost less than 70$ and can power any stuff i throw in my pc)

PC case you can find cheaper, depends on what you looking for but dont have to spend money here.

Cpu cooler: if you have more than 50$ to spend on this (i advise you do it), go with corsair H60 watercooling system i personaly use now, and that will keep your CPU way cooler-lasting longer.


If you found some good pc store website in your area, send me a link, ill be happy to advise you.




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Ok...here is a place and parts for people who live in USA

I base this build by my own preferences 

Procesor          190$


Motherboard    75$


Power supply   65$


Memory  67$


SSD  57$



i go cheap here because i dont need much storage, you can pick up used one 500 gb for  30$, if you need more go for 1TB or 2TB...  just be sure is SATA 3.0 compatible

CPU cooler  35$ - 70$

Hasswell procesors running hot, and this is incredible important part if you want prolonge lifespan of your expencive pc "brain"..go watercooling, is not expencive like before


or if you prefer air cooling, this is one of best buys



ok here i can talk like 2 pages, but with this one you will run SL maxed without sweat....and most of games on 1080p resolution (this is important)

so if you use normal HD monitor or TV, go with this


if you have money, and wanna be future proof and baddas with 4k monitor or multiple big screens, than go with this


In reality, you can buy used GTX 560 ti  for less than 100$  and have same preformance like those 2 cards in Second Life


TOTAL  700$ with gtx 660, add +- 50$ for good PC case


most of parts have 3-5 years warranty, extreeme fast, and i guaranty they will run max SL, 5 web tabs, Virtual DJ, Photoshop, Skype, Porn, and one first person shooter.....in same time:)


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In other hand....dont everyone have 700$ to spend on new PC

Dont worry folks, go like me- USED PARTS

One good, cheap, awsome, fast (i have 50+ fps maxed settings, 300 draw distance, all utra, 16x antialiasing, antistropic filtering on)

Answer is....old good 775 intel platform :)


Q9300, Q9400, Q9550, Q9650  is something will work out of the box,


There can be even better-stronger-CHEAPER combination..

Xeon procesors with 775 socket modification and prices can be even less than 50$. Ok, this is a littlebit geek territory, but on ebay, just search for one of those (they have modification stickers, and mostly came free shipping from china)

ill show one awsome combination, and this is awsome if you have ddr2 ram lying arround


Xeon E5440   40$ free shipping, and same-even better than q9550 for half of the price. But you have to do some research what chipset your motherboard have, cant do this mod on every motherboard, but mostly you can (chipset x38, and x48 cant)


Go with ASUS or GIGABYTE here if you buy used 775 socket. They are old, but full of features

for example, this is awsome one



ddr2 is used here...you have some ddr3 motherboards for this socket, but they are expencive and my oppinion not worht it. Look for good speed ddr2, that is important here because this platfor can be overclocked, if you found good ddr2 1066 memory cheap, grab it!

everything else can be used same like new platforms, as i post before.

So...why use old 7 years socket and platform for second life?  Because when overclocked can compare with 1000$ PC for second life.  I have this platform, and still love it!  Buy it if you have ddr2 memory at home, and dont wanna spend money on new stuff.

GRAPHIC CARDS....old ones :)

HA!  this is my territory

check this out!








Ok...this graphic cards run way hotter and spend more electricity than new ones, and you need GOOD powersupply, with lot of AMPS on 12V rails, 


but hey....ultra SL with 40+ fps?...no problem


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So I've been looking at an HP Pro 6000 with a q9500 Core 2 Quad processor, 4GB DDR3 Ram, and I have my own ATI Radeon HD5450 with 1GB DDR3 Video Memory. This could work well with Second Life, correct? I'm not really interested in Ultra Graphics or whatever, but smoother framerate compared to a '09 Macbook with 256GB Nvidia and Core 2 Duo Processor. Works fine in sandboxes but thats about it, hehehe

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I have been experiencing some truly awful framerates in SL (full disclosure: I use the Firestorm viewer). In fact, it's gotten so bad lately that it has to be measured in seconds per frame instead of frames per second. This typically happens in regions where there are ten or more other avatars within my view, or close to it. If there are twenty or more avatars in view, it can get down to about 30 seconds per frame. And it doesn't just slow down Firestorm, either; my entire computer (Running Windows 7 x64) halts--even the mouse cursor! And sometimes, when it finally gets to a usable point, a window pops up telling me that Windows is running slow and recommends to turn off Aero effects (which don't make a difference, of course). Flushing the cache and restarting the viewer can help for a little while, but it doesn't take long before it just gets really bad again. The kicker? This happens even when the graphical settings are on the bare minimum!

Okay, some tech specs about my system. It was a pretty good gaming machine when I built it back in 2009, but clearly SL has changed since then.

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 (2.67 GHz)

Mobo: ASUS Rampage III Extreme

Video: ATi Radeon HD 5870


HDD: 80GB SSD boot-up drive, several spinning-platter HDDs for games & programs.

I have a decent pool of money I can dip into for upgrading, but I'd rather do only a minimal amount right now; I'm still considering just building a new PC altogether in the near future. My thought is that the first thing I should replace is the video card. I don't mind purchasing a $375 nVidia GTX 970, which seems to be the new hotness as far as bang for the buck is concerned. The question, though, is: will that get rid of this intolerable slideshow that I'm currently experiencing? Or is the fact that things seem to get better after a cache flush mean that I need a bigger/faster hard drive? Or more/better memory?

Please help me to know what I should be spending my money on most here. Thank you.

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Yesterday, I did a test with a friend in sl, to see what's needed for great fps in a crowdy dance club.

Since I want to shoot a video-trailer for this club, I want eyecandy, so Ultra-settings with shadows on.
I use a SpaceNavigator to make the shots more cinematic.
Hence SLgo isnt an option; they don't support 3d mouses. And resolution is limited to 1280x720.

My gear:
CPU: Intel® Core2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.83GHz (2833.01 MHz)
Memory: 8192 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 7601)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 770/PCIe/SSE2
Windows Graphics Driver Version: 9.18.0013.4788
OpenGL Version: 4.5.0 NVIDIA 347.88

His gear:
CPU: Intel® Core i7-4960X CPU @ 3.60GHz (3599.94 MHz)
Memory: 16323 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 7601)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX TITAN Black/PCIe/SSE2
Windows Graphics Driver Version: 9.18.0013.4752
OpenGL Version: 4.5.0 NVIDIA 347.52

Crowdy dance-club with avg. of 40 avatars packed close to eachother on a dance-floor.

Facing the crowd drops the framerate / Facing away from the crowd adds framerate.

- Ultra with all the bells and whistles checked on
- Avatar impostors set to 12
- Advanced Lightning Model on
- Water-fx set to minimal
- AA on x2

My results:
swinging from 10-20 fps

His results:
swinging from 70 to 35 fps

Bare in mind:
a screen-capture recording program like FRAPS or oCam will eat another 10 fps minimum.

Since a normal smooth video is like 25/30 fps, it looks like there's no hope, other than buying a 900 dollar cpu + another 900 dollar worth gpu, to make a creamy motion video-trailer with such crowd. :/

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Excellent stress-testing, Bas Curtiz. Since FRAPS eats up about 10 fps, then I can safely assume that your actual framerates were about 20-30, which is good enough for me, especially in such a crowded area. And since I'll be getting a current-generation GTX970, which is about 25% faster than the GTX770, I should see a bit more framerates than what you were getting.

Sounds to me like the decision has been made. Even on my older hardware, the GTX970 should work well. Now I just need to make sure that my case and PSU will accomodate it before I make the purchase. Thanks, Bas Curtiz!

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Actually the 10-20fps was WITHOUT a screen-capture program running in the back.

I bought an external video-capture usb-card , so it wouldnt eat up the extra 10-15 fps.

So far u can check out my capture-results here: http://www.clubkarma.tk

Shot in High settings, without ALM/shadows and Water-reflection to minimal.


A friend of mine suggested a RAM-dump-tool + ReadyBoost.

I'll try that out and see if i gain any extra fps.

To be continued.


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The RAM-dump-tool mentioned above isn't working properly. Its build for Windows XP.

I've tried Superram which seems to do its job. I have to experiment a lil' more, to recommend it.


ReadyBoost is making my system slower than without somehow.

Maybe that's because I use a Hybrid SSHD.


I'm using the RAMDisk solution set to 2048MB; dedicated to SL's cache, which loads everything faster inworld.

Recommended! (if u got enough psychical RAM)

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So I got the Gigabyte Gaming G1 card in, which is an nVidia GTX 970. Now I am getting excellent results in SL! When pointing my view toward a group of 15+ avatars huddled in a small area, my framerate drops to about 12–15 fps, and that's with graphical settings on *Ultra*. A far cry from the 30+ seconds per frame on the lowest graphical settings that I *was* experiencing. Now, it does seem to "halt" from time to time, seemingly pausing everything for a few seconds as it's downloading models & textures, but it no longer locks up my entire computer like it did before; I still have mouse control and can do other tasks while I wait.

So thanks again for everything, Bas!

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To give u a comparison, I did a benchmark with Defraggler's random read-speed.


Local disk (SSHD): 5.63MB/s

RAMDisk: 1104.20MB/s


An increased random read-speed of 196% !

Imagine how this will affect how fast your cache-folder will load up inventory and inworld stuff...

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I read your this guide around 3 months back, I was googling around in search of a perfect PC that can run SL in at least 128m draw distance 30 plus fps and with atleast 10 avas around. I started playing SL 4 or 5 years back. At first I started with my study laptop that do not have a dedicated GPU. It was slow like hell. and for the last 4 years i been using it as i had no other option to play SL. then I recently started earning myself. so sold the laptop in a hope to buy a good gaming PC for around 1000 dollar and thus I reached my fund within a few months. Then I realized I should not waste my hard earned money on these **bleep** now. And thus I change my plan to build a cheap pc only for SL using used parts. But the tough part of it was that I dont know what parts will be enough and will not become an overkill and will not waste my money.

It is that part where your guide helped me, a million thanks to u Filipsimo12

The advice i took from ur guide is to use the xenon cpus with the mod and stuffs

I researched abt that and found it really an cost effective approach and i ordered the parts, and all the parts arrived one by one and by today my build is complete :) then just now tested the performance of ma pc in SL for the first time, and its amazing, literally no lag at all o.O !!

ma laptop was giving me 4 fps 32m draw distance and all of the settings at the low or turned off.

but this xenon pc is giving me 256m plus draw distance 30 plus fps and "medium plus" settings without any lag o.O !!

Still cant believe my 3 month hard work paid off like this o.O !!

My config:

Xenon x5460, 2 x 4GB = 8GB DDR3 RAM 1333, ASUS P5G41T-M LX, 1 TB HDD, Asus GeForce 210 1 GB GPU.

Will upgrade GPU very soon :)


Again a million thanks for this guide bro :)

Wish to meet u in SL :)

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sso happy you are satisfied with this solution...i got so much negative comments from lol...experts in this area..

i should call this thread budget pc build for sl, but back on topic

xeon you have will work in full power if you manage to find cheapo p45 chipset motherboard, for example asus p5q or gigabyte ep45 /ds4 or any p45..

than you can OVERCLOCK your cpu to 3.6 or if you have good memory and cooler even up to 4.0

grab nvidia gtx 560 ti and enjoy ultra preformance...

i have now 

asus p5q pro motherboard 30$

x5460 cpu overclocked to 4.0  40$  , and on this freq is on par with i5 2500 that cost 5x more

8 gb ddr2 corsair twinx 40$

gtx 560 ti 448 core  70$

and corsair tx650 psu 50$


i run 2 viewers on ultra, web browser, dj software, blender, photoshop same time....cpu usage is 80%



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Hi filipsimo12!!

i wonder if you can help me. my computer went down, as the last one did. and once again i am without a computer.

i and my family have been buying our computers through places like bestbuy and futureshop for years here in canada,

and it has been a nightmare we live with every day. from dell to hp, none that we have bought have worked well or for very long.

we once paid a person to build our computer , but he cheated us and went out of busness quite soon after.


while looking for my next pc nightmare (-_-), i found your thread. it is so rare to find someone who knows computers, and even knows what build you can create to make a great one that works great for sl and is willing to help someone who doesnt know

Please Filipsimo12, could you post a pc build like you did  from newegg.com, but for there newegg.ca site?

links to pc items that when put togather, can make a great build (ilike you did in post where you mentioned prices and links, only this time using what is found on newegg.CA for canadians?) i want to try building my own because i know my way around pcs fairly, but do not know which parts would be best and dont want to get cheated again by having someone else do it for me.

i'm looking to create a great sl gaming pc (which can also use photoshop) with the price range being at the most 600 cad (is that even possible?) but i am always open to hearing about pricer options, since there might be others from canada who would love to know about this too, and have a far better budget then i)

and by the way, thank you for the information you have giving on how to make a great one so far. it's rerally appreciated!!

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sure happy to help ya.  Ill dig for parts and send you my recommendations


i think Neweeg.ca stands for canada, but hey most of parts will be shipped within few days to you without too much aditional cost.


Here is 600$ for you



i5 4460  249 USD



motherboard  86 USD



Graphic card:  

GTX 760  220$

this one if refurbished, buti ll check if have warranty, than go for it!  incredible price for amazing gpu


GTX 760 210$

this is same card, but with referental (stock) cooler, but since this cards run funny low wattage for its preformance, there is no fear of heat. I say go for it


Power supply :

this is ok power supply for this combo and your budget...(most important part of pc, never buy cheap uknown brands!)

Evga 500w 60$



this is for me good package for 600$ ....add littlebit more for 2 x 4gb ddr3 memory if you dont have it allready, and hard drive


On top all that, thing what will probabbly make your pc blazing fast is SSD, you dont need big one, use 60gb one for only windows and some aplications you use. They are cheap these days.





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I dont like that procesor at all. I try it!.

Yes it overclocks a good, and is waaay better purchase than and i3 crap.  If you on budget, ok, buy it...and when you able replace it with nothing less than i5 4460.


SL use multiple threads, so quad core make huge difference (pentium is dual core but yes, really high freq and can be overclocked for cheap)


Today the best thing to do is to go with new skylake platform.  i5 6400. amazing stuff

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When buying a Nvidia GPU, make sure not  to buy one with a reference design single fan cooler, these  coolers tend to sound like a vacuum cleaner under load.


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