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Icarus Lytton

New GTX 970 graphics card yet very mediocre performance

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This one has stunned me. I bought a brand new GeForce 970 and even overclocked it 10% yet get perhaps 20-25fps in Second Life (with shadows and such turned on). Odd thing is, the GPU is only 20% stressed and my CPU only 15%!! My cache is on a SSD with plenty of space left so I can't think of any bottleneck yet somehow, the performance is no better than with my old GTX670 card. I also did a clean reinstall.

Would anyone know the cause for this? And is there a solution?

As a test, I turned everything to the absolute minimum. You know the FPS I got? 18. 18fps.

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You don't mention your Internet connection. Wired or wireless, upload/download speeds.

Also, what type of sim are you on. Is it empty or packed full people, exciting scripted things, particle effects vehicles etc.

And, if you go to help/about in your viewer there is information about your system so if you copy and paste that into your post it would give a fuller picture.

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I have the latest Firestorm viewer and this was on practically every sim I went to. Only exception: if I cam to someone far away, the FPS rockets up. Very odd. It seems even a single avi causes the fps to plunge, no matter what settings I use. My network speed is wired at 250Mbps so more than enough.

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I wouldn't call that very odd. Some avatars have 1000 times more polygons than pixels on screen. That's amateur building for you. The thing that makes SL so nice for builders and so crappy in performance.

If you want to know for sure it's the insane amount of geometry killing your performance, open the develop menu then show info -> show render info. It will tell you exactly how many triangles and vertices are rendered (kTris and kVerts). (opening the render info can kill your performance by itself, so be aware of that).

btw, that 250 Mbps is certainly not what you get from the LL servers.

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Test your performance with the Linden viewer.

With the 64bit version of Firestorm and Singularity I get 50% performance. (Only 64bit viewer and only with advanced lighting - but without advanced lighting the fps skyrocket anyways)

Other viewers don't have that issue - for me.

The CPU and GPU load will always be low since SL is not able to make use of modern hardware but not that low as in your case.

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I run a GTX 970 and get up to 60 fps even in supercrowded regions, with maximum prefs (ultra). The bottleneck must be something else, it certainly is not the GPU or the SL viewer/server per se.

I´d first try to do a CLEAN viewer install, as described at the Firestorm website. Maybe some old prefs slow down your performance.

Probably you should reinstall your drivers, which often are the reason for performance drops.

Another good idea is going for a 64-bit system and viewer, because the 32-bit OS cannot handle the available memory as well as a 64-bit one can. 32-bit systems/viewers and big inventories are not really compatible. No problems anymore here with 64-bit OS/64-bit Firestorm and 8 GIG RAM.

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Nova Convair wrote:

The CPU and GPU load will always be low since SL is not able to make use of modern hardware but not that low as in your case.

That´s not true. Second Life is fueled by OpenGL, and that´s what almost every professional 3D-modelling suite on planet earth uses for rendering. It´s the industry standard.

Most Windoze based games might use Direct-X, of course, but this isn´t better as OpenGL. So, who told you that "SL is not able to make use of modern hardware"? Some self declared "3D specialists"?

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I don't know much about this stuff, but the first thing I would do is go into my Nvidia Control Panel, and go to Manage 3D Setting and look at what the defaults are set to. There could be something turned on that is devastating your frame rate.

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As already mentioned, check what's around you. Where I'm stood right now I can pan around and get anything from 15fps to 60fps, just by looking in a different direction. That's with Ultra, everything turned on, 128m draw distance.

I recently upgraded to an MSI GTX970, and saw a dramatic improvement from what I had which was a couple of years old. I also use a dedicated cache SSD.

Your CPU use - is that the whole system? The viewer is mostly single-core (I think there are some parts that can run multicore) so check the individual cores if you want to know CPU use.*

Someone here suggested I use Open Hardware Monitor to take a look at what my system is doing. I hadn't come across it before - it's good and revealed some things I wasn't aware of. Google it for a link.

 

*not entirely sure about this - I am sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

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(wasn't a reply specifically to Vulpinus)

Network speed, wired or wireless will NOT affect frame rate and only in an inversely proportional mode.

SL is not a streamed system, if there's no data coming down, the GPU has nothing to render, frame rate will be off the chart.  The faster the connection speed, the more there is to render, the GPU will get slower as more work to be done.

 

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If you're not seeing any better performance from a GTX 970 than you had with a 670 then it sounds like your system is probably bottlenecked by the CPU (and may have been when you had a 670). You don't mention what CPU you're running.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

....

Network speed, wired or wireless will NOT affect frame rate and only in an inversely proportional mode.

SL is not a streamed system, if there's no data coming down, the GPU has nothing to render, frame rate will be off the chart.  The faster the connection speed, the more there is to render, the GPU will get slower as more work to be done.

That is true but only if you are sitting still. If you start to walk and you don't have enough bandwidth then the FPS will suffer. This is when you press the arrow key to walk and nothing happens and then you take your finger off and start walking. You may also sink into the ground.

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It's true if panning around too.  Movement lag would manifest itself as a result of packet delay rather than low bandwidth.  The GPU will still render whatever objects it has at the frame rate it can achieve regardless of the speed of extra objects coming in.

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Ohjiro Watanabe wrote:

That is true but only if you are sitting still. If you start to walk and you don't have enough bandwidth then the FPS will suffer. This is when you press the arrow key to walk and nothing happens and then you take your finger off and start walking.
You may also sink into the ground.

To clarify, since there are several different types of "you" used in this post: your avatar may sink into the ground, but however hard you press the arrow key, it is unlikely that you will find yourself a couple of feet below the level of your keyboard.

[unless your mother's cellar was built on a swamp.]

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You have run into a problem that many of those upgrading their computer hit.

First: When you ask a tech question include information about your computer and viewer. If the viewer will at least show the login screen, get the info from the viewer's Help-About... and paste that into your post with your question. Help->About... provides all the version numbers we need.  To add your info to an existing question use OPTIONS->EDIT. It’s in the upper right of your post.

It also helps to know if you are using a laptop or a desktop and a wired or wireless connection between the computer and gateway and/or between the gateway and ISP.

Without information all we can do is guess. That means you have to try all our bad guesses and eliminate them one by one. This is easier for all of us, if you give us good information to start with.

Second: Internet Speed and bandwidth is not going to HOLD your FPS down. It will hurt FPS when you first arrive in a region. Your CPU will be busy decompressing downloaded textures and handling download traffic and storing files to the cache.

If you sit still for 5 minutes or so you should see your FPS climb to some peak. You can press Ctrl-Shift-3 – Texture Console to see when the viewer is busy decompressing and downloading textures. When the console clears your CPU and GPU are devoted to rendering the scene. You should have your max FPS when the console clears.

You can verify your connection to SL server using this information: http://blog.nalates.net/2011/10/26/troubleshoot-your-sl-connection/

Remember. A good Internet Connection does not mean you have a good connection to the SL servers.

Third: CPU-Z and GPU-Z are fee programs that will tell you what the CPU and GPU are doing. You seem to have that info already. When these are not at capacity, the bottle neck is elsewhere.

Fourth: Memory is the often an over looked bottleneck. Your 970 should be good. But, your system RAM may be slower than what your motherboard and CPU can handle. I got a bigger speed boost upgrading my memory to faster chips than I did upgrading my video card.

Piriform Speccy is a free program that will tell you about your hardware in great detail. Use it to get your motherboard ID/Model and look up the memory specs. Also, look at the chips you have plugged in. See what their max speed is. Use the fastest chip you motherboard will support.

Fifth: Another problem is the amount of memory available and being used. I use System Explorer, another free program, that shows me what my system is doing. You can also use the Windows Resource Monitor. Look for page faults. If your viewer is forcing the system to page memory to disk, that is a huge bottleneck.

Many find that some program running in background and started before the viewer has eaten up memory and the viewer is being memory starved. You can test this by using msconfig to temporarily block numerous programs from running at start up. If that reduces paging, then you have found found where you bottleneck is. Then you just need to track down the program

Sixth: Less common or likely is your viewer’s bandwidth setting. Preferences->Setup… this value should only aver be 80% of your max bandwidth as measured by SpeedTest.net to a SL server. Open Help->About and get an IP address for your region server. Use that to test to with Speedtest.net.

At the most this setting should be 1500. So, 80% of max speed or 1500 whichever is smaller.

This controls UDP protocol. It tells the server how fast it can send to you, There is a bug that can cause the protocol to choke in several cases. By keeping the setting at or below 1500 you avoid that bug. Avatar updates, movement, rotation, etc, is all sent via UDP. More avatars, more UDP traffic. If UDP messed up it can choke the viewer.

Seventh: Also, you need to tweak your nvidia control panel. Create a game profile for Second Life. You can Google how to create game profiles with Nvidia Control Panel.

Probably the only point where you will find bad info for SL is in the threaded optimization settings. This should be enabled. Some years ago this needed to be off. That information is still being passed around today. But, for the last 2 years the Lab has been threading more and more viewer processes. So… enable it.

Eigth: Check for heat. SpeedFans is free and will give you a good collection of temperature readings. If heat is the problem, you'll likely start out at a decent speed and as things heat up slow down.

General: No matter how hot your computer, play with the viewer’s graphics settings. Turn your draw distance down. When shopping 64m is good. For pictures across regions turn DD up to whatever is needed to render the scene, it will kill FPS but you’ll get your picture. Otherwise 256m is HIGH. 128m is average.

Different settings cause low FPS on various combinations of hardware. You have to experiment with your computer’s settings and the viewer’s settings.

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Did you uninstall your old graphics drivers before installing the Gtx 970?

There is an app that will do this for you http://www.guru3d.com/files-details/display-driver-uninstaller-download.html

 

If i just turn off shadows my pc with a MSI Gtx 970 hits over 120 fps in places that dont have loads of avs within draw distance so i limit it to 60 fps .

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for all the suggestions and help. I've tried practically all the suggestions and while most didn't help, here's the few that did help and what I discovered:

- increasing cache: I think SL was forced to constantly load and reload because I left Cache to a default 1GB - I raised it to its maximum of 6GB and my fps went up a little

- I decreased the networkspeed as well to 1250kbps which makes moving less stutterish now

 

But most of all, I discovered what causes the massive performance hit: particles. They hit my fps waaay more than they used to. I've removed all particles from my sim and now my fps went from 13 to 40fps.

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40 fps still is too slow for a 970 GTX. I suspect that there is some hardware bottleneck, like the CPU, lack of memory, your network card or whatsoever.

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I too have a EVGA 970. I honestly thought it would do slightly better. When i first built my new machine, i put in an overclocked 760. the 970 doesn't run any faster really, but does run quite a bit cooler. I recently overclocked the 970 about 20%, but added a user defined fan curve to kick the fans on at a lower temp. Now, in ultra modes, I can keep the card between 50-60c usualy

My internet speed is only 12mbs. I am however on a wired LAN. The rest of my system is a corei7, 16gig ram, ASUS MB, 750 watt power supply. Running Win7

In an empty sim without a bunch of alpha (trees etc) I see FPS between 50-80+ usualy with everything on. Start getting into sims with alot of trees and particles, it can drop fast. Usualy in the range of 18-30FPS. Some sims however, can bog the snot out of it - 3-8FPS

I shoot alot of weddings, so a crowded wedding I usualy run 12-22FPS, which is fine - I can still move and move the camera around

Also, I use the BlackDragon Viewer with everything on really high settings, and shadow resolution at 2.0. I have noticed that quite often, Firestorm in the same sim, same spot, will get considerbly better FPS, other times, they are about equal

Honestly, with my system specs and vid card, I was hoping to run at least 50fps with everything even in busy sims or high alpha sims, just not the case. once those shadows come on, the brakes get applied hard. Suppose alot could be due to my not so fast 12mbs internet conncection too

Also, I been checking the vram usage inthe ultra modes, with about a 2.0 resolution on shadows i am using about 1.6 gig of memory. I experiment with jacking the shadow scale and resolution(a BlackDragon thing)  to max and used about 2.8 gigs of memory - with a very noticble drop in FPS as well

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Your GPU rendering performance in terms of pure FPS had nothing to do with your internet data rate. Nothing, nothing at all, except an inverse relationship.

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One of the big problems is LL put no limits on clothing for meshes, unlike for building, and many people use pre-bought meshes which are badfly made, and add their own textures.

People are obsessed with numbers, and so want things like hair with more prims, more scripts, more faces and above all huge graphics files for little details which are not necessary. Mesh bodies make the whole thing worse, as do alphas. 

And it'll depend how they've set up the physics and LODs for the meshes.

There can be many bottlenecks in Sl that can cause lag, most of it selfish people who don't think of everybody else.

But SL systems can quite easily overload, and that might be chat, groups, asset servers, server baking, physics and inter sim communications or any combination. Obviously that will also change according to how many people are logged in and time of day, but sometimes some sims just seem hugely bad at communicating (probably doesn't help with different server versions being run at the same time).

I also find that places doing live music seem to be much slower than streaming radio with the same number of people on the sim for some reason.

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 As a owner of a Gtx 970 I would like to inform you that I feel your pain. SL statiscally does not make very good use of the GTX 970 series card. One of the problems that I found with the 970’s are that are “lazy”. What do i mean by this you ask? Well when looking at the gpu usage I wondered why mind was so low. I too posted here and got the same responses you got and I was not satisfied  with those answers. so I kept looking.

 

  It turns out that sl simply does not apply  enough pressure  to push these Graphics cards into their optimal performance. I generally monitor what my temps and cpu and gpu usage are.  I was finding the same low gpu usage you found. I also found that at certain points my clock speed would drop and go from its overclocked state to its default 3d clock speed. This would systematically limit  the fps that I would see in sl.

 

   How did I overcome this ? Partly would a bios mod( not recommended). The other way I overcame it is by realizing that sl oddly enough, does not how the capability of pushing these cards to their full potential without a lot of pressure. That pressure is shadows. In order to force my card to run at full speed and use more than 20 to 25 percent GPU usage I need to turn shadows on and turn the level up shadow detail up.




By turning the shadow detail up and actually driving the settings up this forces the gpu to run at a higher speed. This can equal higher fps but because of the dynamic shadows and mesh in sl it can also tank your fps.



I via bios mod(once again not recommended)  have forced my system to not be as lazy. I Also know that unless Sl is putting a lot of pressure on it, the card will use less Gpu usage. Also I have learned to live without shadows. I love them but it just isn't reasonable to expect to run them full time.



These Nvidia gpu’s were designed to be power efficient . They were designed to work when it was really needed. apparently they don’t believe running sl requires work.  Take a look around the forum. There was a guy with a gtx titan who was disappointed in the performance and fps. He was only getting 40 fps on a gtx titan…..



I am by no means an expert but you are welcome to message me.  These are my personal experiences with this card. It was a complete struggle but I am finally happy with my system.




Sorry for the long post but I wanted to detail my experience so that at least you knew i had some back ground with the situation

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I have also tried to overclock the 970. Even a very modest 10% boost cause the viewer to crash on occasion. I rarely if ever crash when it is not overclocked

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Jackson Redstar wrote:

I have also tried to overclock the 970. Even a very modest 10% boost cause the viewer to crash on occasion. I rarely if ever crash when it is not overclocked

I have a pretty serious overclock. It's due to the voltage. The gtx 970 changes voltages if you do not lock it down hence the bios mod.

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I got my custom computer last month after the power source in my old one died, and Dell said they couldnt replace it. I have a GTX 970, and standing on the sim where my photo studio is, I am getting anywhere from 80-100 FPS with 10 people on the sim (but not near me). At crowded events it goes down to like 40 FPS, and one time down to 33 when the sim was significantly lagged out. And it's not overclocked (I don't know how to do it, and it would had cost me more to have the store do it for me).

I have other issues with my computer (which is why I am taking it back to be serviced next month), but luckily frame rate is not one of them. I agree with everyone that has said there is some setting that isn't quite right. Or maybe there is a fault with the card itself?

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