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Tommi Rae

Building A New Desktop, What Dual Graphics Cards Should I Get?

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I want to be able to maximize my experience in Second Life and was wondering what dual graphics cards I should get? I also realize processor plays a big role but I'm still in a decision phase on that.

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I think dual GPUs will NOT accelerate a single Second Life session.  I have two nvidia 8800GTs in a Dell XPS 630i with an Intel Q6600 CPU and 8GB of RAM.  I find that no amount of fiddling with SLI has improved SL performance on anything but a totally empty scene.  Lots of people have posted otherwise but not a one has offered to reproduce their "sucess" for me.  They just babble at me like snakeoil salesmen.

 

I would like to add that running a second session on that machine worked fairly well until memory bandwidth became saturated.  I used one monitor on each GPU but, under some conditions, would get a bad bake that looked black  or transaprent.  Fix that by moving the affected session to the primary display and rebaking.  Be aware that some drivers behave poorly when a GL window is moved from one GPU to another. 

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Having the right type of graphics card is more important than having dual cards. 

1) First thing to do is check the system requirements.  That will show not only the "minimum" but also the "recommended" system requirements.  Note the graphics cards that are *recommended* for the OS you will be running. Look here:

http://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/

 

2) Second thing to do is some reading and research.  Here is an excellent article that tells about buying or upgrading your computer for maximum SL performance.  (Note, even though the article dates from 2008, the information is top-notch and defiantly worth reading)  That article explains what is important in a "gaming" computer.

http://wildefirewalcott.blogspot.com/2008/07/buying-or-upgrading-computer-for-second.html

 

3)  Article on reducing lag, which has good information:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Lag

 

4) Graphics cards:

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Graphics-cards/ta-p/700073

 

5) Buying graphics cards:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Buying_graphics_cards

 

6) Finally, here is a comprehensive article that reiterates some of my ideas, and adds additional information.  (Recommended reading!)

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Choosing_a_computer

 

 

 

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I would suggest anything from a 9800 GTX and up (Really only know how Nvidia cards run on SL). I am running a 280 GTX with a quad core CPU and a wired ethernet connection. Can get some really great framerates up to 45 FPS even running at 1920x1200 resolution. Though the more that is going on screen the slow it goes but rarely below 20 FPS. Draw is usually at 200 meters.

Anyway be careful as to get a solid card... the more you stay away from things like 210-240 GT's the better... some of those cards are just rebranded 8800's.

If I was you and I wanted a card that would be good for years to come I would go with something like a 470-480 or 570-580.

ATI makes great cards as well but I don't stay to up on there cards. Also keep in mind that no matter how fast your comp is your connection is probably the most important thing to look at.... a 580 on wifi is gonna suck compared to 580 on a wired connection. Hope this helps!

Edit: Also I was under the impression SL didn't benefit much from SLI... could be wrong though

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A more useful measure would be KTris/Sec as frames per second when the frames are empty easily exceeds 200 on my computer too.  With a 1920x1200 display that refreshes 60 times a second, what good is 200+FPS?  ;-)

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i guess it would depend on your display mine runs at 240hz 3D but i guess your eyes cant even see above the 60 hz but when running in 3D you need atleast the 60hz x2 that way both eyes can get 60hz. so for some the fps will count more than for others=))

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