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Building desktop for SL


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Computers are like race cars.  Speed costs money.  How fast do you want to go?

 

My adivce: come up with how much you are willing to spend.  Get an off the shelf HP that costs 80% of that.  Get an nvidia graphics card that has the last 2 digits 60 or higher that costs 15-20% of your budget.   If you have any left over, add more RAM.

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Totally agree with Rhonda and I'd add the following advice for you: depending on your budget you're often better to get a secondhand *60 and above graphics card, than a brand new *50 and below. 

It's 3 years approx since I treated myself to a better bit of kit and I went for the nvidea 670. It cost me about US$450 at the time, but all this time later I'm still running SL in ultra, with the same 30+ fps.  That famous auction site will get you this card for US$170 or lower now, perhaps quite a bit lower.

One important thing I learned was "bottlenecks".  There is no point blowing your budget on a graphics card so good it also makes a damned fine martini, if you are going to have your operating system (and SL) running on a main drive which is a so last century big spinning dinosaur thing. 

Get yourself an SSD, even 240GB (approx US$70) is more than big enough for windows (other operating sysems are available!) and just about every program you want to run, including SL, as long as you get yourself an old school HDD and get all your docs, pics, etc stored on that - effectively move your "my documents" to the second drive, but have all your programs running on the zippy SSD.

SL is the most demanding thing I run on my pc and I have a 3 years old box of bits and it still eats SL for breakfast.

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I've been messing around with a lot of different build configurations this year, and even wrote down my own little framerate benchmarks in my town.

Your biggest gain, switch to a 64 bit OS if you are on a 32.  I was running a very very very old Intel (LGA 775 family), and the second I put in a 64bit version of windows from 32, I instantly ran smooth with shadows and all.

Next, CPU,  Doesn't actually have to be anything ultra-fancy. You got two options.  I personally run an APU, and I do fine without even a graphics card.  It used to be you couldn't even look at your email right without a graphics card, but no more.  The new AMD A10-7870 and so will run this sucker amazingly.  (which of course I see I didn't write those numbers down...).  At ultra you're not getting 30fps, but living for years under an old 32-bit ram realm, it looks a little better.

But in this situation you will want two identical ram sticks, to take advantage of dual-channels.  I can't figure out if 8 gigs is really necessary, 4 may even do you.  I run with 8 however.  RAM isn't expensive as it used to be.  You can do for 40-50 bucks for 8 nowadays.

Now most people aren't too keen on such a situation.  I did it as an experiment and it suits me in a beautiful mini-itx case on my desk.  So more traditionally,

I built a computer with an AMD FX series, quad core.  Has a graphics card that's a pci 2.0 and not a 3.0. 
Framerates are:

Low 80 low+1-79    Medium 60 +1-40  High is 26  and when you get to ultra it drops to 14.  Notice below ultra is 17. 

there is always a drop between high and ultra that is the most drastic in every configuration.  I've noticed that the biggest gain isn't so much the number of CUDA cores, and all of that, but it is the bit rate.  I had a card that was supposed to have a high number of CUDA cores, and yada yada, but it was mistakingly 64 bit.  I didn't pay attention years ago.  But getting a 256 bit card really does it for you.  Even two similar cards will give you an improvement from 128 to 256.

And there is what I call the poor mans guide for SL configurations.  Been meaning to do a real post when I get around to finishing the stats.

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SL isn't especially demanding. Any mid-range gaming PC should do it. Hell even low-end ones will probably just about cope!

Just focus on graphics card and RAM, although of course the other components have to be passable to not significantly bottleneck the machine.

It really depends what level of performance you desire. I play SL at mid-high and I'm pretty content :)

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Rhonda Huntress wrote:

My adivce: come up with how much you are willing to spend.  Get an off the shelf HP that costs 80% of that.  Get an nvidia graphics card
that has the last 2 digits 60 or higher
that costs 15-20% of your budget.   If you have any left over, add more RAM.

Thanks Rhonda.

I was thinking of a decent desktop and how to go about buying one to use here.

I'll take your advice.

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