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Second Life, VR, and the GPU issue


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Disclaimer: Please no "This is Second Life, what do you expect" responses. They have plagued all other topics in relation to this and has more or less just not resolved the issue. Considering the advent of Virtual Reality technology, this is a fairly important subject.

So, here we are again, the dreaded "Why does Second Life only use xx% of my GPU?" question, but this time with a good reason. I've been on Second Life for awhile now, and I can say this when I tried it with my Oculus Rift (via CtrlAltStudio): it changes everything. Clubs are more interesting, walking around houses are a whole new treat, and just overal attention to detail changes. I pretty much now actively log in with my Rift (DK2) and wonder around Second Life.

The problem is that the frame rate is just horrid. My system is rocking a newly aquired MSI GTX980Ti Lightning Edition, given a gentle overclock. My CPU is an Intel i5-3570K overclocked to 3.6Ghz (I used to do 4.4 but my water cooler pump died so...), and I have 16GB of ram. I also have Second Life on my SSD raid array along with its cache. Despite all of this, I have to run on medium settings for even a simple 60 frames a second in a general area.

"Oh, you wouldn't even know your frame rate unless you looked at it." I start to hear some keyboards type out. In a normal desktop envirnment, I'd hold an agreement with to a degree. However, the moment you jump into Virtual Reality, where the only thing in view IS the Second Life environment, that frame rate is VERY noticable. Anything lower than 30 FPS pretty much results in motion sickness after a long exposure to moving objects, at least in my experience. While I do get I am now asking the viewer to render things twice, the thing is that due to Second Life's age and overall lack of hardware usage, this is hardly an acceptable thing!

I have already tried the "Have nVidia handle it" trick that most people link. I have tried setting Second Life's prioity to Very High, which nothing running in the background. No matter the case, Second Life refuses to use the hardware I give it, and with the VR craze happening right now, Second Life is missing out on a MAJOR chunk of this!

While doing research on how to improve my overall Second Life experience, I have gone and optimized my own avatar, lowering its render weight while keeping my overall look. I now look at how well things are made and buy optimized goods and clothing. No matter my own actions, nothing will resolve the overall looming issue: Second Life is not truely using the hardware of the systems it runs on.

So, my question is this: Why the heck have we put up with this for so long and not just dived in to fix this? While the quick settings thing is interesting, it's a bandaid over the REAL gushing issue.

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