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iMac 5K 27-inch display in SL review


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I just tried a new later 2015 5K Retina display iMac playing SL this week and the difference is unbelievable to the point where it brings some realism to a virtual world so I decided to do a review. 

These high resolution screens can produce more colours which is what I immediately noticed. Hair had shine and textures on furniture changed and appeared better than I have ever seen it on a prim before. One thing I was really impressed with was I could leave antialiasing off on the Mac and still have a nice picture without jaggies and that was a graphics boost in itself allowing faster movement walking without the jerkiness antialiasing produces. Setting your graphics to halfway between mid and high is all that’s needed for  fantastic scenery. Much of my time in world is spent chatting or building so a fast framerate from a high end graphics card is no real advantage but a beautiful gamut of colours sure is.

For a comparison I put a new MacBook pro with a retina display next to it in the Catwa store and the results were chalk and cheese with the 5K screen miles in front.  The timber detail and light reflections in the store as well forest and beach sims afterward were a definite Wow!

Buying one especially for SL at the current buy in price is a bit steep but if you need to upgrade your hardware in the future a high definition screen for your PC sometime its worthy of consideration, and for content creators would give an edge for making things now for when they become mainstream.

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A PC with a decent video card and 5K display would do the same, its all about the hardware rendering the graphics not the software. Its such a HUGE difference you wouldnt believe.  I have used a Mac so I had to review a 5K screen from the point of view of that. The PC vs Mac debate is getting a bit dated  in 2016 anyway...

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Good to know.

<Waits for the inevitable crowd that appears whenever an Apple product is mentioned.>

That is nothing, I could do better with windows! I could get 20K with a windows computer, just 10 GPU cards, monitors connected together, and sitting at the right distance with a pair of binoculars on my head to see it. That's nothing.

You know, on a serious note, this does bring up the oddities of HUGE wood grain and other oversized texture use. The moire should disapear at a nicer resolution that is more real and allow for really nice texturing. I wonder if it will stop people building with oversized texturing though lol.

It sounds great and I hope you have fun finding places that really do it right and get the rich details working well with this neat peice of tech.

 

Now I am really wondering about the monitor thing, I have seen huge monitor walls with no frames between them. Maybe I am joking, but I may be right lol. SL does have an open source client, maybe 20K in firestorm next year lol? Nah, I am sure many are happy with just 4k! I would be!

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I think Im about to get a 27" IMAC but there are different models. The ultimate seems to be the one with Radeon R9 M395X with 4 GB video memory. My dilemma is wondering if the higher end graphics processor is worth it when it comes to using Second Life?

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Considering how low quality many of the old textures are in SL  you would have to wonder if the extra expense is justified. Fair enough if your playing Call of duty  or something similar but Half the textures in SL are old and crappy low resolution ones anyway if they are from years ago. the 2 Gig  MD Radeon R9 M390 I have been using is doing fine, and i dont think much  gain would be made because so much is server side and lag etc is there.

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I do appreciate the advice. Even if the messages are mixed.

There is one specific area in SL I would like to optimise, by upgrading my computer. I love flying in SL and own Luxor Airport (come visit) . When flying , I sometimes experience "camera crash" which is a loss of control on which camera aspect of the plane is selected. It is very hard to land a plane when you have a close up of the cabin wall on your viewer which you have little control of deselecting. This glitch happens most when sim crossing occurs. It can be reduced by turning down and simpifying graphics in preferences. This of course compromises every other graphic experience in SL.

I'm wondering if the high end graphics processor, 390 or the 395X would be most likely to help with this particular aspect I am trying to avoid. 

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Chris Frentis wrote:

I just tried a new later 20155K Retina display iMac playing SL this week and the difference is unbelievable to the point where it brings some realism to a virtual world so I decided to do a review. 

These high resolution screens can produce more colours which is what I immediately noticed. Hair had shine and textures on furniture changed and appeared better than I have ever seen it on a prim before. One thing I was really impressed with was I could leave antialiasing off on the Mac and still have a nice picture without jaggies and that was a graphics boost in itself allowing faster movement walking without the jerkiness antialiasing produces. Setting your graphics to halfway between mid and high is all that’s needed for  fantastic scenery. Much of my time in world is spent chatting or building so a fast framerate from a high end graphics card is no real advantage but a beautiful gamut of colours sure is.

For a comparison I put a new MacBook pro with a retina display next to it in the Catwa store and the results were chalk and cheese with the 5K screen miles in front.  The timber detail and light reflections in the store as well forest and beach sims afterward were a definite Wow!

Buying one especially for SL at the current buy in price is a bit steep but if you need to upgrade your hardware in the future a high definition screen for your PC sometime its worthy of consideration, and for content creators would give an edge for making things now for when they become mainstream.

It sounds like you turned Advanced Lighting on. Halfway between mid and high is the point where it's switched on in the default viewer (shadows are off at that setting.) The hair shine and furniture textures would be materials. The lack of need for antialiasing is because advanced lighting uses a different type of antialiasing that detects edges rather than the 2x, 4x, etc. calculation that traditional SL graphics uses. You'd see similar effects on any monitor.

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Could be! I installed The Firestorm viewer on both MBP and iMac as a standard install and set both graphics about the same the slider and left antialiasing off on both but the colours on the 5K screen brought it to life compared to the MBP retina display. The point I have been trying to make is the 5K screens can produce a greater range of colours so the little things that really weren’t looking good before start to look much better and stand out.  Wood grain is a good example as the browns transition from light to dark is nicer to look at.  The higher amount of pixels is no major advantage with Cartoons usually but a broader range of colours seems to be.

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