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What I'd like to see happen: performance with modern hardware


Danny Nolan
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So SL is getting some pretty cool features. Avatar physics (while still kinda buggy) was a really cool addition. And it pretty much blows my version out of the water. haha.

 

But what I'd really like to start seeing, is SL being updated to start taking advantage of newer hardware. I know there's a lot of people still running this client with single core processors and old video cards, but that is starting to become the minority here. And that can be worked around, by simply introducing options.

SL currently does run multiple threads, however the threads are not split up well enough to really help THAT much. The main thread still has way too much going on in it, and really holds up the client in a lot of things. A good example of this, is when you clear your cache and hop into a fairly big area. The networking system that starts downloading the textures (and correct me if I'm wrong), runs in the main thread. Your FPS will drop like a rock until these textures are all downloaded, because the client has to wait for the networking code to complete it's things, before it can move onto the next task. This is definitely something that should be threaded.

Another reason to support threading, is how CPU intensive this game really is. While, with shadows on, the client can actually put the hurt on a lot of GPUs, however the CPU is still realllly limiting the client. It's not like a lot of games where the landscape, the objects in it, etc are all static, which lessens the load on the CPU a ton.

 

Another thing that would be nice, would be to update the renderer, possibly even to at least directx9. We'd see more performance just from that. It would most likely make the client play a lot nicer with SLI/Crossfire, as well, which would be incredibly awesome for running shadows. Which would certainly be nice since SLI/Crossfire actually hurts your FPS currently.

 

Yeah, this post is asking of a lot, but man. It's just time. Correct me if I'm wrong on anything, and feel free to discuss. And threading, over time, does appear to be getting a little better. I've always had one core maxed out, and lately I've seen seeing a second thread get fairly high, too. But that's still 2 threads that are, evidently, still too large.

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Better multithreading would always be nice, but it's non-trivial to multithread a render engine. They're working on that, I think. At least it's gotten better in the last 6 months or so.

As for DirectX... you do realize that using DirectX would lock out all non-Windows users?

Edit: Btw, SL doesn't max out my old dualcore CPU at all, not even with shadows enabled. One exception: Busy venues, they max out both cores.

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Gotchya. I didn't actually know that. Haha. Well I know SL uses a very very old version of OpenGL. OGL or something? At least that could be updated for OpenGL. I believe a lot of applications are written to be able to use either renderer. WoW, for instance can be ran in GL or DX.

That'd be a pretty big undertaking. It'd be doable, but they'd probably have to hire an entire new team specifically to do something like that. Which, I think should/could be done. But that's pretty ambitious. Haha.

Propper threading, though, would be the biggest at this point. 

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Minor problem: SL supports older hardware too, which basically locks them into old OpenGL. Though, of course, they could add newer functions in optional extensions. Like, say, GPU based tesselation and such in OpenGL 4.x - which requires a fairly recent GPU/driver. If you look at the forum, a lot of people try to run SL on ancient or cheap hardware, often with very outdated drivers. And then are upset because it doesn't run well.

For a reasonably good comparison between OpenGL and Direct3D: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct3D (a bit outdated but still ok).

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  • 3 weeks later...

What would be nice if LL went back to 1.23.5 with all benefits of 2.x (except the web based profiles btw).

I gave 2.4 a chance sinde December. It was running acceptable with high fps, but lately the inworld experience has become utter super annoying caused by mirco stuttering with fps wildly peeking up and down.

When i returned to 1.23.5 all is running silky smooth.

My notebook for SL is a an Asus G50Vt with an Nvidia 9800M GT card which had been a class1 notebook upto Feb this year, so it is reaally fast enough.

There are no things i have not tried to resolve the issue really, even completely installed the computer and router again. nothing helped for 2.x.

Back to silky smooth running 1.23.5 (yay!)

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since you mentioned stuttering, there was a problem pre2.6.2 where media calls where repeating causing stuttering and driving down frame rates, It's mostly fixed in 2.6.2, (media doesn't get hammered  anymore, except for a new request with every prim property/content change while editing a media prim). so if you liked v2, that may have solved your problem.

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