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New SL Computer


Chaz Longstaff
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Looking for spec suggestions on a good mid-range Windows computer for SL. Not budget, and not thousands and thousands of dollars. I'll have it built for me.

I have a biz in SL and so don't want lag making me spend 3 hours to do some work which could otherwise be done in 1 hour. I'm also a heavy photoshop user and graphics handler for other work outside SL.

I'd like to stick to NVIDIA video cards. Ever since AMD was called ATI and still located back in Toronto, I've had nothing but bad luck with those cards, so I have no stomach for them. Happy for those who have had good luck and like them.

Bonus if the system is potentially Sansar ready (even though we have no idea what that will be, and even though this forum is SL,I know....) [ Even so, apparently they are making sure that your SL name is reserved for you in Sansar. https://modemworld.me/lab-chat-3-project-sansar/#id  ]

I used to be a tech support person in another life so I can understand BIG WORDS but I'm VERY rusty now with what's out there as my focus has shifted to programming. Qie Niangao last summer posted some starting suggestions. Any other opinions????

Video Card    NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
CPU    Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
Memory    8GB+ RAM
Video Output    Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
USB Ports    3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
OS    Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

 

Looks like the 970 would MORE than cover Sansar, according to the Lindens  "The Geforce 970+ is not our minimum spec, that is and Oculus and Vive minimum spec for VR. For just using Sansar on a regular PC or desktop, we’re not going to require that high of a spec" ( https://modemworld.me/lab-chat-3-project-sansar/#graphics )

so I guess I can focus on a good mid-range computer for SL. 

OH, and the top top priority? Life has blessed me in the past few years with tinnitus. So a silent video card fan is a must, as noises aggravate the ear ringing.

Edited by Chaz Longstaff
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Just to be clear, that configuration was only quoting what was then posted as the minimum system requirements for the Oculus Rift -- which even then wasn't a prerequisite for Sansar, but was getting vast amounts of hype at the time.

At this point it's pretty clear that the Oculus has had nothing like the expected market impact, so even if it's Sansar's VR platform of choice (initially?), it's probably not something to design a system around. That said, you could certainly do better than that configuration, even back then, whether or not the Oculus were a consideration.

(Lillith, I can't see your Newegg wishlist, but that may be because I'm in Canada and not using a US-terminated VPN now, so Newegg insists I bat away layers of Canuck-baiting spam first, so if others can see it, never mind me.)

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Thanks for your suggestion Lilith, sadly looks like access is restricted as newegg is insisting I create an account to view it. Thanks anyway! AMD has hated me ever since it was called ATI still, so I'll personally avoid it.

Gotcha, Qie. Do you have any suggestions for a 2017 mid-range computer config good for SL? What are you running on; are you happy with it; what would you change?

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@Chaz Longstaff There are plenty of good recommendations. You would probably like to have good information on the current state of hardware and what works well with Second Life. In October 2016 I was building myself a new computer and researching current hardware. I wrote what I found and provide some benchmarks and insight to what works well with SL and OpenGL. See Hardware.

Component speed is the primary factor for SL performance. CPU, GPU, memory, motherboard and storage. Everyone is all on about SSD. But, RAM drives are WAY faster abd ideal for the SL cache. SSD's are great for holding the viewer program, things used less and loaded once.

The motherboard is often the block to SSD speed. One has to pay close attention to how the motherboard handles SSD and which interface/bus the connection runs through. Otherwise you'll find SSD only a bit faster than spinning hard drives. Dig around and find the benchmarks for hard drives, SSD, and RAM drives that I ran.

The i3, i5, and i7's work for SL. But, you have to be careful because an i5 6th or 7th gen CPU can out perform  a 3rd gen i7. Computer sales people will try to build in profit by selling 3rd and 4th gen CPU's at 6th gen prices.

You want unlocked CPU's. I run my 3.5GHz at 4.1GHz. With the new motherboards it is easy to bump up performance by overclocking. The new motherboards will walk you out of problems if you over do it.

You can save money with the NVIDIA 900's but it is the 1000 series that added new tech for VR. If there is a chance you'll want to look at Sansar, you want that new tech. I'm happy with my 1060 6GB. Later this year I may jump up to the 1080.

I have yet to drive my i5 to 100% in anything other than Adobe Premiere and Photoshop. So, for SL the i5 is a better buy. If you video creation and do lots of Photoshop, an i7 might be better.

Edited by Nalates Urriah
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On 6/13/2017 at 2:17 PM, Nalates Urriah said:

 I'm happy with my 1060 6GB. Later this year I may jump up to the 1080.

The card looks good Nalates. Which one did you get? asus, msi, evga or geforce? And would you get the same again?

 I see now the MSI gaming at least advertises itself as silent. How noisy are you finding your video card? With my particular form of tinnitus, the ear ringing increases in response to stuff like noisy fans (and fish tank pumps, etc) to match that noise.

Edited by Chaz Longstaff
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36 minutes ago, Chaz Longstaff said:

The card looks good Nalates. Which one did you get? asus, msi, evga or geforce? And would you get the same again?

 I see now the MSI gaming at least advertises itself as silent. How noisy are you finding your video card? With my particular form of tinnitus, the ear ringing increases in response to stuff like noisy fans (and fish tank pumps, etc) to match that noise.

I got a GeForce RoG OC... it is mostly silent. With VR I hear it pickup now and then. When Premiere Pro is rendering it's fans don't speed up. It is a long card and I had to change cases for it to fit.

For SL I don't care for the AMD chips. So, I'm the wrong person to ask. I will say that processor speed is more important than number of cores. AMD likes lots of cores and lower CPU frequencies. For many applications that is a good choice. I prefer higher CPU frequencies for SL. 

So, in the realm of AMD... newer is better. Tom's does 'best for Dollar' reviews.

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1 hour ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

Yes, you did. My question was a follow-up to your subsequent discussion / opinion of CPUs after that:

"i5s are dead meat by now as quad core CPUs are beginning to rot. Look at "Battlefield 1" multiplayer benchmarks and see the symptoms, especially when focussing on the minimum FPS they may generate. ;There is one exception, the i7 7700k ... quad core, capable of hyperthreading, highest out of the box single core speed ... overall, probably your best choice for Photoshop as of now."

And I thank you for that. I used it as a kick-off point for some searching and reading on what's been happening with AMD the past few years.

 

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Thanks for help, all. Genuinely helped guide me in making my choices towards a mid-cost range computer. I'm on it now, and it's truly whisper quiet. Love it. Ended up with:

  • ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB DDR,
  • Intel Core i7 7700 Kaby Lake,
  • 16 GIG ram,
  • SSD drive for program files,
  • SATA drive for data,
  • 600 Watts True Power,
  • Slince ATX Tower with Glass side.


I know I could have spent more, could have spent less, but this should see me through for a few years.

Now I just gotta figure out how to slow things down... I hit tap to fly a couple metres, and next thing I know I'm 4 sims over, haha.xD

Edited by Chaz Longstaff
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@Chaz Longstaff At some point consider adding another 16GB of ram and creating a RAM Drive for the viewer cache. There is software that saves and restores the content of the RAM Drive at system start and shutdown. 

I use Dataram RAMDisk. It was cheap. There is a noticeable difference. My RAM drive is small, 4GB. I only have one viewer using it. So, when I start up other viewers they cache on my SSD. I notice the difference most in scene render time.

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Even last summer, the mentioned parts would have been outdated. A nice buy if you find them on the second hand market. But not components for a fresh purchase.

No idea and no interest in Sansar and its requirements. But recently, I set up a wishlist at Newegg for someone looking for a gaming rig, intending to play the early access of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds... about US$ 915 for the components, missing a case. As I understand, they also offer an assembly service somewhere in those listings... haven't found it yet.
As an alternative, you could replace the 275GB M.2 drive with a regular SSD of 525GB.

In general, limiting yourself to just one brand instead of considering the competitor isn't too smart, but at the moment, there are literally no AMD cards available at all. Pretty much sold out to mining farms.

Overall, you could also "downgrade" to an Intel Pentium G4560 / 8GB DDR4-2400 RAM / Gigabyte GA-B250M-D2V as an budget build for SL.

Edited by Lillith Hapmouche
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i5s are dead meat by now as quad core CPUs are beginning to rot. Look at "Battlefield 1" multiplayer benchmarks and see the symptoms, especially when focussing on the minimum FPS they may generate.
There is one exception, the i7 7700k ... quad core, capable of hyperthreading, highest out of the box single core speed ... overall, probably your best choice for Photoshop as of now.

At the same time, those i5s come at roughly same price as AMD's hexacores, so they aren't very attractive in terms of prices either.

But anyway, you might be well off if you wait one more week. Preorders for the new i9s are said to be available by the end of next week. We might see further price drops for the Ryzen 50 1600, which is already dropping... Intel has never been known to reduce their prices, even for older hardware.

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ROG products certainly aren't the most silent in most cases. One exception is their cooling design on a RX 580, where they are on par with the Sapphire Nitro models ... but that doesn't really matter anyway, as long as pretty much every AMD card in that range is sold to mining farms.

Quote

Is there an AMD CPU you'd recommend looking at?

Actually, I suggested a whole system.

I'm not watching the US prices, but over here on the German market, prices have been increasing by 20€ and more per part. Pretty insane.

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