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Ace5762

Firestorm Performance improvement advise requested

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Hi all,

I've been having some performance problems with firestorm on a sim I've been frequenting recently. It's quite an object heavy sim so it's relatively unsurprising. Usually I can manage happily with a framerate of 20, but I'm now getting a lot of stutter, especially when moving and turning. Sometimes an idle framerate of under 10

I recently purchased a new graphics card and some additional RAM, but haven't seen a marked improvement in performance.

Reviewing the performance of CPU, Memory and GPU, I can't see anything obvious being maxed out.

Would anyone be able to advise me of steps to try and improve performance, either through settings or considering new hardware?

The next thing I was considering is changing to an SSD. My hard drive read/write speed is very slow, though as to whether this has a effect on SL's performance, I don't know.

 

PC Specs are below, graphical settings in attached image.

Summary
        Operating System
            Windows 10 Home 64-bit
        CPU
            AMD FX-6300    45 °C
            Vishera 32nm Technology
        RAM
            16.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 803MHz (11-11-11-28)
        Motherboard
            Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd. 970A-UD3P (CPU 1)    36 °C
        Graphics
            32_LCD_TV (1680x1050@30Hz)
            K202HQL (1366x768@60Hz)
            8192MB ATI Radeon RX 570 Series (XFX Pine Group)    54 °C
        Storage
            465GB Seagate ST3500312CS (SATA)    37 °C
        Optical Drives
            ATAPI DVD A DH20A1S
        Audio
            AMD High Definition Audio Device

SL_Settings.png

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There's a lot of variables in performance so it is going to be a case of going through this bit by bit. 

A few things to double check first though. 

1) If you have anti virus and anti malware software ensure that the cache folders for the viewer are white-listed. Ask in Firestorm support group in world about white-listing and someone there will help you and point you to the right info on our wiki. You mentioned choppiness and this is frequently the cause because every time cache gets updated you virus software decides it has to go and inspect it. If there were ever a #1 culprit for people find that things suddenly deteriorate it is probably that. 

2) Do ask in Firestorm support too, they are far more experienced in helping people troubleshoot various faults and more interactive than the forums too.

I am not all that familiar with AMD and radeon so I cannot tell what the expected performance/capability is but with you settings down that low there's something wrong.

It is a common misconception that turning off atmospheric shaders and advanced lighting will help, it can often have the opposite effect. You should compare a session with and without those enabled (leave all other settings) and see how you fare. Having them on or off is important if you think the bottleneck is in the GPU, in your case you are forcing more on to the CPU, and if this happens to be the bottleneck then you are not helping matters. All that said, a quick google would suggest that you hard drive which is quite slow, is the weakest point. Given that you have more RAM you might want to consider testing out a RAMDisk and putting your cache on that. It would save you spending on an SSD and finding that it still made no difference.

If you fancy trying this, I would read https://www.ghacks.net/2017/04/03/the-best-free-ramdisk-programs-for-windows/ or one of the other similar threads out there in the interwebz and set up a RAMDisk of say 3GB (make sure your cache etting in the viewer is smaller than that) and assign your cache to the new drive. (remember the white-list exclusions when you move the folder though). If this helps then you can proceed with a bit more confidence that the HDD is one of the issues.

Regards

Beq

 

 

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Moving to a SSD will make a huge impact for certain, so go for it... look for a Crucial MX500 1TB, for example.
In the meantime, you can give the RAMdisk thingy a try.
Besides that, that old CPU will bottleneck you.

As for graphics... well.
You can definitely save those settings as "lowscale" preset ... see the save, load, delete buttons at the bottom part.

But actually: give your GPU something to do!
You should easily be able to go to high or close to ultra settings. Just manually adjust parts like draw distance, imposters and LOD settings to sensible settings.

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Get the latest AMD drivers. When you run Firestorm, in the AMD controls, open gaming and it lets you make a profile, click the tune performance button and select auto tune performance. You should be able to turn up the SL settings much higher. All the shaders through Atmospheric shaders, at least, and I’d expect a 570 would be okay with ALM. 128M draw distance. I had the same problem with an RX 550 in an i5. The new drivers made a huge difference. SSDs are also the bomb. Every computer should have one.

ETA, also set your texture memory in the Firestorm graphics hardware settings as high as it can go.

Edited by Lyssa Greymoon
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6 hours ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

Moving to a SSD will make a huge impact for certain, so go for it... look for a Crucial MX500 1TB, for example.
In the meantime, you can give the RAMdisk thingy a try.
Besides that, that old CPU will bottleneck you.

As for graphics... well.
You can definitely save those settings as "lowscale" preset ... see the save, load, delete buttons at the bottom part.

But actually: give your GPU something to do!
You should easily be able to go to high or close to ultra settings. Just manually adjust parts like draw distance, imposters and LOD settings to sensible settings.

CPU always bottlenecks no matter which CPU you have, that's just SL. I had the same CPU before and i can tell you that its fine and can easily get 40-60 fps with shadows and everything on, with avg 30 fps around crowded places given you don't allow every ***** avatar to render.

I highly recommend reducing complexity (although honestly its kinda worthless since 40k already allows the worst of the worst to be rendered while proper optimized avatars are not) to something around 70-80k and reducing max avatars to 5, this alone should give you a massive boost around people. Since you can't tell apart good from bad content with the default complexity i can't recommend manually jellydolling people since you wont have any value to go by (again complexity as it is in FS and LL Viewer is complete trash and useless)

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Heyo folks, thanks for the suggestions- still having trouble but having some improvement. I have an SSD on order, so I'm going to try installing that and seeing how things go.

After that.. I think my only option would be transitioning to a newer cpu, whiiich means needing ddr4, a new mobo and a new cooler for the new slot types. My poor wallet!

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14 hours ago, Ace5762 said:

Heyo folks, thanks for the suggestions- still having trouble but having some improvement. I have an SSD on order, so I'm going to try installing that and seeing how things go.

After that.. I think my only option would be transitioning to a newer cpu, whiiich means needing ddr4, a new mobo and a new cooler for the new slot types. My poor wallet!

SL doesn't return good value for the money spent on a new computer though, unlike a build for gaming. You'll always find sims that just really suck the life out of your PC. But, Nvidia has always been said to be the preferred graphics card for SL

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1 hour ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

A lot of nonsense has been said in terms of SL.

This is none of it though. SL has always run better on NVidia cards because ATI/AMD's infamously bad OpenGL support (which SL runs on)

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It's been my experience that Second Life favors Team Green, at least with consumer grade cards on Windows computers. AMD's pro grade cards seem to have better OpenGL drivers than their consumer cards. 

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7 hours ago, Lyssa Greymoon said:

It's been my experience that Second Life favors Team Green, at least with consumer grade cards on Windows computers. AMD's pro grade cards seem to have better OpenGL drivers than their consumer cards. 

It does yes. SL has been notorious in the past for having a lot of issues with AMD cards and if you wade through the Viewer code you'll find quite a lot of weird extra hacks that need to be done for AMD to not do something stupid.

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Your problem is the FX-6300. It's old and under powered. A graphics card change isnt going to make much of a difference because the bottleneck here is the CPU. Best thing to do for now is to reduce max avatars to say 4 so only 4 avatars are being rendered with the rest as 2d impostors (Avatar > Preferences > Graphics > Max# of non-imposter avatars (this is probably set to 16 right now)). If you really want better performance its time for a new cpu, motherboard and ram.  Your RX-570 though basic for a discrete card will be fine with modern hardware. An SSD upgrade is not going to improve SL performance at all in terms of FPS. 

Edited by MarissaOrloff

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Hi everyone, thanks for your suggestions- just to note what I've been doing so far:

I've installed an SSD, which has at the very least improved my general system speed. (after some wrangling with cloning my windows installation)

I am seeing some performance improvement as a result of using an SSD. Stuttering is less pronounced. Possibly that my cache is bigger than with the RAMDisk utility, and can be accessed quite fast.

However, it wasn't a magic bullet by any means. I did swap my Graphics card back for my older nvida gtx 960. It seems relatively well documented that AMD handles OpenGL (Secondlife's 3d render software) poorly in comparison to nvidia.

Despite the lower benchmark of the card, I saw a performance improvement from using it in comparison to the AMD card. I'm returning the AMD card, and considering opting to get a comparable Nvidia card instead.

As Marissa said, the main problem is probably the CPU, but it's a big investment to upgrade that I can't afford just at the moment. If/when I end up doing that upgrade in the future, I'll share my results.

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11 hours ago, Ace5762 said:

Hi everyone, thanks for your suggestions- just to note what I've been doing so far:

I've installed an SSD, which has at the very least improved my general system speed. (after some wrangling with cloning my windows installation)

I am seeing some performance improvement as a result of using an SSD. Stuttering is less pronounced. Possibly that my cache is bigger than with the RAMDisk utility, and can be accessed quite fast.

However, it wasn't a magic bullet by any means. I did swap my Graphics card back for my older nvida gtx 960. It seems relatively well documented that AMD handles OpenGL (Secondlife's 3d render software) poorly in comparison to nvidia.

Despite the lower benchmark of the card, I saw a performance improvement from using it in comparison to the AMD card. I'm returning the AMD card, and considering opting to get a comparable Nvidia card instead.

As Marissa said, the main problem is probably the CPU, but it's a big investment to upgrade that I can't afford just at the moment. If/when I end up doing that upgrade in the future, I'll share my results.

Personal recommendation: Upgrade from your FX to a Ryzen 3600. That's what i did and the performance is much better for relatively little money.

I've been running everything ultra and shadows since it was introduced back around 2010/11 all with the same AMD FX 6200 at the time, performance was "Okay" 20-60 FPS that is with basically every avatar over 250k complexity (BD complexity not LL complexity) jellydolled, which was 80% of all avatars. I never had to disabe shadows and if i did it didn't help at all. Though i always thought of an upgrade when the chance arrives, this chance was obviously a Ryzen 3600 (actually i was aiming for a 2600 at the time but then 3000 series was released for the same price) and the difference is quite a big one especially around people i get roughly double the framerate and can disable jellydolls completely (although i really shouldn't render badly optimized avatars anyway) and only use max avatars instead while still having around 40-50 FPS with shadows on but even with a Ryzen there are still places where my framerate drop into sub 20, theres simply nothing you can do about those places, they are simply badly optimized and turning down graphics for these places wont help much because the problem isn't your PC or the rendering its simply the bad content around.

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