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HELP - BEST graphics card/s for SL's ULTRA setting


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I'm looking to build a new PC.  I am I need to get a graphics card that can run the graphics setting Ultra in Second Life.  AND will not be a detriment to my real life 3D work.  I use Cinema 4d, Maya and Unreal. 

My goal with second life is to have a graphics card that I can use in the ULTRA setting for years to come.  I have a good budget.  I am not looking to scrape the bottom of the barrel.  FYI, Second Life's system requirements will not allow anyone to use the Ultra settings.  

Thank you all so much.

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this has been been covered ad-nausuem ... any GTX 10+ card will work but SL is also CPU bound and NOTHING you have will always allow 'ultra' to be on all the time with screaming FPS. But when building a PC i always like to future proof as much as possible in anycase. keep in mind though SL prefers Nvidia cards over AMD 

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First off: *points to signature* ... that'll be easily upgraded for higher demands.

49 minutes ago, Jackson Redstar said:

SL prefers Nvidia cards over AMD

Yaaaay... keep the rumours alive!

1 hour ago, Kimo Dezno said:

AND will not be a detriment to my real life 3D work.  I use Cinema 4d, Maya and Unreal. 

I'd take your programs as reference for your future system. Well, except for a Quattro or Pro card for potential driver conflicts, especially if you enjoy general gaming. Pretty much any mid-range card on the market should have no problems with ultra settings, since there are a ton of other limiting factors which might kick in.

32 or perhaps even 64 GB RAM with fast timings, 3200 Hz at least.

CPU-wise, it's either high single-core speed or multi-core support, depending on your software. 

Most of all, are you aware that both AMD and Nvidia will release new gens within the year? There is not much point in spending a ton for a 2080 TI, for example. A 2070 Super is only just slightly slower, but comes at much more attractive prices. Pricewise, AMD's 5700 XT are a sweetspot lately.

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I'm looking to build a system that can compete with a Mac Pro.  I know if I get one of those I won't have a problem.  However that can get to 10k easily and I'd like to keep my costs around 2500.  Anything more, and I might as well get a mac.

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Dollar? British Pound? Euro? Anything else?

 

........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... points at sig

Just put in a Ryzen 3700x and a RTX 2070 Super with good cooling...

Edited by Lillith Hapmouche
too many dots
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  • 3 weeks later...

if it was 2500 euros then the budget is way too much. But besides that:

 

A) wait for the next gen cards

B) go for Nvidia cards if you also utilize anything that uses opengl....like SL for example. The problem is that AMD's drivers for opengl are not performing as they should be and mostly underperform compared to Nvidia. Unless AMD increases the opengl support OR SL switches to vulkan, you can expect a poor performance.

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1 hour ago, Selena Daehlie said:

B) go for Nvidia cards if you also utilize anything that uses opengl....like SL for example. The problem is that AMD's drivers for opengl are not performing as they should be and mostly underperform compared to Nvidia. Unless AMD increases the opengl support OR SL switches to vulkan, you can expect a poor performance.

I'd go with nVidia as well, but AMD has really improved since the release of the 2020 edition drivers. With the last update I finally feel like my RX550 wasn't a complete waste of money.

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I'm lucky; I've got a very decent system and can usually run SL with everything bar shadows at 30 - 60 fps, but anything down 20 fps seems to work just fine for me. I reckon if you could hit that as a minimum, you should get a fairly decent experience with SL.

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/2/2020 at 2:17 AM, Odaks said:

I'm lucky; I've got a very decent system and can usually run SL with everything bar shadows at 30 - 60 fps, but anything down 20 fps seems to work just fine for me. I reckon if you could hit that as a minimum, you should get a fairly decent experience with SL.

Care to share what you are running? I'd love those numbers. Even 20 FPS.

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15 hours ago, Piper Cloud said:

Care to share what you are running? I'd love those numbers. Even 20 FPS.

Its a purpose built laptop (which is a bit on the weighty side, but meets a need for my uses). It must be run on a cooler tray, unless you intend to fry eggs on it!

As I said in my post, shadows will give it hard time, so I keep those turned off unless I want photographic effects.

The significant specs are:-

15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz 72% NTSC LED Widescreen (1920x1080)

Processor (CPU) Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 8750H (2.2GHz, 4.1GHz Turbo)

Memory (RAM) 32GB Corsair 2133MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 16GB)

Graphics Card NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 Max-Q - 8.0GB GDDR5 Video RAM –

DirectX® 12.1

1st Hard Disk 2TB SEAGATE FIRECUDA 2.5" SSHD

1st M.2 SSD Drive 256GB SAMSUNG PM961 M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 2800MB/R, 1100MB/W)

 

I keep draw distance at 128m normally. For sailing, I push it up to c. 512m, but have to drop a few other goodies to compensate.

Edited by Odaks
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Ah. I'm on a desktop. That's what my DD is and even I'm lucky to get 10 FPS and with shadows off. Plus my textures blur in and out so much, the only viewer I can use to do pics is Alchemy. I have to live with it in normal play. 

My specs: 

HP W2371d LED (1920x1080)

Win 10

AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core 4.00 GHz

GeForce 1050 Ti 4 GB

32 GB RAM (Just added 16 GB a few weeks ago)

1TB HD (not SSD)

240 GB SSD (All my SL cache is on this, the only thing)

I don't even notice I'm at 128 draw distance and no shadows do not bother me. 

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  • 5 months later...

When I did a lot of research on this in October -- going over to Sansar and asking those folks as Sansar needs much more power than SL does and those guys tend to have higher caliber machines by necessity I was referred to the then almost released 30 series and I decided on the 3070.  I didn't BUY the 3070 because it became clear that my video card was just fine and that it was a software and possibly a server issue.   So that is what I know there. 

 

Honestly you will probably use the high end graphics more for 3D modeling than for SL even running on ultra. 

 

Here is what I have now and I ALWAYS have shadows on and take lots of screenshots with DOF and shadows maxed out with no issues.  At my sim I typically have around 80fps on the ground and 140 in the sky BUT My sim is also filled with MY 3D assets and not heavy render mesh goods.   On a typical sim I run around 25 and until lately textures loaded quickly etc etc.   All bets are off there since Christmas time though and I am happy to be doing well and no longer crashing seven times like on our hellacious weekend past.     

You will note I keep my LOD set at 2 for OH so many reasons. 

 

and to @jonny6452  Linden Lab has always designed for Nvidia cards, not quite as much today though as far as I know. Those with AMD cards (and I had one long ago -- a super one except for SL) found that they had lots of graphics issues. Hence most of us who have been here a long time now ONLY buy from the "preferred" manufacturer. Makes it easier on ourselves. 

 

 

Anyway these are my specs.  I really don't have any NEED to upgrade at the moment and this computer is four years old or so = hence I tend to buy for the future also.    If you aren't in a hurry and SL is of  a big concern in your purchase plan then you might want to wait a few months and see what direction the new owners plan to go in -- that could have a direct effect on your choice. 

 

EDIT: I should add that I would definitely NOT recommend this card NOW. It is the same price as four years ago and there are much better cards in this price range. Figured that was important to say. 

 

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz (3298.09 MHz)
Memory: 16286 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit (Build 18363.1256)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 980/PCIe/SSE2

Windows Graphics Driver Version: 27.21.14.5671
OpenGL Version: 4.6.0 NVIDIA 456.71

RestrainedLove API: (disabled)
libcurl Version: libcurl/7.54.1 OpenSSL/1.0.2l zlib/1.2.8 nghttp2/1.25.0
J2C Decoder Version: KDU v7.10.7
Audio Driver Version: FMOD Studio 2.00.08
Dullahan: 1.1.1320 / CEF: 3.3626.1895.g7001d56 / Chromium: 72.0.3626.121
LibVLC Version: 2.2.8
LOD factor: 2
Render quality: High-Ultra (6/7)
 

Edited by Chic Aeon
spelling and adding info
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3 hours ago, jonny6452 said:

How do you know that SL prefers Nvidia card over AMD cards

AMD opengl drivers are so horribly optimized, you will see about a 35% decrease in SL performance for any given scene compared to an equivent Nvidia card.  I have both a gtx2070 and a 5700xt which are pretty neck and neck hardware wise with DX11/12 games, and can do direct comparisons with identical settings.  Also to my eye, the nvidia gpu/driver renders scenes that imo look much more realistic and detailed given identical settings.

Edited by xc68000
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5 hours ago, jonny6452 said:

How do you know that SL prefers Nvidia card over AMD cards

This is an over simplification but saves everyone's eyes glazing over.

Nvidia has always worked well with SL.

AMD and SL has a long history of driver bugs, crashes & hardware issues. It's not as big an issue as it used to be (at least from the data we get in crash reports)

 

This has created a self reinforcing selection bias. More people buy Nvidia for SL, including devs, more time spent on Nvidia, more crash reports, more bug fixes and performance tuning.

Edited by Coffee Pancake
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11 hours ago, xc68000 said:

AMD opengl drivers are so horribly optimized, you will see about a 35% decrease in SL performance for any given scene compared to an equivent Nvidia card.  I have both a gtx2070 and a 5700xt which are pretty neck and neck hardware wise with DX11/12 games, and can do direct comparisons with identical settings.  Also to my eye, the nvidia gpu/driver renders scenes that imo look much more realistic and detailed given identical settings.

I was going to disagree with your point that AMD and Nvidia render scenes differently. I took a screenshot with my Ryzen 5 3600 & RX 580, and then I took a screenshot at the same location with the same account on my Intel i3 6100 (2c/4t @ 3.7GHz) & GTX 960. There are differences in color rendition. Personally, I can't say I prefer one over the other, and I have no way of determining which one is more accurate. As for performance, the AMD system was getting 47 fps while the Intel/Nvidia system was getting 37 fps. The viewers (both Cool VL Viewer) were set up exactly the same way. Both computers run Ubuntu 20.04 with the Mate desktop environment. The AMD system uses the open source MESA drivers while the Intel/Nvidia system uses the proprietary Nvidia drivers for Linux.

Just yesterday on the AMD computer, I had replaced a Ryzen 3 1300x (4c/4t @ ~3.5-3.7 GHz) with my new Ryzen 5 3600 (6c/12t @ ~3.6-4.2 GHz). Cool VL Viewer, rendering with the same settings on the older Ryzen 3 1300x, was getting 40 fps with this scene. That's around a 15% improvement using the newer, faster processor and the same RX 580 graphics card. I've seen noticeable improvements in framerate in other sims I visit frequently using several viewers. Clearly single core performance has a significant impact on SL rendering. It should be no wonder that those who buy a 'gaming' laptop where the mobile CPU is generally running at a reduced frequency won't see the performance they hope for in SL. Most modern games are designed to be multi-threaded and utilize the CPU to a lesser extent since the graphics card handles more of the load with DirectX and Vulkan APIs.

So, to answer the OP's question, the 'best' graphics card for SL is one that has at the very least 4 GB VRAM. If you are using Windows, you should probably get Nvidia. AMD's Windows drivers are fine for DirectX and Vulkan, but they are awful for OpenGL. It's a wonder that the open source drivers available by default on Linux distributions do so much better in OpenGL than what AMD offers officially. But no matter which card you choose, don't pair it up with some old CPU and expect great things.

AMD RX 580:

CVLV_Chakryn_AMD.thumb.jpg.19fb4bbe31dd12e488b415864f58d9e3.jpg

Nvidia GTX 960:

CVLV_Chakryn_Nvidia.thumb.jpg.df6883dfd0d9cf5907b869ba051da3c5.jpg

Edited by KjartanEno
clarification
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14 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

EDIT: I should add that I would definitely NOT recommend this card NOW. It is the same price as four years ago and there are much better cards in this price range. Figured that was important to say. 

 

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz (3298.09 MHz)
Memory: 16286 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit (Build 18363.1256)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 980/PCIe/SSE2

I would recommend a used GTX 980, or even a GTX 970, but as you say, the asking prices for used GPUs have gone up again since demand for new models has outstripped supply. The video cards to avoid are older ones with less than 4 GB of VRAM (like my GTX 960). In your case, you'd probably benefit the most by overclocking that unlocked Intel processor to 4GHz or more, if you have the proper cooling for it.

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Ok, it seems like I had the wrong WL or time of day on the AMD RX 580 image in the post above. I repeated the test. The bluish cast to the AMD rendering is no longer present, thus making any differences between my AMD and Nvidia GPUs barely noticeable. I simply cannot say that one or the other looks better as far as Second Life is concerned. On the other hand, different viewers and monitor calibrations are far more likely factors in any perceived differences between video cards by different manufacturers.
CVLV_Chakryn_AMD.thumb.jpg.5e3bb2b5971259c6cdabb38fc2e9a84d.jpg

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Here are a couple of my own examples. The intel/nvidia system is a laptop with H10875 cpu and Nvidia 2080 Super Max-q.  The AMD system is a desktop 3700x with 5700xt.  Both systems running latest Windows 10, Firestorm viewer on both, ultra settings except with draw distance set to 128 and resolution at 1440p. 

These systems are fairly evenly matched in normal DX11/12 games.

Note on the GPU telemetry on both.  On the AMD system the card is only boosting to 800Mhz (it easy boosts to 2000Mhz), while on the Intel system you see a normal boost clock.  The AMD GPU is being starved and its not because the CPU is pegged either. It's the drivers.

 

5700x.jpg

rtx2080maxq.jpg

Edited by Ryley Nova
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19 minutes ago, Katherine Heartsong said:

I'me getting only 20-30fps in crowded areas with a 3070 Nvidia, 32GB RAM, and a i7-10700 on HIGH. But I am pushing 4K UHD screen as well, so lots of pixels. 45-55 in better areas.

That's what I get with a 950 and shadows always on. I heard a few people say that the 2000 and 3000 series really aren't used in SL. Can someone comment on that -- one who actually knows that is LOL?   Thanks.  I have a 2560 or whatever screen. I have too many problems with software that won't work on a 4K screen so that was a good choice for me.

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