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Does anyone have advice for running SL on an old crappy laptop?


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I want to preface this by saying that I am currently saving up for a new laptop.

The one I'm using lags like crazy and doesn't load most avis or most of the sim. If it's a busy sim, forget about it. It'll just freeze. I already have the graphic settings on low, and draw distance and all that is also on the lowest settings. My frames per second is usually like 10 and below. Is there anything else I can do?

image.png.b736e6c9e8ca6463956146c76000052f.png

 

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Posted (edited)

Don't bottom out your graphics settings, that can make things worse. I like running Firestorm because it's easy to configure for potato computers, and I think it's probably still the most popular viewer. So I'll use it for screen shots.

The first thing I do with an old laptop is ditch the mechanical hard drive for an SSD. If you're not comfortable messing around inside a laptop or don't want to throw more money at it, you don't need to, but this really helps any computer.

In graphics settings I'll highlight the important settings:

Potato-Settings_008.thumb.jpg.9bc595f598aa04a8d186eb71bab07526.jpg

Set draw distance to your taste. I find between 88 and 128 is usually pretty good.

Potato-Settingst_009.thumb.jpg.67dc87640437ab179aa8c367bf99e7d6.jpg

Run the texture memory buffer as high as it will go, if that's less than 1024MB, check enable lossy texture compression too.

Finally:

Potato-Settigns_010.thumb.jpg.61cb1bb07e27c1bb6881804eca545758.jpg

If you use the Linden viewer, the settings are basically the same, just not in the same place (click the "Advanced" button in graphics preferences to find them). You're limited to 512MB of texture memory (because it's still 2009 I guess) and you have to use debug settings to access a few of the options (like streamed VBOs).

Edited by Lyssa Greymoon
Removing reduntant reduncancies.
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1 hour ago, purrrkitten said:

I want to preface this by saying that I am currently saving up for a new laptop.

The one I'm using lags like crazy and doesn't load most avis or most of the sim. If it's a busy sim, forget about it. It'll just freeze. I already have the graphic settings on low, and draw distance and all that is also on the lowest settings. My frames per second is usually like 10 and below. Is there anything else I can do?

image.png.b736e6c9e8ca6463956146c76000052f.png

 

I have a notebook similar to your setup and I can't do much of anything but answer IMs if I use Firestorm (my normal viewer).  The texture limitation above might be a good idea, but I would suggest derendering everyone to help with lag. That is pretty much the first thing I do when in a busy area like a newly opened event. I do this on my hefty computer and it helps a lot with framerate; I haven't tried logging in on my notebook in at least a year.  Too painful.    

 

Firestorm apparently take a lot more resources in general than some of the older style 1.23 viewers, so trying another (simpler) viewer might help.  I love Firestorm but it does pretty much EVERYTHING and that comes with a cost.   

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@Lyssa Greymoon Thanks. I'm gonna try all that when I get on.

2 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

but I would suggest derendering everyone to help with lag. That is pretty much the first thing I do when in a busy area like a newly opened event. I do this on my hefty computer and it helps a lot with framerate; I haven't tried logging in on my notebook in at least a year.  Too painful.    

This used to work, but in the past year or so it lags like crazy. I think the computer is just too old to handle it, sadly. I remember years ago I was able to run SL with no lag on an even crappier laptop on high graphics. Those were the days.

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19 minutes ago, purrrkitten said:

@Lyssa Greymoon Thanks. I'm gonna try all that when I get on.

This used to work, but in the past year or so it lags like crazy. I think the computer is just too old to handle it, sadly. I remember years ago I was able to run SL with no lag on an even crappier laptop on high graphics. Those were the days.

Did you change avatars in the past year by any chance?  Our own avatar lags us, so did you change anything at all?  

I have WIFI only available and it works so-so so I use MID and put my LOD at 2-3, and turn particles off, and those help for me.  You only need a LOD of 4 for sculpties.   Plus, I do other standard lag reducing things like low draw distance; I usually keep mine at 64 and at 64 it rezs my whole club and store.  I can use ULTRA for photographs though.  

The above low lag measures pretty much pertain to busy places as a human mesh avatar only though.  When I am a Dinkie, I live a lag-free life with 80+ avatar events and no lag whatsoever.  Tinies are small animal avatars with a human soul that talk kinda like Mickey Mouse.  It's a fun scene.  

 

Edited by FairreLilette
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Has anyone tried a streaming game service or cloud gaming service to run Second Life?  I read about one called Shadow which runs your application on a gaming server and streams it as video to your computer. So, if you can play a video  you can play a "game". This Shadow service has awful security though as everything you type is sent unsecured to the server and the video is not secure as well. I think if the service comes in at about a $100 for one year it would be a far cheaper alternative to buying a gaming laptop. I did look at the Steam gaming service but that uses your own PC to stream to another device. Sony does the same thing for the Playstation. Nvidia and Google Stadia are streaming services but don't support SL. 

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41 minutes ago, Bree Giffen said:

Has anyone tried a streaming game service or cloud gaming service to run Second Life?  I read about one called Shadow which runs your application on a gaming server and streams it as video to your computer. So, if you can play a video  you can play a "game". This Shadow service has awful security though as everything you type is sent unsecured to the server and the video is not secure as well. I think if the service comes in at about a $100 for one year it would be a far cheaper alternative to buying a gaming laptop. I did look at the Steam gaming service but that uses your own PC to stream to another device. Sony does the same thing for the Playstation. Nvidia and Google Stadia are streaming services but don't support SL. 

A gal in Sansar had great success with Shadow. Apparently from the conversation there you need to have a very fast connection speed for things to work well.   She used it (Netherlands) for quite awhile before she got a new spiffy computer.   

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Confused if the graphics box above is a suggestion as those numbers would drag down my new laptop. If you're moving around I'd go basic shader and uncheck atmo and ambi shaders, max complex at 20k unless you need to see a person, 1 max avatar vs 16. Uncheck anis filtering and particles can go higher. If you are in a place for a while , you can drop draw and see how much more settings you can slide up into.

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6 hours ago, Cam Mode said:

Confused if the graphics box above is a suggestion as those numbers would drag down my new laptop. If you're moving around I'd go basic shader and uncheck atmo and ambi shaders, max complex at 20k unless you need to see a person, 1 max avatar vs 16. Uncheck anis filtering and particles can go higher. If you are in a place for a while , you can drop draw and see how much more settings you can slide up into.

K, here's some more explanation.

Ambient occlusion doesn't matter if ALM is off, so checked or unchecked makes no difference. I leave atmospheric shaders on because I consider them essential. They make a tremendous visual difference for minimal if any performance loss. Anisotropic filtering, in my experience, is practically free and particles are not, but YMMV, feel free to see if that trade off works on your hardware.

Max complexity and max avatars, yeah, these can be run down on slow computers. I don't like to because that uglifies everything. But running them down will definitely help. I think I'd prefer Firestorm's show friends only over bottoming out the sliders and populating the world with jellydolls though.

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14 minutes ago, purrrkitten said:

Yeah, those settings didn't work on this computer. I'll just have to keep saving for a gaming laptop.

Did you try turning off the anisotropic filtering (see screenshots above)? Having it on will slow your pc down.

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Posted (edited)

Maxing out the connection speed (the opposite of what you are supposed to do) greatly sped up my computer. There is a theory behind it, but i dont remember exactly, but it works for me and others who use it. (You can google how to speed up second life, btw)

Set LOD to 2. If you cannot see the bad LOD objects, that is on the maker. Even with my current computer (a decent, but older laptop with dedicated graphics, 16gb, core i7, ss hd,) that i usually can run on ultra, 2 LOD makes a difference. I run ultra but keep my draw distance low. 80-168. Sometimes, less.

Have you looked at refurbished computers on newegg? (Can come with full warranty - do check) You can do very granular searches and compare deals. A refurb may halve your computer price if you look carefully and don't rush to buy.

Dont limit yourself to things called 'gaming' laptops. You can find the same features for less under "laptop". Search for features, not labels.

Check your scripts. You can be your own issue. 

Edit: when i had my previous laptop, it tended to overheat & slow down. Consider a $20-30 cooling fan. Mine attached to the exhaust vent and helped a lot. Mine was Opolar vacuum fan and i loved it. You will have to get one that fits your computer's cooling system.

Edited by DeepBlueJoy
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11 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

Has anyone tried a streaming game service or cloud gaming service to run Second Life?

Paperspace was so close. For some reason it had an issue with getting the ratio right for the mouse. Couldn't look at anything. It had a game mode which supposedly fixes this, but it didn't for Firestorm.

Used about a year ago so probably improved since then.

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5 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Did you try turning off the anisotropic filtering (see screenshots above)? Having it on will slow your pc down.

Obviously. 

2 hours ago, Evah Baxton said:

Paperspace was so close. For some reason it had an issue with getting the ratio right for the mouse. Couldn't look at anything. It had a game mode which supposedly fixes this, but it didn't for Firestorm.

Used about a year ago so probably improved since then.

I think a game streaming service is the next thing I'm going to try. 

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2 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

"Does anyone have advice for running SL on an old crappy laptop?"

Yeah.

 

Don't.

True. But sometimes people have no choice. Either struggle with ye olde laptop, or don't visit SL.

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I've run SL on everything I've ever owned. Even the Lenovo Yoga Book C930 I had for a while. It was so cool. I returned it for ONE reason. The touch keyboard wouldn't allow me to press more than one directional key at once. 😆

Deal breaker.

I never used to be too concerned with framerates. Since I started buying mid-range gaming laptops, I don't think I could go back.

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The intriguing part is that the components here aren't that horrible, compared to the toaster hardware some people come along with. The CPU uses an Intel HD 520 iGPU, which is low end, yeah, but it should at least be usable.

Was the components screenshot taken when SL was active or while idling? The RAM usage is quite low, which would point to idle.

How about a screenshot of your settings and a full extract from Help > About?

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Can't judge the graphics hardware, but info on the net suggests it is good enough for a video player and low end for games. This big caution is that it doesn't have distinct graphics RAM, and uses main memory.

My experience suggests most viewers struggle with 4GB of RAM, and Firestorm needs more.

It might be worth trying Cool VL Viewer which is at http://sldev.free.fr It's pretty light, while up-to-date, but since it still uses the ancient v1 UI it's bewildering. There's also one of those questionmarks about approval, mostly down to the author being under French law and Linden Lab insisting foreign laws don't apply (There are times when Linden Lab has been very awkward for customers in Europe). I trust Henri Beauchamp: have a careful look over the site, it's your choice.

Running from an SSD isn't a daft idea, even the cheap ones will last a long time, but I doubt it is worth the effort

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This might not be an option for you, but Shadowtech is a good service. Depending on your location and wifi speed, of course. You could run pretty much all games on a potato given that said potato is connected to the internet. I use it whenever a game is out of my spec range or I have to pull out the old burner PC while updating my main. I've tried it with SL and it works well, no lag or stuttering. 

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On 5/30/2020 at 5:41 PM, purrrkitten said:

I want to preface this by saying that I am currently saving up for a new laptop.

The one I'm using lags like crazy and doesn't load most avis or most of the sim. If it's a busy sim, forget about it. It'll just freeze. I already have the graphic settings on low, and draw distance and all that is also on the lowest settings. My frames per second is usually like 10 and below. Is there anything else I can do?

image.png.b736e6c9e8ca6463956146c76000052f.png

 

YOUCH.. first, find out if you can add more ram to your laptop and what type it takes (google "laptop model upgrade ram", there will be vids of people showing how its done for your machine) - old ram can be had nice and cheap from ebay. try and give it at least 16gb total, it really shouldn't be expensive. Second, if the disk drive isn't an SSD, get a cheap basic SSD ($30) swap it over, reinstall windows .. woosh! (I routinely do this with older laptops and it can make an amazing difference, i've run SL on some really vintage junk)

When it comes to optimizing SL performance, open the stats floater (SHIFT+CTRL+1), go stand someplace typical of your usual hang out, wait a good 10 minutes for everything to load and settle down (loading stuff bogs SL down so bad it doesn't have time to render quickly). Then open prefs, draw distance to 32M, turn all the graphics settings on (except shadows). see your frame rate. You can now play enabling and disabling things and watch what effect it has in real time. Be aggressive, headroom is better than pretty. 

When visiting places with lots of avatars, disable avatar rendering if you dont need it (or at least for a few minutes after you arrive to give SL a decent chance to load everything).

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