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Help needed with viewer choice for old mac

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I'm coming up to my 5th anniversary in Second Life and unfortunately so is my computer. When windlight was released I could run everything on full graphics but now I can't rez even on low. Sadly my SL experience has steadily worsened over the years to the point where It's so bad I rarely log in anymore.

A new computer isn't an option but I was wondering if maybe a new viewer might help? I was using the latest Pheonix and that's pretty horrible for me graphic wise, even on "low" with everything turned right down I couldn't rez my own face! I've tried Viewer 2 but, as an oldie, I have had real trouble adapting to the new interface even after a fortnight of trying.

My computer is an iMac from 2007 dual core intel running Snow Leopard. What do you think would be the best viewer for me to use to get the most out of the graphics?


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Hi Iellel,

The mac was bought in 2007 but I guess that doesn't mean it's not a 2006 model. More info...

  Model Identifier:iMac5,1

  Processor Name:Intel Core 2 Duo

  Processor Speed:2.16 GHz

  Number Of Processors:1

  Total Number Of Cores:2

  L2 Cache:4 MB

  Memory:2 GB


  Chipset Model:ATY,RadeonX1600



  PCIe Lane Width:x16

  VRAM (Total):256 MB

  Vendor:ATI (0x1002)

  Device ID:0x71c5

  Revision ID:0x0000

  ROM Revision:113-xxxxxx-139

  EFI Driver Version:01.00.139



  Resolution:1680 x 1050

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Hi Min, welcome to the forums!

While your iMac won't fun very fast, it should still run. What symptoms are you seeing?

Up until a year ago, I ran Phoenix on a MacBook Pro with specs similar to your iMac. I did have tremendous crashing problems at one time, caused by GPU overheating due to a lint-clogged cooling fan that couldn't spin. The Mac still passed all diagnostics, even in the over-heated state, because the GPU temperature was still okay. But as the GPU warmed up, Mac OS slowed it down to keep it safe. Phoenix didn't like that one bit.

The cooling ductwork on an iMac is much larger than on a laptop and the fans are more powerful, so lint-clogging would, I think, be much rarer, but not impossible.

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could be that the vid card (the  better XT model, rather low end for SL) is having trouble at that display size, but that's just a guess. it was considered only a mid range card back in 05' when it was released. memory for the system as noted could be bumped up, kinda iffy on whether that will help you or not (depends on normal resource usage, if it's high it should). i'm certainly not a Mac expert, so perhaps one of those can make some specific suggestions to "trim the fat" as it were and help you run leaner.

assuming you can't get any system improvements otherwise, Cool VL may extend the SL life of most aging machines, as it tends to run slimmer on resource usage than almost anything else (Dolphin may as well), both of which have mesh version that you should be able to run (and Cool's non mesh will even run nicely on older PPC Macs)

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@Iellel The main problem is the time it takes to rez textures (including sculpted textures/shapes). Sometimes they don't rez at all. In addition it's disappointing not to be able to run SL so that it looks pretty. With the settings this low it's all flat and lifeless. I can run SL, it's just I'd like to improve the graphics if I can. For me a lot of enjoyment came from the visual environment and when it looks like this a lot of the appeal is lost.

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I've downloaded and had a play with the Dolphin 3 viewer and it's fab! Can run higher graphics. The sea and sky are pretty again and I can run around without hitting walls and lagging out. It's Viewer 2 but I guess I'm just going to have to get used to that.
Big thanks everyone with special kudos to Void :)
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  • 3 weeks later...

On an informal survey using mostly PCs at the Texas A&M College of Pharmacy, we have found that Imprudence generally runs MUCH better than Viewer 2, converting unworkable computers into good ones.  Based on less data, it seems that Firestorm is intermediate, but we have not tried Phoenix.


I would try Imprudence - it will take about 10 min to download, and 5 minutes to see if you like the results.


Dr. Danick

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  • 1 year later...

I'm  having  similar problems only I'm running on a Mac OS X Version 10.5.8. About two days ago I got on Firestorm just fine (Second life has been extremely slow but it hasn't really stopped me from getting on) when the next day, Firestorm wouldn't even open for me at all! It wouldn't even get me to the sign on menu. It says, "The application Firestorm- Release quit unexpectedly" and asking me to relaunch but it does it over and over. I even tried downloading other veiwers and they are all doing the same thing. I finally hunkered down and downloaded the normal Second Life Viewer and even that wouldn't work! I have a feeling I won't ever be able to play Second Life on this computer again which is sad because I'm in no financial place to buy a new computer at this time! Anyone know what I could do to make this stop? It's really annoying and odd that just a couple days ago I was getting on Firestorm just fine and all of a sudden it just stopped working on me. 

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Hi Penelope. Sorry you are having these issues, but this not surprising considering your OS. You may try third party viewers such as Singularity, Dolphin or Imprudence, but you must be aware that most of SL's recent features wont work (such as mesh, shadows and depth of field). Also have a look at Rainbow/Cool Viewer. See Phoenix too, but it is not supported anymore since a few month and certainly will be discontinued in the coming weeks. 

You may not be able to enjoy Second Life's full experiment, but at least you should be able to log in. :smileyhappy:




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Hi Penelope,

Val has suggested some alternative viewers you might try. OS X 1.5 (Leopard) is getting a little old, but it was working for you a few days ago. If Firestorm just stopped working, and other viewers give the same result, I wonder if something in the OS broke. Have you done the usual stuff like run Disk Utility to verify your disk? I don't recall how far back in MacOS history it was that fixing disk permissions sometimes helped, but you might also try that from within Disk Utiility.

If that doesn't work, perhaps a clean install of Firestorm? Go to Library/Application Support and move the Firestorm folder to the trash (or to your Desktop or somewhere else if you wish to preserve chat logs and the like), then try re-installing Firestorm.

Good luck!

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