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LL posts minimum and recommended standards, but those are very sketchy and quite out of date, so it's hard to use them for more than a rough guide.  You should be aware that LL has historically had a series of OpenGL problems with ATI graphics cards (see http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Land/owning-a-sim/qaq-p/1236197 , for example).  If you're lucky, some SL resident who has that specific card will be able to tell you how well it works.

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Ann Otoole wrote:

LL has a standing issue with nvidia cards too. Nothing works good with SL anymore because LL programmers are what they are. Unable to deliver.

Truisms are sometimes left unsaid.  

Why it was just last week you were praising LL for their efforts (think Vampires.)  Now, just a few threads later, you are beating up LL, as you so gracefully do on SLU.   Which is it Ann: thumbs up or thumbs down?   

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CatherineG Walworth wrote:

I am buying a new tower and looking at a gaming computer that has a AMD Radeon HD 6480G graphics card.  Is this compatable with SL?  I remember ages ago there were limits on which cards you could use.  

Any input would be helpful

Thanks!

You sure you got the Card right ? 

The Radeon HD 6480G is an integrated Graphicchip not a Card. And therefore not what i would call fit for a Gaming Computer and certainly not in a Desktop!

Better try to get a normal Card, any  Graphic-card that is able to run a "modern" Game should be quite sufficient to run SL.  :)

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Home PCs are often sold with weak integrated video chips, but most new PCs can be upgraded with a better video card.

My PC was new last year and came with a built in Radeon RS880 (about the same as a Radeon HD 4250). This could run SL Viewer 2, but only on the lowest video quality settings, at about 10 frams per second.

I upgraded to a Radeon HD 5770, which is much better. My experence has been that it can run medium-high graphics at about 30 frames per second. Results depend partly on your video card, partly on the speed of your CPU, partly on how much memory your PC has and what operating system version it is running, and partly on the speed of your internet connection.

You need to be technically skilled to replace a video card. If you are not, it is best to buy a computer that has already been upgraded for gaming.

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Abigail Longmeadow wrote:

You need to be technically skilled to replace a video card. If you are not, it is best to buy a computer that has already been upgraded for gaming.

Or let it do by someone that has the needed experience and skills.

Over here in The Netherlands I know of companies, that are focussed on professional business, who do this kind of jobs for private persons as well (for a very acceptable fee). When this is done well, it is great advertisment for the company.

I mention this because it would be a pitty to replace a complete computer when only the graphic cards needed to be upgraded.

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all you need is something like my nvidia 9800gt, ( its a few years old now and there are newer models with the same type of capacity.) is a dual core with a 1 GB memory. It serves me very qell and i can have 2 viewers on at the same time with no problem.It also is sse2 and can run 3d nicely

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Its not so much the cards that have problems but rather the drivers for the cards. And its not really SL's fault that ATI cards are hit and miss with it. SL is Open GL where most games are Direct X. And ATI just doesn't seem to handle Open GL that well, its not just with SL. Where as Nvidia seems to work better with Open GL for whatever reason.

I read a technical article on it and it has something to do with how ATI handles memory when using Open GL.

Take for instance how different computers handle different cards. On a pc based system SL and ATI seem to have problems. However the same card in a Mac works just fine. So its really not the hardware, its the software driving the card. It used to be you could get third party drivers for ATI cards, but there isn't much out there anymore for the newer cards.

I know a few years ago when I was getting a new video card I got a really nice ATI card and I couldn't even log into SL with it. I contacted LL and they said at the time they didn't support any of the ATI HD series cards. Yet my old card was an ATI HD 2600 pro and it worked fine lol.

Luckily the store let me return the card and get a Nvidia card instead and it worked just fine.

Like someone said, your best bet is to find out if anyone has that particular card and if it works in sl. Otherwise it is a bit of gamble. For me I will stick with Nvidia cards for SL. I will admit though for flat out gaming I think ATI makes the better card. But if you your intention is to build a system for SL I would stick with Nvidia unless you can find someone using that particular card on the same OS you are using with no issues.

Also keep in mind if you are getting a higher end card you will need a power supply that will handle the needs of the card. You can't buy a 300 dollar desktop expect the stock power supply to drive a 150-300 dollar video card. It might, but you better check the specs first. So you can add in the cost of a new power supply to the cost of the video card.

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Vladi Hazelnut wrote:

Its not so much the cards that have problems but rather the drivers for the cards. And its not really SL's fault that ATI cards are hit and miss with it. SL is Open GL where most games are Direct X. And ATI just doesn't seem to handle Open GL that well, its not just with SL. Where as Nvidia seems to work better with Open GL for whatever reason.


Don't know where this is coming from.... In both my desktops I have ATI cards and never a real problem.... In my newer desktop upto to ultra speed and quality!

 

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Abigail Longmeadow wrote:

You need to be technically skilled to replace a video card. If you are not, it is best to buy a computer that has already been upgraded for gaming.

Technically skilled?  Unless you are a hardcore gamer who loves tweaking the settings, 99% of the time it's just plug and play.  Install the software.  Install the Card.  You may or may not be instructed by the software to restart your computer.

Just make sure you have a big enough power supply to run the card and any half way decent computer store will tell you that info for free.

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You are lucky. So are many other SL residents.  Not everyone experiences the problems that a lot of people have had with ATI cards in SL.  It really does depend on the computer  and the drivers.  As a sample of the more common problems....

VBO is known to cause crashes in multiple different scenarios. It can also result in textures appearing completely black.  The normal solutions are either to disable VBO in Preferences >> Graphics >> Hardware Settings or to disable A.I. in Catalyst.

ATI drivers 10.10 through 10.12 are known to cause graphics glitches in SL viewers. Typically, this manifests as a star-like pattern in the sky. The problem has largely gone away with more recent drivers, but not for all people.  When it hasn't, the solution has been to chnge the defult Debug Setting for renderuseFBO to TRUE.

On Macs, ATI cards have extreme difficulty handling shadows.  See http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.comp.games.second-life.devel/11384 for a discussion.

To be fair, as others have pointed out, NVidia cards have their share of problems as well.  Some NVidia users, for example, find that their CPU usages suddenly rises to 100%, causing their system to freeze at random times, unless they have disabled threaded optimization.  Also, Flash videos will sometimes clash with NVidia drivers unless you have disabled hardware acceleration in Flash Player.

On balance, though, comments in the JIRA and in these fora suggest that ATI cards have a greater number of persistent problems in SL.  As I understand it, it's basically due to a corporate decision in ATI not to devote as much attention to OpenGL as to DirectX.  Given the overall market, that may be a wise choice, but it doesn't favor SL residents.

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Just goole ATI and open GL. You will get tons of hits about how ATI has poor performance with open gl. Especially with older cards and drivers. One of the problems is for some reason on some ATI cards and drivers with open gl it won't see the video cards installed memory and will use system memory instead.

This has been an issue with ATI for years actually. Maybe they have fixed it with the newer cards and drivers, I don't know since I won't bother getting one for use with sl.

I do know for a fact though it isn't just with SL, ATI has been known to have issues with other open gl games as well.

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Vladi Hazelnut wrote:

This has been an issue with ATI for years actually. Maybe they have fixed it with the newer cards and drivers, I don't know since I won't bother getting one for use with sl.

I do know for a fact though it isn't just with SL, ATI has been known to have issues with other open gl games as well.

I am not technical experienced in this matter, so all I can do is say what I experience myself....  So Open GL? I have no idea what that is (a open source standard?).

But I do know that SL runs for me more then great. Everquest II I can run on extreme quality, even on raids.

Photo processing (RL photography)... RAW conversions and other heavy graphic operations run just extreme fast...

So ATI cards may have problems? Sure, I believe it when people say so. It just ain't my experience.

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Morwen Bunin wrote:

 

I am not technical experienced in this matter, so all I can do is say what I experience myself....  So Open GL? I have no idea what that is (a open source standard?). [...]


FYI --- OpenGL is the graphics system that is the foundation for SL.

"OpenGL (Open Graphics Library)[3] is a standard specification defining a cross-language, cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 2D and 3D computer graphics. The interface consists of over 250 different function calls which can be used to draw complex three-dimensional scenes from simple primitives. OpenGL was developed by Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) in 1992[4] and is widely used in CAD, virtual reality, scientific visualization, information visualization, flight simulation, and video games. OpenGL is managed by the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL for more information or, as Vladi suggests, Google ATI and OpenGL.

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In simple terms there are two major ways creators can render graphics in games. One is Direct X which is the most widely used. The other is Open GL which SL and some other games use. I will be honest I don't know what the differences in them are either or how they work, or which one is actually technically better.

What I do know is in the past ATI has focused more on Direct X rather than Open GL and is known to have issues with it. This may be something that has been fixed with recent cards and drivers. It has been a while since I have tested an ATI card, especially a high end one due to the cost of the cards. I know that the last one I tested didn't work, but that was over a year ago and I honestly couldn't tell you which card it was. It would have been on par performance wise with a Nvidia GTS 250 or maybe a bit better since that is what I got when I returned the ATI card and got the nvidia one.

Graphics cards and drivers change quite often though and go out of date very fast. I know for sure that Nvidia is using a new architecture for its newer cards than the GTS 250, which is really just a hopped up a 9800gtx which is actually quite old technology wise. I would assume ATI has done the same thing in the past year or so.

However I still see where people are complaining about ATI cards and Open GL, so I doubt all the issues have been fixed.

There are also a number of other things that can effect how your video card will perform or work with SL and other games. Like other software and drivers that are installed on your computer that might conflict with it. Another big problem is Onboard graphics chip sets over riding the card that is installed due to improper installation or the way your system is configured. When you install a stand alone video card the onboard graphics should be uninstalled or at the very least disabled. Some computers you can do this in the bios, but normally it would be done in the Device Manger in windows.

Normally Windows is pretty good about doing this on its own when you install a new video card. However sometimes you will have to do it manually if the plug and play features don't catch it and do it automatically.

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What I do know (from another discusion on another forum concerning Everquest II) is that DirectX works only with Windows and from what I understand from reading this thread this Open GL works also on Linux and Mac, which explains why there are viewers for those as well (what I think is a very good thing).

As I already said it that I am not an expert on computers (meaning hardware and such... You want to know something about Excel? There is a big change I might know the answer).
This is why I leave the maintaince of my computers to someone who really knows a lot about it. And when there are troubles, I call her and I don't go fooling around with it. I don't install things, if I want something or changed, I call her. And as she likes to visit us (we have good food here... my partner is a cheff cook :matte-motes-little-laugh: )  she comes, helps me and we have great time with all of together.
I think my computers are very well installed, all drivers up to date, free of rubbish and such, Maybe that can be a reason I don't have problems that others seems to have.

Just a thought.

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When buying a cutting edge card take a close look at the dimensions. Sometimes these are so large that they won't fit into your PC case. With the high end models you will find that their capacity is much greater than any current games can use. They aren't made for today's games they are made to supply graphic resources to future games. The 2 big graphic card brands are GeForce and Radeon. Some gamers will tell you GeForce is the way to go, while others swear Radeon cards are the best. I recommend trying to match your needs to the card's stats and ignoring the brand.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 ATI Video Card

The Sapphire uses ATI Stream technology that accelerates even the most demanding of applications. This card is also able to fully support Microsoft's DirectX 11. It uses cutting edge technology to enhance the performance. This includes advanced 2GB/512-bit GDDR5 memory interface, 40nm Processor Technology, 2nd Generation TeraScale Engine, PCI 2.0 x16 bus interface. These features enhance the performance by providing better speed. It also uses dynamic power management for efficient use of resources. This is done through the ATI PowerPlay technology.

Zotac GeForce GTX 480

The Zotac is NVIDIA's flagship video card. The Zotac uses advanced cinematic effects like motion blur and depth of field. All these factors combine to produce a 3D world that is very realistic. This effect is further reinforced NVIDIA PhysX effects. The NVIDIA Phys on this card runs at twice the speed of previous models. The only problem with this card is the heat management. What that means is that the fan works at 100% at all times and produces a lot of noise. This can be a bit irritating. Water cooling can be used to get rid of the problem. The combination of excellent features delivers amazing performance and graphics. The ray traced 3D rendering enables realistic images. The high speed anti-aliasing ensures that any and all ragged edges are smoothed out.

View more at: http://www.techyv.com/questions/nvidia-or-ati-radeon-graphic-card

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