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MoiselleErin Teardrop

would a new graphics card be all that is needed?

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I was thinking of getting a new computer. Mostly cause mine struggles with SL.

right now my FPS will run about 2 in a busy place and that is with my graphics setting in firestorm set at minimum with draw distance set higher (112).

My computer supports only 2 GIG RAM, right now I run 1.5 gigs.

Vista computer

 

Anyways, with the low FPS, what bears more responsibility for that? Is it lack of RAM or just a crapy graphics card?

My card is - Graphics Card Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
Graphics Card: ATI RADEON XPRESS 1100 Series

 

How would I know if a better graphics card would even work with my machine?

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Usually a good place to start is at Radeon's (AMD) website or Nvidias website. What your looking for is your PC machine type and then a list of video cards that will fit in your computer.

The Big Box computer media store in the city where I live has their own website. At the site is Graphics Cards and the system first prompts your machine type and then it shows the cards the store has for sale or to order. Maybe a store in your area has a similar site. If your pc is new enough or popular enough, you may find a variety of cards to choose from.

Usually, the Cards shown as out of stock or on back order are the best cards for your pc. I had 5 cards I could choose from and 2 were out of stock, I selected the next best card within my price range.

You can also call the store.

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"...

My computer supports only 2 GIG RAM, right now I run 1.5 gigs.

..."

-----------------------------------------------------

 

Judging by that part of your post, I'm going say you need a whole lot more than just a video card.  For years motherboards have supported more than 2 gigs of RAM.......and the motherboard determines how much RAM you computer will support.  You either have a very old computer (maybe 10 years old +) or you're mistaken about how much your computer supports.  Perhaps you're thinking how much your operating system (Vista) will support........but that's wrong too.  Vista x32 (32 bit archetecture) will only recognize about 3.5 gigs of RAM........Vista x64 will recognize as much as your motherboard will support.

 

At any rate, more information is necessary.......accurate information.  Launch your viewer (don't log in).  Under the "Help" menu click on "About Second Life".  Copy the specs given on the first tab and paste them back here.  That will give people a starting point to help you.

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MoiselleErin Teardrop wrote:

Anyways, with the low FPS, what bears more responsibility for that? Is it lack of RAM or just a crapy graphics card?

My card is - Graphics Card Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.

Graphics Card: ATI RADEON XPRESS 1100 Series

It's the graphics chip. The xpress 1100 is just a renamed xpress 200 which was just a mobile version of the X300 which was just a PCIe version of the 9550 which was a cut down version of the 9700pro which dates back to 2002. The lack of ram doesn't help tho.


How would I know if a better graphics card would even work with my machine?

Tell us the manufacturer and model number of your machine.

 

 

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You need at least a new graphics card.

I can't say this enough... choose for an Nvidia and do make certain the buswidth of the card is 256 !! 

The latter makes a world of difference despite high video's card memory.

Always ask that before you buy it and check the specifications of the card which can be googled, check "bus width".

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Sounds mostly like bad video drivers, though if those are installed correctly, modernizing that machine and switching to Linux couldn't hurt.

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You can look to see what type of performance others have been getting in this thread: How Fast is Your Viewer? - Second Life.

If you really want to know about upgrading what had what affect on performance, take a look at: How To get a Faster Second Life. This will give you the links to free software to look in your computer and see what is working and hard and what is standing around waiting. Plus there are some settings you can change that change your performance by as much as 30% in some cases.

SL is CPU intense and can gobble up 2gb of memory. In general I see mine using 1.3gb or less. More faster memory and CPU cores help. Graphics cards that support OpenGL 3 or better can help.

If your computer is a laptop it probably can't be easily upgraded. In the second link you will be able to get CPU-Z and GPU-Z to see what your hardware is capable of using. If you have AGP graphics, go for a new computer. If you are using PCI graphics you may be able to upgrade.

If you are using a single core CPU, you may be able to upgrade the CPU for US$100. If you are using slow memory, 400Mhz, you may be able to use faster memory. With CPU-Z you can get your motherboard ID and look up what it can support. You may be able to use two sticks of 2Gb Ran to get 4Gb. They cost about $50 to $100. Most computers are limited by slots available rather then the actual circuitry. It only takes a few minutes to look it up. For $250 you may be able to upgrade CPU, memory, and video card and be happy.

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Good tips Moiselle. If I migt add, please do check that memory limit you mentioned. Usually this will be in the motherboard manual that should have come with your computer. Otherwise vendors usually make it very easy to find a pdf copy on their sites.

If your computer really is limited to 2GB you hsould probably think about getting a new one. Now the good news about this is that performance on modern CPUs is phenomenal even on the lower end models. You don't really need the highest end model to get good performance in SL. This is especially true with the current crop of Intel chips.

SL is tends to be very CPU intensive and to make things worse it is not very good at using multiple cores (last time I checked). It also doesn't seem to take advantage of dual card setups, in case you were wondering.

If your computer is 4, 5, or 6 years old I think it would be wiser to put any money you were planning to use towards a new PC. Depending where you live you could take advantage of specials by buying last year's model instead of the newest one.

Last bit of advice, never rely on embedded video cards. If you want the best performance/quality only a card from ATI or Nvidia will give it to you. Intel video is simply meh.

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Based on your stats "2 GBytes max" and "running Vista," I would recommend a new computer.  Yours is getting to the age that it becomes a little harder to plug-and-play new hardware components, because your hardware is 2-to-3 generations back. 

If you are tech savvy and own multiple computers, then perhaps follow the advice about upgrades and switching to Linux.  But, if you were and had those things, you probably wouldn't be asking this question.

Take care

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