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ATI Graphic Card (Alienware) can't show lighting and shadows?


Vivienne Daguerre
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In the SL viewer, whenever I enable lighting and shadows, I can see a white platform and black sky, and nothing else, not even my avatar.

I have a top of the line, Alienware computer.

Second Life 3.2.6 (248086) Jan 19 2012 13:14:05 (Second Life Release)
Release Notes

You are at 168,362.0, 330,191.0, 501.2 in Vosk Woods located at sim20189.agni.lindenlab.com (216.82.26.203:13002)
Second Life Server 12.01.24.248357
Release Notes

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU       Q 720  @ 1.60GHz (1596.02 MHz)
Memory: 6133 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit  (Build 7600)
Graphics Card Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
Graphics Card: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870

Windows Graphics Driver Version: 8.17.0010.1041
OpenGL Version: 4.0.10151 Compatibility Profile Context

libcurl Version: libcurl/7.21.1 OpenSSL/0.9.8q zlib/1.2.5 c-ares/1.7.1
J2C Decoder Version: KDU v6.4.1
Audio Driver Version: FMOD version 3.750000
Qt Webkit Version: 4.7.1 (version number hard-coded)
Voice Server Version: Vivox 3.2.0002.10426

Built with MSVC version 1600
Packets Lost: 90/19,901 (0.5%)

Is there a fix for this? If a top end Alienware cannot view lighting and shadows, I would say that is a serious problem.

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I wouldn't say specifically its the ATI card.  My ATI works with lighting and shadows.  Perhaps a driver update is needed.  Here are my specs.

--Cinn

Second Life 3.2.6 (248086) Jan 19 2012 13:14:05 (Second Life Release)
Release Notes

You are at 260,318.0, 257,978.0, 27.3 in Sedig located at sim8938.agni.lindenlab.com (216.82.41.114:13000)
Second Life RC LeTigre 12.02.06.248938
Release Notes

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1045T Processor (2693.24 MHz)
Memory: 8192 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 7601)
Graphics Card Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 5570

Windows Graphics Driver Version: 8.17.0010.1107
OpenGL Version: 4.2.11318 Compatibility Profile Context

libcurl Version: libcurl/7.21.1 OpenSSL/0.9.8q zlib/1.2.5 c-ares/1.7.1
J2C Decoder Version: KDU v6.4.1
Audio Driver Version: FMOD version 3.750000
Qt Webkit Version: 4.7.1 (version number hard-coded)
Voice Server Version: Not Connected
Built with MSVC version 1600
Packets Lost: 9/10,642 (0.1%)

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Stick with the older version of the viewer.

Your 5870M is a sliced down version of a desktop card you cant compare it to the proper card

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-graphics-card-review,review-32374-7.html

Look on there its ranked 3 tiers lower than the desktop version or rough equivalent to a desktop 5770 or Nvidia 550ti and that ranking is before it overheats in the laptop and slows down to snail pace. SL really isnt suited well to laptops even expensive alienware jobs. Also Nvidia seems to consistently give better account of itself in SL.

 

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The answer to this problem is not to tell me that I have a bad video card or a poor machine. It is a top of the line laptop. The video card may not be as powerful as the desktop version, but it is not a poor video card. This computer is a powerhouse, and heat is not an issue. The cooling system seems to be something that Alienware has done very well.

For reasons that are not relevant to this discussion, I need to be mobile and therefore need a laptop. This was the best on the market at the time I bought it.

The computer can run Blender, Photoshop and ZBrush all at the same time, with no problem. Those are very demanding programs. This computer is up to the challenge of higher end games than Second Life. My video card used to be able to display shadow and light in Second Life, but they changed something in their code and broke it.

The solution is for Second Life to find the problem and fix it. This definitely should be a video card supported by Second Life.

I have filed a jira on it. https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-28310?focusedCommentId=310067

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I didn't say you have a poor machine.

 I meant that you firstly cannot compare your mobile chipset to the desktop equivalent card (Did you look at the chart i linked?). Also no matter how much you paid alienware for that laptop it is a laptop so will suffer from heat issues when your playing SL which keeps that GPU under a constant heavy load (you want proof download GPU-Z and look at the load and temps). A laptop simply wont cool as well as a desktop my GTX580 has 2 fans and a heatsink its in a case with a total of 6 casefans and i still see it rise alot in temp when playing SL due to the sheer amount of work it has to do.

A system that may walk all over games like Call of Duty or Crysis is in no way garuanteed to walk all over SL. SL is very GPU intensive and its been reasonably common knowledge for a fair time that Nvidia handle SL alot better than ATI/AMD cards. As for PS, Blender and ZBrush i have an old dual core athlon with a 9800gt sat in my spare room that can handle them. Your comparing performance in a program that uses resources in a different way to SL.

I in no way meant to insult your rig i simply was saying its probably not best suited to SL in comparison to a desktop even a desktop that may appear to have a weaker card.

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As the SL viewer is open-source and runs on Macs and Linux as well as Windows it uses a graphics language called OpenGL instead of DirectX. The viewer was recently re-written to avoid using old OpenGL code that had been causing problems with newer video cards, especially Nvidia cards. Those changes were released in Viewer 3.2.4 and also the "release" version of FIrestorm. Many ATI cards have been having problems with the newer viewer OpenGL (ATI has a reputation for not running OpenGL well.) 

Many people with ATI cards have been getting better results by going into "Preferences" - "Graphics" - "Hardware" and turning off the option labled "Use OpenGL Vertex Buffer Objects." You might also  try the current beta as they're working on addressing some of the ATI issues.

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So what good is it to fix the problems NVIDIA cards were having but make it so the ATI cards have problems instead?  I also am having trouble with the new V3 and Firestorm releases. I have not only no shadows but no clouds and royal blue fake water as well.  I never had trouble running any other viewers.  One of the reasons I have the ATI card is that previously I had a NVIDIA card that gave me lots of trouble with SL.  Maybe there are some folks out there who can change computers with every new viewer release but I'm not one of them and I suspect neither are most other people.  I do hope this gets resolved for viewing with ATI cards very soon.

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ATI cards work fine on SL.  I have the 5770 and it works great.  I can run high-graphics all the time everywhere.  I run ultra-graphics sometimes, but take a performance hit for doing so.

CPU: Intel® Core i7 CPU         930  @ 2.80GHz (2793.04 MHz) Memory: 8184 MB OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 7601) Graphics Card Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc. Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series

Windows Graphics Driver Version: 8.17.0010.1114 OpenGL Version: 4.2.11399 Compatibility Profile Context RestrainedLove API: RLV v2.7.0 / RLVa v1.4.3a libcurl Version: libcurl/7.21.1 OpenSSL/0.9.8q zlib/1.2.5 c-ares/1.7.1 J2C Decoder Version: KDU Audio Driver Version: FMOD version 3.750000 Qt Webkit Version: 4.7.1 (version number hard-coded) Voice Server Version: Vivox 2.1.3010.6270

Settings mode: V3 Viewer Skin: starlight (original_orange) Font Used: Deja Vu (96) Draw distance : 256 Bandwidth : 10000 LOD factor : 2 Built with MSVC version 1600 Packets Lost: 0/5,917 (0.0%)

 

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I checked with a college friend who also has an Alienware laptop with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. She can play Second Life with graphics set to "ultra high" with 8X anti aliasing and she is still able to get frame rates well above 30 fps in almost all areas of SL. Lighting and shadows works fine on her system too.

 

You may need a newer version of drivers as your graphics card is supposed to be able to handle OpenGL 4.2 while your screen cap shows an earlier version of the OpenGL which usually indicates older graphic drivers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The problem has resolved for me. Thanks to all who responded and were helpful.

As some of you suggested, the problem was in outdated drivers.

I bought my Alienware laptop from Dell, and I was going to their website for driver updates. I did update my video card bios and got a newer driver there, but that did not solve the problem. As suggested here, I went to the AMD website and looked up my ATI Mobility Radeon 5870 video card. I was able to get newer drivers.

I was nervous, but installed them, and the problem was fixed.

Thanks again to the very helpful people who responded here.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay just yesterday I noticed I am having issues (im not onlinemuch) with artifacts showing in my ciewer (black flecs/specs) and I basically have to turn shaders and basic shaders off to get a clean picture but water and all the detail looks like crap.

 

I too am afraid to mess with bio and adriver updates - what did you do to back up your system?  And if I read this correctly you had to go to ATI for the driver update not Alienware right - wonder why the alienware driver update is not working.

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