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Perrie Juran

Is it worth the upgrade?

18 posts in this topic

Last year I got a new desk top, custom built by a family member and I was a happy camper on SL until the introduction of V3 and mesh.  V3 code brought me to a crawl, a 75% performance drop.  https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SH-2694

Currently I have an EVGA GTS250 card in my computer.  One of the great puzzles has been I know other users with this card who are not having my troubles.  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130514

Nevertheless I have been considering upgrading my graphics card but I am on an extremely tight budget.  The card I am looking at is a GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130625

My system specs are this:

CPU:  3.00 gigahertz :  AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
ADX250OCGMBOX

Board: ECS A780GM-A Ultra 1.0
Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
BIOS: American Megatrends Inc. 080015 11/14/2008

OS is Win XP.

I have 4 gigs of RAM.

Thanks for your input.

Perrie

 

eta to correct CPU info


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I am not very knowledgeable, so take what I say for what it is worth, which may be what you paid for it.  I can only tell you what my personal experience was.  My old computer was a Core 2 Duo with 4 GB RAM and a GTX 8800 graphics card.  Upgrading the CPU to a Core 2 Quad and doubling the RAM had no noticeable effect, but upgrading the graphics to a GTX 470 did produce noticeable improvement.  That was with V2, I think, and it could have been V1.  My current computer runs SL considerably better than the old one did.  It has a second generation Core i7, a GTX 580, and an SSD; I don't know which part makes SL run better.  If I had to guess, I would guess the graphics card.

I did not notice any decrease in performance with V3.

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I think your issue is more impacted by your processor than your graphics card, afaik that processor is only a dual core, and most modern games require a quad core nowadays.

You should also know that GTS card is not a gaming graphics card, its for general windows use and fast processing.

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Just thought Id post my system specs:

This runs Second Life on the highest of the high settings with great framemates on the Firestorm viewer:

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 x64
Memory (RAM): 8GB DDR3
CPU Info: Intel i5 2500k @ 4.6GHz
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
Power Supply: Corsair TX750 0
Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium /w 7.1 Speakers
Display Adapters: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470

 

My i5 is overclocked to 4.6ghz, which for gaming is faster than a standard i7, i7s are simply a waste of money right now, its not worth the extra jump if your purchasing one solely for a better gaming experience, but for processing and rendering, then of course!

 

 

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One thing I forgot to mention is a 64 bit OS.  I have not tried SL on the same computer with a 32 bit and 64 bit OS, and I have never read any comparison.  For a while I had a computer set up to dual boot 32 bit and 64 bit XP.  Most program were noticeably faster and more responsive on the 64 bit OS.

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Yes, if your system can support 64 bit Windows then its definetly the way to go, you WILL notice a difference.

What 64/32bit imply, is how effectively the computer handles large amounts of RAM, basically, your computer will run and process information faster on a 64bit version of Windows.

Microsoft has a handy tool to decide whether your system can support and be compatible with a 64bit upgrade.
Its avaliable here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/upgrade-advisor

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The GTX550Ti is a fairly weak card, too, and frequently gets panned for being much slower than the GTX560ti, yet too close in price. I'd suggest you go Geforce 560 or keep your current, pretty reasonable and nearly as fast GST250. AMD did just drop a new Radeon series, so if you play other games than Secondlife, you might wish to look at that, too; i'm not much familiar with it yet.

GTS250 + GTX550Ti bench:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-550-ti-gf116-radeon-hd-5770,2892-5.html

Windows XP 32-bit is fine, as Secondlife viewers won't use over about two gigabytes of RAM, While 32-bit XP can only address around 3.25 gigabytes in a typical setup, between the game, your OS, plus background processes, you'll yet have breathing room.

 

As for the CPU,  Intel sells the Itanium, not AMD. I also am sure you do not have an Itanium, as they're expensive, used in servers, and don't wun X86 code natively. What I can tell you, though, is that Secondlife is a CPU-bound game and does require a very fast processor. AMD cores, even Phenom II, run to the weak side. Secondlife can scale past two cores now, but not perfectly. In any case, a Phenom II or Core 2 Duo dual core, even if overclocked, is a bit weak for lighting/shadows. You'd do well to pull your current CPU, hawk it on Ebay (great resale value,) and buy a new Phenom x4. Supplies are getting slim, so you might have to resort to Ebay for this; fear not, though, as Ebay has many deadstock CPU sellers. If you really wanted to go big, and this might actually be prudent, sell your motherboard + CPU as a combo and instead buy an i5 2500k, new 1155 motherboard, plus an aftermarket cooler for the overclocking Intel chips are so well suited to.

 

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Look through this thread for others using GTS250. How Fast is Your Viewer? - Second Life

The GTS is slower than a GTX. A 50 is slower than a 60.

Since you don't give us your FPS its hard to know where you fit in the performance range (Ctrl-Shift-1). Many of us have seen performance decrease as the Lab has worked to improve OpenGL compatibility. Also, nVidia has had some problems.

If you have the latest driver, use System Explorer (free) or Task Manager (built in) and GPU-Z (free) to see if it is the GPU or the CPU that is bottle necking performance. I run a Core2 Quad and GTX560Ti. The card runs at about 20 to 30% load and the CPU's at 30 to 60%. I get 12 to 20 FPS with graphics on HIGH and L&S, AO, & S/M Shadows on with Anti-alias 2x.

If you look through the thread linked to above, you may notice those running 64-bit Windows seem to consistantly get better performance.

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Nalates Urriah wrote:

Look through this thread for others using GTS250. 

The GTS is slower than a GTX. A 50 is slower than a 60.

Since you don't give us your FPS its hard to know where you fit in the performance range (Ctrl-Shift-1). Many of us have seen performance decrease as the Lab has worked to improve OpenGL compatibility. Also, nVidia has had some problems.

If you have the latest driver, use System Explorer (free) or Task Manager (built in) and GPU-Z (free) to see if it is the GPU or the CPU that is bottle necking performance. I run a Core2 Quad and GTX560Ti. The card runs at about 20 to 30% load and the CPU's at 30 to 60%. I get 12 to 20 FPS with graphics on HIGH and L&S, AO, & S/M Shadows on with Anti-alias 2x.

If you look through the thread linked to above, you may notice those running 64-bit Windows seem to consistantly get better performance.

I had posted my performance in that thread.  But to give you an idea of what I am dealing with I just did these two screen shots at Junkyard Blues, Graphics set to High.  Firestorm Beta, 25 FPS, Firestorm 4, 5 FPS.  The Official SL Viewer is just as bad.  Also screen shots of GPU Z and Sys Explore.  I have tried several other V3 based viewers and the results are always the same.  Even with graphics set at LOW I will only gain a couple of FPS.

So this is what I am trying to overcome.

statistics FS Beta.jpg

Statistics FS 4.jpg

Sys Exp.jpg

 

gpuz.jpg

 

 

 

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septimusminimus wrote:

 

As for the CPU,  Intel sells the Itanium, not AMD. I also am sure you do not have an Itanium, as they're expensive, used in servers, and don't wun X86 code natively.

 

I ran Bel Arc advisor to get all my system specs because I couldn't find my original receipt when I posted this. I have found it now and this is my CPU:

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor

ADX250OCGMBOX

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If you can get a GTX 560, go for it. Even a 550 would be better than the GTS you have, and you'll see a significant improvement.

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Your Socket is AM3 you could drop a phenom II X4 or X6 on there cheaply while they are still about (960T retails in UK around £90 and US around $125). You would notice a performance rise on your current Athlon. i5 2500k is a sexy choice and considered top gaming dog right now but in SL you wont see alot of difference between a £90 Phenom upgrade or a £300 i5 2500k and z68 mobo upgrade.

As the GTX680 has just released and pretty much p*ssed on every other single GPU card out there, older 500 series can now be had cheap as chips. The issue here is if you go much beyond a 550ti on that current CPU you will likely start to enter territory where you bottleneck the GPU so dont actually unleash its full potentiol.

For the price of upgrading to Intel (without a new GPU) you could actually just upgrade to a Phenom II and a Nvidia GTX560ti which would be a massive boost on your current rig.

64 bit OS, unless your running over 4GB RAM its not really needed. Saying that RAM is cheap as chips right now so upgrading to 8GB is a good option.

AMD Upgrade

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103995

AMD Phenom II X4 960T

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127565

MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB

Total - $344.98

Intel Upgrade

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128512

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127565

MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB

Total - $579.97

 

Personally as you already have the AMD motherboard and the difference you will actually see and feel (not synthetic benchmark) is minimal, I don't think the extra expense of the Intel route is warranted.





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Thank you for that detailed info.  One of the questions that I did have in mind though I didn't specifically state it was if my CPU would 'bottleneck.'  I'd be tickled pink if I could just get back up to the performance level with V3 code that I had with V2 so I could see mesh with out slowing to a crawl.

As I said I am on an extremely tight budget and I hate to have to spend that kind of money just to run SL.  I don't do any gaming.  So it's a frustrating situation with my performance drop.

Again, thank you.

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You would see an improvement i don't doubt just dropping a 560ti in there i suspect it would be bottlenecked slightly but there would still be a visual boost.

On the same note you would see an improvement just dropping the CPU in there the increase in speed and cores would create a noticeable difference.

Without knowing your actual budget its hard to say which would be best if you can only do one upgrade. Personally i think in your shoes i would do the CPU for the following reasons...

Costs less ($125)

Will give you a marked boost not only in SL

Phenom II stocks are dwindling the chance to upgrade CPU and retain that mobo is shrinking.

I would then save a few months for the GPU knowing that as further 600 series cards release the 500 series will dip a little more in price before they frazzle out.

I have a 550ti in my second machine and in another thread a while ago i showed that it can actually get decent FPS with the eyecandy cranked up. I think it was only about 40% less than my GTX580. As the 550 is only a margin better than the 250 i think if you tweak your settings about a little you should have more joy, I also wonder if in V3 that dual core CPU is choking the GPU though it sounds unlikely it seems more likely to me than the GPU being the issue.

One easy way to try and spot a bottleneck is run GPU-Z and pop open task manager performance tab. now log in to sl tp somewhere and as it all rez's pull up the GPU-Z and task manager boxes. Look at them if the GPU is pulling at 100% while the CPU is idling at something low then your GPU is the problem. If the CPU is tearing up at very high % but then GPU-z shows the GPU at a low % then your CPU is the issue. Thats not the most scientific test but its an easy way to get an indicator of whats hitting your performance.

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Chris Mammoth wrote:

You would see an improvement i don't doubt just dropping a 560ti in there i suspect it would be bottlenecked slightly but there would still be a visual boost.

On the same note you would see an improvement just dropping the CPU in there the increase in speed and cores would create a noticeable difference.

Without knowing your actual budget its hard to say which would be best if you can only do one upgrade. Personally i think in your shoes i would do the CPU for the following reasons...

Costs less ($125)

Will give you a marked boost not only in SL

Phenom II stocks are dwindling the chance to upgrade CPU and retain that mobo is shrinking.

I would then save a few months for the GPU knowing that as further 600 series cards release the 500 series will dip a little more in price before they frazzle out.

I have a 550ti in my second machine and in another thread a while ago i showed that it can actually get decent FPS with the eyecandy cranked up. I think it was only about 40% less than my GTX580. As the 550 is only a margin better than the 250 i think if you tweak your settings about a little you should have more joy, I also wonder if in V3 that dual core CPU is choking the GPU though it sounds unlikely it seems more likely to me than the GPU being the issue.

One easy way to try and spot a bottleneck is run GPU-Z and pop open task manager performance tab. now log in to sl tp somewhere and as it all rez's pull up the GPU-Z and task manager boxes. Look at them if the GPU is pulling at 100% while the CPU is idling at something low then your GPU is the problem. If the CPU is tearing up at very high % but then GPU-z shows the GPU at a low % then your CPU is the issue. Thats not the most scientific test but its an easy way to get an indicator of whats hitting your performance.  
(my bolding)

WOW!  I ran this as you suggested.  I tried Firestorm Beta (V2 code based), Firestorm 4 and SL Official.

With Firestorm Beta I went to what i know is a very laggy SIM (I wont name and shame)

GPU Load 15%  and CPU 30%   (rezzing only took a couple of seconds)

With SL Official and Firestorm 4 at the same location:

GPU Load 20%  and CPU over 90%.  (rezzing took over 30 seconds)

So now the question is why are Mesh Enabled Viewers maxing out my CPU?

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I Just tried the Test myself using V3 on these machines

Phenom II X6 @ 3.89GHZ, GTX580, 16GB RAM

CPU Load was across 4 cores reasonably well, the 5th and 6th core were utilised but not efficiently.

FX 4100 (Bulldozer), GTX550ti, 8GB RAM

CPU Load was an utter mess on this one across the 4 modules spiking around, though thats to be expected as FX is a problem...... the issue with that though was the spiking CPU made the GPU fluctuate too.

I dont think its the mesh features causing this as TPV's with mesh based on V2 and V1 dont seem to have the issue. It must be something in V3. I'm no programmer but i can't see why this happens unless its a major bug in the code. Or maybe its been optimised for quads as it seemed happy on the first 4 cores of my X6.

The fact it didnt seem to like the modules (not real cores) of the FX was no major surprise but means it would be interesting to know how a i7 handles it.

Either way your results show it seems your CPU is choking your GPU with V3. Now while i still think an upgrade there is a good idea, I also wonder if this is a bug in the code that will be fixed? Alot of people are using hardware older than yours to run SL and this change will hit them hard....... not a great idea by LL.

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Are you running in ultra with shadaws enabled? If that is the case you may see a difference upgrading. If not I don't think it will make a big difference. I am guessing something else is slowing your computer down. I run a GTS250 with no problems at all in sl, but I don't run shadows. And I make mesh objects, so mesh has nothing to do with it.

And I doubt going to a 4 core processer will make difference either. I went from a dual 2.8 to a quad core 3.0 and noticed no difference in sl at all.

If you are running a 32 bit system your computer is only seeing 3 gigs, but honestly unless you are running multiple apps while playing sl 3 gigs should be plenty. My girlfriends computer is a dual core amd with 3 gigs of ram and a GTX9800 which is basically the older version of the GTS250. She runs sl just fine, again, no shadows enabled.

And I have used pretty much every viewer out, and for me the LL viewers ususally run the fastest. I use the new firestorm though just because I like it.

I honestly think you have plenty of computer for sl if you are running in ultra or tweaked version of ultra without shadows enabled. Once you turn on shadows your computer really takes  a hit. Your problem may be elsewhere like something to do with your software, programs running in the background or your internet connection. There are so many things that can effect how sl runs it is hard to pin down.

You can have the fastest computer in the world, and if you have a slow connection, high ping and packet loss it won't matter.

Something else to consider is your power supply. The GTS 250 and any card above that requires a better than stock power supply. Figure on at least a good 450 watt PS to run them. A bigger cpu will most likely require more power as well.

Outdated drivers can also cause issues. Or drivers conflicting with each other. Make sure you you have the latest drivers and they are installed with the "clean install" option checked. And make sure your onboard graphics is indeed disabled.

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The problem with this statement is that even a GTX 670 will crank high GPU usage when high settings are enabled so possibly there is no video card that's not going to be a bottleneck for SL? If I limit my fps using a frame limiter to 30fps the GPU usage goes way down and temps lower significantly. I think I can run smoother at higher settings as well. This is true since SL runs 100-200 fps on my system otherwise which is not useful to me. 60 fps is the max I would need.

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