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How to improve Viewer performance


Boston Linden

General tips for boosting performance

Tip: Maintain your computer by:

  • Routinely removing unwanted files and programs from the system.
  • Defragmenting your disk drive regularly.
  • Using anti-Malware software to remove spyware, virues, and other malware.

For other suggestions see Six ways to speed up your PC.

Follow the recommendations here to improve overall performance of Second Life and address many common problems.

The basics

  • Make sure your computer meets the Minimum system requirements. It's best to exceed them to prevent bottlenecks, since they are the bare minimum required to run Second Life. A slower processor, older video card, or low memory can contribute to slow framerates.
  • Make sure you have working drivers for your video card. Search the SL Forum for posts on your video card. The latest driver is not always the best.
  • Make sure your firewalls are properly configured. See Using Second Life with a firewall for more information.
  • Check to see if your hard drive light is showing a lot of activity. If it is, your system may be running low on memory and using hard drive swap space instead, which is significantly slower.

Based on statistics collected by Linden Lab:

  • If you are using Windows 8, make sure you have upgraded to Windows 8.1.  Our statistics show that Second Life crashes half as often on Windows 8.1 compared to Windows 8.0.
  • If you are using Mac OSX, upgrade to 10.9.3.  Our statistics show that 10.9.3 crashes one third less than 10.7.5.
  • Use a 64-bit version of Windows if you can.  Even though we don't offer a fully 64-bit viewer for Second Life as of July 2014, our statistics show that Second Life running on 64-bit operating systems crashes half as often as on 32-bit systems.
Important: Second Life allows but does not support wireless connections. Always use a hardwired connection if possible.

 

Optimize your display preferences

Optimize your preferences to help Second Life run more efficiently. Try the following:

  1. Choose Me > Preferences 
  2. Click on the Graphics tab.
  3. Move the Quality and speed slider to Low
  4. Click the Advanced button 
  5. Move the settings on the Mesh detail sliders to "Mid" or "Low."

Autoplaying music and media can be very demanding on some PC equipment. Use manual play instead:

  1. Choose Me > Preferences Sound & Media 
  2. Deselect Allow Media to auto-play.

Review the rest of your preference settings disable any unused features:

  1. Choose Me Preferences or press Ctrl-P).
  2. Try disabling settings such as Play typing animationName tags, and Arrow keys always move me.

Even minor items can add up to significant improvements in performance.

For more information, see Setting your preferences.

Don't display extraneous things

Make sure your Viewer is not displaying unnecessary information that may reduce performance:

  1. Choose World > Show> Advanced Menu
  2. Choose Advanced > Highlighting and Visibility
  3. Select Hide Particles

Also:

  1. Choose World > Show 
  2. Disable Property Lines and Land Owners.

This will improve performance by eliminating gratuitous visual noise.

Manage your antivirus software

To prevent false cache virus alerts and improve texture cache performance, turn off virus scanning for the following directories and add them to the list of ignored (trusted) directories for Norton AntiVirus:

  • The Second Life skins directory, C:\Program Files\SecondLife\skins.
  • The Second Life cache directory. To determine this directory:
    1. Choose Me > Preferences.
    2. Choose the Advanced tab.
    3. Look for the Cache location setting.

See also Technical overview of Second Life security.

Troubleshooting tips

If you followed the advice above and are still experiencing performance problems, try the following.

  • Exit and restart Second Life. This often is enough to fix the problem.
  • Clear the cache. The cache is where the Second Life Viewer stores data on your hard drive for later retrieval. To clear the cache:
    1. Choose Me > Preferences.
    2. Click the Advanced tab.
    3. Click Clear Cache.
    4. After you're prompted, restart the Viewer.
  • lag_meter.pngCheck the Lag Meter:
    1. Choose Advanced > Performance Tools > Lag Meter. The lag meter breaks lag down into Client, Network, and Server lag, with corresponding indicators for each lag type. 
    2. Click >> to reveal descriptions and advice for solving any lag problems you are having.
  • Try teleporting to a quieter area or one with fewer objects, to see if the situation improves.
  • Disable antialising.
  • Check your Ping Sim and Packet Loss values:
    1. Choose Advanced > Performance Tools > Statistics Bar to open the STATISTICS window.
    2. The ping values are the time (in milliseconds) it takes to reach the server from your computer. If this number is high, it could indicate a problem with your network or internet connection. If Packet Loss is a nonzero number, your network or ISP may be having issues. See Using the statistics bar for more information.
  • Check to see if there is anything blocking your computer's ventilation ports, and make sure all the fans are working properly. Laptops in particular can get quite hot when placed on a flat surface, so you may want to try propping yours on a stand to increase airflow, or consider buying a cooling device like a "chill mat".
  • Finally, if you've overclocked or made other modifications to your computer, disable them until you can attain stability. You can use tools like Prime95 to stress-test your computer independently of Second Life.

Using the statistics bar

The statistics bar presents a detailed list of information about the performance of your computer and Second Life. While the sheer amount of information can be confusing, knowing what to look for can tell you a lot about what's going on in Second Life.

To view the Statistics Bar, choose Advanced > Performance Tools > Statistics Bar.

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