How to run SL faster/es
From Second Life Wiki
SL is a very complex 3d application which consumes much of your computer's CPU, memory, video, and network resources, moreso than nearly all other 3d programs; this is because the world that you see is completely dynamic, and must be updated in real-time for everyone anytime something changes.
Most 3d games have pre-compiled "maps" that have everything set in stone so that much of the difficult processing has been pre-computed ahead of time. These maps are large files which describe what is mostly a static non-moving non-dynamic scene. However, SL has no pre-compiled maps.
Everything in SL has to come to you quickly and is able to change at any moment. This includes avatar movments, clothes, animations, object positions, rotations, textures, and sounds. The ground could rise or fall from a lake to a mountain, trees can be placed, moved, or removed, the sky changes throughout the day with the position of the sun, and shadows move with it. Additionally there is dynamic weather with a complex wind model that our movements can affect and be affected by.
Due to all of these dynamic aspects, you will not get the same frame rate as you do in "First Person Shooter" games and the like. Fortunately, you do not need extremely high frame rates in SL, because it's not a "twitchy" game that requires fast reflexes to enjoy. SL is more of a social environment.
To see how your computer is performing, press Cntr-Shift-1 and open the Basic pulldown (if it's not already open) by clicking on the word Basic.
- FPS: 10-20 in an uncrowded area (higher is better)
- Bandwidth: 20-100kbps after you've been in an area for a few mintes and everything has loaded
- Ping User or Ping Sim: 100-200 if you are in the USA/Canada (lower is better)
- Packet Loss: 0.0% (optimally, though occasional packet loss is expected)
For more details on this and information on how to tune your performance, see Help:Lag
Also be sure any other resource-intensive programs are closed (i.e. file sharing programs)