Talk:Choosing a computer

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Share your experiences with various system configs here! - Torley-favicon.png on 2010-07-19 @ 9:58 AM Pacific

Torley's benchmarks

In response to "Does the Viewer run faster on Mac OS X or Windows?", I knew one way of getting close is to have a similar setup on the OS X and Windows (Boot Camp) sides with same Mac hardware. I had previously done anecdotal comparisons, but decided to followup with something more in-depth. Usual disclaimer applies that this is only my experience — YMMV! — but I've observed similar results on four Macs now. Keep in mind Second Life is ever-evolving and my conditions can't exactly be replicated because of how content changes. Even avatars move in and out of a scene, but between reboots, I got similar enough situations to make this a more worthwhile comparison than nothing at all. Preemptively, don't use this as a reason to hate on Macs (I adore 'em). But do use this as a non-scientific basis for your experiments!

Heh, I post this and Apple announces new iMacs (and other models) less than a day later. That's the tech industry for ya. - Torley-favicon.png on 2010-07-27 @ 6:40 AM Pacific

Benchmarks

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Here/200/92/58 looking NW

  • Various mixed objects in a wide open area, plus Shared Media
  • Windows - 17 FPS
    • Disabling Shared Media raised to 18 FPS
  • OS X - 16 FPS
    • Disabling Shared Media raised to 19 FPS

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Morris/8/248/41 looking NW

  • Windows - 14 FPS
  • OS X - 14 FPS
  • Typical crowd scene with lots of avatars (about 30 main, 30 child, ~20 directly visible)

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL%20DiscoveryIsland%20Public5/50/128/31 looking E

  • Varied Linden content, including particles and animated objects
  • Windows - 20 FPS
  • OS X - 20 FPS

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Truth%20Fashion/110/212/37 looking SE

  • Heavy sculpties, transparent textures, avatars occasionally coming into view. A very "meaty" scene.
  • Windows - 9 FPS
  • OS X - 2 FPS
    • Interestingly, sustained at 9 FPS for awhile before dropping. Relogging was able to repro this. Not sure what in the scene is causing it, but it's taxing to render.

Other observations:

  • OS X seems to get a lot more jerky (the FPS drops sharply) when you navigate your avatar through builds that are mid-rez. Someone with more graphics expertise should take a close look at Fast Timers' breakdown and deduce why.

Background

Config:

  • Second Life 2.1.0 (207030) Jul 16 2010 12:08:58 (Second Life Release)
  • CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz (2793.03 MHz)
  • Memory: 8182 MB
  • OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit (Build 7600) and
  • OS Version: Darwin 10.2.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.2.0: Tue Nov 3 23:08:29 PST 2009; root:xnu-1486.2.11~3/RELEASE_I386 i386
  • Graphics Card Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
  • Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 4850
    • Windows Graphics Driver Version: 8.14.0010.0700
    • OpenGL Version: 2.1.9026
    • On OS X, OpenGL Version: 2.1 ATI-1.6.6

Setup notes:

  • Screen resolution is 2560x1440, iMac running in a maximized window.
  • Tests done using fresh user settings.
  • In Preferences - Graphics, Quality and speed slider set to Ultra.
  • In Preferences - Graphics - Hardware Settings, Anisotropic Filtering enabled, Antialiasing set to 4x. These have a noticeable effect on performance.
  • In Preferences - Setup, Maximum bandwidth set to 10000 kbps for faster rezzing.
  • On Windows 7, I installed Catalyst 10.7 drivers but had to roll back the Boot Camp 3.1 graphics drivers due to a color banding issue.
  • The iMac is still on 10.6.2 because 10.6.3 and 10.6.4 have reported sporadic freezing issues. This may actually be a hardware defect, I need more time to weigh that out.
  • I waited 5-10 min. for a scene to rez and the Statistics to stabilize. Then took the average FPS. There's the known issue that textures don't always rez unless you move your cursor over them, but I didn't do the "wiggle cursor game" and just waited for the scene to mostly rez.
  • Camera view always reset (Esc) in a scene.
  • I chose the City Female Avatar from the Library.

Graphics Hardware

The usual recommendation is to use nVidia hardware for the best OpenGL support. This is a combination of the actual OpenGL functions, and the utilities to adjust the display. The DirectX labelling is mostly a guide to the available GPU power for the purposes of OpenGL use.

Many motherboards have built-in graphics hardware, which is, frankly, barely adequate. If your cash-flow is a problem, it's good enough to run SL, and you can add a graphics card later. Don't expect to get a high frame rate. The Viewer 2.x family seem to be setting graphics to get a higher frame rate, and if you're following this approach, you could find detail settings are low enough to be ugly--circles appearing as hexagons--and trading frame rate for a slightly higher detail setting may be worth it.

WolfBaginski Bearsfoot 07:44, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

For an enjoyable experience, I holistically agree about skipping integrated (usually Intel) graphics and opting for a dedicated graphics card. I see a lot of GPUs that cost US$25-50 and more than exceed our System Recommendations — it's a worthwhile investment. - Torley-favicon.png on 2010-07-26 @ 1:11 PM Pacific