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New computer For SL!


xFetisch
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Ok so I recently posted a thread asking about details on a computer and decided that was not the way to go. I've done some thinking and I have to decided to go with a custom building website for my needs.

I've picked out the follwing components and would like to know your opinions on how well you think it will run SL, and if the components are compatible with one another.

I'll also say that I am more than comfortable with running SL on mid-high settings with nothing to fancy enabled, maybe basic shaders, full lighting and so on. 

Specs:

Tower:
iMicro CA-IM2109 Mid-Tower ATX Case

Motherboard:
ASRock N68-VS3 FX AM3+ W/GeForce 7025

CPU:
AMD FX-4120 3.8GHZ Quad-Core

CPU Heatsink/Fan Cooling Unit:
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro

DDR3 System Memory:
6GB(1x4GB/1x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz

Hard Drive:
(1TB)1000GB 7200Rpm SATA Hard Drive

Optical Drive:
DVD +/- RW DVD Burner/DVD Reader Drive

Power Supply:
Rosewill Stallion Series RD600 600W Power Supply

Operating System:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home 64-bit

Video Card:
GeForce GTX 550Ti 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI-E 2.0

Sound Card:
Encore 7.1 PCI Surround Sound Card

Modem/Internet/Ethernet:
Rosewill 56Kbps PCI Data/Fax/TAM (56K Dial-Up)

Internal Card Reader:
Allin one internal card reader + USB2.0 Hub

5.25" Fan Controller:
Sunbeam RHK-S Rheobus 4 Channel Fan Controller

Wireless Networking:
Encore PCI-E x1 150Mbps Wireless N Adapter

 

Thanks!! :)

 

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Heyyy Fetisch, I was of course much too lazy to google all the components of your build but I guess they'll work together, else the system buider software on the shop's website would have alerted you. I stumbled over a few aspects tho:

That case does look rather cheap, no? All shiny plastic fantastic. :smileyindifferent:

People are telling me ASRock mobos are crappola. I don't have any experience in that field but my good Gigabyte mobo is working flawlessly since 4 years now. Was maybe a tad more expensive than the alternatives by MSI, Asus or ASRock but it's a stable workhorse. A mobo is the central nerve system of your rig, it's where all the other parts are coming together. Most boring but also most important! You don't want that thing to blow a valve on you in the middle of a SL session.

6 Gigs of RAM is odd, no? Next step up from 4 GB is 8 GB and in these days of super cheap RAM it shouldn't bankrupt you neither. Particularly now when most serious computer users are going for 16 GB of that delicious memory.

Of course I would also always suggest Linux as OS but I can understand that ppl are still afraid of it. And as far as commercial systems go Win7 does the trick, as well as Win8. LOL, as if there was a choice. :smileyvery-happy: And besides, why purchase a new copy anyway? You're on Windows now, aren't you? So just keep a copy of it. If it's a 64-bit Win there's no need to buy a new one. Uncle Bill is rich enough.

NOW! The GTX 550 Ti. Where'd you find that stuff, on Ebay or in the museum? Nvidia's current generation is 7** and you will have a hard time finding any 5** cards as brand new items. Also *5* isn't really hi end and will be the most restricting factor in your whole build. Even with the fancy Ti moniker it's still not as fast as a standard *6* card. Even my old 260 will blow your 550 Ti out of the water. Let's not forget GPU is the most important part of any gaming PC, at least for use in SL with all its unoptimized textures.

I am more than comfortable with running SL on mid-high settings with nothing to fancy enabled, maybe basic shaders, full lighting and so on.

LOL, girl! You want atmo shaders, I tell ya. And full lighting? Ya, you only get that with atmo shaders enabled. Heck, it's not 2005 anymore, SL doesn't have  to look as flat and boring as back then.

What you want with a sound card escapes me. Usually a sound module is built into the mobo, my Gigabyte even has surround 7.1. Dedicated soundcards are only used in specialized DJ or music production systems.

Modem and wireless network stuff? Me's confuserizered now. I have a DSL modem that works as wifi router as well. And it's not part of my computer system but a little white box with 2 antennae sitting on my desk. That means my SL desktop is plugged into the modem while our laptops are getting the wifi signal. Usually you get these buggers for free from your ISP. I have 3 or 4 laying around, no need to buy new chit all the time. Oh, I just see your Rosewill is an internal thingy ... ok, if you wanna go that route. But then, what you gonna do should you swap from DSL to cable?

 

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You need somebody who knows AMD processors and motherboards to comment (and that's definitely not me), but just in general, this looks a bit of a "blast from the past" sort of configuration. I mean, I'm not seeing any SSD at all, but there's a dialup / FAX modem (!). That graphics card is getting on in years, too, and the memory is slower than the motherboard can support, I'm not sure why. The case doesn't seem to be a current product from that manufacturer, as best I can tell.

I'm not doubting that there's a custom system builder out there still using all these parts from inventory, but it better be cheap.

Specific to SL, the motherboard has a built-in network interface, so maybe that's the connectivity plan, but I also see a wireless adaptor, so just be aware that SL isn't especially friendly to wifi. (I've used it myself, and usually it's no problem, but I've also seen some pretty obscure wifi router misbehaviours triggered by SL.)

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Your configuration will run SL fairly well but it is definitely NOT current "state of the art" for a computer. You're obviously economizing so my suggestions are modest improvements, not top end (comparison prices found online from Tiger Direct or NewEgg):

a. AMD FX-4120 ($100) - consider an FX-6350 ($140) six core or the FX-8320 ($150) eight core if you can afford it. this might change the Motherboard you need and cause more cost.

b. 6GB DDR3 1333 RAM ($70) - consider upgrading to 8GB DDR3 1600 ($70)

c. OS Windows 7 x64 - run some flavor of Linux like Baloo suggested only if you like fussing with it constantly; Linux isn't out of the box friendly to as many programs and pieces of hardware as Windows. Windows 7 is ok but I run Windows 8.1 with no problems and MS keeps improving it all the time with free updates; why pay for an older OS?.

d. GeForce GTX 550Ti 1GB - the 550 Ti ($140) will work with SL but consider upgrading to a GTX 660 2GB ($200).

e. Drop the dial-up modem unless you have a specific need.

f. I would avoid connecting to SL by wifi.

 

I run SL on an AMD FX-6100 six-core, 8GB DDR3 1600, a GTX 560Ti 2GB, on Windows 8.1 with no SSD and I get 20-40 fps in most clubs with all lighting turned on but no shadows. Shadows drops me to 10-15 fps in clubs which can be dodgy.

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There is an old OpenGL compatibility layer built into Windows' generic fallback graphic driver, but it is not what SL uses. The generic Microsoft implementaion only supports OpenGL 1.4 or so.

The GPUs supported by SL have drivers supplied by their manufacturers, and these run OpenGL and DirectX as parallel APIs, not layered.

 
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run some flavor of Linux like Baloo suggested only if you like fussing with it constantly; Linux isn't out of the box friendly to as many programs and pieces of hardware as Windows.

 

Oh my. When was the last time you installed a Linux distro? Back in the stone age? I'm a clueless ungeeky housewife, installed Linux Mint and am in computing heaven ever since. Everything, and I mean EVERY FUKN THING, was running straight out of the box. Mobo, CPU, DVD burner, internal and external HDs, mouse, keyboard. It was all there. And now the best part: I run the hardware detection tool, it immediately found my Nvidia card and gave me a selection of proprietary drivers. So I installed the latest Nvidia drivers available for Linux directly from source. Like always in Linux it was a one click operation, no need to burn a DVD or anything.

Drivers and software updates are not forced on you, like in Win but you'll see a little icon on screen and can do it when and if you find the time. And it's all so fresh. Happens every couple of days: one click and 2 minutes later you have the freshest, most actual and secure system in the world! OS and additional software, all in one go.

Also  there is no need to waste any time with maintenance, as you don't need to clean your registry, you don't need any voodoo speed-up programs, no anti-virus software and ... I don't even  run a firewall. Can't be much more complete and still uncluttered and clean than with Linux. And I have all that without even opening my DVD tray once! Installed Mint from USB stick and got all the other stuff over the interwebz with some simple mouseclicks. I spend more time being productive now than worrying about my machine. Ease of mind that Windows could never give me.

So no constant fussing for this housewife. Install and forget about it.

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You've gotten some good advice on some sensible hardware upgrades for a better computer at minimal additional cost.

 

I'm going to add one point.  Many people will deny it, but the higher end AMD processors (and the Intel i-series processors) will run Second life, all be it not well--low graphics settings at low fps rates--but it will run.   I mention this because if you are currently having budget issues you may want to put a bit of extra money into the CPU, and other components today, and purchase a nice GPU in a couple of months.

For me a good GPU pushed my computer's purchase price past my comfort level--so I relied on the built in graphics on the CPU (i5-2500k) for 3-4 months until I could afford a decent GPU.  

Depending on where I am, I run SL on a variety of computers with a range of different capabilities.  The built in GPU for the modern high end chip runs SL on par with the worst of the computers I use (older G-xxx CPU and GT 520 graphics card). 

So for the first few months my SL experience on my worst and best computers was roughly the same.  Eventually I bought a GTX550ti, which was a nice upgrade, and finally a GTX 660ti which does everything I need right now. 

Other:  Modern computer components are like really expensive legos--they are designed so someone with a modest bit of care and skill can put them together.   Just make sure the components you purchase work well together.

Cases vary all over in price--there really is a difference, but I've purchased a couple of low end cases that have worked well enough.  What really matters, to me, it the position of on/off switches, number and location of USB ports, and that sort of thing.  My cases sit on the floor so power switches on/near the top are critical.  If, however, I set the computer up on my desk, I would be looking for a power switch nearer the bottom of the case. 

Repeating the message from an earlier post: do your homework so that you don't spend money foolishly.  If you buy 6gb of RAM today you are almost certainly going to be upgrading to 8GB in a few months to a year--just get the 8GB now.  I don't know the AMD CPU line, but in the Intel line, upgrading from i3 to i5 is very likely worth the extra money, while upgrading from the i5 to the i7 probably isn't worth it.   

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Yeah, the level of hardware support Linux has these days really makes everything Microsoft offers for hardware support and detection look positively stone age. Especially given the over-reliance in expecting hardware vendors to know how to write a good driver to start with, much less expecting it to be available when you need it (the moment it's attached, not 90 seconds later when Windows stops having alzheimers on how a thumb drive or mouse works, not hours and many Google searches later to find a driver that didn't ship with the OS and isn't on Windows Update.

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Baloo Uriza wrote:

Not quite.  OpenGL has native support on MacOS and Linux.  Windows doesn't, it's emulated through DirectX; you take a performance hit for that translation.  That said, Windows has more in common with VMS than any modern OS...

You only partly correct about OpenGL being emulated via DirectX in WIndows. Most likely nobody uses the emulated OpenGL-1.4 in Windows because people use drivers from the GPU manufacturer.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7372458/on-windows-how-does-opengl-differ-from-directx

OpenGL is not built on top of DirectX if shipping with a GPU driver. Windows Vista and above ship with a OpenGL-1.4 emulation built on top of DirectX, but that doesn't support shaders, vertex buffer objects and all the other whistles and bells. As soon as you install a GPU driver with OpenGL support, this completely replaces the OpenGL-1.4 emulation with an actual low-level implementation.

So in effect after downloading and installing graphics card driver from the GPU vendor, OpenGL API has direct access to hardware - no need to emulate via DirectX - no hit on performance via emulation.

 

OpenGL is an API, DirectX is an API. There is no need for either one to run on top of the other.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct3D

• Direct3D is a proprietary API that provides functions to render three dimensional graphics, and uses hardware acceleration if it is available on the graphics card. It was designed by Microsoft Corporation for use on the Windows platform. It can also be used on other operating systems through special software such as Wine, although the subset of features provided is not as complete as the reference implementation.

• OpenGL is an open standard API that provides a number of functions to render 2D and 3D graphics, and is available on most modern operating systems including but not limited to Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

 

 

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Happened to be idling browsing the web and noticed one of the benchmark sites ranks the GTX 760 as delivering th most performance per dollar spent of several GPU cards in the same category.  If you (OP) can afford one (around $300 U.S.) that seems like the card to shoot for to me.

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