We've published a couple of articles designed to help members pick their computer and graphics cards for use on Inworldz. You can find the main of these articles here:
Over the months however, Inworldz has grown, development work has been done, it's improved. We now have the Phlox scripting engine, better performance, faster performance.
So recently I was surprised to discover that computers which I would never have used for VR before... now work just fine on Inworldz. I made that discovery during the "Black Friday" sales this weekend, when I procured a new touch-screen 11" ultrabook (which I bought for extreme portability). It weighs half the weight of a normal laptop computer, has Windows 8 and of course, touch-screen, which makes it very nice for portable work. It's not a "killer" computer by any means; it has a basic Intel i3 processor (dual core) and (gasp) an Intel HD 3000 graphics system (that's right, not Nvidia, not ATI, Intel, the featherweight of graphics systems).
What I was surprised and pleased to find was that this little, low-power computer works just fine on Inworldz. Of course it's not as spritely as my quad-core GeForce 450 screamer desktop... but it works just fine. I'm able to walk around without significant lag, I can create and build just fine, textures rez fine. In short, it caused me to totally change my thoughts about using Intel HD graphics processors on Inworldz. Before we had to say "no no no no" but now... I am pleased to relate they work pretty well.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Bottom line it means that instead of buying a $700-$1000 laptop just so you can do VR... you can spend $300-$500 and have a totally suitable system. Rather than needing Nvidia and ATI graphics systems you can get by fine with an Intel graphics system (to my knowledge, at least an HD3000 or above... but lower systems might work too; at this point I don't know).
WHAT ABOUT THE PROCESSORS?
I'll have to allow Balpien, Zauber or one of the other core techs in our group fill you in here. There are several new processors out, known as the "E-" line. I'm not sure how they perform in comparison with the i3 or AMD standard processors. At one time (mumblety mumble) years ago I knew every processor and what they accomplished. At one time "2.4 ghz" on a processor actually meant something. But the processor I'm using now is a 1.4 ghz i3... and while it's not near the speed of my 2.4ghz Intel Core 2 quad processor in my desktop, it does just fine for my ultra-portable touchscreen netbook.
So maybe someone can leave some comments and fill us in as to how the new E processors compare with say, Celerons, Semprons, Pentiums, Core 2 and i- processors.
One thing I recommend: put our past bias behind us, because I am astounded to learn that an Intel HD3000 graphics processor works fine with Inworldz. That brings available laptops and desktops into a whole new low-cost dimension.
BEWARE THE MEMORY USE
There are two kinds of graphics memory: 1) Dedicated on-card and 2) Shared.
There are also graphics cards that use both. Be aware when purchasing your system of how much graphics memory is available... and what kind it is. Here are some guidelines:
* It is good to have 4 gigs system RAM available. If you get a 2 gig machine and your graphics card shares part of that RAM... you're not going to have much to use for Inworldz.
* Dedicated RAM is best in ideal situations, but avoid machines with less than 1 gig total graphics RAM (dedicated + shared). Some machines only have 128 megs of dedicated RAM and can't share system memory; they will not have enough graphics memory to handle virtual reality.
* Shared RAM isn't as fast as dedicated RAM, but quite often such machines will allow you to share 1 gig or more of system RAM... giving you all the RAM you need for Inworldz. The ideal is 1 gig of dedicated RAM, but we can settle for 1 gig or more of shared system RAM. It will do the job.
The main point is that it's now possible to buy a relatively low-cost laptop or desktop computer, one using Intel graphics, and have a decent computer for Inworldz. This is of course very good news for our members with limited budgets. Be aware it's not going to guarantee performance a year down the road (the VR worlds are growing, becoming more complex and demanding more) but it works fine at this time.