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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:

http://elfclan.ning.com/profiles/blogs/picking-a-computer-graphics-...

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.

--o--

 

Views: 784

Comment by Zauber Paracelsus on December 12, 2013 at 1:45pm

Wayfinder, chromebooks are slow because they are low power budget systems that are intended solely for basic computing needs: browsing, internet, and documents.  They deliberately use weak CPU's, but CPU power is not the primary factor with 3D gaming: its GPU power.

Also, the viewers won't run on ARM chips because the viewers use x86-specific code (such as SSE), so ARM systems are irrelevent to the discussion anyways.  That said, ARM chips tend to be just as fast as equivalent x86 systems, if not faster, and are an order of magnitude more energy efficient.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on December 12, 2013 at 2:23pm

While I agree that the primary issue of VR is GPU rather than CPU, no matter how fast your GPU if one uses a Celeron, Sempron or similar chip, the system will function extremely slow. 

Regarding ARM being "just as fast as equivalent x86 systems"... my question would have to be what qualifies as "equivalent".  I wasn't actually discussing ARM per se, and while I don't know what modern VR requires, several years ago I did manage to run SL on an ARM system, albeit with the 1.0 speed of the ARM mixed with extremely slow graphics, it was more like running a slideshow than a VR system. 8{

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on March 23, 2014 at 5:22pm

Do you know what hardware failure it's having? And if you've had a chance to look inside... does it use standardized parts or Dell proprietary?

That's my main issue with Dell; they use cheap, proprietary parts and fixing one... unless one gets one of the "standard" models, can be a nightmare.

If your Dell is only 5 months old... it is still under warranty.  However don't let Dell mess with you or put you off.  They have a history of jerking people around until their warranty runs out.  That's one company where the customer has to be VERY forceful and insistent (but of course, always kind).

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on March 24, 2014 at 6:12am

Well, I will agree that Dell is a horrid company.  I've even written on this site and in the forums to avoid Dell as a company.  Their history of service as well as proprietary design (ie, their equipment isn't standard and can't be customer-serviced) makes them one of the worst.  

At this point I'm afraid your only choices are to either go ahead and register with them and report the computer under warranty (regardless of what they may say, Dells have a 1 year warranty), have a local computer tech fix your hard drive for you (which will cost, but it likely can be fixed), or scrap it.

Don't believe your computer is obsolete just because it has Intel graphics.  I found a good duo-core with Intel 3000 HD graphics works pretty well with Inworldz... which surprised me.  It's just a matter of using Singularity instead of IW Beta and tweaking the graphics settings.   The REAL question is "what kind of processor system do you have in it, how many CPU cores, and what speed?"  If it's a Celeron or Sempron system or a low-class AMD... that's a problem.   If it's a higher-class AMD or Intel Duo you're okay.   Also would need to know how much RAM.  The tech specs would help me better advise.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on April 2, 2014 at 4:16pm

I know what you mean about the attitude.   Since SL is so expensive a lot of people there tend to be monied... and they do seem to have the wondrous solution of "just buy another computer".  Yeah right, thanks.  Big help.

On the Toshiba, I wouldn't be afraid to turn it back in for warranty replacement.   Companies like that have dead hard drives returned all the time and they have very strict rules with their employees.  If they found someone skimming info from a dead drive that person would not only lose their job but likely go to jail.

However if you're worried, find a friend or a local electronics store with a professional "degauser" system.  A few minutes of setting the hard drive on top of that device will remove all information from the system.  The same thing can be done with a super-strong (very strong) magnet or electromagnet (you'd have to move the magnet over it for about 5 minutes).  

Any magnetic field strong enough to get through the hard drive casing should be sufficient to scramble the data.  So that way you'd be double-protected... both by your own actions and by Toshiba's company policies.

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