The Lab rates video cards into 5 classes. They setup your default viewer graphics preferences based on those classes.
There is an update coming to the GPU Table, which is what the viewers use to figure out what class your video card is in and choose your initial settings. We should see it in one of the viewer release candidates this week or next.
The GPU Table has this information:
|// Class Numbers:|
|0 – Defaults to low graphics settings.||No shaders on by default||Not supported|
|1 – Defaults to mid graphics settings.||Basic shaders on by default||Supported|
|2 – Defaults to high graphics settings.||Atmospherics on by default.||Supported|
|3 – Same as 2, but with lighting and shadows enabled.||Supported|
|4 – Same as 3, but with ambient occlusion enabled.||Supported|
|5 – Same as 4, but with shadows set to “Sun/Moon+Projectors.”||Supported|
You can find a copy of the GPU Table in the viewer’s install folder. Its secret name is: gpu_table.txt. You can look up your model of video card to see how the Lab thinks it should be supported.
Some Class 5 cards are:
ATI ASUS EAH58xx and up
ATI FirePro M5800 and up
ATI Radeon HD 7800 and up
ATI ASUS HD7800 and up
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6500M and up
ATI Radeon HD 6900
NVIDIA GTS 360M
NVIDIA GTX 570M
NVIDIA GTX 290
NVIDIA GTX 460-480
NVIDIA GTX 550-590
NVIDIA GTX 660-690
Surprisingly something like the GTX 650 is a Class 3. So, if you are thinking about an upgrade, you may want to look through the table. Don’t take it as gospel. I really doubt that 650’s rating. I know people that are using 240 ad 260 cards and running on a graphics setting of HIGH.
Some Interesting Stats
Oz Linden was doing some testing and building some performance curves for viewers. Apparently they are looking at what cards and features they might improve support for and which cards did better to see why. Whatever, an interesting facet of that research is ALM (Advanced Lighting Model) performance.
Class 5 video cards (the good ones) got better performance with ALM enabled.
Class 4 cards saw a small degradation in performance with ALM enabled.
Class 3 cards saw a 35% to 45% degradation in performance. Oz didn’t tells us bout class 1 & 2 cards.
They are studying the stats to figure out what gave the better performance.
Oz Linden will see if he can eventually publish the stats. I would recommend not holding your breath. He gets busy and forgets some things.
The new stats system is letting the Lindens get better data. Oz is learning how to use it. So, he can pull numbers on his own. That may lead to us finding out how many people are now using ALM enabled.
The table looks a bit odd to me. I don’t understand why a Nvidia GTX 550 (which is what I have) is so much better than a GTX 650. And I think the Class 3 settings are pretty much the same as midway between High and Ultra on the slider, which is what the GTX 550 defaults to anyway. It runs quite happily on higher settings but does take an appreciable hit in fps when it does.
I agree. I think the table is a little odd.
I have a laptop with a nvidia 260 and can get well past 30fps in practically every sim with shadows enabled, so seems they put it a bit low.
On a sidenote, I rarely do, cause the laptop is poo and overheats, but once in a while it’s to turn on all the trimmings lol
You might see if you can get fan controller software for the laptop. Turn the fans up on 100% and see if that helps.
I have the hd7900 and enabling the advanced lighting model visibly did not seem to degrade performance. I have even maxed everything out on the graphic settings plus I have a 30″ ultra high rez monitor 2560×1600 and max the secondlife viewer to full screen and it only has a moderate fps degrade. I use fs.
But…. most times i have to disable advanced lighting model because of all those with older cards that cannot see how they blast a venue with their avatar becoming a solar flare having 3 4 or even 6 face body lights. So until ppl stop using facelights…. ALM will be a pain for others.
CATTEN…. if yku have an older laptop…. good chance your underside cooling fan has become plugged with dust in the cooling fins. Buy a can of compressed air and open up your case and carefully clean out your cooling fans. A toothbrush might help as well. Blast out the dust. But make sure not to let the high speed air super spin your fan. You will damage the bearings.
Blocked cooling fins are the major cause for overheated laptops. Also consider a cooling / chill pad for your laptop to sit on. This helps a lot.
Firestorm has an option to kill facelights.
They can be a problem. A FL that is bright without ALM turns everything around them blinding white with ALM.
I think the option to kill facelights is there all viewers. In the official viewer it’s on the Develop Menu (Ctrl Alt Q), as an option on the Rendering submenu, Render Attached Lights. The next option, Render Attached Particles, kills bling.
Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂