So, I open my basic troubleshooting tools; GPU-Z and Open Hardware Monitor. Both are free.
With SL running my CPU was hitting 95°C… that is way too hot. When I was last checking my CPU ran at 55°C to 70°C. I had found my problem. The Hardware Monitor was showing my 2.66mhz CPU pulling back to 1.66mhz to protect itself from overheating.
Looking inside the case, my CPU heat sink and fan were still fairly clean. Blowing the dust out did not help, well not enough. Examination revealed a couple of plastic pins that hold the heat sink in place had broken. It wasn’t exactly loose, it didn’t move much. But, technically it had come loose.
Replacing the broken pins and cleaning out and replacing the old heat sink compound solved the problem.
My blunder in this process was remembering how happy I had been with my new heat sink when I put it in. Most of the time my CPU ran in the 40°C range. I kept thinking that was still true. I should have checked what I thought I knew.
Now I am seeing FPS back in the 20 to 70 FPS rates.
It is hard to know what has gone wrong when we have trouble with Second Life. Switching to a different brand of viewer is an easy way to eliminate viewer specific problems. I think having at least two viewers installed is important. Deciding which two isn’t hard. The Linden made SL Viewer has to be one of them, if you ever want to even think about getting support from the Lab. It is the basic standard from which everyone troubleshoots.
If you are like me and want to see the new stuff as soon as possible, a cutting edge viewer is a good choice. But, which is the cutting edge viewer? That is another story.