NVIDIA 1180 Almost Here…

We had rumors for months as to what the next NVIDIA card would be, when it would release, and what it would cost. But, we are getting closer to a possible release. NVIDIA only goes so long before they release a new card. So…

Ray Tracing is a way of rendering a scene. Its big advantage is in rendering very realistic images. For instance, most of an Ikea catalog is made from rendered images that for a long time I thought were RL photos.

The reason it isn’t used so much in games is the cost of rendering the images. So, software like AutoDesk’s AutoCAD use it as real time rendering isn’t needed. The primary task is prototype product images, pictures of products not yet existing in RL. Only within the design process… a computer.  Making it more of a snapshot thing than a  movie camera.

NVIDIA adding in a Ray Trace feature will being higher quality graphics to more games. Less time will be spent calculating the effect of lights and shadows.

For use in Second Life it isn’t going to be a big plus or even a change. The SL render engine is required to support older systems. So, adding a ray trace feature to the engine is not going to be a high priority, if it is even a consideration.

However, the card will be faster and likely have faster video memory.

NVIDIA 1180 Rumors

The release date is the big rumor. It ranges from July to September 2018.

It also looks like NVIDIA may be the only manufacturer releasing a major video card in 2018. The collection of information available as of June 2nd, 2018 is in this nerdy video.

The TL:DR take away is it will be the best card of 2018 (…is that because it is the ONLY card?), pricy, somewhat faster but no one is for sure, will use the newest GDDR6 VRAM which is in short supply… But, this is only speculation even when based on educated guesses.

From an earlier video we get more specific details and for the visually oriented (aren’t all SL peeps visually oriented?) it is in an easier to compare format. Continue reading

M.2 vs NVMe – Fast or Slow SSD?

In the world of Solid State Drives (SSD) we have new tech most home users haven’t heard of. So, the idea is they can put in an SSD and it will be fast, which is wrong. Only if hardware is matched and properly installed will it be fast.

The video is bit long winded but, it clearly explains what has to be matched and the settings issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJCHx7mZEKo

He did not mention the need for the motherboard to have ample PCIe channels. If one pours all this data into a PCIe bus with only 8 channels nothing is going to be fast. Your new video card likely wants 16 channels but will work with 4… not well. With an SSD wanting 4 channels the motherboard is forced to divide up channels.

If you have anything else using PCIe… things get really crowded.

So, installing an SSD is easy and simple. Getting it to perform at the rated specs is complicated. Not rocket science, just a bunch of details one has to know about.

Intel vs AMD for Second Life

Second Life™ users want performance. Most of you know Second Life is NOT an optimized game world but rather a hobbyists-built world that can drag even the best gaming machine down to single digit frame rates. So, performance is a thing among SL users.

CPUs are the heart of performance with the GPU being the legs.

Both Intel and AMD have new CPUs out. So, the natural question is which is best for running Second Life?

In general, this is how the two stack up in head to head testing. (8+ min)

For some data processing in the beginning AMD is noticeably ahead. Yet in the games similar to Second Life the Intel consistently renders about 5±% more frames. Continue reading

Faster Computer for Cheap?

Intel is pushing their Intel Optane® memory. It isn’t totally new. It has been around for a while (2017). However, the name makes it a bit ambiguous as to what it actually is. Is this memory? Yeah, but not really. If you see it you may think it is an SSD, Solid State Drive. Not exactly either as most of us think about memory and SSD’s. Optane memory is a module with memory that installs as if it were an SSD but speeds up your EXISTING SATA hard drives, the spinning disk kind.

The new buzz term you may hear is storage class memory. Optane is a step in achieving actual storage class memory. A RAM drive is sort of the idea here. But, can’t be considered ‘storage’ as it clears at power off. Massive amounts of memory are also too expensive to compete with large hard drives.

Some people buy SSDrives that connect to the motherboard’s SATA ports thinking they are going to get those reported super speeds for SSD’s. But, the SATA ports are a bottleneck. SATA was not designed to run at memory speeds. So, the SSD is only as fast as the SATA port. Screwed again. Continue reading

CPU’s – Intel 8th Generation and Second Life’s Viewer

Technology is advancing. A year ago, I was building my new machine and researching hardware. CPU’s were a major consideration for me. What was the best gaming CPU and what was important for good performance in Second Life?

That last question is a significant point of debate in Second Life. I think it mostly comes from the lack of information about how the viewer works. In SL it seems old information hangs around forever. The viewer is changing just as technology does. Since Oz Linden’s arrival and later promotion to director (?) of Second Life development the backside of Second Life has been getting lots of attention, especially for the last year, 2016-2017

Quantum Computer – Available now online…

So, most of that old information is wrong. In particular, the idea of whether the viewer runs multiple threads. It does.

A thread in computer-geek-speak, is an independent task, like decompressing an image. Other independent tasks would be retrieving the image via download or finding it in the cache.

A CPU can run a single task. We now put multiple CPU’s, called cores, in a single CPU CHIP. So, a single CPU chip is really multiple CPU’s and can run multiple tasks in parallel.

Intel has been steadily improving their ability to task switch. A CPU must pull program instructions and data from computer memory. To speed things up there are subsystems that set up program instruction cues and data cues. What Intel calls hyperthreading is the highly optimized process of switching out data and program instruction cues for one task for another. The effect is a 6-core CPU can perform as if it were a 12-core CPU, almost. It is so close that for most purposes we consider it as 12-core. Continue reading

HTC Vive Price Drop

This morning I see the Vive has dropped in price. The retail price of a new Vive is now a mere US$600. That is better than the previous $800. But still expensive. Vive headsets have been going on eBay for about $500 for some time. Gear VR units are going for $65 on eBay.

HTC Vive – Aug 2017

Sansar is supporting Oculus and Vive. I have neither. So, how well they are supported and how easy they are to setup with Sansar, I don’t know. I have yet to get my Gear VR working with Sansar. So, I know that is difficult. I think I am down to a ‘controller’ problem. I have an Xbox 1708 controller on order (US$20-30±).

If you Google on Vive and SL, you may get the idea Vive and SL will work for VR. That isn’t the case. The information is almost all 2016 stuff written before the Lab dropped their SL VR project and CtrlAltStudio stopped VR Viewer development. I have been able to get SL into 3D, not VR, with my Gear VR. Not really worth the effort. It’s a nice novelty.

I have used the old CtrlAltStudio Viewer to see SL in VR. There is no Bento support. Until someone decides to merge the CtrlAltStudio code and an updated Firestorm there is essentially no ‘native’ VR support for SL. There is some third-party software for various games to get them into VR. Most of those are for DirectX games, not OpenGL.

SL users are second-class VR citizens…