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Ramping Up Your Computer Performance Tags: ramping computer performance


OVERVIEW
A good graphics card might be considered the most important aspect of VR performance... more important than your computer itself.

 

Graphics cards regularly increase dramatically in performance.  When I first wrote this article a "good" card was the Nvidia GeForce 250 and 450.   Now the 10xx cards are out (I own a 1050) and the difference in performance is incredible.  Even more incredible is the fact that a new 1050x card is less expensive than the 250s and 450s were in their day.

You can greatly improve your virtual experience by adding a good graphics card.  Such doesn't have to be expensive.  For between $50 and $100 you can improve graphics performance considerably.

Virtual Worlds are limited as to how much graphics RAM they can access at once.  The ideal size is 1 gig RAM.  More RAM will not be of benefit unless you are using multiple programs at the same time.

The same is true for computer cores.  While computers are now available in duo, quad and even octa-core, even a single core can perform well if it is fast and has a killer graphics card. At least duo-core is recommended.   Four gigs RAM or more is a good idea, especially if using Windows 7.  Modern computer systems are memory hogs; if using Windows 8 or 10 you'll want at least 4 gigs of RAM and preferrably 8.
 
IDEAL SYSTEM (minimum configuration, at this time, considering overall performance and cost):
Fast duo core PC, 4 to 8 gigs RAM, Nvidia GeForce 1050 2-gig graphics card

Why duo core?  Because they can be purchased for far less than quad or octa cores, and because no more is needed to use virtual reality worlds.  A GeForce 450 to 750 card is fast and will do a good job.  If you use a 1050 card you won't likely notice any speed increase or reductions in lag... but the quality of your graphics will jump from High to Ultra (depending on your configuration).
 
The graphics card is just as important as the computer. Don't skimp on graphics.  Graphics cards make a major difference on VR worlds. 
 

NOTHING STOPS LAG

On Inworldz, lag has been significantly reduced.  However just so it's said: nothing is going to stop lag. Eventually, you are going to experience lag somewhere, sometime.  No amount of computer is going to change that.  So there's no need to buy a high-level gamer computer to use Inworldz or any other VR world.  A decent basic-level computer with a good graphics card will work wonders.

 

POWER SUPPLIES

Be aware that higher-level graphics cards often require higher-level power supplies.   Usually 500 watts is a minimum.   Get a quality power supply; cheap power supplies can harm your computer.  However the GeForce 1050 cards are designed to require half the power of prior cards.  That is good news for existing computer owners.

 

Nvidia GeForce vs ATI Radeon

Radeon cards are okay but do not seem to operate as smoothly as GeForce cards. But if you can find a good deal on an ATI Radeon line, you can save some $$$.  Avoid the 5770; it is known to have glitches. 

In a major nail-in-the-coffin move, Adobe announced it will be providing special, advanced support for Nvidia cards (GeForce) that it will not be providing for ATI cards (Radeon). According to press releases, future releases of Adobe Premier will operate "100 times faster" on an Nvidia card than on an ATI card, increasing rendering speeds unbelievably.  I don't know as I believe that extreme a claim, but it's worth noting.  EDIT:  Years later, despite this item, ATI is still going strong.  So don't know just how hyped this claim might be.

 
Nvidia and ATI have always been neck-in-neck in the video card race. In general, Nvidia seems to work better on Inworldz than ATI, but these days even Windows Tablets seem to work acceptably.  My personal recommendation these days if you have $100 to spend:  Nvidia GTX 1050 (as of May 2017).

 

INSTALLATION 

When you install your new card, be sure you first UNINSTALL your old graphics card drivers and software. Then go to the official website for that card and download the latest drivers supporting your specific operating system. There are different drivers for different Windows versions, Mac and Linux. Be sure you download and install the correct drivers for your OS and your video card. Usually the installation disc in the box will not be up to date. Ignore it, and download the latest releases.

 

HOW DO THESE CARDS COMPARE?

Following are several benchmark readings as well as ongoing information, some of which has been consolidated into this blog. Take the time to read through all the comments as well. Look at the charts. Remember that raw speed is not the essential ingredient, but the faster your card, usually the better the performance. Balance your finances with what's out there and remember: a few extra dollars spent now will be soon forgotten-- but the quality of your video card will reward you every single day. Buy the best you can afford and if you have to spend an extra $30 or $40 to get a better card, realize you'll later likely be glad you spent the extra bucks. Check specs on Nvidia's own website:

 

http://www.nvidia.com/object/graphics_cards_buy_now.html

 

COOLING ISSUES

Be aware that when you install a higher level graphics card, you are likely to get into power and cooling issues.  (This does not apply to the Nvidia GTX 1050, which uses half the power of normal cards.)

Larger power supplies and heavier graphics cards mean the computer will run hotter-- which is not good. Top-vented cases work well (holes in the top with a fan blowing out... hot air rises). Equally beneficial is opening up the side of your computer entirely and blowing a small desk fan right into the side. That airflow trick solves just about all heating problems and is a lot cheaper than other solutions. 

 

It is unfortunate that VR is such a resource hog.  But the same applies to Windows and Apple operating systems.  When upgrading your graphics, take it for granted you are going to spend about $50 to $100  on the graphics card.  If you get a full-size Nvidia card you may require a new power supply.    The performance is worth it.  As of March 2018 the Nvidia 1050 is considered one of the best graphic card purchases on the market.

 

--o--

 

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