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What Computer Do I Need? Tags: computer vr inworldz

 

Note:  It has been announced that Windows 10 is not compatible with the Intel HD 3000 graphics chip.

Over the years virtual worlds Have grown, development work has been done, things have improved.  We now have  better performance, faster performance, and wider computer compatibility. 

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 procured a 10.5" netbook (tablet with a keyboard) .  It's super lightweight, has a touch-screen, and cost $299 +tax.  It uses an Intel Tablet processor.  It's not a "killer" computer by any means, nor does it have advanced graphics.

What I was surprised and pleased to find was that this little, low-power tablet computer works just fine with virtual worlds.  Of course it's not as spritely as my quad-core i5 GeForce 1050 screamer desktop... but it works.  I'm able to walk around without significant lag, I can create and build, textures rez.   Before now we couldn't recommend lightweight computers.  But the industry has improved.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

Bottom line it means that instead of buying a $1000 laptop just so you can do VR... you can spend $400-$600 and have a totally suitable system.  Rather than needing Nvidia and ATI graphics systems you can get by with standard 3D Intel graphics systems (with some exceptions as noted above).  Of course, faster "gamer graphics" systems will perform far better.

 

PROCESSORS

These days there are so many different processors all sporting different claims-- it's difficult to tell which is the best.  In general, Intel i5 and above or AMD Ryzen 5, 7 or above is recommended as good CPU systems.

The tablet I'm using as I write this article is a 1.4 ghz processor... and while it's not near the speed of my 3.6ghz i5 quad processor in my desktop, it does well enought for an ultra-portable touchscreen netbook.   But lag is to be expected in such a low-power computer.

You may want to shy away from unknowns such as A-class or E-class processors.  Celeron and Sempron are very slow; I strongly recommend avoiding such.

 

GRAPHICS CARDS

There are so many different kinds of cards out there, and the numbering systems have become confusing.   The three primary cards are Nividia, ATI, and Intel HD.  Intel HD is not a "gaming" card, but it can do a reasonable job on virtual worlds.   But by all means, if you can get a quality Nvidia or ATI card, do so.  Some computers (laptops especially) have the graphics built in and cannot be upgraded.   So...

Be sure to do your research.  Visit the card manufacturing sites and compare card performance.   At this time I strongly recommend the Nvidia 1050 or above, or the ATI Radeon 10 or above. The specific card you want will depend on your needs and pocketbook.  Do your online research before buying and realize that the same model card can vary widely in price.  Don't get suckered in by graphics card shysters.  Read the customer reviews. 

Covid-19 note:  Due to severe damage by Covid-19, many Chinese chip manufacturers have shut down operations.   This has created a severe shortage in the graphics card industry-- and a resultant incredible increase in card prices... if cards are even available.  Hopefully this will change over time and graphics cards will once again become widely available at reasonable prices.

 

BE AWARE OF MEMORY AVAILABILITY

There are two kinds of graphics memory:   1)  Dedicated on-card  and 2) Shared.

Graphics cards use either or 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 8 gigs system RAM available with Windows 10 or above.   If you get a 4 gig machine and your graphics card shares part of that RAM... you're not going to have much to use for virtual worlds.

* Dedicated graphics RAM is best in ideal situations, but avoid machines with less than 1 gig total graphics RAM (dedicated or 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.  These days at least 1 gig of video RAM (preferrably 2 to 4 gigs) is good for memory cards.

The main point is that it's now possible to buy a relatively low-cost netbook, laptop or desktop computer, one using Intel graphics, and have a decent computer for Inworldz.  Even Windows Tablets will work if they have at least 4 gigs of RAM.  This is of course very good news for our members with limited budgets. 

 

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