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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Part 2-How to Chose the right PC Hardware for Second Life – Shaneos Howlett Reporting

In this 2 of a 2 part series – we take a close look at the computer hardware behind SL and what you need to make the experience the best, information is submitted by a trained computer technician that has a diploma in Information Technology.

CPU – The Engine to the computer
Core 2 Duo, I3, I5, I7 – what do they all mean and how is the performance compared.
We will keep things basic in the report so everyone will be able to follow all the guidelines.

The CPU is the engine to the computer -the faster the cpu the faster the performance.
Dual core and Core 2 Duo refers to how many tasks the CPU can handle at once – core 2 duo and dual core mean they can handle 2 tasks at the same time.

Dual Core / Core 2 Duo – 2 tasks at the same time
I3 cpu – 2 – 4 tasks at the same time
I5 cpu – 4 tasks at the same time
I7 cpu – 4 – 8 tasks at the same time.

The mimimum required to operate SL is a Core 2 Duo / Dual Core with a graphics card, however I recommend purchasing a I5 or a I7 cpu.

Next we take a look at hard drive space – this is failry straight forward.
160 GB – 500 GB hard drive is amble for SL – SL does not need much space at all – and you can run the program on a computer with as little as 100 GB for hard drive space.

There are two types of operating systems you can buy for your computer either Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8 but both have a BIT rating – 32 Bit or 64 Bit.
64 bit is twice as fast as 32 bit however when it comes to how much memory your computer can have is dependent on which operating system you have.
Windows 32 Bit supports a maximum of 4 GB memory.
Windows 64 Bit can support 64 GB memory and more.

How much memory is recommended for SL ? - 4 GM memory is recommended for SL.

Graphics Cards and Graphic GPU performance.
When it comes to graphic cards and graphic performance it can become very complicated but having the right graphic card / gpu for your needs is vital to a good SL Experience.

The minimum SL requirements is a Dual Core / Core 2 Duo with a Dedicated 512 MB Video card.
The Maximum SL requirements are an I7 Cpu with a Dedicated Nvidia GT 512 mb video card.

What is a GPU ?
A GPU is a Graphic Processor – this is a chip that does all the graphic processing on your computer
There are two settings with the graphics – the amount of memory on the card – which relates to how many colours the video card can support and the Mhz speed rating or how fast the graphic card is.

Only I3, I5 and I7 Cpu's have in-built graphics – the rest do not and require a video card.
First lets look at the cpu's....
I3 – Basic graphic performance to basic game performance mostly good for desktop work.
I5 – Medium graphic performance and good for basic to medium games.
I7 – High graphic performance great for autocad work and performance games.

Now let's look at video cards – I will only talk about Nvidia graphic cards as I feel this is the industry standard and has the best support (You can find similar cards in ATI to these settings anyway).

Nividia – 512 mb, 1024, 2048, 3092, and 4096 MB memory video cards
The more memory on the video card – the sharper the graphics will be displayed and a higher colour depth are supported.
SL only needs a minimum of a 512 MB Video card in order to get the full benefit.

Nvidia create a range of computing gamine video cards called the G series for this reason any G series either GM or GT video cards are the best choice for SL.

Apart from this you can have a look at the MHZ rating of the video card – this is the raw GPU or graphic processing capabilities of the graphic card – 500 MHZ and above is considered a good video card these days.

Next we look at some systems which are suited for gaming that you can buy directly from DELL.

Dell create a range of gaming computers called their "Alienware" range.... while there standard desktop computers are called the Optiplex – here are the details of each.
Dell Optiplex 3010 - $489 U.S – I5
Dell XPS 8700 - $749 U.S – I7

Alienware X51 from $699 U.S

For more information you can contact me in world direct shaneos howlett aka chipie7.


  1. I used to have trouble running Second Life on Windows. I was running 32 bit WIndows 7 with 4 gigabytes of RAM. The Windows Task Manager showed that more and more RAM would be used until finally SL would crash. I bought a new motherboard and CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and installed Windows 7 64 bit. Since 64 bit Windows can use more RAM, I could run Second Life all day and not worry about crashing. I saved up and bought a new video card, and now everything works well together.

  2. Very informative and well written post! Quite interesting and nice topic chosen for the post.

  3. Thanks for writing a great article which will save me lots of time and hassle in explaining PC building and component selection. Thank you so much for this key information.


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