Thursday, April 17, 2008

... And a New Video Card!

Written 17 April, 2008

... And a New Video Card!

I was fed up with 1.3 fps with Windlight features enabled, so on Saturday morning I bought a video card.

There's a Fry's superstore 14 miles from my door, but after I thought about the drive there, the time I would spend shopping, and the drive back, I went to Fry' and searched nVidia.

I settled on a EVGA nVidia 8600 TG for $128 US, with a $30 rebate and a seven-port powered USB hub, since one can never have too many USB outlets.

A box from Fry's was on my doorstep at noon on Tuesday. I shut down my computer and swapped cards.

The old card, an nVidia 7600, worked great before the introduction of the current viewer, and is still a great video card for any other purpose, but it is now in the video card graveyard-- that is in a box with even older video cards. Maybe I can figure out someone who could use it.

When I removed the 7600 I discovered the fan was frozen. It worked loose after I turned it with my thumb, but it makes me wonder if that was the problem. I mean, the card worked fine for the first couple of days after the release of 1.19.1(4), and then would begin to die a few minutes after I would start SL. Frame rates would start at 30 and slowly decrease to about 1.

I'm wondering now if the frozen fan caused the card to slow down under the heavy demands of Second Life. Perhaps the card has some sort of sensor and would reduce performance when it reached a certain temperature.

The new card is a champ. I have all options to the max and 256 meters draw distance and am getting 10-12 fps on Whimsy. And bonus, bonus (I learned this from the most recent Second Life podcast), local lights are visible from any distance and the previous limit of six local lights no longer applies. It makes for a richer visual experience. In fact, it's a darn handy feature when your girlfriend is the light mistress of the universe.

1 comment:

Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

I'd seriously hope that graphics cards would have some kind of autothrottling feature these days--otherwise a fan outage would fry them immediately. (I almost wish I hadn't fired up the applet that displays the graphics card temperature; seeing how hot it runs even when not doing much is scary!)

Definitely track down a replacement fan for it; a backup is nice to have, as is a hand-me-down for a friend.