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Monday, December 17, 2012


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I don't know what you're talking about, Orca. I can run two high-end machines simultaneously (one with a Geforce GTX460 card, the other with a Geforce GTX470m card--yes a laptop!) on my wifi network simultaneously, on Ultra settings with 4x anti-aliasing and all the bells and whistles-lighting, shadows, and depth of field, 256m draw distance, and not have crashes or frame rate issues. Those aren't even top-of-the-line nVidia graphics cards. Stop the US-bashing.

I think it is your machine, Hamlet. If you're deriving any income from the blog or SL, buy a good gaming laptop (may be a bit less portable and more cumbersome) from a manufacturer like Asus or MSI and deduct it as a business expense.

Hitomi Tiponi

Looks like an ISP problem to me - seems to be some latency issue. I imagine you download and try a lot of software with your job so it is also possible that something you downloaded upset an odd setting. Note that with the new 3.4.3 Viewer you get 7 graphics settings, and it is supposed to run better thanks to rendering improvements.

I can run on ultra with a six-year old Nvidia 8600GT GPU and 2GB wireless broadband without disconnecting, so your machine should be more than capable.


How old is your modem? Afterulling my hair out trying to understand why SL kept crashing for no good reason I finally narrowed it down to the ATT's modem. Sounds like you have the same issue, its an ISP problem.

LaMont Zuzu

Is this the card the laptop has-http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-335M.24060.0.html- I Googled the make, not sure if it is. If it indeed is, as was suggested, try dialing down the graphics. That thing is not going to run at ultra without issues.

With the advent of mesh, you need a bit beefier gpu to run it even on low settings it seems. My laptop has a hybrid ATi HD 4250. Now, I KNOW this is not a high end card, but I don't really do much in SL that I need it for-that's for your hardware nuts..lol..

On a V1 based viewer, I can run at ultra with everything on..on a V3 based viewer, only on low to mid, no shadows etc. Huge difference in the engines there.

I highly doubt latency is causing the gpu driver to crash. It is highly unlikely. Could be a jammed up driver update or something.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

A quick look at the nVidia web site shows that the current driver is 310.70. The error message shows that you're running version 197.72. In the past you've said that you don't think you should have to install a driver yourself, but... I suspect that many bugs have been fixed between version 197.72 and the latest version. Which would you rather have--a functioning Second Life or a feeling of self-righteous resentment?

Or, for that matter, you might consider Linux. The operating system I use nudges me when there are updates--why doesn't Windows?

elizabeth (16)

the error you getting is a Windows TDR error. it have nothing to do with your card or driver

is not caused by mesh. is caused by the way Shadows is implemented in the viewer code. Shadows basically takes to long to generate on some gfx cards. so Windows thinks the card has a problem and times it out

if turn off Shadows then will be ok

can read all about it here. has been an ongoing problem not just for SL. all kinds of games are affected by it


Melissa Yeuxdoux

P.S. For that matter, the 310 version is the result of Valve's work with nVidia; there have been reports of quite respectable performance improvements with it.

elizabeth (16)

just add

you can debug/hax round it if you game enough. Microsoft say tho that if you do then they will not be responsible. gfx card/driver makers are specific prohibited from doing this in commercial releases

but Microsoft say is ok to do for debugging purposes. can read here how to do:


Sjöfn Stoneshield

I use Dolphin viewer, a merg between Snowglobe and CoolViewer, on iMac and AMD Radeon card. The only problem is like always independently of what viewer I use the sim-xings. Dolhpin is updated nearly every week and you can talk to the guy inworld.

CronoCloud Creeggan

That error mentions the 197 driver, that is not good. You need to be sure you are running a recent Nvidia driver, for SL to work properly. LL's website lists having an updated graphics driver as a system requirement. If you did update the driver, it didn't "take" or something.

Show us your Help> About Second Life, specifically the part with the CPU/GPU information like this:

CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 240 Processor (2800 MHz)
Memory: 3011 MB
OS Version: Linux 3.6.10-2.fc17.x86_64 #1 SMP Tue Dec 11 18:07:34 UTC 2012 x86_64
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce GT 220/PCIe/SSE2

OpenGL Version: 3.3.0 NVIDIA 304.64

If it's still showing the 197.72 driver go here:


Choose your card and operating system (making sure to choose either 32 or 64-bit as required...can't remember if you're running 64 bit Windows on that thing or not.)

As for viewer, I'm currently running:

Second Life 3.4.5 (268286) Dec 17 2012 21:52:25 (Second Life Development), aka "Snowstorm" I recommend either using it (to help catch bugs before they hit main release) or LL's main viewer. If you just "have" to use a TPV, then I recommend Firestorm.

Adeon Writer

I have two I'd recommend. As I use both in roughly equal amounts:

1.) Cool VL Viewer for high FPS and stability, but not necessary the latest eye candy (has shadows and depth of feild, albeit less polished versions than those found on official)
2.) Nirans Viewer for bleeding edge rendering eye candy that can do all the shaders, but not necessarily fast or stable (varies from person to person)

But a disclaimer is that BOTH of the above options use interfaces which STRONGLY DIFFER from the currect official viewer. (Cool VL uses the classic v1 interface, Niran has a unique redo of v3)

Both are Third Party Viewer Directory listed.

A second disclaimer: While the official viewer isn't exactly fast, it is very stable for me. I rarely crash, even though I have no where near your specs. So take my suggestions with pause. But I have recommended Cool VL to many people and usually they report back with better performance.

LaMont Zuzu

Cool VL is not on the TPV, unless its forthcoming? I don't say that because Cool is a bad viewer, quite the opposite, but it's not listed on the directory.

Adeon Writer

My mistake. I was certain it was. I can't rectify my post unfortunately.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Orca, WIFI has little affect on SL. SL doesn't use enough bandwidth by default to saturate even a solid 802.11b connection fully let alone G or N. Bring up the Shift+Ctrl+1 display sometime and watch how little bandwidth SL uses. Okay so it's not a "little" but it isn't as much as a HD Netflix stream or a Linux ISO torrent. It's often using less bandwidth than any parcel audio stream does.

And yes, I'm running SL on Ultra over WIFI...with shadows off.

Pussycat Catnap

WiFi's only going to be an issue if your WiFi is bad. Bad router or bad placement given 'local conditions.'

All these issues Hamlet has make me thing I should avoid Alienware if I ever go back to PC.

Go down to Best Buy and get a $300-500 integrated-graphics Toshiba laptop and it'll perform better. I should know, that's my old PC.

Get a Mac, and be good enough. iMacs are great these days. MacPro for the laptops. You live in San Francisco, so you likely know that its illegal to be out in public with a non-Apple laptop anyway. :D (what is up with that though - every coffee shop I hit, nothing but Macs. Cross the city line and hit the first coffee shops you can find in Daly City, Sausalito, or Berkeley, and its back to PCs).

But... I think its worth considering the advice above that, if you are making a living off of tech reporting about virtual worlds / online games / etc... get a laptop that's good. Not one that's a buzzword like Alienware... but actually worth its price.

Otherwise you're reports on SL and other online presences will become questionably credible. Like being one of the guys on that BBC show Top Gear, and getting caught driving a 10 year old Kia...

Hamlet Au

Great advice, all, thanks. (Though less arguing would be nice.) To respond to some points:

1 - I've already tried plugging my laptop into my DSL line, that doesn't have any appreciable improvement.
2 - I've already tried updating to the very latest NVIDIA driver from the company site, and it's not compatible with my AlienWare. The update I'm using is from the Dell/AlienWare site, the latest one the company supports.

The real takeaway is that I probably can't run shadows in SL. Even though I can do it just fine on this machine without any card updates for Portal 2, Deus Ex, Skyrim, Dishonored, Borderlands 2, etc. etc.

ZZ Bottom

On this subject i can only say:
Laptops are not for SL, sorry to say, but at least a 23' monitor is needed!
Windows 7 64b. never less then 6 giga ram, at least a Nvidia Gtx460 (forget about ati/amd, lol).
More important, at least a intel 7 quad core!
Then you can run Niran's viewer in all its joy!
And beleave me, it wil make Sl look a thousand times better then any other viewer!
Now if you still have to use your laptop, just use imprudence and login in OSG or INworldz, Kitely or any other open sims grid!

Gwen Setzer

The not compatible message makes me think you're trying to install the desktop driver and need to use the notebook driver instead.

See here: (64bits windows)

Pussycat Catnap

Have a few friends with different laptops come over, and load up SL on them - see who gets good results, if anyone.

Oh and check router settings to 'quality of stream' and other "speed the important stuff like gaming and video" settings.
- This one was killing my SL a few months ago.

My router doesn't know what SL is. So it downranks it in priority... and has no ability to enter custom settings... (yeah, I'll be going router shopping when the budget allows)... Its gaming setting recognize "popular online games like World of Warcraft" and assorted things... and the video one grabs video streaming.

But SL... I think it just thinks I'm trying to napster or something... if I turn on QoS, my SL FPS drops under 10...

Pussycat Catnap

Above is a lesson that sometimes reading the manual is a bad idea... bought new router, turned it on. Things were fine. Got curious and wondered what this "quality of streaming to speed your internet up for the things you use most" advert was about, and read enough to figure how to turn it on...
Then spent a whole day trying to figure out how to undo all the buttons I'd messed with when SL wouldn't work... :P

Adeon Writer

Hamlet, if my Geforce 560ti can get shadows at 45 FPS, so can you. But the difference between AAA PC games and SL viewers is that they really don't ship optimized for your machine. (A huge task for LL or TPV's when they don't control the renderred content.) You'll need to tweek your system and the viewer itself to run well enough for shadows, ambient occlusion, and depth of feild. That's why most people don't get to see them.

What do your graphic card's settings look like? I don't recall if you had Nvidia or otherwise. I only have personal experience with Nvidia cards, but I can tell you the ib my case, driver settings and viewer choice can make the difference between 5 and 60 FPS when it comes to shadow rendering.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Hamlet, you "should" be able to use the Nvidia driver on the Nvidia site. I don't know what's wrong, but just to be sure...

If you're running 32 bit Windows it's this one:


If you're running 64 bit windows, it's this one:


I'm offering to help via remote assistance of varying kinds if that'll help.

Hamlet Au

I tried both versions, 32 and 64. You know what they did? Totally fucked up my graphics settings, so my CPU couldn't even detect the graphics card, and went down to default low-res display. Wasted 2-3 hours of my work time.

Connie Arida

I Run SL over wifi and have done since i first started without problems. A skim of the above seems that your first port of call would be updating your drivers.
I don't have the bleeding edge in PC yet I have managed to run ultra/shadows without crashing, So if a non techhead like me can, I am sure you can.
You may need to bite the bullet and take it to a reputable store, get them to sort it out with you sitting there as well. After all, you are writing about SL and if you cannot see what most of us are, what's the point?
Good luck. I feel for you as i HATE getting "under the hood" myself and also feel sometimes it's wasting my time.

LaMont Zuzu


Complete hogwash. That's what YOU require. Big difference there buddy.

@ Hamlet

You only need to install one set of graphics drivers , not both, depending on architecture. Also, you may want to try booting into the BIOS and see if there is an option to set the machine to discreet graphics only, not switchable.

This may (hopefully) allow the install of the latest nvidia driver.

LaMont Zuzu

You should be able to set it to discreet only. Boot into Windows, remove the older driver completely, reboot, and then install the latest driver. I can't promise this will work, but this is the procedure I would follow.

There should be an option top 'clean install' when running the nvidia driver installer. Select this.

Just before you decide you are going to throw the thing out of an actual window, you are welcome to box it up and send it to me.. lol..But I hope that works for you.

Ordinal Malaprop

I think that the previous comments here indicate that mesh avatars are definitely ready for general use in SL. Definitely.

Bouncer Criss

I see no reason to run SL on ultra graphics all the time. You only need your setting on ultra if your taking pictures IMO. The difference between ultra and high settings is minimal and less of a strain on your computer

Hamlet Au

"I think that the previous comments here indicate that mesh avatars are definitely ready for general use in SL. Definitely."

Ahahahaha Ordie!

Adeon Writer

Hamlet: Mesh support was at 94%.

Last September. It's probably higher now.

6% is not negligible.
But when you're in the majority, it's not worth acommodating when creating your avatar.

CronoCloud Creeggan

I realized while I as at work that your laptop was one of those hybrid GPU laptops. Sorry about that. Did you ever disable the Intel HD graphics thingy in the BIOS? Because that might be necessary. You're running SL on it and you never want it to use the Intel chip. You only want it to use Nvidia.

Also you may have to check the system's power settings, because if you run it disconnected from AC, it might automatically switch to Intel Graphics (if they're enabled) to save power....which you don't want. Admittedly it will reduce how long your battery will last.


I agree that getting a pc to work well and display SL in an aceptable way is a pain. However it is not fair to blame it on SL.

Here is an analogy: Let's say that your pc is a car. A car that has components which are not working too well together. No oil checking and engine check has been made for years. But it works well for your every day 2 miles drives in your village. Suddenly you decide to cross the whole US with it from cost to cost. Don't blame the distance when your engine explodes!

It's the same with your computer and SL viewers.

Ash Qin

The reason this happens is that for whatever reason, your graphics card/driver doesn't respond within the small grace period Windows checks for a response from the GPU/drivers (it's something like 1 to 5 seconds - I don't remember exactly). Windows then determines that the graphic card has crashed and restarts the graphics drivers.

Unfortunately, there is little a viewer developer can do about Windows' behaviour in such circumstances. Possible solutions include:

- Hardware that doesn't lock up (perhaps there is something unique about your hardware that does that)

- Downgrading to a version of Windows that doesn't have this stupid timer (Windows XP/2003 is the last version that didn't have this)

- Switching to Linux, it doesn't have this stupid timer.

- Switching to OS X, it doesn't have this stupid timer.

Alexandra Rucker

1) As others have mentioned, check your drivers

2) Also, check your hardware fans - overheating can cause some odd errors as well. If you have pets or smoke it's *critical* to ensure all of your fans are working!

3) Do consider Cool VL Viewer:

4) Consult a serious computer techie for other troubleshooting - and I don't mean "geek squad". I mean *REAL* geek techs.

(Caveat: I have known geeks working through geek squad, but I *know* they'll often take any warm body, regardless of skill...so you can't count on them actually knowing anything)

elizabeth (16)


is 2 seconds by default

when i tried mod the TDR registry settings to try and get shadows to work without timing out on my GT230M card. i end up change the setting to 3600

was a blank white viewer screen for 1 hour

then the error message box pop and said: "display driver has stopped responding and has recovered"

then i had to restart the viewer bc it was still toast

jejjejeje (:

ZZ Bottom

I see no reason to run SL on ultra graphics all the time. You only need your setting on ultra if your taking pictures IMO. The difference between ultra and high settings is minimal and less of a strain on your computer
its not minimal, at least for the ones who have eye sight problems, i can testify that, using AA and Af on higer levels via hardware, allow my eye sight to sustain more in world then if i use only the standard!
Also that using All in viewer setting to ultra, not only makes shadows a lot better, but also decreases the stress to my eyes.
And as i use a 23'led monitor and my Sl computer was built only for that, i dont regret nor straining my hardware as long as i can be in world with the less hassle to my physical conditions, for the most of the times!

ZZ Bottom

And btw, Latest LL release, already includes the gama correction, tone mapping and high precision deferred rendering, from Exodus so Niran's will not be alone on geaphics quality:)

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