It’s finally here!
As a long long time user of Second Life, if you’re still using a video card with only 1GB (or less) you seriously need to upgrade to something with more. When I pre-ordered my GTX 980, I installed bench-marking software and monitoring tools that helped me better understand the hardware I have before my GTX 980 arrived.
Using GPU-Z and running one instance of Firestorm on SL, the viewer and the OS overhead was using about 800mb of my old video card’s VRAM, out it’s 1GB of VDDR5 memory. So if you were using an older 512mb video card, your performance was already suffering just using one instance of an SL viewer. I then realized that this is why when I run a second instance of Firestorm, that I had to minimize one of them (or cam out into the void so nothing renders) in order for the viewer that has focus not to bog down it’s frame rates.
When my new video card arrived, it has 4GB of VDDR5 RAM, and I quickly fired up FOUR instance of Firestorm, logged in four ALTs and none of the viewers had any framerate issues (except for when it doesn’t have focus FPS drops, which is meant to do that) but there was no drop in framerate with the viewer that currently was in focus. I could alt-tab to another viewer and no loss in quality. AND i had everything set to ULTRA settings.
So while getting a GTX 980 is overkill for Second Life, getting a video card with 2GB VRAM or more IS advisable if you’re using multiple alts on SL at the same time. So something like a GTX 750 ti which has 2GB of VRAM ($160) would be useful over any old videocard that only has 1GB.