Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nirans Viewer 1.33 : An In Depth First Look : Part2

By Avatar JayR Cela

    Well we are off to a good start, the UI ( Part1 of this series ) is a stroke of genius in the useability department, but how is it on system resource consumption ? Very good !

    Taking a step back in time when Viewer2 was first introduced,  I was horrified at what a complete dog it was, lousy User Interface and a resource hog as well.  Then one day I stumbled upon the Kirsten  Version of V2, it had a much nicer UI and better performance than the stock V2. After a period of time the system requirements kept increasing to the point that eventually I was no longer capable of running it any longer.

    I was thrilled when NiranV introduced her version, and I was once again able to have the advanced feature set available, and usable on my aging hardware. But after a number of months gradually passed the hardware requirements continued to increase with every release or so. Eventually it got to the point I was unable to use it as well. Upon talking with Niran she said the requirements had changed to a  64bit format with 6gig ram, and at least a mid range Nvidia based video card. *sighs* :(  So I was no longer able to even load the darn thing in order to write a review.

    I am very happy to say that trend has been reversed. For instance, I have 2 older computers that are currently running 1.33 quite well, an AMD 64 2200 using Mint Linux12 / 32bit and Win XP / 32bit as the OS's. One gigabyte of ram, and a Nvidia 7300GT w/512mb ram. Computer #2 is an Intel P4 at 3.4ghz 32 bit dual thread capable, 3gig of ram and a Nvidia GeForce 210 1gig ram running Win XP and Win 8 CP both are 32bit editions. Each of these box's are running 1.33 quite comfortably with more than adequate performance during normal operation.

    How did she do it ? I have no idea ( LOL ), but Niran somehow managed to pull a seemingly magical rabbit out of her hat, and has actually lowered the system requirements. Now keep in mind, your preferences settings play an awfully large part in your ability to use this viewer or not, here is where the real time numerical FPS readout meter really comes in handy. ( As a mater of fact this has just got to be the coolest feature anyone has ever come up with so far in the SL viewer arena, bar none. ) You now have the ability to fine tune the viewer to your hardware capabilities easily, no more hit and miss, guessing about what features to turn on or off. I Love It ! :_)

    Now I did have some problems with anti-aliasing while using Win8, but more and likely that is a driver issue. From what I can tell so far, at least on the Linux build the Open Jpeg render engine has undergone a total rewrite, I would imagine that accounts for the higher performance when logging into a new area and waiting for things to fully rezz. Wither this has carried on over to the Windows version or not, I'm not sure.

    Also as has always been the case with the Niran viewer, the camera controls are very smooth, with an almost silky feeling at times, much less jerky than the stock V3 or any of the TPV's currently available. And it could just be my imagination, but flying and sailing also seem to be much smoother, with a noticeable increase in the ability to accurately control your direction and speed more precisely than what I am used to experiencing.

    Memory consumption, there's no leaks here ! ( LOL ) If there is any memory leakage going on under the hood here, I'll be dammed if I could find it. Last night I had 3 instances of Chrome, 1 session of Internet Explorer and a file manager ( Free Commander ) with Niran 1.33 all open and running at once on the P4 system. I never dropped below 1 gig of available free ram. Your results may vary of course, I have not had the opportunity to stress test it in a busy sim yet. I will get to that in Part3 of this series, dealing with photography and Niran 1.33

     Before I go, I want to make mention of a few things. The Linux version runs faster ( higher FPS ) than the Windows version, and that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Linux in general. Also while loading 1.33 for the first time on Windows I was greeted with a message that the correct version of Flash was not installed or I needed a HTML 5 compliant browser, upon attempting to download Flash the Adobe download page identified the proper version necessary was for the Safari Web Browser, so no big deal, I just installed Safari, and then Flash and was all set to go. ( That's weird I don't recall having ever run into that situation before ) And as far as the anti-alialiasing problem with Windows8 CP I had mentioned earlier, I ended up downloading the newest tweaked Nvidia 301.x driver for Win7 from the web site and that cleared the problem right up, while introducing a couple of other minor glitches, which is no big deal, the Nvidia control panel just needs a little bit of fine tuning. And that brings me to another point in regards to Video Cards and drivers. ATI video chip sets have always had problems when it comes to dealing with various viewers and SecondLife. The Niran Viewer has proved to be no exception to this semi standard rule of thumb, I am happy to say that the Niran Blog announced a fix this morning for the latest odd-ball ATI bug, so you may want to check that out.

    Stay tuned for Part3 tomorrow.

JayR Cela :_)

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