Second Life Viewer Benchmarks on Apple Mac Pro

I have run some interesting benchmarks running the Second Life™ viewer on my Apple Mac Pro™ under both Microsoft Vista™ and OS X.

Hardware/Network Environment:

  • Apple Mac Pro with 2 Quad-core (8 cores total) Xeon processors at 3.2GHZ
  • 8GB of Ram
  • Nvidia GeForce™ 8800GT w/512MB
  •  (3) 500GB 7200RPM SATA drives
  • Gigabit Ethernet connection
  • Internet connection via Verizon FIOS 50Mbps/15Mbps (bridged business class w/static IPs)

Operating Systems (Dual Boot using Bootcamp – each OS on seperate drive):

  • OS X 10.5.2 (Leopard) w/all updates as of 05-May-2008
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit w/SP1 and all updates as of 05-May-2008
    • Bootcamp drivers from OS X Leopard DVD
    •  Nvidia drivers manually updated to Forceware release 169.25

Second Life Viewer:

  • Second Life Release Candidate 1.20.5 (86279)
  • All testing done in full screen mode
  • Settings:
    • Maximum Bandwidth: 1500 kbps
    • Disk Cache Size: 1000 MB
    • Disk Cache Location: <seperate drive from OS boot in each case>
    • Graphics: <clicked Recommended Settings – no changes otherwise>
    • Voice chat: Not enabled


Testing methodolgy:

  • Teleported to 8 distinct locations in-world w/varying object/texture views
  • Stood in same position (via landmark) at each location and faced a predetermined direction
  • Monitored Statistics window to wait for network utilization to drop to approximately 20-50kbps to indicate texture/object downloads were complete
  • Ensured that no other avatars were in the field of view when noting fps numbers
  • All tests were completed within 10 minutes of each other


FPS Results:


Location FPS under OS X FPS Under Vista 64
1 37-39 57-60
2 25-27 39-41
3 79-82 121-123
4 48-50 97-101
5 24-25 49-51
6 33-34 68-71
7 52-55 84-87
8 19-21 39-41


It is interesting to note that on the exact same hardware that the FPS on Windows Vista 64 is on average between about 1.5-2X the FPS under OS X.  From reading a number of sites there definitely seems to be similar results running other OpenGL applications under the two OSes.  Related to graphics driver implementation issues? some other reason?  I would love to hear any insight others may have on this.


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