Any SPECS/UPGRADE and "How well will it run" questions belong here!

#1Morgoth22Posted 3/22/2006 5:54:27 AMmessage detail
OK guys, I'm doing this to complement the sticky already in existence - I'm hoping this will be more informative for you and will stop the need for all of these repeat topics. Note that I will not personally have the game until next week, but I do know what I'm talking about when it comes to hardware.

Please do NOT post until I have finished every point I intend to make. Please also note that I do not have enough information to double this as an FAQ for anything else.

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CONTENTS

1. Requirements
2. Graphics Card Comparisons and Benchmarks
3. Finding out your specs
4. Drivers
5. Integrated Graphics/FX series
6. HDR, AA, AF
7. AMD vs. Intel Processors
8 Example set ups and what you can expect


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1. REQUIREMENTS

Recommended:

* 3 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
* 1 GB System RAM
* ATI X800 series, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series, or higher video card

Minimum System Requirements:

* Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows XP 64-bit
* 512MB System RAM
* 2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
* 128MB Direct3D compatible video card and DirectX 9.0 compatible driver;
* 8x DVD-ROM drive
* 4.6 GB free hard disk space
* DirectX 9.0c (included)
* DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
* Keyboard, Mouse

Supported Video Card Chipsets:

* ATI X1900 series
* ATI X1800 series
* ATI X1600 series
* ATI X1300 series
* ATI X850 series
* ATI x800 series
* ATI x700 series
* ATI x600 series
* ATI Radeon 9800 series
* ATI Radeon 9700 series
* ATI Radeon 9600 series
* ATI Radeon 9500 series
* NVIDIA GeForce 7900 series
* NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series
* NVIDIA GeForce 7600 series
* NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series
* NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series
* NVIDIA GeForce 6200 series
* NVIDIA GeForce FX series

Firstly, it is important to note a few things with these requirements. Whilst a system that just meets the minimum can be expected to load the game up and get it to "run" you really should not expect it to be hugely playable on a 2Ghz, 512 RAM, fx5200 in the slightest.

The same goes for trying to run it with integrated graphics. If your card does not support pixel shaders (i.e. some integrated solutions and the geforce 4mx) then you will not be able to even start this game at all.

The cards in italics whilst not on the box are also supported. They have only come out very recently, explaining why they were not present.
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Morgoth22's AIM - gfaqsmorgoth22
I can only fake being nice for so long, so don't linger.
#2Morgoth22(Topic Creator)Posted 3/22/2006 6:08:27 AMmessage detail
2. GRAPHICS CARDS COMPARISONS AND BENCHMARKS

If you would like to look at some more benchmarks for comparison purposes by yourself, the follwing sites are worth a look:

www.guru3d.com
www.anandtech.com
www.xbitlabs.com
www.tomshardware.com
www.hardocp.com

I've compiled a few decent reviews here:

PCI-E Comparison Chart: Winter 2005

http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/02/vga_charts_viii/

AGP comparison: summer 2005

http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/07/05/vga_charts_vii/index.html

AGP update (7800GS):

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/02/02/nvidia_7800gs_confirms_agp_aint_dead_yet/

7900/7600 review:

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2717

X1900XTX review

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2695


Most things are covered there apart from the really old cards which really aren't worth bothering with for this game anyway. If it isn't covered in there somewhere, it isn't worth mentioning.

To summarise the cards in order:

Very High End (expect at least 1280*1024, max AA or HDR etc)

ATi: X1900XTX, X1900XT, X1800XT
Nvidia: 7900GTX/GT, 7800GTX 512

High End (expect 1280*1024 some AA, mostly max)

ATi: X1800XL, X850 series, X800Pro (unlocked)/XT/XL
Nvidia: 7800GTX 256, 7800GT/GS, 6800Ultra/GT, 7600GT

High-mid range (expect 1024*768, some AA mix of medium and max settings

ATi: X800 (unlocked)/GTO,
Nvidia: 6800

Mid range (expect 1024*768, medium settings, no AA)

ATi: X700Pro, X800 vanilla, X1600, 9800XT
Nvidia: 6800XT, 6800 vanilla, 6600GT

Low, budget range (expect 800*600, low medium or worse)

ATi: X1300, X600, X300, 9600
Nvidia: 6200 or anything 5 series (though the latter woud be extremely weak and may not run at all).
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Morgoth22's AIM - gfaqsmorgoth22
I can only fake being nice for so long, so don't linger.
#3Morgoth22(Topic Creator)Posted 3/22/2006 6:15:32 AMmessage detail
3. FINDING OUT YOUR SPECS

The easiest way to find out your specs is to go to

Start>Run

and then type

dxdiag

On the first page, it will tell you your processor and RAM, then if you move to the display tab, it will give you the model of your graphics card. These 3 things are the most important when asking me to help.

If you want to upgrade, you may also want to consider downloading this useful program (Everest Ultimate Edition) from here:

http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?pid=3&lang=en

It will tell you about all the detailed specifications of your computer, including expansion slots and motherboard model, which you need to tell me if I am to recommend suitable upgrades.

However, this is a RESTRICTED VERSION.

Therefore, you can't monitor your temperatures. Symptoms of overheating include odd colours (artefacts) and impromtue shut downs. For that, if you are an Nvidia User, I suggest you use this tool:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/nvtemplogger/294/1/

or if you are an ATi user, you can use this tool:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/atitraytools/189/

Go to "Monitoring Graphs" under Hardware to access.

A secondary useful feature of the program is the fact that it can tell you your motherboard model number (found under motherboard, obviously) and also your expansion capabilities. I will need to know which slot you have for graphics card upgrades. To find this, go to

Computer>DMI>BIOS>Expansion Capabilities

You will have a choice of either PCI, AGP or PCI-E.

The best card you can get for PCI is the 5700LE/9250 though these are old, outdated and will only manage low. I also thought there was a 6200 PCI, but can't find one any more.

The best card you can get for AGP is currently the X850XT PE or 7800GS as an Nvidia equivalent.

The best card to get for PCI-E is the 7900GTX (512MB) or X1900XTX for ATI (a bit better) and will max this game and still average well over 60FPS at all times. The best value for many people however would be the 6600GT or perhaps the X800GTO for those with slightly smaller budgets!

If you don't want to use that program, then please use

SiSoftSandra which can be found here:

http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=177

This also has stress tests to check for overheating or power issues and info about you whole comp (including expansion - just go to PCI/AGP/PCI-E bus info).

It's an excellent alternative.

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4. DRIVERS

Having updated drivers is extremely important and can help performance and sometimes compatibility and graphics issues. The latest drivers can be found in the following locations:

Ati Catalyst 6.3

https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=894&task=knowledge&folderID=293

Omega

http://www.omegadrivers.net/

Nvidia 84.21

http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_2k_84.21.html

These will get updated regularly, so keep checking the homepages for ATi, Nvidia and then any other third party drivers you wish to use to see if there are any updates. Another thing to bear in mind here is that some graphica issues or crashes may not be related to this, and you may just have to wait for a patch.

Common problems of screen tearing (which can be fixed by vertical sync), odd colours - often caused by overheating and immediate shutdowns or lock ups (due to insufficient power supplies) are usually easily solved with some small changes.
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Morgoth22's AIM - gfaqsmorgoth22
I can only fake being nice for so long, so don't linger.
#4Man_from_UnclePosted 3/22/2006 6:17:15 AMmessage detail
It begins.

By the way, you got hold of this game yet Morgoth?
#5SeraphLancePosted 3/22/2006 6:20:06 AMmessage detail
GeForce 6200 is the "low-budget" -_-

I just upgraded to the damn thing last week... PC games are too bleeding expensive.
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GunZ -IGN: Zetsui Lvl 45 -Clan: Venom, Admin
A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.
#6DingChavezPosted 3/22/2006 6:24:46 AMmessage detail
heh, you "upgraded" to a 6200? LOL

They just make those cards so dell can stick them in their machines and say they have the "latest graphix lik" so suckers will buy them! :D

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AMD 4200 X2 | x1900xt | 2GB OCZ Platinum | (b^_^)b
#7Morgoth22(Topic Creator)Posted 3/22/2006 6:27:47 AMmessage detail
INTEGRATED GRAPHICS/FX SERIES

Many pre-built PC's will come without a graphics card, as they tend to be the most expensive component if they are good. Models will include the Intel Extreme Graphics, Intel Graphics Accelerator, SiS models and the most recent, the Xpress 200.

The companies make them sound good, and they undoubtedly serve a useful purpose for non-gamers. However, they really are unsuitable for games and will leave you either not being able to run it on an otherwise decent machine, or alternatively running it all on low at sloppy frame rates. Whilst some of the newer additions to the market are more promising, don't expect stellar performance at higher resolutions and anything much above low settings.

The FX series unfortunately suffers the same fate. These cards (especially the fx5200) were quite frankly a flop with DX9 and have awful performance so I wouldn't bother unless you happen to own a 5950Ultra.

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6. HDR, AA, AF

HDR - High Dynamic Range (Lighting)

This is different to the bloom effect and some comparison screenshots have been shown here:

http://www.elderscrolls.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=277271

You need an SM3.0 card to be able to do HDR I assume. You cannot apply AA and HDR at the same time in the game, though you may be able to force it in your graphics card control panel options and have HDR enabled in game...this didn't work for FEAR, so I'm skeptical.

Anti Aliasing (AA)

Smoothes out "jaggies" on straight edges, allowing straight lines to appear less pixelised. Raising the resolution has the same effect.

Anistropic Filtering (AF)

Makes textures in the distance appear sharper and gives more definition of detail across large vistas.

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7. AMD vs. Intel

I just wanted to point out here that clock speed in Ghz is not everything! AMD processors work differently in that they do more calculations per clock cycle and are manufactured in a different way.

The numbers (e.g. 3000+, 3400+ etc) represent a rough comparison of what they would do if they were an Intel P4, so a 3000+ at 1.8Ghz will perform equally (if not a little better) than a P4 at 3.0Ghz.

Pentium M processors work in a similar way - more L2 cache amongst other things means that the 1.6, 1.8 and 2.13 PM are equivalent to the 3.0, 3.2 and 3.4Ghz P4's. Conroe might change all of that.

Also, dual core processors are two cores running on seperate things. So an X2 4800+ is two 2.4 Ghz cores, not the same as a 4.8Ghz single core.

I hope this is clear for those with AMD processors that are worried.
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Morgoth22's AIM - gfaqsmorgoth22
I can only fake being nice for so long, so don't linger.
#8Morgoth22(Topic Creator)Posted 3/22/2006 6:36:38 AMmessage detail
8. EXAMPLE SET UPS

Anything with 512 RAM and just scraping the low requirements should expect a lot of stuttering and jumpy frame rates at resolutions no higher than 800*600.

Such set ups might include:

2.0Ghz P4, 512RAM, fx5700/9600
Celeron 2.4, 512 RAM, 6200 PCI

You'll be needing a gig of RAM to run this nicely and more couldn't go to waste, but you are looking at medium settings on the following rigs.

2.5Ghz P4, 1024 RAM, 6600
2800+, 1024 RAM, X700Pro

If you up your graphics card, you might be getting something slightly better than that and might want to start thinking about higher resolutions and AA. For example:

6600GT, 9800Pro, 6800, X800 would help push up the resolution without getting too much performance decrease.

Moving onto higher resloutions and details, you will need a 3.0Ghz or equivalent processor but this is less important than the RAM (at least a gig) or the video card, which needs to be one of the folllowing or above (see point 3 earlier) to get 1280*1024 and all high settings.

X800XT, 6800GT

SLI/Crossfire and very high end cards are what will help you with massive amounts of AA, resolution and HDR.


If you are still lost on what all this means, take a look at the following site:

www.gpureview.com

A very useful comparison site of graphics cards.

If you don't want to listen to me, go here:

www.srtest.com

to see what that says, but I will warn you that is is somewhat inaccurate and will not really give you a clear indication of how it will run, or the frame rates you are likely to expect!

OK I'm done for now.
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Morgoth22's AIM - gfaqsmorgoth22
I can only fake being nice for so long, so don't linger.
#9kitsunethefoxPosted 3/22/2006 6:37:31 AMmessage detail
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
#10Morgoth22(Topic Creator)Posted 3/22/2006 6:40:17 AMmessage detail
Man From Uncle, no I don't have it yet, but I figured that the need for this topic to be created will be significantly less in a week (which is when I'm most likely to get it).

SeraphLance, PC gaming is expensive and this goes for everyone. You need to pay (off newegg at least) in teh region of $120-$200 for a half decent card.

Anything less than that and don't expect stellar settings. For the really high end stuff, you are looking at probably twice or three times that price.

kitsunethefox, thanks, as I mentioned in the final paragraph of my posts...
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Morgoth22's AIM - gfaqsmorgoth22
I can only fake being nice for so long, so don't linger.