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The Official Graphics Card and PC gaming Thread

Discussion in 'Building a new PC' started by abuzar1, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Compression will neither max out your CPU nor your hard disk unfortunately, that's how it goes. Also bear in mind if there are a large number of files being compressed, you have to take into account the maximum IOPS of the drive.

    As for laptops, I dithered for years about whether or not to get one, but the need has now pretty much been eliminated entirely by a Nexus 10 tablet :)
     
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  3. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Couldn't beat the $100USD price tag :p Repaired the screen for that price, now it's mine :D
     
  4. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    beat you with 17" dual core sony laptop, $50 dollars for a new hard drive when motherboard was duff but was broken power connector instead.
     
  5. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Eh hem. Matter of opinion. If it takes my dying breath, $ony will be no more :p

    I plan to install my current OCZ SSD in the laptop. And I'll get an Intel for the tower. I'd like to run some up close comparisons ;)
     
  6. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Epic fail on my laptops part. Race driver Grid 2008 doesn't even play very well on it. I turned the settings down to 1280 x 720(the projector runs at that) with NO Anti aliasing settings. Averaged 15 - 20 FPS. Not bad for an outdated laptop I suppose. I sure hope left 4 dead runs better :S I guess I don't really know what I was expecting. Certainly a bit more than that though. Have CPU/GPU's advanced at all?!?!
     
  7. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Onboard graphics have improved substantially over the last few years, so yes. Still though, basic integrated graphics won't play top titles at all well, but they will at least fare better than what you're seeing. A typical modern integrated graphics card should play titles like Left 4 Dead at 1680x1050 with no AA at a good 40-60fps on low detail.
     
  8. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Yeah, left 4 dead might play - give it a try. DDPs dual core sony might handle it, lol. I was wondering before what games you had in mind when you said "play on laptop."

    I don't think my laptops will play any games - in fact as I recall - for the fun of it a couple years ago I loaded Left 4 Dead on my faster laptop, which processes m4v to mpg conversion at 155 fps, versus 128 fps on my 3.2 ghz p4 former business desktop. (My old gaming desktop was a 4.0 p4 at 230 fps on the converter.) But as Sam has pointed out, it's the integrated graphics that is the problem. My laptop wouldn't even give me 10 fps on left 4 dead. I didn't try counter strike, that might have worked.

    Your transfer rate is more like USB 2.0 - 1 gigabyte per minute is my rule of thumb - 16.6 megabytes per second. USB 2.0 standard is higher than that - but in practice that's all I ever get, however the vista phenom 1 quad core HTPC gives a steady 23 magabytes per second.

    USB 3.0 standard is much higher yet - and it's not your drives - Sata 2 reaches 80 to 100 mb/sec - Sam correct me - maybe higher.

    But Kevin, sometimes it's the length of your usb cable. I kid you not. Try a very short cable if you have one. I have a variety of usb cables of long and short sizes. I have one 500 gig 3.5" external drive in a fancy aluminum passively-cooled enclosure meant for apple video production, that supports multiple interfaces - two different kinds of fire wire, plus esata, and also usb. The esata is blazing sata 2 speeds - 60 mb/sec is normal.

    But the usb is the normal slow 16.6 mb/sec, one minute per gigabyte, as I mentioned, and in fact it won't work at all unless I use a usb cord of no more than 12" in length, not the regular 2-3 foot usb cables that come with the 2.5" usb external drives. When I say "won't work at all" I mean that the PC I am hooking the external disk to won't even see the external enclosure if the cord is longer than the 1 foot silver cord that came with it (I got the 500 gig external from a friend - a DJ who mixes a lot of songs for parties - he didn't need it any more.)

    That of course is subject to the usb interface in the external box.

    That passively-cooled aluminum box didn't even have a fan, and speed-fan reported high temps on the internal drive - well into the upper 40s - until I hung a 15mm or 20mm fan on rubber bands inside the enclosure, which dropped temps by 10 degrees, lol. Before I hung on rubber bands, the other way I had it mounted vibrated the hard drive, and dropped my sata 2 transfer rates in half - I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my drives until I realized that the tiny fan was vibrating and forcing the disks to do a lot more handshaking and error correcting because of the extra vibration - mounting on rubber bands solved that problem.)

    So the silver 12" cord works, and I have one other 6" usb cable that will work with it - but not any of the normal 2-3 foot length cables. (Certainly not my longest - 25 foot usb cable - which works with both of my other two 500 gig 3.5" external enclosures.)

    So like I say, see if you can find a very short usb cable somewhere lying around - and see if that maybe doubles your transfer speed closer to what usb 3 should give you. Most people don't like those short cables, myself included, so somebody might just give it to you.

    Happy New Year everybody.

    Rich
     
  9. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    My concern about the USB 3.0 transfer rate was somewhat justified :p I see MUCH faster transfers from it all the time. It generally averages typical internal speeds upwards of 70MB/s. It most certainly does not behave like USB 2.0.

    Oddly, the batch backup of all games encountered an error. The one and only folder it backed up, said LEFT 4 DEAD, but Steam was seeing it as Grid. And it would not install. So I backed up the games one at a time after that. Didn't take long either. 4 - 5min each.

    So is Grid CPU intensive? I know first hand that it taxes the crap out of a GPU. Even my GTX 570 busts its butt. With extremely smooth framerates ;) In fact, for a time I limited it to 80Fps, to reduce heat. I'm noticing that Windows 7 WEI is giving the laptop CPU a VERY Low score. A 3.4. The GPU score though is 5.7 for gaming, and 4.1 for aero. I wonder how it figures that. I wouldn't think aero is that taxing LOL! :S

    Little test run of Left 4 Dead went ok. 20 - 30Fps, no AA, low medium settings, and 1280 x 720. Runs a little better than Grid. Definitely not a gaming laptop LOL! Can't seem to get the xbox controller working very good with it. But I don't think I'll bother. We're more into watching some movies tomorrow night ;)

    Ahh... This is what I need if I want portable high quality gaming. Eesh! Expensive LOL!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152347
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  10. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    This should tell you all you need to know. If a GPU is running maxed out but delivering a huge frame rate, a game is not CPU intensive. It's only if you can't get past a relatively moderate frame rate and the graphics card isn't doing much work that you should look at the CPU. I don't recall GRiD being particularly CPU intensive.
     
  11. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Kevin, your laptop is pretty strong with those frame rates. But I wonder why you're running windows 7 on it - surely your combined ram plus vram is under 4 gigs, meaning xp 32 bit would see all your memory.

    We'll see what Sam has to say, but I would guess that windows 7 adds 5-10% overhead - if that is true your framerates should show a nice jump up by moving to xp pro. [I'm sure you have an xp install disk lying around, plus sp1 and sp2, and all your chipset drivers.]

    Rich
     
  12. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Windows 7 carries no real overhead for frame rate, it simply uses more memory. As long as you're not going over the limit, then you shouldn't have any problems. Besides, there are plenty of reasons to use Windows 7 over xp!
     
  13. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Sorry, XP is dead. I recall trying to run one of the Grand theft auto's on XP. It actually ran better on 7. Not sure what the issue was. Perhaps the direct x version. That seems right.

    My laptop has 4Gb of memory. And it's 64bit OS. I was rather distressed to see that the CPU could not run a Blu-ray movie. "Hardware Acceleration", The GPU however could run it, with the CPU running at 60%. Thankfully the GPU was up to the challenge LOL! Was a good night last night. Though a receiver may be down for the count. Every input had a buzzing. Apparently it may be a ground issue though.

    Not sure why two laptops see the projector as 1920 x 1080. Though it still recommends 1280 x 800(native/maximum resolution). When I attempted to run it at 1080P, it basically framed the video in black bars. Rather curious. My brother and our friend were trying to convince me that the PS3 was running at 1080P. Apparently the PS3 said 1080P. And yet, I don't see how that's possible. The specifications are quite clear.

    I believe I've had another device that offered a freak/beyond maximum resolution in the past. I believe it was a CRT monitor. It's been a while though.
     
  14. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Lots of projectors will take a higher resolution than they can output, and simply 'best effort' rather than simply saying 'out of range' - properly built monitors like EIZOs will do this too, but typically only VGA. If DVI is out of spec, it's out of spec.

    As for noisy inputs, is this when connected to the laptop? Laptops are notorious for awful interference on the headphone ports, typically worse when charging / plugged in. Only real solution to that is a USB sound card.
     
  15. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    No. Laptop disconnected, and buzzing on all inputs. It happened RIGHT after disconnecting the laptops audio. A sort of freak occurrence. I'll be checking it out shortly. It's a 1998-99 receiver. And it gets VERY loud LOL! The bass is like no other receiver I've had. I'd sure hate to lose it :S
     
  16. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    omega, try setting up a amd xp 2400+ with 512meg of ram & 64meg agp videocard so a customer can play USAF & F/A-18. won't work in xp, vista or win7 but does in win 98.
     
  17. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Brutal ddp. Brutal LOL!
     
  18. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Good ol ddp and me - both still using windows 98, lol.

    Sure, unstable though it was (compared to xp) 98 was LEAN!! I use it because it supports msdos better than xp does, and the only decent mail program I've ever used in real estate was based on Data Base Manager 2 (an msdos program) that creates a mail list that I can suck into any version of Word to run the actual mail merge.

    I have a simple procedure that increments a customer number field in each mailing, so by printing that out where the stamp will hide it, we know what to put in the envelope, for that customer. With a new prospect I get them a piece of mail once a week at the beginning.

    Maybe there are some newer things that will do the same (AFAIK none of the Office products will) but I don't know what they are and it's not worth the time to try to create a new procedure. It's easier just to run w98 and xp on some older dual boot machines - the heaviest processing load is full color high res printing, like on house brochures, and 2 ghz+ is plenty fast to drive the printers full speed - especially if the printers are on the ethernet which seems to work much better than centronics parallel.

    I just ordered 8 more new ide 80gb WD drives @ $25 each to keep those three older pentium 4 machines alive for the foreseeable future in case I ramp up and hire a bunch of assistants like I used to have, lol.

    One of the dual boots is my former 4 ghz gaming p4 - I'll probably reduce the 2 gigs of memory back down to 1 gig so I can re-install w98 on that machine, unless ddp or Sam know how to run w98 on 2 gigs. The internet says you can do it, but I can't make it work.

    Damn - Kevin, your laptop is strong - 4 gigs of memory!! My two faster ones are maxed at 2 gigs - the other at 1 gig. I had no idea. I would have figured w7 would add overhead but I stand corrected by Sam.

    So far I have put off finishing Far Cry 3.

    [​IMG]

    this might be the full-size if I have done this right:

    http://s518.beta.photobucket.com/user/harvardguy/media/farcry3shimmeringwatera_zpsf18459db.jpg.html

    I can't complete the knife fight with Hoyt until Ubi fixes a little bug that prevents the prompts from showing up (pictures of left mouse, right mouse, etc) past the 3rd prompt. I'm not the only one - but apparently it's a pretty rare PC bug. Maybe I'll reload the whole game - I have all the saves.

    [​IMG]

    The water is so good - reflections are awesome! And I have discovered a lot more of the environment is destructible than I knew - I perched my jeep with machine gun up on top of a hill and I had to blast the fence out of the way so I could get right near the edge and overlook an intersection, and then machine-gun the privateers as they drove by. That was so much fun!! Jeeps explode in a huge way - major f**king explosion - everybody nearby is DEAD!! They tried to put a lot of cool stuff in the game like that - grenades are super powerful - you know, fun stuff for pyromaniacs like me (don't get me started - fire is SO MUCH FUN!)

    And the game is so colorful - look at this campfire reflected off the nearby granite cliffs.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, I'm near the end, and I can always load back in a prior set of saves, and drive the quad and wave runner around the map. I think you guys, Kevin, and Sam, will love the game once you get your 30" monitor, Kevin, and once you and Sam get into whatever the 8000 family architecture brings us. I'll probably upgrade also - maybe 8000 family cards depending on how graphically challenging Crysis 3 is, and I might even get another gift machine - an i7 - (that hot-running beast that kept overheating) - I'll redo the hsf - maybe the new version of the TRUE - and with my spedo, I now have a very ideal super well-ventilated modern gaming rig, I believe. Word.

    Rich
     
  19. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Yah, in my opinion, 4Gb should be the bare minimum for windows 7. But that does depend on what one uses the laptop/PC for too. My brothers wifes laptop has a mere 3Gb. He's seen messages about being low on memory. Apparently his intel CPU gets a better score than mine via WEI. But perhaps the WEI is intel biased, like so many other softwares/benchmarks. Aw well...
     
  20. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Rich - The photobucket shots come out smaller on the site than they do embedded in the page. I'd recommend using an alternative to photobucket, as the retention is very poor (often a matter of weeks), and the site is just a real pain. Imageshack and Imgur are viable alternatives.

    Will see how I get on with Far Cry 3, I hear nothing but excellent reviews and the game does look pretty, but I've got such a huge pile of other games vying for my attention, it will be a while before I get round to it. As for the HD8 series, I'll reserve judgement until I see how the benchmarks come out. I'm in no real position at present to be spending a lot of money on new graphics, and to be quite honest, there isn't a lot that I want to play that really justifies it at the moment.
     
  21. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    No notable PC release has come out yet that requires more horsepower than people already have. Hell I'm still looking within the HD6 series for upgrades. Sure the HD8 series is exciting, but all it really means is a price drop for the overpriced HD7 series. My HD6850s were $200 a piece brand spanking new. 7850s haven't been that cheap until recently, long after they've stopped being "new products". Even then, a 7850 will not be an upgrade from two 6850s.

    If I were running a single card, basically any reasonable GPU would be a good upgrade. But because I currently run Crossfire, I need to find something with approximately double the performance of a 6850 or better. More memory does not help me if I end up with lower framerates in the end due to a lack of raw processing power. That essentially means a 6970 is the single slowest card I can get and still call it an upgrade. Unfortunately, the HD6 series is all but gone from the market. I have one 6970 probably coming my way soon, but to get a second one for Crossfire means paying jacked up prices for another used one.

    I first started using Crossfire because the HD4870 was properly priced for a card of its relative power, and because games development was at a point where Crossfire was necessary to run the games I wanted to play at my native resolution. Likewise I made the decision to jump to 5850s/6850s because they were cheaper than the original price of my 4870s and were a very significant upgrade. At this point in time, basically every game I could possibly want to run can be handled just fine on a single powerful card. The price/performance doesn't line up right for me to go Crossfire again. My only limiting factor is video memory. To get another Crossfire setup is overpriced this time around, and current cards would simply be far too powerful for my needs.

    TL;DR - I'm looking at video cards and a bit frustrated by the current price/performance ratio of cards within my price range. Crossfire with new cards would be ridiculously overpowered and somewhat expensive. A 6970 is coming my way and is the de-facto equivalent of my cards together, but isn't a definite increase in overall processing power. I'm anticipating a performance increase but it remains to be seen if it brings my "problem games" to proper performance. In the most basic terms, I want a single, powerful video card to replace my two weaker ones, and the discount 6970 is my only sensible choice. Buying a similarly placed HD7 series will net me a small improvement over the 6970, for about double the price. So my choice is split between keeping the discount 6970 or simply selling what I can and buying an HD7. Selling is not so easy around here lately. All my friends are cheap and eBay is simply too much effing around to be worth my time for selling a few single products.

    Far Cry 3 is very interesting and fundamentally a much better game than Far Cry 2. Is it the amazing, overwhelmingly fantastic game people make it out to be? Definitely not. A very good game? Certainly.

    I am taking my time with it and highly enjoying it. It uses all the best parts of Far Cry 2, adds a ton more stuff to do, and puts you back into a proper tropical environment. Not to mention it fixes about 90% of the complaints I had about the first game, but creates a few of its own. Particularly the gun selection is VERY good, offering a wide variety of weapons, but the overall amount of guns was a bit slim and left me wanting for more. Certainly could have re-worked some guns from the previous game and introduced them in an improved form. The G3 assault rifle and Springfield M1903 bolt-action are sorely missed by me and wouldn't be out of place in this game.

    Also, they threw away a wonderful opportunity to do more things with very deep and dense jungle foliage. Truly a brilliant game engine, but severely under-utilized due to the memory limits of consoles.

    Graphically, Far Cry 3 is brilliant, but even the PC version suffers from console limitations. Most of these limitations are mechanical, but nonetheless leave FarCry 3 limited in ways that Crysis simply isn't. Maybe it's unfair for me to compare Far Cry 3 to Crysis, but I'm going to because Crysis is over 5 years old now, and still stomps all over it on the technical side of things. In sheer eyecandy, they are very similar, but Crysis uses many more advanced graphical and scene composition techniques that Far Cry simply can't hold a candle to. So while the two may produce a very similar image, Crysis simply does it better and with more style.

    Physics: Crysis, FarCry 3's are almost non-existent by comparison

    Lighting: Crysis more advanced and better art direction. Farcry 3, softer and more refined, but not as technically impressive.

    Vegetation: FarCry 3 has higher res leaves, Crysis is otherwise superior in every way. From wind physics to brushing past bushes to dense ground cover. Not to mention chopping trees into sections and chucking the logs at passing helicopters. FarCry 3 throws up a pretty face, but the actual amount and density of the vegetation is very sparse. I thought Far Cry 2 was better in this respect as well. FarCry 3 is supposed to be set on wild, overgrown tropical islands, not nicely manicured lawns. It doesn't even feel as wild and overgrown as FarCry 1. Art direction fail. FarCry 3's foliage is still very good, but you think they'd have put a bit more of it on those, you know, overgrown tropical islands that are supposedly covered in deep jungle??? Considering foliage is an integral part of FarCry's gameplay, it would sure be useful to actually have some to hide in.

    Textures: FarCry 3 MUCH more consistent, but Crysis MUCH prettier at its best moments.

    Water: Crysis all the way. FarCry 3's water is a cheap imitation in comparison. Ocean waves, whitecaps, refraction, reflections, surface resolution, Crysis does it all much better. FarCry 3's water is nice, but is simply a very generic water shader with some nice "wave" effects added. Crysis 2 also failed in this regard, using water much more similar to FarCry 3 than Crysis 1. Console limitations... Ofc the best water ever is Half-Life 2. Nobody has quite gotten the refraction and surface effects to look as natural as Valve. Too bad it doesn't have the nice FFT wave calculation algorithm like the previously mentioned games as it would be amazing for ocean water as well.

    Draw Distance: Crysis hands-down. No contest. As I recall FarCry 3 does the fade-in wonderfully, but the actual distance it draws enemies and objects at is very limited and bullets literally disappear after a certain range. No sniping at mile ranges. FarCry 2 actually handled draw distance infinitely better. FarCry 3 does fade-in properly but the actual LOD system is flawed. In FarCry 2, if you could see it, you could shoot it. In FarCry 3, you need to be close enough or your bullets do not hit the target.

    AI: Another un-contested win for Crysis. FarCry 3's AI is downright stupid as hell in comparison. Maybe a bit better organized in a firefight, but nowhere near the scripting, pathfinding or realism of Crysis' AI. I could literally spend days watching some Crysis AIs react to different situations and documenting the different ways they interact with the environment.

    Example: Attack some NPCs in Crysis, they sound the alarm, fire off an emergency flare, and start fanning out into the jungle in search parties. They use cover, they use flanking maneuvers, etc. All the while taking orders from a commander unit that you can actually kill to throw them into a panic.

    Attack some NPCs in FarCry 3, they all start firing back wildly and one of them rushes for the generic "alarm button". Pretty shallow. No attempts at sneaking, no flanking, no command structure, simply a reactive mob. Very fun to experiment with, but ultimately a bit dull to fight against. I will add that later enemies in the game are a bit smarter, but still follow the same basic routine.

    I could go on for many more pages but the differences seem pretty drastic to me. Far Cry 3 has a much more modern design, and the environment feels more alive. Crysis, on the other hand, is much more densely and meticulously detailed, so is graphically and mechanically superior, but lacks the wildlife, NPCs, and other living details that make FarCry 3 feel so alive.

    The gameplay style reflects these differences as well. Crysis is a linear story-based game. FarCry 3 is a mostly free-roaming romp with some guns. I can say that due to Crysis' much higher level of scripting and better control of how you see a particular scene, that it can't help but look and play better. Far Cry 3 is both free-roaming and multiplatform, and has to make many sacrifices to accommodate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

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