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Gaming Issues - G-card Upgrade The Fix?


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#1 noobaliscious

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 05:56 PM

Hey peeps,
So thereís this problemÖÖ
Iíve never really had an issue running games until I got DIRT (www.codemasters.com/dirt). It seems there are two problems.
1. Itís hard to even get it to run without really messing a lot with clocking, eliminating anti-aliasing (and game details like foliage, reflections, speed blur, map visuals), shutting down other background programs, etc. Both gameplay and sound can be choppy (though there are no artifacts). If itís just a hardware issue I can deal, but itís frustrating not knowing if itís the case.
2. The game has an autosave feature, which is fine, but if the game ever gets interrupted (like I hit the desktop hotkey) things freeze and the saved file seems to get screwed and I lose all progress. The autosave file is supposed to be loaded upon startup of the game and the prompt literally comes up ďAutosave File CorruptedĒ. So damn frustrating. Makes me want to shoot myself in the face.

DIRTís Minimum Requirements:
Pentium 4 @ 3.0 GHz
1 Gb RAM
GeForce 6800 Graphics card (supported by game)

The gameís Recommended Specifications:
Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 MHz
2 Gb RAM
GeForce 8800

The first mistake I ever made was getting a Dell. I realize this does not allow me to mess with the BIOS, which kinda sucks for obvious reasons. Iíve certainly learned my lesson.

Current System : (drivers are updated)
Dell XPS 400
Dell DXP051 motherboard
2.8 MHz Pentium D 820 DualCore (800 fsb)
2.0 G DDR2-533 SDRAM
Well air cooled with extra fans, motherboard has some extra copper heat sinks.

Graphics:
Nvidia GeForce 6800
PCI express x16
256 MB Memory
12 pipeline
ATI Tool software - raises the Core to 425 MHz and the memory to 350 MHz without artifacting, but these are default at 325 and 297 respectively.
Well air cooled with extra fans and copper heat sinks

This game has been re-installed and continue to have the same problems.
As stated previously, most in-game play options are set on low quality or shut off altogether. For the most part background programs on the computer are shut off as well.
If anyone has a similar system or has any suggestions Iím all ears. Being that I canít mess with BIOS it makes finding standard procedures online a bit of a headache. Overclocking and all its intricacies tend to be thrown out the door for the most part with my motherboard so following some of the suggestions online is very difficult. If I need new hardware Iíd be open to suggestion for graphics cards, cooling systems, etc. I wouldnít mind not having t worry about this sort of thing for a couple years in the future. I know games are getting heavier and Iíd prefer to do an upgrade thatíll cover the needed range for future endeavors. Itíll be another two years before I get a whole new system.

Thanks for taking the time in whatever manner.

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#2 Monty007

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 02:48 AM

Sorry to say your Video card ....is ....well...needs an upgrade to say the least.
MCP
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#3 Sneakycyber

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 05:10 AM

As you stated in your post the game minimum is a Geforce 6800 which is what you have and according to your settings your playing the game at minimum settings. This wont change with overclocking, since the actual design is like apples to oranges compared to the 8800. If you want to run the game with no problems graphics wise you would need to get and 8800. I can't answer your question on the auto save feature, have you tried contacting game support? In short I agree with Monty007
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#4 noobaliscious

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 12:03 PM

Thanks Guys! You're the best.
Since the resolution seems to be as simple as a new Video Card, I guess the next logical questions would be do I really need to jump straight to an 8800 series? In comparing all the Nvidia cards there seem to be overlaps and trade-offs amongst the 7 and 8 series cards. Some of the 7 series cards have higher numbers in some areas over the 8's.
Given my current system setup I don't really want to invest $ in high numbers I don't need. I have a fear of buying performance that I can't achieve b/c the system can only push so far outside of the card. I'm doing my best to understand the importance of these different numbers, like Shader Clock, Memory Interface, Core clock vs. Memory clock, etc on my own, but this is a slow process for the time being. So, I guess there are potentially two questions:
1. Is there a good website that easily breaks down these video card properties into more understandable terms so I can make my own decisions on the card I'll need....
OR
2. judging by my setup do you have a recommendation on an Nvidia card that will push the limits of my current system without blocking out performance capacity of the card? I wonder if a specific 7900 series, for example, would actually be fine. I don't plan to upgrade anything else on this system for a couple years, and I know that the 8800 has performance capacity that my setup will only bottleneck.

Thanks again. I appreciate the time you've taken. That's the last question, I swear.

Regards,
N

Edited by noobaliscious, 17 August 2007 - 12:13 PM.


#5 Ryan 3000

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 12:13 PM

Wikipedia explains these terms pretty well. I'll tell you flatout there is no tradeoff buying the 8800's besides price. If you don't want to spend as much, a well-balanced card reviewed to be better than any 7 series card is the MSI 8600GTS, and it's actuall cheaper than the 7950's.
No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land.

#6 noobaliscious

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 12:26 PM

Thanks Ryan,
I'll check it out. The 8600 was actually something I'd considered.
Much appreciated!

#7 Sneakycyber

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 03:44 PM

There is actually a big difference between the 8600 and the 8800 if you look at the stream processors and the memory bandwidth the 8800 is more then double the performance. And it will be noticeable. The 8600
The 8800.

As posted by Mr Alpha in another thread:
There is a huge performance increase from the 8600GTS to the 8800GTS. To give you a rough estimate: The 8500GT has 16 stream processors, the 8600GTS has 32 stream processors, while the 8800GTS has 96 stream processors (the 8800GTX has 128). No manner of overclocking is going to make up for that lack of hardware.

Edited by Sneakycyber, 17 August 2007 - 03:56 PM.

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#8 noobaliscious

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:07 PM

I had a concern about the memory bandwide vs. the core clock.
The 8600 GTS:
675-700 MHz core clock
1000 memory clock
Memory 256 MB
Interface 128 bit
Fill rate at 10.8

The 8800 GTS:
500 MHz core clock
800 memory clock
Memory 320 or 640 MB
Interface 320 bit
Fill rate at 124

My suspicion was that the 8600 GTS had a core clock speed that would be bottlenecked by the narrower pipeline.
Is this something that would be the case? Like I mentioned before, I'd be willing to fork out an additional $130 or so for the 8800 GTS, but would fear that it would simply be a waste of $ if my other system components couldn't handle the additional performance anyhow. The CPU or other hardware holding back a 8800 series would be a shame. make sense? That's the real question. I'm not one to cheap out on things if I can, but no use in dropping a 350 engine in a Yugo chassis, you know?

#9 Monty007

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 11:34 PM

Dont forget that the 8800 GTs will need a power supply over 600w I wouldnt go less than 750w. If you want to go on the upgrade merrygoround what about a balanced card say a 7600or a 7900GT. If you are not running Vista with directx 10 I wouldnt bother with the 8600 or the 8800 series.
MCP
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#10 noobaliscious

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 12:05 PM

Crap.
I guess that changes things a bit, eh?
I don't plan to go to Vista any time soon.

#11 arcman

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 12:59 PM

Dont forget that the 8800 GTs will need a power supply over 600w I wouldnt go less than 750w. If you want to go on the upgrade merrygoround what about a balanced card say a 7600or a 7900GT. If you are not running Vista with directx 10 I wouldnt bother with the 8600 or the 8800 series.

Um, that's not true at all.
I run an 8800GTS 640MB with a sub-500 PSU (470W).
You'd definitely need a 500W and above if you were doing two 8800's in SLI, but most of the specs for the 8800GTS's only call for a min. 450W with enough amperage on the 12V rail.

Anyway, if you're going for a midrange card you could go with either a 7950GT or an 8600. The 7950GT has slightly higher performance though it's only supported up to DX9, so if you're planning on going to Vista anytime soon you might want to go for the 8600.

The 8800GTS is pure awesome and has been the best card you can buy for several months now. Especially if you can swing the 640MB version, because new games are going to just eat up that VRAM.

Definitely check your PSU specs to see what it can handle, but no matter what card you settle on you'll definitely see a big improvement over a vanilla 6800.
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#12 noobaliscious

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 01:42 PM

Well, I can't run SLI b/c the motherboard won't support it.
I've checked the wattage specs on these things and it seems I'll need to upgrade the power supply anyhow.
Stupid Dell. Never again....
Even with the 7900 GTX I'll need to go to at least 400 for a single card, 500W for SLI claimed.
The 7900 GTX is getting cheaper by the day, and if I don't plan to Vista this thing out, then no need for DirectX 10 for another year or two, no? Well, maybe not until all games are gonna require 10. (I could be wrong though, it's happened before).

Damn, this upgrade merry-go-round sucks ahole.

#13 arcman

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 04:19 PM

Don't sweat the SLI requirements unless you're actually going to buy two cards and run them in parallel, (waste of money if you ask me). But yeah, for a higher tier card you'll want a 400-450W supply. The PSU is actually the weak point of just about every pre-built computer, unfortunately. Whether you get a Dell, a HP/Compaq, Gateway/eMachine, you're pretty much guaranteed a crappy third-rate power supply.

You don't really need to stress about DX10 just yet, there are very few game devs. that are actively writing anything for it at the moment.
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#14 ō«Ž¶ÚT

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 08:50 PM

If you want, a 7600gt doesn't even need a pci express power connector (the extra 6 or 4 pin I don't remember specifically). I game a lot, and it's perfectly fine for me to run bf2142 and supcom on all highs, except one or two settings, at 1440x900.

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#15 noobaliscious

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 08:51 PM

Well, I just said to hell with it and went for a 8800 GTS card. It's the 320 version and I'll upgrade to the 640 if I feel I need to, and I got a new Antec 550W PSU (Nvidia claims 400W minumum). These two things should take care of me for a while. Vista and DX10 will be taken care of if I feel so inclined to head that direction and I'll have no regrets for a little while (except for the $ thing)

I really appreciate all you folks taking the time to include your 2 cents. Collectively you helped me build the confidence to make a decision.

Kudos to all involved.

J




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