HL2 & D3 on slow CPU; question

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by horvendile, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. horvendile

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    Hello all.
    In spite of having Europa Universalis 2, until yesterday thinking that I would never play another game and certainly never need to upgrade my computer again (hence my sharp drop in B3D-activity), yesterday I visited a HL2-owning friend and became... well, interested. This goes for D3 also.
    Buying them would probably be a bad move, since I never, ever, finish FPS games; but since I also don't learn from past mistakes, I might do it anyway.
    However.
    (Now for the question.)

    I have a slow CPU, a T-bird 1200 on SDRAM. I have 512 Mb and a Radeon 9600 Pro, so I figure that the CPU will be my bottleneck.
    Have any of you tried HL2 and/or D3 on a similarly specced computer? Is it playable? I'm reluctant to pay for game(s) that I won't be able to play.

    My standards are very moderate. 30-35 fps and I'm happy. I've heard that since D3 is rather slow-moving one is usually happy with lower fps than in other games, so 25-30 could be OK.

    I have not seen any reviews testing the games on a so absurdly slow CPU, but of course links to such reviews would also be most welcome.

    Oh, BTW: I know that there is a D3 demo. I downloaded it, but it seems to require a C drive. Well, I don't have one. Does the full game also require a C drive? HL2?
     
  2. cristic

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    Huh ?! What do you mean: "it requires a C drive" ?
     
  3. Sandwich

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    Yes, HL2 and D3 require lots of Harddisk space.

    Anyway, that 1200mhz athlon will probably be too slow.

    Here:
    http://firingsquad.com/hardware/half-life_2_athlon_xp/page3.asp
    they tested athlons at as low as XP2100+. Maybe this will help.
     
  4. horvendile

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    I should have been clearer:
    Of course I have a hard drive. But it's labelled "G". As in G:\Program etc.
    I don't have any harddrive labelled "C", so when a program hard coded to install to, for example, C:\Program, will fail to work. D3 demo is one program that apperently requires the disk drive to be labelled "C".

    Thanks for the link. If my CPU-subsystem can be assumed to be about half as fast as a 2100+, it seems like I'll be hovering in the 25-30 fps range in HL2. Hm... tough call. 15 fps would have been a straight no-no, but it may be possible to accept 25-30.
     
  5. Sandwich

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    The firingsquad results do seem to indicate a very lineair relation.
    However, the other components used, like the vid card are overkill on those systems. Their cpu was the total bottleneck.

    A r9600pro should easily keep up with a 1.2ghz cpu ofcourse, but I'm uncertain how big an impact your 512mb sdr will have.
    Another thing to consider is the speed of your harddrive. When I moved from an ATA33 to ATA100 HD, performance did improve quite alot for games that load during play.
     
  6. horvendile

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    In terms of speed or size?
    I was rather fancying that 512 Mb would be enough.
    As for speed, I sort of took that into account when I estimated my T-bird 1200 to be half the speed of an XP2100+.

    Shouldn't really be a problem, but thanks anyway for the thought.
    Ah, I guess I may as well list the specs.

    T-bird 1200 MHz
    KT133A chipset (MSI K7T Turbo, I believe)
    512 Mb PC133
    Radeon 9600 Pro
    120 Gb Seagate Barracuda 8 Mb cache (about 50 Gb free, IIRC), on ATA100 I believe.
    SBLive! (which seems to work well with my m/bord :shock: )
     
  7. TheAlSpark

    TheAlSpark Moderator
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    D3 runs...*walks* on my

    T-Bird 1Ghz
    512mb ram
    9600pro

    doesn't matter if I switch resolutions up to 1024x768. It's very crappy once another character shows up on the screen.
     
  8. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
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    I'm curious as to how, and why, you do not have a C-drive. Anyway, both D3 and HL2 will happily install to whatever destination you care to choose, just as long as you're aware HL2 will install wherever you installed your steam client. Just install it to some other drive than C, and you'll be all set.

    I don't think I ever met a PC game that didn't allow me to choose the install path. Maybe some early dos era shit, but that's it.
     
  9. Cartoon Corpse

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    well i run a P4 1.4Gz, 1G rdram (pc800), 9700pro

    i've played D3, Farcry, HL2 on mostly high (few medium settings sometimes like lighting or shadows)...12xx x 7xx resolution

    everything is fine (occasional stutters on all those games). im not that far away from your specs, so i'd guess knocking down more g options would get you running ok.
     
  10. The549

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    I got the D3 demo to work on my F: drive.....I forget how. I think I might have had a USB drive in there as a C: and did something funky.
     
  11. Florin

    Florin Merrily dodgy
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    I sometimes install games on my laptop for kicks.. it has a 1.4 Ghz Centrino with a 32 MB Radeon 9000 with a 64-bit memory bus, and I'm surprised how well Half-Life 2 runs, really. It's.. usable, at least. D3 kind of runs too but once you get into firefights it becomes pretty much unworkable.
     
  12. horvendile

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    Well, here's the story.
    I had my old 40 Gb HDD with W2k, labelled (or is it labeled? Is it a UK/US thingy?) C. But it was getting really full and it was also one of the infamous IBM discs that tended to die on you, so I bought the new disc, planning to install WXP, transfer all files I needed from the old disc and then ditch it. As it happens, I don't remember the exact order of the steps I took, but at some point I had installed XP on the new disc with the old one still in the computer as C. The new disc was G. I figured that it would reconfigure to C when I removed the old one.
    It didn't.
    Oh well. I had a vague recollection from W2k that reconfiguring manually was really easy. Should be even easier in XP, I thought.
    It wasn't.
    I shan't say that it's impossible. But I have not figured out how to do it.

    That was my thought exactly.
    I was wrong.
    I even hoped that not having a C-drive would bring some, however meager, protection against naughty programs on autopilot to destroy my C-drive. (I have never had the pleasure of meeting such a program, but you never know your luck!) But not only did the D3 demo refuse to install, my student's license of Matlab also fails to install! How am I to live without Matlab?

    Tell you what. I probably should reinstall XP this christmas. It's not exactly a good way to spend quality time, but this is getting ridiculous. Hopefully I will get my C-drive back then.
     
  13. horvendile

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    Oh, and thanks for the additional answers.

    It looks like D3 is way out of my league. Well, I had almost figured as much. HL2 might work decently-ish on a good day.

    I say, there's no word of a HL2 demo, is there?
     
  14. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
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    Sorry, but HL2 will run like crap as soon as an enemy or two appears on screen, the AI really makes the framerate take a nosedive. And forget it if there's any stuff bouncing/flying around, you'll be playing a slideshow with a 1.2GHz CPU... Sorry.

    Today's games are total hardware hogs, it's awful. In part because DX has so damn much overhead just to draw a bunch of polygons on screen, it's rediculous. Someone needs a couple enemas over there at microsoft hq as thanks for that lovely API designwork. :twisted:
     
  15. TheAlSpark

    TheAlSpark Moderator
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    You should check out the doom 3 demo...but you already knew that, didn't you? (you have broadband?) :wink:


    I was just curious about the overhead.... because I recall that Gearbox did away with some sort of DX...thing when they released that multiplayer stand-alone of Halo that improved the framerate by a lot with PS2.0....

    Same thing? or.... :?:
     
  16. Gabrobot

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    Well, I was able to run the Alpha on my P3 866Mhz machine (with a Radeon 9800 pro) at 30-40 fps, so I wouldn't be so fast to say that...
     
  17. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Doesn't the Doom3 engine dump a lot of rendering on the CPU (a lot of which could have been done on modern GPUs)? To favor the people with GF4MX and a P4 3.2Ghz from Dell......
     
  18. Richard

    Richard Mord's imaginary friend
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    As you can see from every single B3D review since it was released, D3 is one of the most gfx-intensive benchmarks on the suite. A friend of mine has a P4 2.4 and a GF4MX and he has to play at 640x480 at Low Quality.
     
  19. Gabrobot

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    Sure you aren't thinking of Trespasser's engine...? :wink:
     
  20. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
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    Well, yes, and no... There's no way for a GPU today to hardware-accelerate the creation of outlines of 3D models to draw the stencil shadow hulls, because vertex shaders can't create new vertices.

    The shadows can still be hardware accelerated though by simply drawing out every single vertex in a model into an extrusion; this is what 3DMark 2003 does, and it makes the framerate take a nosedive into (low) single-digit figures on hardware with weak vertex shading performance. Doom3 on the other hand runs at 3+ x the framerate even on systems with not particulary fast CPUs (by today's standards) by doing this stuff on the CPU. Of course, on hardware with really fast vertex shading like R350-class hardware and up, the game could run much faster using the GPU extrusion method, but that's not implemented. :)
     
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