I upgraded my graphics card to a Geforce4 MX420 and...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Richard_T, Jun 8, 2002.

  1. Richard_T

    Richard_T Second Unit

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    Nothing! I am so disappointed. My girlfriend was having a bit of trouble playing her favorite game "The Sims".She experienced alot of slowdowns, stuttering and the like. We were told that even though our computer was a bit older (PII 450) that it was powerful enough to play her game. We were told our graphics card (voodoo 3 3000 AGP) was not up to par and that we should upgrade and then the problems would stop so we bought a nVIDIA X-TASY GeForce MX 420 card which has 64 meg of memory. Well, I installed the card and installed the drivers. As I restarted, I was ready to see a great improvement in graphics and speed but..NOTHING! The stuttering and slowdown are still terribly there. Have I done something wrong? Am I wrong to expect a big difference? Is there a way to tweak my card for better performance? I uninstsalled the drivers for my old card so they didn't conflict with anything the new card was installing so I'm at a loss. Help me computer gurus!
     
  2. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Interesting-I'd actually think that the Sims would depend more on CPU/Memory than video card. Couple of things to try might be increasing the amount of free memory you have, clearing some mrd drive space (for swap file/virtua memory) and running the disk defragmenter (might be stuttering due to slow file access times).
     
  3. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    The Sims is VERY AI driven, therefore it eats your CPU all the time. To run the game you should get a new Mobo, CPU, and some RAM. May I recommend also returning the GeFORCE4 MX 420 and using the money you spent on that to upgrade to a 1ghz+ AMD Athlon, atleast 256MB PC2100 DDR RAM, and a KT266a based Mobo....you should also upgrade your PSU to something atleast 300W.

    If you are on dial up be prepared to upgrade to broadband next year when the Sims Online comes out!

    One last thing after upgrading your CPU, Mobo, and RAM the Sims will run much better, but there are still times when the game brings my Athlon XP 1800+, 512MB RAM, AMD 761 Mobo, GeFORCE3 Ti200 machine to its knees. There is A LOT of AI information being processed on your CPU.

    Anymore questions just ask
     
  4. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    [​IMG] All that money just for the Sims. Well here's the minimum requirements on the official site for the original game:
     
  5. Richard_T

    Richard_T Second Unit

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    Hi !
    This is Richard's Girlfriend...........
    We have 320 MB of RAM
    It's a shame to have spent all of this money on this game and the last two expansion packs are useless to me as I just can not handle the lag... [​IMG]
    I see absolutely NO difference in game play from the 16MB video card over the 64MB. It looks the same and performs the same...SLOW [​IMG]
    We took a recent poll on a Sims forum that I frequent and we discovered a pattern....those people running the Sims on Windows XP seem to have the worst performance. My game takes anywhere from 15-25 minutes to load....I know people that take up to 2 hours!!! It could be from all of the additional downloads from fan sites.....I have about 5,000 files!!
    The total size of my Sims game alone is 2 Gig !!!! [​IMG]
    I think if I don't do something soon, my poor computer is gonna have a meltdown! LOL I'm not sure what to upgrade now?? The Video Card made no difference so I'm doubtful that a faster processor will either....My motherboard can only handle up to a 900 Mhz. I'd hate to get into even more expense to upgrade the motherboard now too!!.....
    Any more suggestions Guys!
    Thanks a bunch!
     
  6. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    The only other thing I can think of is to defragment the hard drive (although I'm sure you've done that already) to speed up data access. The only thing that would really make a huge difference at this point would probably be upgrading the CPU. Since the AI does a LOT of calculations, the number of operations that can be performed by the processor would be the limiting factor here. Unfortunately, a new CPU would probably mean a new MB and RAM, since all those have changed spec as well (as I just found out in my last upgrade).

    2Gb for a savegame? Is this normal?
     
  7. Richard_T

    Richard_T Second Unit

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    Oh yeah............it's VERY normal! LOL

    I've downloaded about 5,000 new objects off the net! I'm addicted! LOL When I say 2GB, that is the actual size of the Sims folder on my hard drive (this contains all of my objects and it has to load these each time I play)
     
  8. Jeff Lehr

    Jeff Lehr Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got that same card and I'm having the same problem you are. When playing Command and Conquer Renegade, it plays fine for the first few minutes, but gets choppy after that. Plus, it takes forever to load the game...sometimes as much as 5 minutes. I'm running it on a 1.1Ghz machine with XP, although the processor is a Celeron, and I have 128 Megs of memory.
    I would think my system should be fast enough to not have problems as severe as this, but I realize I probably do need a bit more memory.
    I read somewhere (on this forum, maybe?) that the Geforce MX cards ran slower than a Geforce3.
    I'm suspicious of the GeforceMX420, since I tried to install it on 4 other machines, and the only ones that it worked on was my 1.1Ghz Celeron with XP and a 233 running Windows 98.
    I tried installing on my 400Mhz Celeron running Windows 98, and it wouldn't even let the computer boot...didn't even get the POST screen.
    The other machine was a 1Ghz running Windows 2000 Pro. Here, it let it boot, but locked up about 98% into loading the desktop.
    I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but now I'm thinking it might have something to do with an inadequate power supply, maybe?
    Here is a quote from the manual that came with the card:

    "Your motherboard must be capable of providing adequate voltage to the AGP card. The AGP 2.0 specification requires 6A at 3.3V for the AGP socket and 2A at 5.0V for the AGP memory. The Visiontek Geforce will consume up to 6A at 3.3V and 2A at 5.0V when running video intensive applications such as 3D games."

    Since I have a PCI card, I'm not sure how much of this applies in my case, but it seems strange I can only get it to run in 2 out of 4 computers.
    If anyone has any ideas, I'd sure be willing to listen to them...

    JL

    P.S. I stuck in another 128 Meg stick of ram and now my game runs fine. Hard to believe, but maybe 320 Megs isn't enough to run the Sims???
     
  9. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    The stuff I will suggest are extremely technical in nature. If you don't know what BIOS means, or what an IRQ is...um, well, it would take me hours to explain it to you. [​IMG]
    1) Make sure you have the latest drivers for your video card and sound card.
    2) How much hard drive space do you have remaining? The rule of thumb is that you should have at least 20% of the total space free. If you have less than that, defragging the hard drive will take a very very long time (pray you don't get a power failure when it is defragging, otherwise be ready to kiss all your data goodbye!). Also, being low on hard drive space will make the computer work harder when running applications.
    3) Your video card and your sound card should have their very own dedicated IRQ (not shared with any other card). Otherwise, chances are you will see stuttering in audio and video as the cards start fighting over the one IRQ resource. This is one of the hardest problems to fix, so try the other suggestions first...
    4) Are you unknowingly running spyware or adware? Kazaa and other file-sharing programs typically run these spyware programs that really mess up your computer...slowing it down to a crawl. If you install crap, your computer will run like crap!
    5) Try closing any unused programs before launching the game. Anything that turns your mouse pointer into a cute fluffy animal, for example, is probably something you don't want running. [​IMG]
    6) You've got a hell of a lot of add-ons for your game...that is probably causing some kind of slowdown. If you can disable or uninstall the stuff you don't use, it might help. Although, try defragging the harddrive first.
    BTW, what is the speed of your computer, and what kind of CPU is it? 384 megs of RAM sounds good enough for The Sims to me, but if your CPU is still in the stone age, it ain't gonna run very fast. [​IMG]
     
  10. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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  11. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    Again I will say it again, the Sims is very CPU reliant. And then with having 2GBs of Data that the game loads, you will need lots of fast RAM and a fast HD. Just think of upgraded your PC as investment in your Sims future, especially when The Sims Online comes out and you are not only downloading your stuff, but other peoples items.
     
  12. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I don't see you specify what OS you are using but from what has been said I'll guess you are running xp.

    So don't forget that in win2k and xp processes are assigned priorities. If you load taskmanager and go to the processes tab you can right click processes and change their priorities. You can also use batch files to load programs with particular priority levels.

    However, whatever you do, don't set anything to the highest priority.
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    C&C Renegade has a bug which causes long loading. Check EA's webpage for details/patches
     
  14. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    I stuck in another 128 Meg stick of ram and now my game runs fine. Hard to believe, but maybe 320 Megs isn't enough to run the Sims???

    If your game is studdering and the disk is constantly being accessed, then the problem is most definately caused by the memory being full and the hard drive's swap space constantly being accessed (something you do NOT want to happen if you value speed). Take what actions you can to reduce memory usage (closing other programs, etc), and if needed add more memory.

    Windows machines come with a system monitor that can tell you how much memory you are using (usually under Accessories->System tools). Open it up and see how you fare. You can tell it to monitor total memory usage, as well as swap space activity. With it open, just watch what happens when you open up Sims and play it, and you'll get a good idea of exactly where the bottleneck is.
     
  15. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Oh, like Graeme said, be sure to DISABLE any anti-virus programs when playing any kind of game. Virus checkers are notorious for turning your expensive new PC into an expensive new doorstop. Friends don't let friends play computer games with an anti-virus program running! That's just cruel and inhumane!
     
  16. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I'd be very wary of any game's minimum specs. The almost always border on outright deception. They don't really represent what it takes to run the game with any semblance of playability. A better measure is the recomended specs.
     
  17. Dave_Olds

    Dave_Olds Stunt Coordinator

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    I ran this game on a PII 450 w/128mb ram and a 16mb Voodoo card with very little problems in choppiness....I would attribute this mostly to XP based on what I have seen.....

    There is a reasonable amount of tweaking you can do to make it run better in the options. But myself, I always had it almost to the limit of details, etc and never had any real problematic issues using the above machine and WIN98....

    You may want to check in the sims mailing list "Simwatch" - there are some program designers & other technical savvy people who have likely witnessed this problem and have ideas on how to solve it....Check on Yahoogroups this group. They are extremely active and helpful - answers in a matter of hours at the longest....

    HTH,
    Dave
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    A P3 450 with a Voodoo 3 AGP card runs older games very well, including UT. I recently replaced my V3 with an ATI Radeon VE, and the UT performance is about the same (except I use 32 bit color now).

    Since the Sims is not as graphically intense as UT and other FPS games, I'm very dubious that the video card is, or was, the problem. As others said, look to other computer issues.

    Also, you mentioned "lag". Is this an online problem only? Or does the game stutter when playing offline?
     
  19. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    No offense, but you would have been MUCH better off buying a Geforce 3 (either ti200 or 500 or plain old G3) then the Geforce 4(mx series)
    The geforece 4 mx series provides less performance then the G3 line of cards. Nvidia pulled a fast one on a lot of people with the screwy naming of the geforce 4 cards.

    As stated above, you will need to go much faster then a 450. That is technology that is a good 7 yrs old.

    You can buy an AMD 1.3Ghz duron and an ecs k7s5a for $120 or so and you will have a nice upgrade.
     
  20. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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