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View Full Version : Birthday looms, out of my depth, please help!


C0ldf1re
05-04-2011, 03:29 PM
Having worked with computers for 20+ years, my wife thinks I ought to know a lot... But I know nothing about this problem... And I'm in big trouble unless I solve it!

My son is coming up to his 15th birthday. He is the Leader of a "clan" playing an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game with a lot of graphics.

I know very little about the gaming side of computing.

My son complains that the game goes too slow on his PC. It is an old Dell E520, but upgraded to 3GB RAM and Windows 7, with a new mid-range graphics card some 2.5 years ago. Our internet connection is a standard home one.

My wife (who knows about as much about computers as I know about the anatomy of a penguin) is determined to buy him a new notebook for about $500. I think that, far from solving the problem, it would make things worse.

My son is guessing that a better (and far more expensive) broadband connection would solve things, but I am not convinced.

My guess is that a very good new graphics card would be the best answer.

Please help with impartial advice! My family will never respect me if I get this wrong.

Peaceful
05-04-2011, 03:44 PM
You can go here http://www.speedtest.net/ to test your internet speed.

Vicenarian
05-04-2011, 03:50 PM
what MMO, and what are the system requirements for it?

TimJacobs
05-04-2011, 03:54 PM
Having worked with computers for 20+ years, my wife thinks I ought to know a lot... But I know nothing about this problem... And I'm in big trouble unless I solve it!

My son is coming up to his 15th birthday. He is the Leader of a "clan" playing an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game with a lot of graphics.

I know very little about the gaming side of computing.

My son complains that the game goes too slow on his PC. It is an old Dell E520, but upgraded to 3GB RAM and Windows 7, with a new mid-range graphics card some 2.5 years ago. Our internet connection is a standard home one.

My wife (who knows about as much about computers as I know about the anatomy of a penguin) is determined to buy him a new notebook for about $500. I think that, far from solving the problem, it would make things worse.

My son is guessing that a better (and far more expensive) broadband connection would solve things, but I am not convinced.

My guess is that a very good new graphics card would be the best answer.

Please help with impartial advice! My family will never respect me if I get this wrong.

1) What is the Game?
2) What is the Processor on the desktop?
3) What is your internet speed?
4) 32 bit or 64 bit Win7 and which version of windows is on the desktop?
4) Check the Ping - go to http://pingtest.net to check your ping. ( you can have 100mb speed but if your ping isn't there then the gaming will still suck)
6) What are specs on the Laptop?

Check that out and let us know.......

C0ldf1re
05-04-2011, 04:04 PM
Many thanks for the quick replies!

You can go here http://www.speedtest.net/ to test your internet speed.

The results were: Download speed 15.08 Mbps and Upload speed 0.86 Mbps.

what MMO, and what are the system requirements for it?

It is Fallen Earth (http://www.fallenearth.com/). Here are the System Requirements (http://www.fallenearth.com/node/16), which include recommended nVidia GeForce 8800GTS.

The box his graphics card came in says PNY GeForce9 9500GT. It does say nVidia partner, too.

I'm afraid the graphics card specs mean nothing to me! Is 9500 better than 8800, or is GTS better than GT? Or do I have it all wrong?

(Love your inspiring sig!)

wimwauters
05-04-2011, 04:16 PM
The bandwidth speed you've got should be plenty, but there's latency to worry about too.

Haven't they got a latency tool on the Fallen Earth website?

thebige
05-04-2011, 04:18 PM
Also, is it slow all the time or only when there is a lot of things going on?

For instance, I used to play World of Warcraft and I would almost always experience a slow down when I got around a large crowd of other players, like in towns and such and when I was in a fight with tons of NPCs around. Otherwise it clipped along just fine.

C0ldf1re
05-04-2011, 04:21 PM
... Haven't they got a latency tool on the Fallen Earth website?

Also, is it slow all the time or only when there is a lot of things going on?...

Thanks, guys. I'll have to ask him when he gets home from school!

Ccomp5950
05-04-2011, 05:07 PM
More than likely your best upgrade path is a video card.

Like others say if your latency is good (ping 4.2.2.2 and if it's below 150ms) you are fine.

I tend to buy "last years best" video cards, they are cheap power horses. I've only ever splurged one other time and wasn't as impressed.

Find you a current video card in the 100-120 dollar range and you shouldn't have to upgrade for the lifetime of that computer.

C0ldf1re
05-04-2011, 05:41 PM
4) Check the Ping - go to http://pingtest.net to check your ping. ( you can have 100mb speed but if your ping isn't there then the gaming will still suck)


Pingtest.net says 17ms ping and 2ms jitter (I don't know what that is!)

Speedtest.net says 19 ms ping.

Some of your other questions were answered when I edited my earlier post, and some answers I still have to discover.

Like others say if your latency is good (ping 4.2.2.2 and if it's below 150ms) you are fine...

"ping 4.2.2.2"? Sorry, no idea what that means! (OK. Found it!)

kevinjhaag
05-04-2011, 06:14 PM
Having worked with computers for 20+ years, my wife thinks I ought to know a lot... But I know nothing about this problem... And I'm in big trouble unless I solve it!.

Really? Are you a Technician? Or are you joking about not knowing the PING command?. Just curious. I'm not into the gaming side of computers but I can find plenty of information on the Internet to troubleshoot this.
You can download some freeware to help too. You can reduce the amount of services and background processes that are running. Check the firewall, port forwarding, etc.. It depends on the kind of slowness that you are talking about. Freeze frames? You can reduce the settings for the game in the game itself. Update video card drivers with latest. Update DirectX and other video software technologies. Look in task manager and see how hard computer is running to play game. Is CPU ultilization at 90% to 100% and any FREE RAM? If its running in virtual memory (pagefile) then it will probably slow down.
I think more of the same as thebige has mentioned unless it is actually the computer. That you'll experience slow downs when theres a large crowd of other players on the server and the game servers are getting close to being overloaded. Since your kid gets on probably at the same times as any other kid on this planet. It could be possible. Just remember, It happens and you can't do anything about it. Well that's my 2cents. Let us know if you get it and tell us what resolved it. Good Luck!

C0ldf1re
05-04-2011, 06:51 PM
... Are you a Technician? Or are you joking about not knowing the PING command?...


Software engineer mainly, C++ etc. But I didn't know enough about ping, etc. If I ever did ping 4.2.2.2, I had forgotten about it. I've just done it, with the results: Minimum 27ms, Maximum 39ms, Average 30ms. (And I still don't know enough to know whether that is a good result.)


... services ... Freeze frames?... Update video card drivers... DirectX ... CPU ultilization ... FREE RAM...


Thanks. Lots of pointers for things to check! That'll keep me busy.


... you'll experience slow downs when theres a large crowd of other players on the server and the game servers are getting close to being overloaded...


Yes. I'm afraid there may be no good answer except to say that the game supplier needs a better server!


... Well that's my 2cents...


And worth a lot more than that! Thanks for sharing your expert knowledge for free.


... Good Luck!


And many thanks again!

anonymous Mac Tech
05-04-2011, 07:30 PM
Also, check the games forums for latency issues. These people play the game everyday and there might be known issues. A game I play all the time is plagued with latency/hit detection issues. For example, they implemented a lag compensation mechanism that is supposed even things out so players with a superior connection will not dominate others with lesser connections. Many claim this is broken and actually favors the players with slower speeds. Also there is a big issue with the best connections being host and the hosts hit detection being the worst. So many players that wind up being host will instantly leave a game.

But at the same time it doesn't matter the rig your running, or connection speed. Lag is a part of a gamers life. You just try to minimize it as much as you have control over.

Ccomp5950
05-04-2011, 07:47 PM
A game I play all the time is plagued with latency/hit detection issues. For example, they implemented a lag compensation mechanism that is supposed even things out so players with a superior connection will not dominate others with lesser connections.

What game is this, I'll be sure to avoid it.

anonymous Mac Tech
05-04-2011, 08:34 PM
What game is this, I'll be sure to avoid it.

Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Vicenarian
05-04-2011, 09:51 PM
Just looked at the game site...you sure you want your kid playing that? Gruesome much?

Anyway, here's what I would recommend to improve your overall computer/gaming experience:

Download Trackmania Nations Free


Seriously though, 9500GT < 8800GT = 9800GT/AMD HD5670 = GTS250 < GTX450 < GTX460 < GTX560ti < AMD HD6990 :D

And you will probably need a bigger power supply if you go with anything above a 9800GT because Dell PSUs are notoriously underpowered (250W or so) and a decent video card needs 400W at minimum.

I can guarantee one thing though: an HD6990 would run the game VERY smoothly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjh8zerBbs8


Edit: HD5670 doesn't require a PCI-E power conn. so it might run on a Dell PSU

Methical
05-04-2011, 10:49 PM
Call of Duty: Black Ops.

On what platform do you play? I just bought it for PC last month..

C0ldf1re
05-05-2011, 04:55 AM
Just looked at the game site...you sure you want your kid playing that? Gruesome much?...

Have you ever tried stopping a teenager playing a game?

... Seriously though, 9500GT < 8800GT = 9800GT...


I must know. Is there any logic why the lower number card is better than the higher number card?

... HD5670 doesn't require a PCI-E power conn. so it might run on a Dell PSU

Thanks. I'll look at the prices.

Vicenarian
05-05-2011, 02:15 PM
Have you ever tried stopping a teenager playing a game?



I must know. Is there any logic why the lower number card is better than the higher number card?



Thanks. I'll look at the prices.

Haha yes, I have tried stopping a teenager from playing a game, by blocking the IPs of his game servers. Works every time. :)


Nvidia cards have a funny naming scheme...recently it's like this:

The "thousand" generation cards:
- 6000 series (6200, 6600, 6800, etc.)
- 7000 series (7200, 7600, etc.)
- 8000 series (8600, 8800, etc.)
- 9000 series (9200, 9600, 9800, etc.)

After that it was the 200 series, GTS240, 250, 280, 290, etc.

Then it was the 400 series, GT420, GTX460, 480, etc.

Now it is the 500 series for Nvidia, GTX560ti, GTX 590, etc.. etc.


AMD has a somewhat similar naming scheme, currently the 5000 and 6000 series are in mass availability. Generally, in each series, a higher number indicates a more powerful card, hence why the HD5670 is less powerful than a HD5770.

C0ldf1re
05-05-2011, 03:54 PM
Haha yes, I have tried stopping a teenager from playing a game, by blocking the IPs of his game servers. Works every time. :)...


And then he gives his mother grief because, "It doesn't work." Then she comes back to me demanding a fix!


... Nvidia cards have a funny naming scheme...


That was helpful. I don't feel so helpless now I understand! Thanks.

TopLevelComp
05-05-2011, 05:26 PM
I think people need to stop worrying about what other parents let their kids play :D


With games, a CPU upgrade is the best place to start.

Play the game and see if the CPU is being maxed out at all times. If it is, upgrade to a newer CPU. If it isn't, try FRAPs, and see if it's the FPS (Frames Per Second) that's low, if it is, it could be memory or video card. If they are constant and above 30 (30 is playable), next would be internet, but you have plenty of speed.

My bet is on the CPU.

TopLevelComp
05-05-2011, 05:40 PM
This is what I'd get for the $500 the wife is wanting to spend on a laptop.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=16046845

That will give him PLENTY of power, great choices for upgrading down the line and also the life span. What I mean is AMD is saying the new Bulldozer CPUs will work on the AM3 motherboards (After a BIOS flash.)

C0ldf1re
05-05-2011, 06:10 PM
I think people need to stop worrying about what other parents let their kids play :D...


I just love "knowing best" about other people's kids. Their problems always sound easier than my kids'!!!


... With games, a CPU upgrade is the best place to start. Play the game and see if the CPU is being maxed out at all times. If it is, upgrade to a newer CPU...


I'll get him to run Task Manager to see CPU usage.


... If it isn't, try FRAPs...


The FRAPS (http://www.fraps.com/) software seems really fun. I'd never heard of it before.

This is what I'd get for the $500 the wife is wanting to spend on a laptop... http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=16046845 ... That will give him PLENTY of power, great choices for upgrading down the line and also the life span. What I mean is AMD is saying the new Bulldozer CPUs will work on the AM3 motherboards (After a BIOS flash.)

Wow! I'm really impressed... and scared. I should have said that I'm really a software engineer, and even changing a graphics card stretches me to my limits!

TopLevelComp
05-05-2011, 06:45 PM
I just love "knowing best" about other people's kids. Their problems always sound easier than my kids'!!!
:D

I'll get him to run Task Manager to see CPU usage.
Ask him to do it in several places. One in a very popular spot, and one that isn't, very little people, some NPCs. What your wanting to do is to see if it's certain spots, or if it's all the time. World of Warcraft for instance, you can have a monster of a machine, but some spots, no matter what, just bog the system down.


The FRAPS (http://www.fraps.com/) software seems really fun. I'd never heard of it before.
It's a great program for monitoring FPS in games. I use it all the time.



Wow! I'm really impressed... and scared. I should have said that I'm really a software engineer, and even changing a graphics card stretches me to my limits!
You'll be fine. As long as you can don't force things into place, you'll be ok :D

If you feel uncomfortable with something, take a step back, and see what's going on.

anonymous Mac Tech
05-05-2011, 06:47 PM
On what platform do you play? I just bought it for PC last month..

Sorry it took so long to respond, but I play it on the xbox360. I've always played first person shooters with a controller. It's hard to ween myself off that at this point. Plus, hardware wise, everyone is on an even playing field (unless they have a modded console) besides their connection and quality of video on their TV or monitor.