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Old 07-26-2004, 19:26   #1
Gunmeister
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P/C Game crashes

This is probably very academic to those of you who are computer literate, I am not. Having said that please offer any advice in kindergarten language for this 68 year old duffer.
Being a former helicopter combat aircrewman, back in the day of Nam, I very much enjoy the combat "shoot 'em up" type P/C games like Novalogics' Comanche 4. My problem is when I'm really into the game and I am "attacking" the "enemy". The game goes along fine but will suddenly crash, if I am firing the guns, they will keep firing uncommanded, I loose control of the game and it runs wildly until it eventually shuts itself down. On other games like EA's Battlefield 1942, the action is erratic at times and there is a lot of stop and go and hesitation or lag.
My P/C, a Dell Dimension 4600 has their standard Intel Extreme Graphics 2 video card. My Grandson tells me that card is very inadequate and that is my problem. He tells me I need to upgrade to something like a 128MB DDR ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Graphics Card which costs about $200.
Someone please interpret this for me and is my P/C whizz Grandson steering me on the right track? I have ordered that card from Dell, I hope I haven't wasted my money.
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Old 07-26-2004, 21:14   #2
NetNinja
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Is this your machine?
http://reviews.cnet.com/Dell_Dimensi...-30529709.html

In the world of cars 'How fast you want to go is indicative of how much money you have to spend.

In the world of PC gamming you should build your own computer and be prepared to spend money to get the latest and greatest.

Allthough a smart PC savy dude doesn't necessarily need to spend a fortune to build an ultimate gamming system.

I don't know if your machine has an AGP graphics port. Otherwise you are getting a PCI based graphics card.

In english this means that on higer end machines they have a slot specifically desgined and optimized to take advantage of the bus speed of the AGP port.

Short for Accelerated Graphics Port, an interface specification developed by Intel Corporation. AGP is based on PCI, but is designed especially for the throughput demands of 3-D graphics. Rather than using the PCI bus for graphics data, AGP introduces a dedicated point-to-point channel so that the graphics controller can directly access main memory. The AGP channel is 32 bits wide and runs at 66 MHz. This translates into a total bandwidth of 266 MBps, as opposed to the PCI bandwidth of 133 MBps. AGP also supports two optional faster modes, with throughputs of 533 MBps and 1.07 GBps. In addition, AGP allows 3-D textures to be stored in main memory rather than video memory.


If you don't have an AGP port manufactures make a PCI based graphics card that will slide into any open PCI slot.

PCI is a 64-bit bus, though it is usually implemented as a 32-bit bus. It can run at clock speeds of 33 or 66 MHz. At 32 bits and 33 MHz, it yields a throughput rate of 133 MBps.


So in laymans terms AGP is better. I don't think you have wasted your money. You have to pay to play!

If some of these terms confuse you it's time you learn how to use Google and start catching up on some of the tech terms.

http://www.howstuffworks.com/
is a good website.
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Old 07-26-2004, 21:15   #3
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you're probably running "onboard" video. By this I mean the video "card" is not really a card, it is integrated into the motherboard (mainboard). The video card that was recomended to you is very nice. I run one just like it. It is a seperate video card that plugs into the AGP slot on your motherboard. It will run your flight sims very well.

you have not wasted your money.
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Old 07-26-2004, 22:34   #4
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Sounds like two separate problems. First, the current graphics you have are onboard and do share memory with the computer itself. By buying the new graphics card, you will be able to play the games you like and will also speed up your computer some in general since it will now be able to take advatage of the full amount of memory. As a side note, you do have a AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) and the card will be worth it.

The problem with the crashes could be due to the graphics card but sounds more like a problem with another program trying to run at the same time. Some games have problems with other programs running, even in the background. Therefore it is often good to make sure that anything you can do without is no longer running before you start the game.

Jeff
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Old 07-26-2004, 23:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by jilverthor
The problem with the crashes could be due to the graphics card but sounds more like a problem with another program trying to run at the same time. Some games have problems with other programs running, even in the background. Therefore it is often good to make sure that anything you can do without is no longer running before you start the game.

Jeff
bingo!

if it's crashing, the problem is probably software (likely, running in the background maybe even programs you didn't intend to install a.k.a. spyware).

also it might be drivers (may want to check dell's website).
or the games, or operating system may need to be upgraded.

usually, if the programs run too slowly, upgrade hardware.
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Old 07-27-2004, 05:31   #6
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I really appreciate all of your comments.
If I have a McAfee firewall running in the backround, could this cause my problem? If I disable it while playing games won't I leave my P/C open for virus attack via the DSL? Musicmatch Jukebox, Quicktime, Dell Alerts and my printer drivers appear to be turned on when booting the P/C.
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Old 07-27-2004, 08:27   #7
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McAfee running in the background could be what causes problems. But as you said it leaves your computer unprotected if that is disabled so it would be best to keep that up and running. As for the other things some of them could be exited before starting. I would suggest that you do that with musicmatch jukebox and also quicktime. I am not entirely sure what Dell alerts are so that might be good to keep running at least at first and finally the printer drivers should be causing no problems at all. In general I have found that the biggest culprits are programs that can either pop up a new window on their own or programs that can make sound (instant messenger is a perfect example).

Also, by keeping musicmatch jukebox and quicktime from booting at startup, the sytem should boot faster and run quicker overall.

Finally as was suggested earlier it would a good idea to check dell's website for any updates to your drivers.
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