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What kind of specs should a PC have to run CMx2 well?

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I'm interested in a sub-$900 off the shelf desktop for the sole purpose of playing CM.

Is that a reasonable price range? What kind of specs should I be looking for? How well would this $400 Dell system work?

  • Intel® Core™ i3-4170T Processor Dual-Core
  • 4GB memory
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU 2GB GDDR5


My principal machine right now is a 2015 MacBook - key specs are

  • 1.2 GHz Intel Core M
  • 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Intel HD Graphics 5300 1536 MB

"Medium" battles are tough to play to because the draw distance is so short - I can't see trees more than ~100 meters from the setup zone!
 

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I run on "better" settings at around 30 FPS (Nvidia settings helped a lot!) depending on the mission.

I have 

i7 @ 3.6 ghz
Nvidia 970M
16 GB RAM
Game installed on an SSD.  I haven't played CM on a different computer in a looong time so I can't really give you a good comparison.

 

Good luck!

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It might suffice. Clearly more $ would give better performance so here are somethings to think about:

12 hours ago, y77h66 said:

Is that a reasonable price range? What kind of specs should I be looking for? How well would this $400 Dell system work?

  • Intel® Core™ i3-4170T Processor Dual-Core
  • 4GB memory
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU 2GB GDDR5

 

CPUs:

CM is usually CPU bound (as long as you have a good enough graphics card you will get better mileage out of spending $ on a faster CPU) and you should favour higher speed cpu cores vs more cores. So for example you are better off with a faster i5 than a slower i7 that has more cores - for playing CM that is - clearly the i7 will excel at other applications.

 

Memory:

CM can use up to 4Gb of memory itself but that really only happens for large scenarios. So, 4Gb is workable but you will need to make sure you are not running much else and you might find large scenarios suffer a bit.

 

Graphics card:

You want to stick with Nvida cards over AMD and absolutely avoid Intel cards. CM uses OpenGL for drawing and Nvida does the best at handling OpenGL. Once you have a machine you can read up on posts like this for advice on setting up the card in post below.

As for the card itself, according to this http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/19/help-me-choose/hmc-aw-video-card the card in that machine is a GTX 950. That is pretty good. If you had a few more $ to spend I would put them towards more memory and a better CPU before a better Graphics card.

There is a small section on this FAQ thread dealing with performance if you want to read more.

 

 

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CM is definitely cpu heavy. I had a massive increase in fps when I overclocked my cpu. Anything past a 200 series Nvidia card will do you just fine. I'd never buy a 50 series card however. A 60 series typically has enough power to drive the games of it's generation just fine. I always buy used components also, you should be able to build a pc well under budget

Edited by Artkin

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Avoid AMD CPU's! Especially the FX generation ones. I have it and it sucks big time.

Get yourself a higher frequency core i5, 7th (i5 7600K) or current 8th generation (i5 8600K->low availability at the moment) . I don't know about AMD Ryzen cpu's (seen no feedback from any players sporting them) but I know their 1 core tasks churn out less then intel cpus so it is reasonable to assume they would perform worse then intel ones. As for GPU's, since summer the price of GPU's was rising a lot due to mining activities (much bigger demand for middle GPU performers, GTX 1060, AMD 580 but also very noticable with 1070 series). Same story with RAM.

Bottom line is I would wait until the prices drop for GPU's, RAM (crazy 40 to 50% overpaying for some models at the moment) and when the newest 8th generation i5's become more available. Their single core performance is awesome and they deliver a much smoother gaming experience as per (non CM) user reports. First signs of prices starting to fall are already here. I think the prime time to buy a new rig will be in February. I personally am awaiting until then to get me a new rig that will  be used the following 5 to 6 years. If you can't wait and you find a good deal now then by all means go for it.      

 

All that said since I don't personally sport Intel core i5 8600K I can't say for sure how the CM games will run on it. This CPU is the hottest new thing in their CPU line when it comes to money to performance ratio but only when you get it for up to 270 EUR, pay more and the deal is not so sweet - prices are rising for it due to biiig demand. I personally have it eyed myself. 

Good luck with your purchase. 

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Hmm... if Santa is nice and brings me a new MacBook Pro, I might migrate my Hackintosh to Win 7 (and get that out of it's current VM) to give it a go.

i7 3770k, 32GB RAM, 500GB SSD, nVidia GTX 660Ti - tech is a little old, but should have the horses to play -- I'll have to be selective about what games to buy... CMFI gets the most play time currently...

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Am thinking about a new high end gaming desktop for CM and flight sims etc.  Hate my Win 10 gaming laptop - it keeps telling me to allow cookies, and that I need to sign into my "MS Account" (whatever that is) for reasons I don't understand.  (First thing I did was get IT to make the Win 10 interface look like Win 7.) 

You think it's worth putting Win 7 OS on my new machine? 

Any downsides other than Win 7 will not have support in a few years?  (However, my understanding is that most computer users still use Win 7, so I don't see Win 7 going away in the foreseeable future.  And by then we'll have Win 15 and I can talk to the machine.)

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4 hours ago, herr_oberst said:

Hmm... if Santa is nice and brings me a new MacBook Pro, I might migrate my Hackintosh to Win 7 (and get that out of it's current VM) to give it a go.

i7 3770k, 32GB RAM, 500GB SSD, nVidia GTX 660Ti - tech is a little old, but should have the horses to play -- I'll have to be selective about what games to buy... CMFI gets the most play time currently...

CM games do not work on Macs with emulated Windows. Just a reminder in case this is what you meant to do.

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I just got an MS Surface Book 2 13" with i7 (8th gen) and nVidia 1050.  I am replacing my HP Omen laptop that had a slightly slower CPU (7th gen) and nVidia 940.  Both had SSDs and 16Mb of RAM.  The laptop ran CM very well with even large scenarios chugging away at over 20 FPS.  The SP2 is about 10% faster on the same scenarios, even though the CPU is theoretically only 5% faster.  I think its because all the components are optimized to operate much better together than in the HP laptop.

What is cool is the display pops off to be a tablet and it can play CM relatively well, even on its Intel GPU.  It is much slower but seems to run well.  Getting about 25 fps in medium-sized scenarios.  My old Surface Pro 4 could barely run small CM scenarios in comparison.

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I get the sense that Win 10 was designed for social media and to be like a smartphone - making it easier for companies market their crap to us rather than for work or playing games.

Am still waiting to hear a compelling reason why I should have to learn a new OS in order to do exactly what I already do in Win 7.

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2 minutes ago, Erwin said:

I get the sense that Win 10 was designed for social media and to be like a smartphone - making it easier for companies market their crap to us rather than for work or playing games.

Am still waiting to hear a compelling reason why I should have to learn a new OS in order to do exactly what I already do in Win 7.

That's some of the worst. Advertisements in my OS? These guys are crackheads. 

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My system is in my .sig ... I guess you say CM runs "ok", if you take in to account all the CM engine problems and what it is and isn't. It doesn't run "good" compared to the outside universe but it does, I suppose run well for CM.

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My desktop is quite old now (920@2.57GHz 24GB memory etc).  However, it still runs CM2 well as I had it made by XI Computers (of CA) and they do a very good job putting in good components and making sure everything syncs up perfectly to get the best possible machine speed/power.  I much prefer it over my far more powerful laptop (running Win 10).

Am in a quandary about a new top of the line desktop re the Win 7 vs Win 10 OS issue.

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My system is somewhat dated, but runs Cm2 just fine on best settings to my tastes. Running Win 8 Pro 64-bit, AMD FX-6100 (6 cores @ 3.3Ghz), 8 GB RAM, Gigabyte MoBo, nVidia 9800GT 512MB (yea it's super old but gets the job done)

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Resurrecting this old thread on specs and settings, plus some helpful pro tips @IanL linked to below. Cheers, Ian et al!

I am shopping for a CM2 machine as my old one won't run CMBN at all any more,  and certainly won't handle Ramadi SF2... 

 

On 11/24/2017 at 11:40 PM, IanL said:

Clearly more $ would give better performance so here are somethings to think about:

CPUs:

CM is usually CPU bound (as long as you have a good enough graphics card you will get better mileage out of spending $ on a faster CPU) and you should favour higher speed cpu cores vs more cores. So for example you are better off with a faster i5 than a slower i7 that has more cores - for playing CM that is - clearly the i7 will excel at other applications.

Memory:

CM can use up to 4Gb of memory itself but that really only happens for large scenarios. So, 4Gb is workable but you will need to make sure you are not running much else and you might find large scenarios suffer a bit.

Graphics card:

You want to stick with Nvida cards over AMD and absolutely avoid Intel cards. CM uses OpenGL for drawing and Nvida does the best at handling OpenGL. Once you have a machine you can read up on posts like this for advice on setting up the card in post below.

As for the card itself, according to this http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/19/help-me-choose/hmc-aw-video-card the card in that machine is a GTX 950. That is pretty good. If you had a few more $ to spend I would put them towards more memory and a better CPU before a better Graphics card.

There is a small section on this FAQ thread dealing with performance if you want to read more.

 

 

On 1/19/2016 at 9:45 PM, Thewood1 said:

For a desktop, AMD is not really an issue.  But in laptops, if you have the money go with Intel and Nvidia...that is the conclusion.

btw, the AMD backend cores are not full cores.  Hence my comments about the issues with AMD's definition of a core.  The AMD backend cores look like full physical cores, but have limited functional capability.  SO the extra cores over an Intel are fully usable only for certain things.

On 1/19/2016 at 9:19 PM, c3k said:

AMD =did= have some driver issues. So did Nvidia. (Whereas AMD's caused some stuttering, especially (particularly?) with multi-card setups, Nvidia's driver snafu famously caused their video cards to melt! Yet, Nvidia's fanbase glosses over that. ;) I'm agnostic. I run both.) Current AMD driver series, "Crimson", is very good. So is Nvidia's.

AMD gives more brute horsepower, cheaper. Think big-block Trans Am, versus Porsche. Both go fast. One is cheaper, louder, etc., the other is expensive, and uses more refined engineering to get better performance.

(At ~$300-350 price point, AMD offers the R9 390, 8GB GPU. It can run 1440 pretty well. Tests show it using ~285 Watts. For the same money, Nvidia offers the GTX970. They advertise 4GB of vram, but famously lied. It's really 3.5GB + .5GB of slower ram. (This causes stuttering in some circumstances when graphics require more than 3.5GB of memory (vs. the r9 390's 8GB).) The GTX970 is not as capable at 1440. It can run it, but not at the same settings or fps as the R9 390 8GB. At 1080, they run the same. However, the GTX970 only uses about 160 Watts. If less heat is important, then GTX970 wins. However, if you run 2560x1440, and want 60 fps, then the GTX970 will force you to lower your graphics settings. The R9 390 can run maxed settings at 2560x1440/60fps.)

AMD cpus have more cores. An 8 core AMD actually has 8 cores. An intel "hyperthreaded" processor can run 8 threads, but only has 4 cores.

If you do multicore, cpu-intensive, tasks (video editing is the usual example), AMD cpus generally do better. Otherwise, Intel.

AMD is cheaper, hotter. For a laptop, I'd go intel, purely for the cooling requirements. Ditto the video card: nvidia runs cooler than amd (lower TDP for similar performance). In a desktop, it doesn't matter. Just put another fan in the case.

Nvidia has seemingly relegated OpenGL (which CM uses) to a back room. AMD seems to have done the same, but visits less often.

Most games (not CM) are GPU limited. CM puts more stress on the memory/cpu architecture. An i5 would be overkill for most games, these days. 

 

On 1/5/2016 at 11:11 PM, c3k said:

Performance related.

I've been building gaming rigs for, well, too long. My best one was very expensive. I built it purely for high fps. The GPU had a cooling loop which I filled with unicorn blood (everyone knows it has the best thermodynamic properties for this purpose): the CPU was a hand-built, one-off, quantum processor which only worked when the wormhole was stable. My family had weekly "No food Thursday" so I could pay the electric bill when I turned it on. (Of course, due to the power issue, I built a Faraday cage around the house. Duh.) When I sat in front of that monitor, boy, could I tell how smooth the gameplay was. Far better than the other "normal" rigs I had. My wife didn't see the difference the insanely high fps made, but she wasn't trained to see it. (And, of course, only had a woman's eye.)

250 fps was far better than a pedestrian 60 fps. Really. I could tell.

;)

In my opinion, consistent frame rate is far more important than maximum framerate. I run all my CM installs fully maxed, frequently filled with high-def mods.

I have capped the fps at 30. I get consistent smoothness. When it flexed from 60 down to 30, yeah, I'd see/feel the lag. But a constant 30 is silky smooth. Would a constant 60 be smoother than a constant 30? Yeah, probably. But not so much that it would matter...for this game. For those with lagginess, try opening your GPU's control panel software and capping your fps. You may be pleasantly surprised at how well the game plays.

 

On 1/9/2016 at 9:03 PM, Hister said:

Draw distances are affected on my rig when capping the FPS - I just made a test.

Used the same ingame option settings and went into the same saved game, used the same screen capture point from the same level height but first time used the "Half refresh rate for Vertical Synch" (30 FPS cap) in my Nvidia panel and then went with the "Use the 3D application setting". 

With the 30 FPS cap the drawing distance was shorter then without it. Attaching photos below. 

Ingame option settings (remained the same throughout the test):

2eb4le8.jpg

Drawing distance with Half refresh rate for Vertical Synch (30 FPS cap):

r2qa8x.jpg

Drawing distance without the half refresh rate (ie FPS not capped):

34s5qnn.jpg

Comparing the two screenshots you can see the drawing distance before the terrain switches to low resolution textures is quite shorter when you cap FPS to 30. The plus is though that the game is stuttering less and is more responsive to mouse commands (going up and down the height levels is particularly less responsive when the game is not capped) . 

How do I set the FPS to 31 in order to avoid shorter drawing distances? I have Nvidia card. 

 

On 12/25/2015 at 7:04 PM, Paulus said:

You could try adjusting the 3D Model Quality, this can be done in-game by 'Alt-[' and  'Alt-]'. This setting changes the radius where high quality stuff (various grasses, distant tree's etc.) is rendered in. I find that each map has his own 'sweet-spot' depending on the map and number of units. 

 

On 12/29/2015 at 3:19 AM, MikeyD said:

Low framerate? Go into the Options menu and select low tree detail, which does little more than stop the trees from blowing in the wind.... Go into your graphics card option and back off on anti-aliasing a couple notches. 

Also, which title are you talking about? Closely bocaged CMBN maps take a bite out of processing, an issue that CMFI, CMFB. CMBS and CMRT don't have.

On 1/6/2016 at 11:53 PM, Pak40 said:

I used to be a fickler for running CMBN at the highest graphics settings but I found that the denser larger maps with lots of units would chug a little. I experimented with going down to the next lowest graphics level (I forget the setting name). It improved the smoothness a lot - no more chug. And I tried several times to spot the graphical differences between the two settings - I couldn't see any difference, so I've kept it that second highest setting. 

 

On 1/12/2016 at 9:51 AM, Macisle said:

A few months ago, I took a crack at taking a stock QB map and making it into more of a realistic city map. By "realistic" I mean more dense, with taller buildings. So, I started pumping up the buildings to level 5 and there was a noticeable increase in lag seemingly per building. I think I gave up at 6 buildings total because I would have had to drop my settings too low to facilitate the map I had in my head.

So, if my recollection is correct, I'd say that having modular buildings of 5+ levels in height has perhaps the largest impact on frame rate that I have seen and very much outweighs the impact of having a large number of lower buildings.

The impact of building height is certainly much more than that of trees -- which aren't really that bad on my system. I guess it makes sense in that each level adds LOS work for the CPU, and that work is likely more complex than with trees themselves.

I know that scenario in CMBS and it's the only CMx2 scenario where I had to drop my settings WAY down.

 

On 1/12/2016 at 1:55 PM, Battlefront.com said:

Foliage is one of those things which seems to be more of a hit to some than others.  But for sure everybody's FPS would go up if we used something like SpeedTree.  Those of you who play foliage heavy scenarios at reasonable framerates would free up speed for other things.

Buildings are nasty things for the virtual environment.  They contain more polygons than you think because of the windows, doors, floors, roofs, and need to make them appear 3D (i.e. there are interior walls too).  For sure there's all kinds of tricks with these things in terms of what is hitting the CPU/GPU at one time, but there's still more going on there than you might think.  I also suspect, though am not sure, that the visual blocking nature of tall buildings has an impact on redrawing speeds.

However, buildings are nasty for another reason... LOS.  Think of how different and more complicated a 5 story building with a couple dozen windows is compared to a rock or a bunch of trees in terms of LOS.  Then think of the poor CPU and RAM having to deal with that difference.

I've made a note of the building factor, though it's probably like trees in that some people are fine and others are hammered by them.

Steve

 

Edited by LongLeftFlank

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Hi Long Left Flank. 

I am getting my new rig next week and will report back how it handles it. i7 8700k, MSI 1070 Ti Gaming, Asrock Extreme 4 motherboard, 8gb of 3.000 MHz RAM, Samsung evo SSD. If you can wait until then with your purchase... :D

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On ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 1:38 PM, Artkin said:

That's some of the worst. Advertisements in my OS? These guys are crackheads. 

I've been on Win 10 for probably 3 years now.  No I don't get all those advertisements.  Not even sure where that idea comes from.  It runs well, no issues with CM

 

On ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 1:35 PM, Erwin said:

I get the sense that Win 10 was designed for social media and to be like a smartphone - making it easier for companies market their crap to us rather than for work or playing games.

Not exactly correct, but close.

One of Windows 10's most notable features is support for universal apps, an expansion of the Metro-style apps first introduced in Windows 8. Universal apps can be designed to run across multiple Microsoft product families with nearly identical code‍—‌including PCs, tablets, smartphones, embedded systems, Xbox One, Surface Hub and Mixed Reality. The Windows user interface was revised to handle transitions between a mouse-oriented interface and a touchscreen-optimized interface based on available input devices‍—‌particularly on 2-in-1 PCs

It is actually called smart business.  App designers I am sure appreciate it and that is a part of our lives now.  I have apps for my bank, my insurance company, my BBQ grill thermometer (yeah that is way cool, blue tooth enabled and I can sit in the living room while monitoring the temp of that steak on the grill).  My supermarket etc etc  and oh yeah my Skynet monitoring probe.

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2 hours ago, Erwin said:

Well clearly that's a must have.  But, am convinced people will one day regret using internet banking.

Luddite.  :P Internet banking is just banking period.  Some people already regret it.  Others like myself love it.  I almost never have to fill out paper checks anymore.  I can get alerts on any odd usage of my account, I can get reporting on how I spend my money to identify if I am getting a little out of line in how I spend....which mostly shows around my wine purchases.  I don't even need to bring my ATM card to the machine anymore.  Security is an issue, but it is the banks issue.  I have had my account hacked once last winter.  I identified it, contacted my bank, secured my account and got all the money back almost immediately.  Pre internet that might have been a lot harder to do.

The introduction of multi factor authentication lately helps to make it a little more secure.  I am just waiting for the chip implants so I don't have to carry a phone, cash or card anymore.

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@sburke My start menu was riddled with advertisements until I started ripping apart my windows to make it similar to windows 7. Often times there were Forza advertisements, and other useless trash I have no interest in. They turned the windows search into an instant web search (WTF were they thinking???). Very likely to persuade people to buy things. 

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