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Benefits of Video Card Upgrade


uhduck
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As a relative CM newbie and computer novice, I have a question for the forum. I have a 2 year old Compaq: 300MHZ PII with the original video card (ATI 3D Rage LT Pro with 2MB video memory). I haven't upgraded anything except to Directx7.0a. To me, CM seems to run fine at 640x480 (I have a small monitor). There even appears to be fog in the "Fear in the Fog" scenario, although it looks more like you are looking through a piece of gauze than actual fog. With all of the video card problems I have seen on this forum, should I be satisfied? What are the potential benefits of a video card upgrade that would be worth the risks involved in making the change considering my lack of computer tech skills?

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A different video card could give you sharper/smoother graphics (a low amount of graphics memory will limit the quality of the textures that CM puts up on the screen). You could also get some faster performance, but that will be tied to your current CPU and you may not get all the benefits that users of the same card get with faster CPUs. It's hard to quantify how much of a performance gain in CM that you'll see. It would be noticeable, but I'm not sure how much (especially at a low resolution). If you intend to run at a higher resolution than you are currently, you'll probably notice a large speed increase (over trying to run a higher resolution with your current video chip).

You will probably have to check your documentation, Compaq or open up your Compaq yourself to check whether you have an AGP slot or not. This will affect which cards you can purchase.

I'm surprised that you're getting fog effects with an ATI chipset on a PC. I wonder if you have really old drivers or something to that effect. The fog should appear as a gray haziness in the distance; partially obscuring the battlefield's depth. Thick fog is even more noticeable and will obscure even more of the battlefield.

[This message has been edited by Schrullenhaft (edited 10-18-2000).]

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If everything is running fine for you right now and you're satisfied with the speed at your current resolution, then I would stick with what you have. If however CM plays a bit slow for you (when it comes primarily to scrolling around the battlefield and other graphical speed issues), then you may want to upgrade.

Depending on how much you want to spend I would suggest a TNT2-based PCI card. Guillemot makes a Cougar Maxi-Gamer 32Mb card. The GeForce2 MXs may be coming out in a PCI card, but I don't know the details on that. Either of these cards should cost less than US$130 or thereabouts. There's also a 3dfx Voodoo 4500 PCI that should be available soon.

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Just a thought here...

2mb of video on your video card isnt very much by todays standards. Infact it is the bottom of the barrel as video card memory goes. I am quite sure you would see an increase in performence and texture quality with an upgrade in either memory (for the card) or a new(er) card. If upgrading, 4 mb more might help here. Check your manual and documentation for your ATI card. I think the older 2 mb cards are upgradable to 6 mb. The ram for the card should be inexpensive.

However, the more significant upgrade would be with getting a new(er) card. Try a voodoo 2 or 3 for the inexpensive upgrade. e-bay has these cards for $50- $80. With these voodoo cards you should see a significant difference in video quality for CM and all other general purposes for your computer. One thing though, I dont know about the incompatibility issues regarding video cards and playing CM with a PC, so I suggest you do a search or try a post to find out what works well and what doesnt.

Best of luck.

Regards, Freak

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