Friday, January 28, 2011

Fortuitous Friday: Fighting The Funk Revisited- The FPS Edition

That’s right: last Friday I was Fighting the Funk, and now I’m Fighting the Low FPS Blues. Maybe Fortuitous Friday should be transformed into Fighting Friday! Alternatively, maybe next week I’ll be ‘Feeling Fine’ and we can push this whole alliteration thing as far as it can possibly go. I’d be somewhat scared of a reader revolt if I was to do that, so I think I’ll likely lay off that particular prose for future posts.

As previously mentioned I sacrificed a Saturday (I can’t help myself, I’m addicted to alliteration) and toiled at the Flint Knapping Site in order to get a bit of extra cash to upgrade my aging computer system. I have a very reasonable list of what needs to be done (CPU, RAM, and Graphics) and I made the choice to tackle my CPU first. I went from an AMD II 2.8gz to an AMD IIX4 3.0gz. Bring on the quad core! I expected some blazing fast speeds, let me tell you, and I was also anticipating a huge jump in my game-related performance (but in fairness why the hell else would I upgrade my computer if not for game-performance). I had anticipated Christopher Lloyd to deliver it in from some time far in the future and all my FPS woes to be a thing of the past. But it was not to be so.

I couldn’t, of course (having unsubbed), test the new CPU with Warhammer which has been my benchmark for some time. It usually provides a steady 40-50 FPS on medium setting and 20ish on ultra. Unfortunately, the game I can not mention because I am bound by a non-disclosure agreement, is the only other game that I was playing in which I knew my previous (low) FPS. 

I couldn’t write about that one, however, so instead I downloaded and installed a game called RAFT. Now RAFT is a fairly new game in which your avatar is a raft, sailing on an ocean. This ocean has certain fissures appearing from time to time spewing forth angry sea creatures you have to kill. Your raft has the ability to mix and match three different types of sails to help you through this dangerous world however.......

Point: I noted that RAFT was taxing my old system quite badly. My FPS on ultra settings was between 4 and 9. Yes, that’s FOUR and NINE, not forty-nine. On low detail I was pulling in a shameful twenty.

I disassembled the computer, popped in the new CPU, reassembled without a hitch (a major accomplishment, trust me) and away I went. I loaded up RAFT, eager and giddy, to be greeted with soul-crushing (pardon the pun) disappointment. Net gain in FPS? Zero. Not a bit of difference even though my computer, technically speaking, should be what, four times as fast as it was? Bugger. I have not heeded the Grail Knight, and have chosen unwisely. I have chosen the false grail and will be turned to dust.

I  have three megs of RAM and an Nvidea Geoforce 9400 with 512MB which I only put in last year. (I’m usually behind in components due to budgetary constraints). I admit I don’t know a heck of a lot about these technical things but I had assumed upgrading my CPU, even with those older bits still in, would result in some fairly noticeable increases in FPS performance.

Disappointed as I am there is still hope. The overtime, unfortunately, is no more, but it has recently come to my attention that She Who Will Be Named Later is earning slightly more than we had anticipated at her new job in The Sweat Shop where she ensures the children don’t take bathroom breaks. It has also come to my attention that she will be leaving this weekend to visit some friends in a far away, dusty land (or just up the road a few hours, I’m not sure which). Should the magical visa card somehow leave her wallet and land deeply- comfortable and hidden- in my pocket, then by next Friday you may indeed be able to read:

Fortuitous Friday: Feeling Fine with FPS Fix.

In the meantime I am left to peruse and research what combination of video card and/or RAM will work best for me. In reality I should skip all that and buy a comfortable computer chair and desk which would be kinder on my aging body than the second-hand crap I am using at the moment. Maybe that should be the determination of your play style: hardcore is not dependent on what type of game you play, or how often you play it, but what you play it on. Comfy, sensible chair, with ergonomic set up to ease your aching back, shoulder, and neck? Baby! Go suckle your momma’s teat, nub. Me, I’m hardcore: broken chair with no padding and a crappy antique desk you can’t fit your feet under, and my mouse? Ha! It’s a real, dead mouse that my dog dragged in with a string of dubious origin attached to it. Stick that in your usb port.
Like 99% of aquarium stands I see, the standard computer desk is a hideous and horrible looking thing. We’re not in our mother’s basement anymore, dammit! We demand fashionable furniture for our gaming devices. By god, I’m an adult now! I did a quick Google search and found some interesting gaming set-ups but since our computer area is multi-use none of these are feasible for me I’m afraid.....although with the visa safely in my pocket, who knows what might get delivered in the next week or so?

Do you think I could convince She Who Will Be Named Later that this is, actually, the perfect set up with which to watch the latest BBC I-Player costume drama? You'll be safe from the clutches of Mr. Darcy in this, my dear.

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