Friday, March 4, 2011

Fortuitous Friday: FPS Mystery Edition

So for today’s edition of Fortuitous Friday I thought we’d play a mystery game, and before we get started I can tell you that it was NOT Col. Mustard, with the candlestick, in the library. No, the mystery is: why does my FPS suck?

I need a little help in putting the final touch(es) onto my computer system- which I have built from the ground up for the first time ever. I am not very technical so the fact it actually works is a bit of a miracle to be honest. I expect it to start weeping blood from the expansion slots and think it will become a pilgrimage spot for millions of Christians any day now.

I have a cube-case which means I have to use low-profile everything. I went with an AMD quad core CPU, a compatible motherboard, and I currently have 3g of RAM with room for 16.

I am using a Samsung 19' monitor with a max resolution of 1440 X 900.

My video card is a holdover from my last system and is an Nvidia Geforce 9400GT 512mb.

My problem is, although on paper I meet the minimum, or even the recommended specs for most of the games I play, I still have some problems getting frame rates over 20-30. Rift, for instance, will only do 20 on low settings. My question, then, is what item is most important for me, at the moment, to boost my overall video performance?

Do I need to focus on getting more video RAM, ie a 1-2 gig card, or just worry about a newer, 512mb one? I would like to go with a ATI Radeon which is Cross-Fire ready so I can eventually run two cards to take advantage of the motherboard’s capabilities. The low-profile only requirement seems to be restricting me more than I thought it would. Next time I go tower. My low profile choices choices are basically here as this is my ‘go to site’ for ordering.

My budget for a video card will have to be $150.00 or less. I would like to be able to get a video card and more RAM but I can wait for both. Thus far I have found a reasonably priced Radeon HD5570 low profile (80.00) which would leave me room for 2 gigs of RAM on my budget. Reviews suggest the 5570 isn’t the greatest gaming card in the world but I imagine it will be much better than my old one and when the prices crash even further I could add a second one thank to crossfire. I also like the look of this, though it would mean sticking with Nvidia.

So, what shall it be? RAM, or Video Card, (or cheap versions of both) and if so, ATI or Nvidia? I am assuming my FPS problems are a result of my increasingly dated video card but I would love to hear from others with more expertise than myself.

Thanks all, and Happy Friday!


  1. Definitely video card. I have 6gig of ram, but an old graphics card (9600GT), and my FPS is also low in RIFT.
    It doesn't really matter much ATI or Nvidia, afaik their mid-end products are usually on par, just pick according to your budget.

  2. That settles it then! I'll likely go with the 80.00 ATI so I can try and get a headset/mic as well and when funds permit, buy another ATI and run two video cards.