VOGONS


First post, by 65C02

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Hey guys,

I finished building my cheapo Windows XP gaming rig mostly out of parts I already had. The specs go as follows:
ASUS P4B533 motherboard
Pentium 4 2.2 GHZ
1.5GB DDR1 RAM
BFG Geforce 6600 256MB AGP 8X
Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit

I thought these parts would have me covered as I had a similar computer in 2004, but I'm disappointed in the performance of many of my games. When I played GTA:SA last night it ran at only 10-20 fps during missions. Is the Steam version of this game heavier than the DVD-ROM? I lost my DVD many moons ago, so I had to download it from Steam and move the game folder to my XP computer.

Games newer than around 2003 are not running as well as I remember. It looks like the P4 processors are very cheap on ebay atm, but I'm not if I should be upgrading the CPU or the video card?

Thanks

Reply 1 of 19, by dottoss

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That cpu @ 2.2 GHz is not going to meet your expectations. Go for P4 3+GHz.

EDIT: Checking your MB i found out it is an 533FSB and P4 3.06GHz is the best you can put in it. I would suggest you find yourself a 800 FSB motherboard to gain some versatility when it comes to choosing the cpu.

Reply 2 of 19, by 65C02

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Well I found a P4 3.06GHz for $18 shipped, so I ordered it.
I looked at the 800 FSB motherboards and it looks like they take up to 3.4GHz. If I have to buy a new motherboard to make these games playable, I'd probably skip ahead to Core 2 Duo instead. I'm hoping that I won't have to, that the P4 3.06GHz will be good enough.

Thanks for the help!

Reply 4 of 19, by SPBHM

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what games apart from GTASA are problematic?

but yes, P4 2.2Ghz is not that faster for newer stuff, fine in 2002, but kind of slow not long after
even my p4 at 3GHz feels very limiting in some games from 2003 (like NFSUG in some specific parts of some tracks)

Reply 5 of 19, by Asaki

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65C02 wrote on 2020-02-22, 23:05:

If I have to buy a new motherboard to make these games playable, I'd probably skip ahead to Core 2 Duo instead.

That's what my XP machine is, and it runs everything pretty great. I did upgrade it to a Quad Core a few years back, but that was mainly to try to get GTA4 to run acceptably >_< RockStar kind of stopped bothering to make stable PC ports a few decades back, so that might be part of your problem. It might also depend on what resolution you're running at...a lot of games that ran fine on CRTs back then can get a big sluggish when trying to hit that native resolution on an HD LCD. Just dropping down to 1280x1024 or so and windowboxing the picture can give a pretty big FPS boost and still be comfortable to look at.

BTW, you may know this already, but there are ways to keep Steam running on Windows XP: https://archive.org/details/steam_201901

Reply 6 of 19, by 65C02

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SPBHM wrote on 2020-02-23, 00:10:

what games apart from GTASA are problematic?

but yes, P4 2.2Ghz is not that faster for newer stuff, fine in 2002, but kind of slow not long after
even my p4 at 3GHz feels very limiting in some games from 2003 (like NFSUG in some specific parts of some tracks)

Hmm, off the top of my head Midnight Club 2, NFSU/2/MW, Far Cry, Doom 3, FEAR, Thief 3, Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow are all usually below 30 FPS.

I hope the extra 866 MHz and bigger cache will help. I’m not after 60 FPS, 30 is fine. It’s just the annoying drops to 20 or below that make the games hard to play. I don’t remember them being so slow on my computer back in 2004. That was an AMD, 2500 or 2600 I believe, with a Radeon 9600 XT 256MB . Really wish I still had that card. 😞

Reply 7 of 19, by 65C02

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Asaki wrote on 2020-02-23, 07:22:
65C02 wrote on 2020-02-22, 23:05:

If I have to buy a new motherboard to make these games playable, I'd probably skip ahead to Core 2 Duo instead.

That's what my XP machine is, and it runs everything pretty great. I did upgrade it to a Quad Core a few years back, but that was mainly to try to get GTA4 to run acceptably >_< RockStar kind of stopped bothering to make stable PC ports a few decades back, so that might be part of your problem. It might also depend on what resolution you're running at...a lot of games that ran fine on CRTs back then can get a big sluggish when trying to hit that native resolution on an HD LCD. Just dropping down to 1280x1024 or so and windowboxing the picture can give a pretty big FPS boost and still be comfortable to look at.

BTW, you may know this already, but there are ways to keep Steam running on Windows XP: https://archive.org/details/steam_201901

I’m actually running them on my old CRT at 1280x1024, sometimes even 1024x768! 🙂

Reply 10 of 19, by Asaki

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FarCry is surprisingly future-proof...I figured I could run it at max settings, but...no such luck.

DOOM 3 and Thief 3 might need a beefier graphics card...but it's been so long, I can't remember if they ran okay on my GF7 or not...

Reply 11 of 19, by texterted

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Put a GF4 4xxxTi in there and you have a top 9x machine.

Build an XP machine with a c2d or similar.

Cheers

Ted

98se:- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3000+, 512 mb ddr, nVidia 4400Ti, SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.
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Reply 12 of 19, by foil_fresh

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65C02 wrote on 2020-02-23, 22:38:
Asaki wrote on 2020-02-23, 07:22:
65C02 wrote on 2020-02-22, 23:05:

If I have to buy a new motherboard to make these games playable, I'd probably skip ahead to Core 2 Duo instead.

That's what my XP machine is, and it runs everything pretty great. I did upgrade it to a Quad Core a few years back, but that was mainly to try to get GTA4 to run acceptably >_< RockStar kind of stopped bothering to make stable PC ports a few decades back, so that might be part of your problem. It might also depend on what resolution you're running at...a lot of games that ran fine on CRTs back then can get a big sluggish when trying to hit that native resolution on an HD LCD. Just dropping down to 1280x1024 or so and windowboxing the picture can give a pretty big FPS boost and still be comfortable to look at.

BTW, you may know this already, but there are ways to keep Steam running on Windows XP: https://archive.org/details/steam_201901

I’m actually running them on my old CRT at 1280x1024, sometimes even 1024x768! 🙂

ok you had me worried. yeah that kind of resolution is still really pushing a P4 imo. back in '04 i had a P4 2.4 and 9600 i would have been using 1024 max on any game i came across, and still playing others at 640 or 800 if the framerates weren't good. are you lowering graphics settings on some of these games?

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Reply 13 of 19, by Ozzuneoj

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Playable resolution isn't really affected by CPU speed in hardware accelerated games. This is why most CPU benchmarks back in the day ran games at low resolutions.

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Reply 14 of 19, by lost77

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Looking at it from a time perspective i'm not surprised that you are not getting good performance.

Pentium 3.06Ghz: Late 2002
Geforce 6600, maybe similar to 9700 Pro?: Late 2002

GTA: San Andreas: Mid 2005

More than 2½ years was a long time back then.

Reply 15 of 19, by flupke11

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A (dual, why not) xeon workstation from early 2010 makes an excellent (and cheap) WinXp system which will happily eat anything that comes its way.
I have also a 3,06 GHz P4 rig (with 32-bit rdram, why not:)) and that is an ideal high end Windows98SE or Me system, with no stability or compatibility issues once comfigured.

Reply 16 of 19, by dr_st

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lost77 wrote on 2020-02-24, 16:55:

Geforce 6600, maybe similar to 9700 Pro?: Late 2002

6600 series is from Q3-2004, but the plain 6600 is not very capable. The 6600GT with GDDR3 RAM would be clocked faster and perform better, even with lower VRAM size; 6800 would be better still.

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Reply 17 of 19, by melbar

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65C02 wrote on 2020-02-23, 22:26:

I hope the extra 866 MHz and bigger cache will help.

No, the 3.06 P4 has the same cache, besides the extra core speed you have said, it has a higher FSB and hyper-threading.

Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.20 GHz, 512K Cache, 400 MHz FSB

Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor supporting HT Technology 3.06 GHz, 512K Cache, 533 MHz FSB

EDIT:
Have also played GTA: SA
With an AthlonXP @2600+ and Radeon9700 and later Geforce 6800(LE).
And the framerate was OK.

Reply 18 of 19, by 65C02

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Oops, ya I was thinking FSB when I typed cache. 😜

AMD XP 2500 or 2600 is what I had in 2004 as well and I remember my games running smoothly on that computer. From what I just read the P4 3.06GHZ is even faster so it *should* have no trouble hitting 30 FPS. Can't wait!

Reply 19 of 19, by SPBHM

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I had an AXP at around 2-2.2ghz back then, and sure my memory tells me it used to run games a lot better than my northwood 3Ghz is doing, it could be the case, or I'm just not remembering right, sadly I no longer have any AXPs to test.