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enemy territory pc build help

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#1
staticwarp

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right now i'm playing et on a pentium e8500 at 3.2ghz with 6gb ram and windows 7 home premium 64 bit. using the integrated graphics and medium settings in et, i'm able to get 45 fps stable. this is playable, as i've made it over 40k xp and had lots of fun getting there.

 

now that i've been playing for a while, i've started to notice that i've hit a brick wall as far as my skill level. i've thought about it a lot and i feel like getting a better framerate would really help me improve my skill and have more fun playing et. at 45 fps, things are slightly to severely choppy depending on what's happening on screen. whenever there's smoke or poison gas, lots of players, or large map areas, the game starts to lag just enough that it makes it really difficult to shoot accurately, and sometimes i end up getting killed faster than my computer can render it (for example, one second i'm in a firefight, then the next second the screen cuts to the respawn queue as if i've already been dead for a few seconds).

 

this led me to the idea of trying to add a gpu for better performance. long story short, the slim microatx case and motherboard design of my current computer make it literally impossible to add a pcie gpu. in fact, when i opened up the case and measured the available space, i became confident that there are few pci expansion cards in existence that would fit in there, let alone a gpu which is usually at least 2" tall and 7" long. this pc was originally designed to be bought in large quantities, used by an office for a few years and then sold back to the manufacturer, so in hindsight it's not really surprising that the capacity to upgrade was not taken into consideration for the build.

 

so now i'm looking to build a pc which will pretty much be used solely to play et. this idea by itself is kind of hilarious. if it works well for et, i'll probably use it to play counter strike and a few other things, but the main thing i want to do is play et with a good framerate.

 

this has led me to a bunch of other questions that i haven't been able to answer satisfactorily with the research i've done so far. et is such an old game that it is absolutely baffling to me that my current computer doesn't play it any better than it does, and considering that my build will need to stick to a sub-$300 budget, i'm wondering what i should consider as far as parts options. i've read in multiple places online that et runs best on a big single core processor and doesn't even need a gpu, but after actually playing it on a pentium 4 3ghz on the lowest settings i could manage and still getting only about 20 fps, i'm not convinced this is the case. additionally, i'm not going to go to the trouble of building an outdated pc, so the cpu is going to have more than one core and a 64 bit os.

 

i've probably rambled on enough with my thoughts on that. TL;DR:

 

i'm going to build a pc for et. the goal for this project is to be able to play et at max graphics settings at 80+ fps at 1920x1080.

 

i'd like suggestions from you guys as to what parts you would use to achieve this goal. i have some of the parts laying around, so i only need suggestions for:

 

cpu/apu

motherboard (preferably microatx)

ram

gpu (hopefully unnecesary if you think i can run et well with an apu)

 

one caveat: i don't want to spend a bazillion dollars for a computer to play a 10 year old game (no matter how much i love it XD). budget is $200-$300, it would be even better if i could keep it under $200.

 

i'm planning to use lubuntu as the os since windows will up the price tag and and i want to have a dedicated linux computer anyway, so it would be helpful to keep driver compatibility in mind if you suggest a gpu. i'm still researching this on other sites and asking in other forums, but i'd like to hear specifically from people who play et.

 

i'm sure some folks here will read this and think it is insane, and that i should just build a better overall gaming pc with something like a $500 budget. although that's more than i'd like to spend, i'm open to the idea provided that i can do it with a slim microatx case and that it will play et at absolutely ridiculous framerates and graphics settings, and play modern games like bf4 at settings that won't leave me feeling bottlenecked as far as my skill as i detailed in the beginning of the post. if you think this is a better idea, let me know what you recommend as far as the parts mentioned above.

 

thanks!


Edited by staticwarp, 21 March 2014 - 06:05 PM.



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#2
SunLight

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hmm, first of all I would check your ET config, maybe you can get some extra fps by tweaking.

 

I think you are right when you say ET needs a fast cpu (and since it uses only 1 core, it's better to have a fast cpu with 1 core, rather that a slow cpu with 2+ cores)

 

I would say get any cheap (even old) video card that fits in your motherboard/case, and you would have a big fps boost, but you say it's hard to do... your pc would be already good if you had a gfx card

 

As regards Linux, keep in mind that you need proprietary drivers and not open source, or the performance would be really poor. And after a while some cards are not supported anymore so you should get old drivers, which could lead to problems if you want a recent kernel



#3
Vanaraud

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I don´t think theres much to gain with better PC as the budget is limited, ET uses 1 core anyways(seen in8.1 utilising all 4 cores evenly, but that´ll alone cost 3rd of your budget). So I guess good gaming mouse and a discreete graphics card would be best in your case.

Thats my quick look at things at least.



#4
staticwarp

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hmm, first of all I would check your ET config, maybe you can get some extra fps by tweaking.

 

I think you are right when you say ET needs a fast cpu (and since it uses only 1 core, it's better to have a fast cpu with 1 core, rather that a slow cpu with 2+ cores)

 

I would say get any cheap (even old) video card that fits in your motherboard/case, and you would have a big fps boost, but you say it's hard to do... your pc would be already good if you had a gfx card

 

As regards Linux, keep in mind that you need proprietary drivers and not open source, or the performance would be really poor. And after a while some cards are not supported anymore so you should get old drivers, which could lead to problems if you want a recent kernel

i could probably squeeze a few extra fps if i made the graphics even lower than they are now, and i guess that's worth trying anyway just as an experiment. i'm really hoping to up my graphics settings with a new build, i think the game is really aesthetically nice and i enjoy the feel of the maps people have made, i want to get the most out of that.

 

 

I don´t think theres much to gain with better PC as the budget is limited, ET uses 1 core anyways(seen in8.1 utilising all 4 cores evenly, but that´ll alone cost 3rd of your budget). So I guess good gaming mouse and a discreete graphics card would be best in your case.

Thats my quick look at things at least.

1/3 or more of the budget is fine for the processor. the other purpose this machine is going to serve is as a local fileserver for backing up data, and i already have drives and peripherals, so i'm only planning on getting a high end cpu/apu, a ~$50 mobo, ~$40 case/psu combo and a 4gb stick of ram, which should be somewhere between $200-$300.

 

i guess the real question is, what should i be looking for as far as cpu? since et only uses one core, should i just look for higher clock speed?  if i can get a solid recommendation on that, i can readily figure out the rest and how to fit it into a reasonable budget. :)



#5
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Well what I was trying to say is that I went from E8400 with GT9600 to i53570 with HD 6950 and I still suck:P And one thing I noticed is that better GPU gives better details at same FPS, but not more FPS. Only thing really helped me aim better is good gaming mouse which fits MY hand(all overpriced mouses which feel uncomfortable are useless in my eyes).

 

Ghz itself means nothing, its more about performance per core and Intels i3\i5 have best performance per core. In the other hand if your budget is limited Kaveri APU-s have best integrated graphics in the market atm. Sry for not giving  any more detailed suggestions, off to work now.



#6
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About the config, I have seen players going from 40 to 70fps by tweaking, but it obviously depends on what your actual config is. If it's already tuned then you can't get much.

 

Maybe you can find some 'smaller' gpu that fits in your mobo? That would be the cheapest solution... you don't need a fast graphics card for ET, the bottleneck is usually your cpu, when it comes to getting high fps in this game.

 

And of course once you get to 76 fps (ideally 100+) the rest is skill, even going to 200fps (which shouldn't even be allowed imho) you won't improve much. But with 43 you can't aim well, I think.



#7
staticwarp

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Well what I was trying to say is that I went from E8400 with GT9600 to i53570 with HD 6950 and I still suck:P And one thing I noticed is that better GPU gives better details at same FPS, but not more FPS. Only thing really helped me aim better is good gaming mouse which fits MY hand(all overpriced mouses which feel uncomfortable are useless in my eyes).

 

Ghz itself means nothing, its more about performance per core and Intels i3\i5 have best performance per core. In the other hand if your budget is limited Kaveri APU-s have best integrated graphics in the market atm. Sry for not giving  any more detailed suggestions, off to work now.

that is some great info and gives me a lot to work with, thanks! :)

 

 

About the config, I have seen players going from 40 to 70fps by tweaking, but it obviously depends on what your actual config is. If it's already tuned then you can't get much.

 

Maybe you can find some 'smaller' gpu that fits in your mobo? That would be the cheapest solution... you don't need a fast graphics card for ET, the bottleneck is usually your cpu, when it comes to getting high fps in this game.

 

And of course once you get to 76 fps (ideally 100+) the rest is skill, even going to 200fps (which shouldn't even be allowed imho) you won't improve much. But with 43 you can't aim well, I think.

i might be able to find a tiny gpu that's designed for htpcs or something that would actually fit in there, that would definitely be the cheapest way to go. it might not raise my fps much but maybe it would make the game look nicer. i agree that it's tough to aim well with 43 fps, 76 would be great. i've experimented with a few configs from this forum and read the guides here on which settings to tweak, and i made a short config that only changes a few things so i don't have to scroll through a ton of stuff when i'm editing it. let me know if you think i should change or add anything to this to maybe get a few more fps:

/cg_atmosphericeffects 0
/cg_bloodDamageBlend 0
/cg_bloodflash 0
/cg_showblood 0
/cg_gibs 0
/cg_shadows 0
/cg_wolfparticles 0
/cg_trailparticles 0
/cg_muzzleflash 0
/r_picmip 3
/rate 50000
/cl_maxpackets 100
/seta com_maxfps 45
/cg_drawfps 1
/cg_drawlagometer 1
seta cg_crosshairSize "22"
seta cg_drawCrosshair "2"
seta cg_crosshairPulse "1"
seta cg_crosshairColor "green"
seta cg_crosshairAlpha "1"
seta cg_crosshairColorAlt "red"

my native monitor resolution is 1920x1080, and i'm pretty sure that's what i have it set to with r_customheight and r_customwidth, i just didn't include it in my cfg for some reason. i'll have to fix that.



#8
SunLight

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I will check your config later, but I see you just disable some cgame effects, without changing many r_ (renderer) variables.

 

If you get a gpu you will gain a lot of fps I think, even with a cheap one.

 

And (especially if you use integrated gfx, with a real card r_mode or r_picmip doesn't matter much nowadays) you can try to lower your resolution, but players will probably look 'fat' because of the different aspect ratio.



#9
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What about low quality sky and texture details, also dynamic lights? Can be turned on\off in game options.



#10
staticwarp

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I will check your config later, but I see you just disable some cgame effects, without changing many r_ (renderer) variables.

 

If you get a gpu you will gain a lot of fps I think, even with a cheap one.

 

And (especially if you use integrated gfx, with a real card r_mode or r_picmip doesn't matter much nowadays) you can try to lower your resolution, but players will probably look 'fat' because of the different aspect ratio.

i found one on amazon where the reviewer specifically said that he put it into the exact model pc that i have, so i'm going to try that or possibly another card with similar dimensions.

 

 

What about low quality sky and texture details, also dynamic lights? Can be turned on\off in game options.

i tried setting all the texture/graphics options in game to low and didn't notice a difference, i think my config already covers those. i'm going to try some low detail configs and see if i can get things running a little faster. r_fastsky is the low quality sky cvar i think, i'll try that too.

 

i'll let you guys know how it goes. hopefully this works out with the gpu and some tweaking and i can thank you guys for talking me out of building a pc i don't completely need. XD



#11
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try this config, it's based on mine but I changed a couple of things, if someone else has suggestions please write since I'm too busy to double check it

 

I commented out the r_mode setting, but I think if you have no dedicated gpu you should play with low res (even 800x600)

 

Spoiler

 

 

edit:

make a backup of your own etconfig first!


Edited by SunLight, 29 March 2014 - 12:53 AM.


#12
staticwarp

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i stared at my pc with the cover off for a while and realized that although the pciex16 slot is basically unusable, there is a pcie 1x slot that has a bit more room around it. i didn't think they made gpus with the pcie1x spec, but i found a couple and got one to try. it's designed more for htpc use than gaming, but i found a few reports of people playing modern games on it at low settings so hopefully it'll help a bit. 

 

 

try this config, it's based on mine but I changed a couple of things, if someone else has suggestions please write since I'm too busy to double check it

 

 

thanks for the cfg! i'll try it out before and after i install the gpu (hope it fits) and post some updates/ss. :)



#13
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i didnt read all the other stuff but older cards like the HD4xxx series might fit and would be more than enough for ET. i had an HD4670 (which i still own but its a spare in case my HD7870 dies) and it ran wonderfully. but also, ET was made in the era where CPUs processed graphics as well. but the HD4670 should fit well. i dont have my trusty ruler at hand but this card is about 1 1/2 inch in height and about as long as my hand. the 4670 is PCIe v2 based but all PCIe components are cross compatible. for instance, my 7870 is PCIe v3 but runs perfectly fine on my v2 mobo.

 

 

ps: i dont mean that CPUs ever processed graphics back then but i didnt know how to actually explain/say it



#14
staticwarp

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i didnt read all the other stuff but older cards like the HD4xxx series might fit and would be more than enough for ET. i had an HD4670 (which i still own but its a spare in case my HD7870 dies) and it ran wonderfully. but also, ET was made in the era where CPUs processed graphics as well. but the HD4670 should fit well. i dont have my trusty ruler at hand but this card is about 1 1/2 inch in height and about as long as my hand. the 4670 is PCIe v2 based but all PCIe components are cross compatible. for instance, my 7870 is PCIe v3 but runs perfectly fine on my v2 mobo.

 

 

ps: i dont mean that CPUs ever processed graphics back then but i didnt know how to actually explain/say it

awesome, that is great info. it's good to know specific parts that people know work well with et. what processor were you using with the 4670?

 

the pciex16 slot in my case only has about 1/4" clearance above it, so the 4670 probably still wouldn't fit. the case design is ridiculous given the placement of the expansion slots on the mobo. my next pc i'm building myself to make sure i don't have design issues like that. XD



#15
staticwarp

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installed my geforce 610 and got a nice fps boost, on most maps i can get a pretty solid and stable 76 fps. i could probably get it higher but that experiment will have to wait for another day because of all the inevitable problems that i'm having getting things running smoothly. 

 

with 2.60b, i get a predictable stutter every 2 seconds. it's not an fps drop, it's not internet lag. the whole game, audio and all, skips/stutters every 2 seconds on the dot, even during the intro cinematic. i can watch it in the green line of the lagometer, it's the same little shark fin shape at a regular interval. i tried searching for a solution but there is no way to describe it in a few words other than stutter/skip, and googling "game stutter every 2 seconds" is a dead end because it's not specific enough. i gave up after 4 hours and decided to try running etlegacy instead.

 

with etlegacy, thankfully i don't have this problem and it plays pretty smoothly, although on big maps like beach my fps can drop down to around 45. my accuracy improved dramatically, lots of headshots and more kills than i used to get. i have to try the newest version of etlegacy since apparently they fixed the fps drop issue.

 

so i still have a little tweaking to do, but i have to thank sunlight for convincing me to try getting a gpu before i went and built a new computer just to play et. XD

 

anyone have any ideas on how to fix the problem with the game skipping on 2.60b? i'd rather play with that than etlegacy for some convenience things like the FA splash screen and the fact that it remembers my config. 


Edited by staticwarp, 06 April 2014 - 10:17 PM.





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