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:
motherboard (preferably microatx)
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.
Edited by staticwarp, 21 March 2014 - 06:05 PM.