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Getting a new Laptop Graphics Card
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject: Getting a new Laptop Graphics Card Reply with quote

So hey. I just got a new laptop. The guidelines were simple: It must be able to hook up to a TV, cost around $400, run Adobe Premiere Elements and One Must Fall: Battlegrounds.

Guess which one of those it doesn't do? Very Happy (you have NO CLUE how hard it is finding a laptop with S-Video these days)

Sure enough, I NOW find out about the Intel chipset problem. WONDERFUL. It's a solid machine, dual core and whatnot. It's an Acer Extensa 4620Z specifically. Seems it should get the job done except for the whole Intel chipset thing I just NOW found out about >_<

THANKFULLY I hear it's possible to replace laptop graphics cards. Obscenely hard mind you (which is why I'm gonna let Best Buy do it) but possible. So I'm thinking of marching into Best Buy, buying a new graphics card, and having them install it.

SO! Anyone care to tell me of any OTHER graphics card incompatibilities BEFORE I go buying another one or make any suggestions as to a good laptop graphics card?
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

XD I just realized not only is there a sticky thread about this...

...but I bet that my S-Video out (litterally THE reason I bought THIS SPECIFIC COMPUTER) is linked to my graphics card.

But thankfully noticed that thing about 3D Analyze and plan to try it. FINGERS CROSSED!
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NightShadow



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Far as I know, the only way to replace the video card in a laptop, is to buy a laptop that specifically allows the video card to be replaced. This website: http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/index.html has information about what is required; this table: http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Table.html specifically, is where you can find out if your laptop even supports video card upgrades.

Most likely, your laptop doesn't support video card upgrades, especially since you only spent around $400. For your next laptop purchase, I'd recommend ensuring that it has either an Nvidia or ATI video card in it; anything else, and you're almost certainly not getting something that can handle 3D graphics decently.

Anyway, I apologize for the bad news, and I hope 3D Analyze works for you!
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NightShadow wrote:
Far as I know, the only way to replace the video card in a laptop, is to buy a laptop that specifically allows the video card to be replaced. This website: http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/index.html has information about what is required; this table: http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Table.html specifically, is where you can find out if your laptop even supports video card upgrades.

Most likely, your laptop doesn't support video card upgrades, especially since you only spent around $400. For your next laptop purchase, I'd recommend ensuring that it has either an Nvidia or ATI video card in it; anything else, and you're almost certainly not getting something that can handle 3D graphics decently.

Anyway, I apologize for the bad news, and I hope 3D Analyze works for you!

Bad news is an understatement. I'm not a PC gamer and I don't buy laptops or upgrade PCs often. The idea of "For your next laptop" is almost downright infuriating. This is, infact, my first laptop. I spent MONTHS researching the best one I could get for my money and I bought it SPECIFICALLY and EXCLUSIVELY to play One Must Fall: Battlegrounds on a TV and on the go.

In short, if I can't figure out a way to get this thing working with OMF:BG it may as well be scrap metal...which is more depressing than you know considering it was my Birthday and Easter present.

...God I hate computers.

...

...but thanks anyway!
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry. Frustration. Thus far I have the following plan:

#1) Take computer to Best Buy, see if graphics card is replaceable and if I can find another one that does not remove S-Video functionality.

#2) Install Windows XP and hope that it will make 3D Analyze actually work (OMF:BG won't even bother to launch with it in Vista, even running with Admin privileges).

#3) See if there's a return policy on the laptop.

#4) Sell it on EBay to recoup losses and try again. This step will involve alot of screaming.

Any suggestions as for other things to try (did try Safe Mode OMF:BG to no avail) would be appreciated though I think that's about it.

Windows XP is being installed regardless. There aren't words to describe how much Vista sucks.
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NightShadow



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Vista sucks... OMF:BG doesn't even work completely correctly in it, anyway.

There's gotta be a return policy on the laptop, especially if it's still within the first 14-30 days.

So far, the cheapest laptops I've found that would be able to play OMF:BG and have S-video out are:
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndojc5&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=features~clearance_laptops
and: http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/pdet.to?poid=429796

It looks like most newer laptops that have a video card that will work with OMF only offer HDMI output instead of S-video. There are converter boxes (there are no HDMI to s-video cables) out there, but I'm not sure if that would be an acceptable solution for you, and I'm not sure if it would allow you to get what you want for less $.

Edit: Oh, and there are also VGA to s-video converter boxes (again, no cables). I'm pretty sure you can get a laptop + VGA to s-video converter for less than the price of the above laptops. Again, not sure if you'd be willing to lug around a converter box with your laptop.
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. Yeah, I JUST got this laptop in the mail 2 days ago. Problem being that I bought it online so I dunno what the policy is. If all my current plans fall through I'll definately look at those laptops.

As for S-Video, well I don't have a TV with S-Video anyway! I needed it FOR a converter box! Thing is, when searching for info on this, apparently not all VGA outs will work and HDMI to Component converters are $200!

If I can get my $400 back, I'll definitely grab one of those. Thanks.
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NightShadow



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, ok.

You should be able to return it, you'll probably have to pay shipping, though.

Also, VGA converter boxes will work for all VGA outputs; it's the VGA converter cables that only work with certain video cards. For example, this: http://www.amazon.com/CONVERTER-S-VIDEO-ADAPTER-graphic-function/dp/B000S675JU works for only some VGA-out ports, as it requires a video card that also sends TV-out through the VGA-out port. However, this: http://www.amazon.com/ITV-900-PC-to-TV-Converter/dp/B000FOGUTQ/ref=pd_bbs_9?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1238906592&sr=8-9 will work for all VGA-out ports; no specialized video cards required. (Note: I'm not recommending and I'm not not-recommending that particular converter box; I linked it because it was the cheapest one I saw when I looked on Amazon. Smile)

So, with that in mind, you could go with something like this: http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/pdet.to?poid=434956 instead; it will be able to play OMF:BG, and save a couple hundred bucks compared to the previous ones. It's not as nice overall as the other ones, of course, but it might fit your budget better.
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NightShadow



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait a second... the GMA X3100 supports Hardware T&L (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_GMA#GMA_X3100); which, as far as I understand, is all that's required for OMF:BG to run. I hadn't even bothered to research the card, I just saw Intel video card bit, and assumed the worst.

That was the basis I was using to find out if that last laptop I linked to could run the game (the first 2 I linked will definitely work, as they are dedicated cards instead of integrated). So, now I'm not so sure if the last one could run the game.

Rob, or anybody else... why won't his current video card run the game when it supports hardware T&L?
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ouch



Joined: 04 Jan 2004
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Location: In a Mantis :)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The Intel GMA products are designed to allow Intel to offer a full system platform that includes graphics hardware. However, due to the GMA's nature as a highly cost-sensitive product, performance and functionality are limited relative to more expensive discrete graphics components. Some games and 3D applications will not recognize support for some hardware functionality because of the simplification of parts of these graphics accelerators. The GMA X3x00's unified shader design allows for more complete hardware functionality, but the line still has issues with some games and has significantly limited performance.


from the link above.

I think it's hilarious when I see people whining about their intel graphics chip not running their games. Intel chips are NOT designed for games... in fact they never were. They are designed to run the operating systems graphics. Nothing more. Pretty much ANY kind of research into the subject would tell you that. I mean, even those morons at the best buy your going to would of told you intel chips are not for gaming. So I don't think anyone will feel sorry for you, I know I certainly won't.

Unfortunately if it turns out that your laptop can't be upgraded, your only choice is to sell it. But you may want to do that anyway. Acer actually owns gateway. Which means your laptop was likely produced at thier factories. Which also means you may want to return it before it fails in a month or 2 and is worth nothing...
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a ton guys. Yeah so the X3100 DOES have Hardware T&L but it gives the same error as though it didn't.
Quote:
Viewport Initialization Failed

SetupDirect3DContext() Failed

Viewport initialization failed, application cannot continue. Please ensure that you have updated drivers, as well as the newest operation system updates.
For additional assistance of more information about required hardware, visit support.omf.com.

Application will now Exit!

Gonna fiddle around a bit more with what I have. Installed XP though it's lacking in drivers to use my laptop's wi-fi so this may take a bit but it's really looking like I should just return this one. Thankfully it is within the website's policies as it's within 30 days.

So alright. Probably gonna buy a new computer. Ends up we paid $500 for that one anyway and I'm throwing some of MY money behind this now so $600 is totally do-able. Gonna check Best Buy again soon, this time for actually BUYING a computer. Hope I can find something nice. I'd REALLY like to get this computer SOON (going on a trip on the 18th).

HOWEVER! My step dad MIGHT be able to get me a further discount on Dells so tell me how that Dell you linked to stacks up (I'm REALLY not good with computers I've realized). That's one of the few I really might order online. You seem to be particularly fond of those Toshiba Satellites though. I guess I'll try and keep those in mind when I hit Best Buy. Seems shipping didn't take that long (SO used to ordering everything from Japan) so I guess I still have afew days to look around.


As for "ouch"? It's just one of those things, you know? No one notices that the computer has an Intel graphics card until it's too late and then EVERYONE is like "OH YEAH! Intel graphics cards are banmeplease! Yeah, that laptop is completely worthless!". Seriously, I asked everyone I knew to help in the laptop search and NO ONE caught that until AFTER I bought the computer. GRARGH! Just another reason why I REALLY hate computers.

Thanks for all your help though. And ESPECIALLY thanks on the clarification on the VGA converters. As usual I was getting mixed responses on that. If this IS the case though, care to take S-Video requirements out and suggest a non-S-Video PC and a good VGA to TV converter that will work with it? Because, as I said, no TVs around here have S-Video ANYWAY so I'm buying a converter regardless. I just don't want a converter that costs $100!


...as for what 3D Analyze does? Well now that I have XP installed it doesn't even seem to TRY and run the executable. I click "Run" and nothing happens. But considering you all found reasonably priced OMF:BG machines I'm thinking it is best to just send this one back.
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my God...it's a miracle it's...it's...

IT'S WORKING!!!

WITHOUT 3D ANALYZE EVEN!!!

What did I do?

Step 1) Install Windows XP
Step 2) Install Direct X
Step 3) Install Graphics Drivers

So...either it was the comically elementary mistake of not having the latest graphics drivers (I did install Direct X in Vista, I just had to re-install everything for XP is all). Or it was Vista stopping my computer from being useful ("Your computer does not have permission to be useful", it's a security feature you know).

Even funnier? Since I didn't have my internet drivers installed on my computer due to installing XP, I busted out the System Recovery discs and noticed...they say "Windows XP" on them. So...my computer had discs of Windows XP all along! XD or they're misprints, which would disappoint me. I was admittedly installing a bootleg XP. So I'll probably wipe the whole thing (all I have on it right now is OMF:BG, Torus Trooper, Firefox, and some wallpapers) and install those discs so I can have a legit copy of XP with all the proper drivers for everything HOPEFULLY.

As for OMF:BG's preformance? Well I had to turn off Glow (I do that on my desktop too as it just makes the screen all white) and Reflections (seems the reflections don't run right so the mechs all look like disco balls with it on). But at what the game recommends (800x600, Medium Textures, High Detail Models, No Shadows) I can run an 11 player match without issues and only had afew hiccups in a 16 player match.

So this raises the question: Do I send this back and get a new computer as the Intel graphics cards are said to be crap or keep the one I have. Sending it back will cost us a $75 restocking fee (15%) on top of shipping so I lose basically $100. Is the $400 laptop linked before WITH a non-Intel graphics card worth it? Or is the lack of "Hardware Based Lighting and Transformation" the only major problem with the Intels? Also, don't forget about the rest of the system, the CPU and whatnot. You think they might ultimately make up for the Intel based graphics card? (My #2 use for this computer is Adobe Premiere Elements, so video editing)

Here's my computer's specs incase you missed it, it's an Acer Extensa 4620Z so yeah:
http://us.acer.com/acer/productv.do?link=oln15e.redirect&changedAlts=&CRC=1511809838

I'm gonna do some heavy fiddling with this thing now so we'll see how it fares. Lemme know what you think spec-wise about it and what I should do from here.
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NightShadow



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, since you would be losing $100 if you return the laptop, it's probably not worth it to change.

The $600 laptops would be a definite improvement, and might be worth upgrading to, except that you'd be paying $700 for a $600 laptop. If you can find one for around $500 (either through your connections, or on a used equivalent laptop), then I'd say go ahead and upgrade.

The $400 laptop I linked to wouldn't be worth the upgrade; unless you really want the little bit of extra performance. The other laptop would probably outperform your current laptop for gaming due to the video card, but it would probably only allow you to get a few extra frames per second at a similar level of detail.

Acer's website doesn't specify which 4620 model is the 4620Z, so I'm not sure if you have the "EX4620-6402", or the "EX4620-4691" model. I'm somewhat assuming you have the 6402... if you have the 4691, it would be a little more worth it to upgrade.

I don't really do much video editing, if any; so I'm not entirely sure how video editing performance would be affected either way. I think video editing tools rely more on the processor than the video card, but I could easily be wrong. If it does rely more on the processor, then the upgrades where you will see some improvement, is with either a $600 laptop, or the $400 laptop if your laptop is the 4691 model.



2 reasons I was showing preference for the Toshiba models:
1. They are refurb. models, so I'm sort of assuming that they would normally be more expensive; which would mean a better deal.
2. When I bought my laptop, I really had my eye on a Toshiba model or 2 that I really wanted. Wound up going with Dell instead (an Inspiron 1520), because I was able to get it charged to my military charge card (the only way I was able to afford it at the time). So, I still have some latent longing for a Toshiba. Smile

I haven't really compared the specs between the Dell and Toshiba yet to be able to say which one is actually better. I can if you like, I'm just not sure yet if you want to be looking in that price range.


Oh, and congratulations on getting OMF to work! I'm glad we don't have to whip Rob into writing a patch to fix the hardware T&L detection algorithm. Very Happy
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GEL



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well alright then, if the difference is barely noticeable unless I shell out more cash I think I'll probably keep this one.

Mind you I also discovered that the water in the ice stage now looks DOS-tacular (due to the weird Disco Ball reflections) but otherwise it's fine. As for framerate, as long as my laptop is plugged into a wall and thus running at max power, it's doing what looks like a solid 60 FPS out of OMF:BG anyway.

Got to test hooking it up to a TV too and it passed that with flying colors. So all that's left is the video editing test. This very well could be a keeper. Also the weight and durability seem to be good. It's not fancy (I'd SO love a green Dell) but it works. Also I dig this keyboard (I've had issues with some laptop keyboards in the past).

Also it DOES have upgradeable RAM so I can apparently kick this up to 4 gigs of RAM relatively cheaply.

And yeah, it would be better to bug Rob into either looking into an XBox Live Arcade version, a Steam release, or a sequel Razz (What IS Rob doing these days anyway?) rather than just a hardware T&L patch (also better: a no hardware T&L patch).
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ouch



Joined: 04 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the discoball effect is likely caused by bumpmapping.

try turning reflections on, but turning bumpmapping off.

anyway look forward to seeing you online... Twisted Evil
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