Performance revelations: changing graphics cards
I first installed CivIV onto my system with a brand new 6600GT video card in place. I was able to start and complete several standard games at high graphics settings with only moderately irritating stuttering in all Wonder movies, the occasional in-game sound effects and lagging before entering discussions with a foreign ruler. (1024x768, 2x filtering) To be honest, I wondered why many of you were making such a fuss, things seemed to be working ok for me. Unfortunately, my video card proved to be defective and had to be returned, forcing me to fall back to an older GF4 Ti 4400. The gameplay changed drastically once I downgraded the video card, but left all other system components unchanged.
Despite changing my graphics settings to medium or even low, the game now lags at a snailís pace, with frequent lockups and long periods of unresponsive behavior. This happens despite what is being displayed on the screen. Even the passive time between turns takes considerably longer with the weaker video card in my system. This just doesnít make sense to me, and itís unlike any game experience Iíve had before. My GF4 will happily play almost all modern games as long as the graphics quality are set to medium to low. CivIV seems to be different. (Yes, the drivers were uninstalled and rolled back to a version more suitable to the older hardware.)
I now understand the complaints of so many others out there who have much weaker video cards than my GF4, but still above the minimum requirements or even recommended system specifications. Firaxis has some serious patching to do and/or should make some serious changes to the minimum hardware requirements.
They never should have released the game in this condition.