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Bizarrely low performance in Civ 4 on new laptop

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by CodeNameSly, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. CodeNameSly

    CodeNameSly Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    So I just got a new laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad T400).
    It's obviously not a hardcore gaming machine, but it's vitals are respectable:
    Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz)
    4.00GB DDR3-1066 RAM (2 from Lenovo, 2 installed by me)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 (256MB)
    Vista Business x64

    Ran 3dMark06 and got a score of ~2500.

    There are a few games I'd like to be able to play. One of them is Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. However, when I run it (albeit at max settings, 1440x900) I get fairly poor performance. Like low 20s FPS.

    For comparison, I can play Fallout 3 at 1440x900 with High texture setting (all others minimized except for draw distances at about middle) with similar frame rates.

    Any ideas what the deal is? And why Beyond the Sword keeps triggering the UAC popup whenever I run it?

    Thanks.

    PS I couldn't tell where to put this, so my apologies if it's in the wrong place (sorry!). It's not really a BTS bug, but definitely does concern BTS.

    EDIT:
    To add to the weirdness, when I'm interacting with another leader, the FPS jumps back up to 50 (same as it is in the opening menu).
     
  2. Elkad

    Elkad Emperor

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,045
    why would anything faster than about 8FPS matter in civ anyway? I played in a higher res with an even weaker card without a problem. (until last week, just got a 4850)

    However, I'd try either fiddling with texture settings, or try a couple different driver versions. A good percentage of the ATI drivers are crap.

    Re UAC: Just turn it off, its about 99.5% false alarms. NOT a useful addition.
     
  3. Charonicus

    Charonicus Warlord

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    UK
    Try third party Radeon drivers such as Omega. Elkad is right about ATI's sucky driver support. If you're using default catalyst that could well be the reason.
    The machine looks like it should be able to handle it fine. Maybe lower the res slightly or turn down a setting or two, see if it makes a difference.
     
  4. OnmyojiOmn

    OnmyojiOmn Prince

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Messages:
    371
    Could it be a problem with your laptop power settings? Maybe the video is running in low-power mode.
     
  5. shulec

    shulec Grrrrr... I AM the force! Hall of Fame Staff

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    4,423
    Location:
    No longer Chicago :(
    Your CPU has some serious muscle. Try posting in the Technical support forum for CIV IV. Also, consider going outside Civ fanatics to a general gaming forum and post there.

    The first thing I would do is make sure you the video card drivers updated (I would assume they are). I would not install the Radeon Catalyst unless you are a cpu geek.

    Then I would uninstall the game and reinstall (Yes, all of the patches are a pain in the neck.)

    Your cpu should be able to run Civ, juggle, and walk your dog all at the same time.
     
  6. cspyr0

    cspyr0 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Messages:
    53
    I also have a T400 with the same specs/os you mention, except 2GB of memory. I'm able to easily run civ4 with either the integrated or discrete video cards at max settings and 1440x900. Everything seems pretty smooth to me, but perhaps you have a lower annoyance threshold concerning framerates.

    If I'm on battery and set things to 'power saver' I can still run civ, but it's very choppy as I move about the map. Make sure everything is running at its maximum performance. Also, while usually good advice, do not mess with the video drivers (especially 3rd party) on your T400 until you read up about it considerably. Installing the two drivers (for integrated and discrete cards) is difficult and annoying, and without prior knowledge you will likely break the video card switching feature. Being stuck on the ATI card at all times will lower your battery life by about an hour.
     
  7. nNemethon

    nNemethon Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    48
    On a bit of a side-thought, my laptop has a comparble setup (bar onboard gfx - yuk) to my desktop which blazes anything yet the laptop struggles. I quickly found that the basic SATA drives that ship with a lot of lappies are crap at best. Slow as a wet week to say the least. My original one was a 7200 rpm seagate and I jumped it to a high performance 10k rpm (can't remember the make) and all the gfx ops jumped up several large notches.

    When I boot it in XP 64-bit, everythings a bit dodgy as I have had to make do with some not-quite right drivers. On the Vista 64 boot, the game hums along very nicely and all with a horrid 1 gig of ram. (lol, times realy have changed).

    But DEFINATELY change your ATI drivers to a 3rd party, there are a few out there and a bit of experimenting will show the better one for your needs. I'm still to do it after a year with this machine but prior, I gained 12 fps easy on the max res and performance settings (1680x1050) running FEAR.

    Hope this helps.
    nNem
     

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