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Graphics card causing crashes?Follow

#1 Jan 03 2004 at 12:19 AM Rating: Decent
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Hi, Jim Nesselroad here.
With the downloads for Gates of Discord, my 1999 Dell (Pentium III with 764mb ram, 25 gb harddrive, 137gb slave drive, 3dfx VooDoo 3 3000E 16mb, Windows 98 SE) has begun crashing. The crashes occur intermittently and don't seem to be related to any particular event. Perhaps more often in newer graphics dependant zones, but this fact wasn't really tested thoroughly.

We combatted the problem by turning off every graphics additive factor we could (spell effects, new models, no socials, etc.) Still having the problem. Did update the chipset drivers, bios, and video. Safe mode removed all outdated/unused items from system profile. Defragged and everything else. We have been able to play longer but still get intermittent EQ client crashes.

Could the older model video card be causing this symptom?

What upgrade would you recommend? The GE 4/5/6 with 128mb or 256 mb can be bought for under $100. The Radeon 7500/8500/9500 series can be bought for near this price as well. Therefore it really isn't a cost factor, rather a which of these cards will faithfully serve for the future? We play kids games on this computer and don't do any videoes/TV/DVD-CD movies, just games.

What do you folks think? and Thanks for the advice!
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#2 Jan 04 2004 at 12:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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Well first of all, there is a tech support forum now:
http://everquest.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=25
just for future reference.

Your voodoo 3 doesn't suppot hardware texture and lighting at all. the new 3d target ring and new spell effects use this extensivly, so, you do kinda need an upgrade

I tend personally to like the Nvidia cards better myself. If you shop around you can find a Geforce FX 5600 (not the ultra model) for around $165. That will last you well into the future

The geforce FX 5600 is a decent card, but that 256mb video ram is misleading. It is only single rate DDR ram, so really the extra 128mb or ram doesn't come into play for gaming. It's more for time intensive operations such as cad rendering.

The geforce 4 TI 4800 is also worth looking into if you can score a cheap one.

Or if you have $260 to spare, you really can't beat the Geforce FX 5900 Ultra (dual rate 256mb ddr). Absolutly stunning card.
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#3 Jan 04 2004 at 6:00 AM Rating: Decent
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It sounds like the culprit to your problem is your video card. Your system RAM is fine at over 700mb (although in the near future the norm will be 2-4 gigabytes of RAM). As far as video cards selection, I suggest you go to www.tomshardware.com. It's a computer hardware/software website with IN-DEPTH information about the latest hardware/software releases including comparison with its predecessors. After reading about video cards there, I'm pretty sure you can make up your own mind as far as what video card is right for your needs.

Personally, I own an ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB video card. Even if you don't have monetary issues with buying a replacement video card, I suggest you DON'T buy the latest and greatest video card on the market. They are well overpriced around $500 and video card prices go down as newer ones are introduced to consumers. To smoothly play Everquest with all new models turned on and the highest setting of graphics overall, I suggest you buy at least 128MB Video Ram and get 1024MB of system RAM.
Also, if your motherboard supports Pentium 4, I would suggest make that upgrade, as well. Pentium 4 2.4 is good enough even for these days of fast technological advancement. Also, try using a different operating system if you can, before buying anything. What is the speed of your Pentium 3 processor?
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#4 Jan 04 2004 at 9:31 AM Rating: Decent
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We just had a similar problem with one of our computers with it freezing - it seemed to be in more graphic intense situations - however not always. After replacing the video card to a 128 and still getting crashes we were ready to just buy a new computer. Went to the store and mentioned to the guy what was happening - he said a very large percentage of crashes are caused by power issues - in otherwords dips and spikes in the power supply to the computer. He suggested a powerstrip that regulates and smoothes the power coming into the computer. So far no crashes. The strip cost about $70 and was a lot cheaper than buying a new computer or video card. Might be worth a shot. The computer we were using had worked fine for over a year on everquest and one day started crashing so even if it wasnt happening before - it can start happening after time. Although a new video card is always nice. :)

Edited, Sun Jan 4 09:33:34 2004 by Sways
#5 Jan 05 2004 at 12:41 AM Rating: Decent
41 posts
Hi, Jim Nesselroad here.
The Pentium III is a 600mHz processor with 760 mb of memory. I don't know if it needs to be upgraded or even can be upgraded. I would do it if it will help the situation some.

I should hope that EQ isn't past this level of performance, yet, but I don't really know. I do see that on our three Dell home system, the speed of EQ loading and getting from char selection to in-game is very long with this computer, compared to the 2gHz and the 3gHz systems.

I reviewed the Tomshardware site and price watch site and found the ATI RADEON 9700 PRO scored very high on most tests and is listed at $212.

The GEFORCE FX 5600 that Kaolian mentioned scored lower on the tests from Tom's but was priced at $100 in the pricing website, far below the price K. mentioned as a good deal.

So which way to go?

Thanks.
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#6 Jan 05 2004 at 6:11 AM Rating: Decent
I jad the same problem you did , Jim. So I purchased a radeon 9600 xl. I can now run everything at high and show all spell effects no lag anywhere ( well except for the **** bazar! lol)
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#7 Jan 05 2004 at 8:45 AM Rating: Decent
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Well Jim, it all boils down to how much you would rather spend on your video card. The Radeon 9700 performs better and will cost more than anything that doesn't perform as well. Personally I would get the better, but not the best. I'm been happy with my ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro ever since I got it since last summer. Hasn't failed me since (and continue to hope it doesn't).
As far as your CPU speed, I would definitely update your motherboard and CPU processor. ASUS makes great motherboards. I have the ASUS P4C800 Deluxe (supports gigabit lan) for about $170. My CPU is Pentium 4 2.6C overclocked to 3.4ghz. It is very easy to overclock these days. You don't even mess with the jumper settings anymore like you used to. Also try Gigabyte or Abit motherboards, I heard they perform well also.
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