Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Frustrated Unhappy CranKy

Me? Happy? No. Not today. Especially not last night. File this blog post under "if it ain't broke, fix it until it is"

I won't bore you with the details about my troubles activating the new version of MS Money on my Vista box. Or rant about how Microsoft removed and changed the features I depended upon. I've been using the same version of Money for about seven years...yes, it's a case of teaching old dogs new tricks.

But my troubles with MS Money are just annoyances. Little nothings that a couple hours of hardwork didn't fix up. My chief worry is Lord of the Rings Online.

I posted before about having to fiddle with the graphic settings to get a compromise between performance and and appearance. I tested my frames per second (FPS) with FRAPS and I was seeing 25 FPS in the wilds but less in the bigger towns. Not smooth, some stuttering... but acceptable.

The new PC easily beats the recommended system requirements except for the video card (but still above the required level). I want to upgrade to a better card so I can play LotRO with the graphic options cranked up on high. The game is gorgeous with high quality graphics. So I've been researching what card would give me the best bang for my buck in the $150 - $200 price range. Keep in mind this is just me dreaming... I can wait a few months. Or so I thought.

Last night I ran the Windows Update. No critical updates. Whew. Oh, but look, updates to my video card drivers. Sure, why not? I thought in my naivety that with updated drivers I might squeeze a couple more FPS out of the game. Hah. My FPS plummeted to about 8 and textures weren't rendering. The game went all Matrix on me with weird white images and black terrain with shifting color patterns. Very trippy.

I tried a few other 3D games and they looked and ran fine. FPS was 30+. WTF, Turbine.

Panic ensues. Stupid me. Lesson learned. Don't get my hardware drivers from Microsoft. Go to the hardware company's site to get my drivers. I jumped over to nVidia's site and installed the latest drivers for my card. The game doesn't have that weird hallucinogen look but I'm stuck at 15 FPS. And that's after ratcheting down the quality settings.

I want to play this game, but I can't at 15 FPS. I'll look for a solution tonight. I hope there is one besides upgrading my video card. We just had our house painted, so I'm tapped and I avoid buying with credit cards. No way I can justify buying on credit for a game. I'd hate to shelf LotRO, but I may have to do that until I can save for an upgrade.

1 comment:

SmakenDahed said...

Vista has a rollback feature or system restore - I forget what they call it. It will set a restore point before installing drivers or updates (I believe).

I'd give you the steps on how to revert back, but I don't have a Vista system in front of me and my memory has been shot lately. If you search for it on Google you should be able to find the steps.

Be cautious using this if you make significant changes to software installed. I vaguely remember uninstalling some games, reverting to a point where the games were installed and having some add/remove programs issues. Nothing severe, but it was annoying.