Why won't my PC play games with an id Tech 4 engine?

I’ve been trying to play Quake 4 recently and am already half-way through the game. It hasn’t been without me getting pissed off though because of the extreme lag and choppiness.

Now, I don’t know a helluva lot about computer gaming but I tried checking my FPS for Quake 4 just now and it’s showing around 15 fps average. It gets down to a low of about 5 if there’s heavy action on the screen. It’ll be around 20 if there’s absolutely nothing going on onscreen. I keep hearing everyone say that it’s supposed to be at 60 fps. Hell, I’d be happy if it was around 25 because I’ve seen close to that and it seems smooth to me. By the way, I’ve got Q4 set on lowest quality setting even though when I have the computer do an automatic check to see which setting is the best, it gives me medium. I mean, shit. It’s just too damn unplayable at some points. I don’t even know how I got as far as I did already. And this same crap happened to me when I tried playing Doom 3. Unplayable.

My PC specs are:

** Processor**: AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (2.4 GHz)
** Cache Memory**: 512 KB L2 cache
** Cache Per Processor:** 512 KB
** RAM**: 1 GB (installed) / 4 GB (max) - DDR SDRAM - 400 MHz - PC3200
** Hard drive:** 250 GB Standard
** 2nd hard drive**: 150GB external
** CD / DVD drive: DVDR (+R DL) IDE**
** 2nd optical storage type**: None
** Graphics Processor / Vendor**: NVIDIA GeForce 6100 with available PCI Express slot
** Audio output**: Sound card
** Cabinet form factor**: Tower
OS provided: Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

I’ve cleaned up my computer and shutdown all background programs before I play this stuff and it doesn’t help.

My guess is it’s something in my hardware. That’s where you guys come in because I know diddly shit about computer hardware stuff. Especially graphic cards and I wanna guess that’s what it is.

Anyone have a solution?

Graphics card, thats your only bottleneck as far as Quake 4, get a Geforce 7800 GTS, and your set.

I’m not finding a GTS version. Were you talking about GTX? And how much are they? Apparently, from what I’ve been reading, they were nVidia’s top of the line in '05 and they were around $500 which is not something I want to spend. I can’t find them at an accurate price at all right now. I don’t even see it on the Best Buy website. MSI has a version of the 7800 GTX that I guess is cheaper but I can’t find that anywhere either.

GTS is for the 8800s, if I remember right. Don’t worry, top line in '05 doesn’t sell for '05 prices.

As far as finding a good price on it, never look for good prices for computers and computer hardware at best buy. They don’t offer competitive pricing on computer hardware.

New Egg search for that product.

Fair enough. So am I looking for a 7800 GTX or 8800 GTS then?

Damn. I just want something to play these two games…

The 8800GTS is the newer card. The 320mb version is a phenomenal value and much more powerful than the 7800, but if budget is a concern the 7800 will be fine.

If I were to go 7800, which version would I need?

Just make sure it is PCI express, not AGP. From the looks of it, you can get a bottom of the line 8800gts for not much more than the PCIE 7800s; they’re both in the $279 range. I would just get the 8800GTS unless someone else sees a better value.

Might want to grab some more ram too if you can afford it. 1gb is “okay” for windows XP and you’ll see a big difference with 2gb working in dual channel.

I don’t think you should just jump up and buy a video card and RAM just for those old games. My bet is that it’s a software problem. Your setup should be able to handle it on the lowest settings.

Download and install the latest drivers. I think the default windows drivers for Geforce cards dosen’t implement 3D acceleration properly, but I might be wrong since I haven’t used a Nvidia card in years.

If that doesn’t work then run a burn-in test to see if there are any hardware problems. If that doesn’t show any hardware problems then run a virus scan. :tup:

I just think that the money you would spend on a video and memory upgrade would be better spent on replacing your current system.

RAM is always good. Even for just running programs but the mood doesn’t seem to strike me when we talk about dropping big money on graphic cards.

I updated my nVidia drivers just a day ago and nothing on virus scan.

Burn test shows this:


Not sure what it means but says I failed both cd/dvd drives. I didn’t have any media in there nor do I have any when I play the games. They’re being played off my hard drive.

Also, I tried playing F.E.A.R. and that ran like shit as well.

Now I don’t know that it’s true, but before I sold off my copy of Capcom’s Arcade Hits vol. 1, I tried to install and run the game on a full install, and I did get a few errors when I tried to run the game, and I do have a relitively new system. It ran fine once I got the CD in there and uninstalled it from my system. I find that the DVD helps ease the pressure off the system, in particular the HDD.

But in case I’m wrong, the only peramiters that I would look for when buying a graphics card now is to make sure that it supports DX 10.1(DX10 cards are not forward compatible with 10.1). Other than that, it’s really up to you.

i just bought an 8600 gts off new egg for 140, (they usually go for 200-250 in retail still suprisingly). not bad. its not as fast as a 7800 or 7900 series card in directx 9, but the card is more current and is designed for directx 10. not really a big deal tho atm and is irrelevant to the games you wanna play.

but yeah, your video card is the bottleneck, no doubt about it. 6100 is a very weak card

The cd/dvd rom tests failed because there was no disk in the drive. Looks good. Get a new video card and good luck. And yes, more memory is always good, but I’m still surprised of the performance problems with that setup. I had a similar setup and I was able to play Doom 3 well the demo for it, anyway. I was even using onboard video, but I had 2GB of RAM.

Alright boys, looks like the consensus is I need a new graphics card. Either off new egg or wait till Black Friday for some deals. 140 for an 8600 GTS isn’t bad though…

Hey, couldn’t help but read your thread. We have some of the same specs, AMD 64 3800 and 1 GB of RAM, but I have dual 7600GT cards in SLi. Anyway when I was trying to play Bioshock it ran horrible and since both use an id game engine my solution may work for you.

First it wouldn’t hurt to get the latest SDK, available here:


-It goes without saying but get the latest Nvidia GeForce drivers. For your card looks like this is it:


Try these and see if your game runs better and save $140, worked fo meh:)

Just did a quick search and saw this:


The article is on a linux site, but they are only testing the video cards so it should apply to windows. Maybe you can play enemy territory while you wait for the new card.

Great to know I have a shit tier graphics card. I’m glad you dropped that because I would’ve never known. Definitely going to have to upgrade it now.

What? Bioshock is using Unreal Engine 3.

AFAIK 162.18 has performance issues with Bioshock and it’s the newer one (163/164.something) that’s fixing that, it might be still in beta state though.

GF6100 is just to slow to make Quake 4 run fine.