Windows gaming fails

Well my success with Windows 7 gaming was short lived. The problem in hindsight was with judging it’s usability for my system with Valve games. You see the Source engine is heavily CPU reliant, and not so on the graphics hardware. I can easily run Half-Life 2, Day of Defeat and Portal etc at 1920×1200 at very acceptable frame rates even on my ageing ATI X1900XT graphic card. And all seemed well under these conditions, however the moment I stepped outside of the Source based games, things started to go down hill fast, with low frame rates aplenty. I double checked the obvious, made sure I had the latest drivers installed and all that Jazz, however one thing stood out.. I couldn’t open, or for that matter, even see the ATI CCC applet that lets you control the graphics cards settings, including the essential, given the age of my card, overclocking.
Turns out my graphics card is no longer on the supported list with ATI, and I’ve since checked in XP also and I can only run pre 9.3 release drivers. Therefore I would never be able to get my graphics card to run at the levels required to allow me to play modern games at decent settings despite it being quite capable of this under XP with the older drivers.

This fact cuts deep though, for these are the very problems console gamers have leveled at Windows gaming for years and I have previously fought off and tsk tsked away as frivolous as any one who knew what they were doing could get these games to play well. But when the very things you must rely on to get this level of control are not even available to me then I’m left without a defence. Had my graphics card have been incapable of playing modern games then I could put it down to a lack of investment in my rig as PC’s will always demand a certain amount of continual money sinking to stay on their game, however knowing I can get this to work fine back in XP frustrates me greatly.

What all this means is that Windows 7 is now gone from my PC, not to return until such time as my current graphics hardware either fails or can no longer deliver an acceptable gaming experience and I replace it with the then current £150 option.

In the meantime it’s back to WinXP for my gaming, and for day to day use I’ve made a return to the warm and inviting shores of a Linux desktop courtesy of the extra friendly Ubuntu distro. 20 minutes to download the ISO file and load it to a USB stick, then another 15 to install and I was up and running with a truly modern looking OS that detected my graphics, monitor native resolution and even the on-board sound and network connections without me lifting a finger :) And I’m even posting this blog entry from newly discovered Drivel, a blogging client for Linux.

Sometime my love for ‘penguins’ is multifold :)

Gaming 7 Heaven?

I’ve not been giving my PC gaming much love recently so I thought I should readdress that balance slightly, in words if not in action.
For a while now I’ve beenn dual booting between WinXP and Windows 7 (beta and now Release Client) however as often happens when I dual boot I get bored of the rebooting each time I think of something new to do. To that end I spent some time last night uninstalling eighty percent of what I had installed on my XP boot, be that general software or games, and installed Steam onto Window 7. In the end I only had time to test out the simple joys of some Mount & Blade, but queued up Half Life 2 Ep 2, Day of Defeat and Portal to give things a good trial over the next few days, should I be able to forgo some XBOX gamerscore for some Steam achievements!

Following the recent upgrades I made to my machine I’m hopeful it will cope, especially with my graphic card’s new found life, which I still need to blog and will involve some public humiliation, so that should be fun.

PS I’ve blogged this from the BlackBery so forgive any spelling mistakes, I haven’t worked out how to get the spell checker working when in the wordpress web pages yet, should probably just type it up in the memopad and copy paste the thing thinking about it!