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Thread: My computer hates Civ 4

  1. #1
    The_Big_Con
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    My computer hates Civ 4

    I used to have Vista -- it hated Civ 4 in a very similar way. I killed Vista off my computer for several reasons, including what i thought was its hatred of Civ 4, only to find out that on Windows XP -- which is what I'm using now -- the situation has not improved.

    Here's what happens. When I launch Civ, everything is peachy for a few rounds. Then the screen pauses for 3-5 seconds, cuts to a black screen, and gives me the message "Auto detect - Analog input". Then it's back to the game again, for a few minutes, before another pause.

    The third time or so that it pauses, it goes to a black screen and stays there. I have to start the Task Manager to end Civ 4. As you can imagine, this has reduced the enjoyment I get out of Civ 4 immensely.

    Sometimes it won't launch from the desktop icon. In those cases, it tells me Initialize Renderer Failed.... Invalid 3d device type.


    I'm no computer guru, but I think my machine should be able to handle Civ 4 + BTS. It's a Dell Inspiron 5305.

    What do you think? Tell me it's just a matter of downloading the right driver or cleaning my CD drive. Or do I need a new video card? I'm out of ideas.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Theben
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    IF you married your computer, it would then be your wife. While this doesn't help you in the least, I find the title change would be amusing.
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    joncnunn
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    It's probably the graphics card.
    Found this on the wikipedia:

    Inspiron 530s

    A slim-chassis desktop with appearance and features similar to the full-size Inspiron 530. However, because of its design, it is not physically compatible with all desktop hardware, especially graphics cards (Dell only gives you the option of the ATI 2400 XT, which isn't a high performance card). ... While almost any low profile PCI-E x16 video card will physically fit in the 530s, the custom sized Delta 250W power supply that the 530s is equipped with may seriously limit the potential for using higher end cards.
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    AI: I sure wish Jon would hurry up and complete his turn, he's been at it for over 1,200,000 milliseconds now. :mad:

  4. #4
    joncnunn
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    Could a mod move this thread up a level to Civ4 General?
    1st C3DG Term 7 Science Advisor 1st C3DG Term 8 Domestic Minister
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    AI: I sure wish Jon would hurry up and complete his turn, he's been at it for over 1,200,000 milliseconds now. :mad:

  5. #5
    Unimatrix11
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    Well, without meaning it as a personal insult, i will never understand, why people buy Dell (and such). Now you cant even replace your graphics adapter, because Dell decided to define it´s own case and power supply standards - you are basically screwed (all taken as joncnunn wrote it). Plus you most probably paid a good deal more, than if you had opted for equivalent parts by a no-name manufacturor (or a complete system with comparable specs, built into a NORMAL tower by your local vendor or whatnot). Now, yeah, the service might be a selling point to the ´non-guru´, but what does service do for you, if the parts built in suck from the start and the wierd system-specs dont even allow for replacement? Seems like taking the worst out of both worlds -laptops and towers- to me: Immobile AND a rather closed system architecture.

    Building one´s own system is not rocket science. The most challanging part is what components to get - but that is something you should decide on anyways - not even Dell can take this decision from you in a competent way (as you experience). Putting the stuff together is pretty much like Lego. Then download the latest drivers for each component (or use the ones that eventually came on disc with them), install them, and you are done. I´d say, if you are really insecure, doing it for the first time, an afternoon will still do. You will never ever have to ponder again, when someone asks you, wether you have ´on-board´-graphics, or a proper graphics adapter, because you actually held the card in your hand and stuffed it into its slot.

    I aint no computer-guru either, but never would i even consider buying DELL. If i´d buy pre-assembled comps, i´d rather go for the occasional offer at the grocery store chain (germans will know ALDI). For comps, all of Porter´s Ps are meaningless, except the price (IMHO). You cannot really buy a computer ad-hoc, without getting informed prior to the actual hunt, thus and and because ´personel´ is not really trustworthy either, there goes the first P. Product? Well, they are standardized pretty much, and wether you get the ATI3850 from gainward or whatnot, doesnt really matter. Place? If it´s broken you send it in - you dont go anywhere except the post office with it anyways. Price is all that matters. And in that DELL sucks (and having a ´home-service´ is just pathetic for comps - you know they wont sent someone within 24h, who will actually fix your problem, unless it´s so dumb, that you should wish for the earth to swallow you out of embarressment for calling someone up because of it).

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    Ming
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    Quote Originally Posted by joncnunn View Post
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    Could a mod move this thread up a level to Civ4 General?
    Can do...
    "If black people robbed you, I'd not consider it prejudice for you to be angry at black people in general" - Ben Kenobi
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    Keep on Civin'
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    Blaupanzer
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    Uni's true feelings emerge.
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  8. #8
    joncnunn
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    If your going the buy a notebook already assembled, I would highly recommend most Toshiba's Satellites. Almost all of them have TruBrite displays (and the graphics cards to support it), along with full sized keyboards and wide screen monitors.
    Mine is the L355D-S7815 I brought at Best Buy last August for about $800 on the state sales tax holiday.

    I had no problems even running the Huge Real World Ice Age (BTS) scenario on it.
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    AI: I sure wish Jon would hurry up and complete his turn, he's been at it for over 1,200,000 milliseconds now. :mad:

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    ybrevo
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    And by the way, CIV runs great on an iMac G5, so maybe you should consider Apple the next time

    Ybrevo

  10. #10
    joncnunn
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    It looks like BTS is still not available on the Mac.

    Quote Originally Posted by ybrevo View Post
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    And by the way, CIV runs great on an iMac G5, so maybe you should consider Apple the next time

    Ybrevo
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    AI: I sure wish Jon would hurry up and complete his turn, he's been at it for over 1,200,000 milliseconds now. :mad:

  11. #11
    Boracks
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    So buy an iMac and use BootCamp utility to install windows in its own little partition. Works great!
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    Fistleaf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimatrix11 View Post
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    Well, without meaning it as a personal insult, i will never understand, why people buy Dell (and such). Now you cant even replace your graphics adapter, because Dell decided to define it´s own case and power supply standards - you are basically screwed (all taken as joncnunn wrote it). Plus you most probably paid a good deal more, than if you had opted for equivalent parts by a no-name manufacturor (or a complete system with comparable specs, built into a NORMAL tower by your local vendor or whatnot).
    I have a DELL Inspiron 530, and I think it's a bargain as I have 3GB RAM, Core 2 Duo, ATI HD 3650 on it which is a decent enough graphics card (It can run Oblivion with enough eye candy), Vista Home Premium and 1 year warranty. It costs only US$800 (current exchange rate, cheaper when I bought it a few months ago). The only thing which is sacrificed is the sound card (generic with SB Audigy software solution), which I don't really care anyway. So it is not always a bad bargain to buy Dell if you know how to select the correct parts on your machine.

  13. #13
    Unimatrix11
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    In all fairness: I think my bro has a DELL, too, and when i bought him a DVD-burner for his birthday, i also installed it for him (part of the package ) and was rather surprised, how tidy it was. In my case, you can see all kinds of cables like in a spaghetti bowl, but in his, the cables are all neatly lead along the case´s sides, which IS nice.

    So as long as you buy a ´normal´ tower and know what you are buying, maybe it is okay to buy DELL - i still wouldnt, tho. (I wont go through the math and effort to actually compare prices now - more specs would be needed for that anyways - what MoBo, what Rams, harddrive(s), optical drives, PSU...). I will, though, give a rough overview of my system, FWIW:

    - AMD 64 3700+ (high-end single core)
    - cheap mainboard - no special features (ASUS)
    - 1 GB RAM (PC 3200 - nothing special either)
    - ATI X850 (256 MByte)
    - Raptor 37GB (i wouldnt do THAT again - way to expensive)
    - CPU-cooler (good/15bucks one)
    - 550W power supply
    - A DVD-drive (read only)

    (Grpahics adapter and RAM have been upgraded by now (2Gigs and ATI 3850/512) (+ a 500 GB-HD) and it runs everything i throw at it so far pretty well - hell sometimes i have CIV4 and Silent Hunter 3 running at the same time - no problem at all)

    I paid less than 700 Euro for this, and that was 3 years ago. (In my experience, euro-prices with VAT included are roughly dollar-prices without VAT, for hardware).
    At one time, i *thought* my harddisc was broken (in fact it was a cable), sent it to my vendor (alternate) and got it back the same week, with a complete analysis - it only cost me the stamps.

    Since my specs arent too far from yours, i doubt yours was that much of a bargain, considerring the assumed 2.5 years or so, between both deals. I kept my old case though, and if you´d add that, i´d come out about the same price. Maybe later today, i will look at alternate, what i´d get for 700 Euro today, for a proper comparison. Of course, saving an afternoon or so, building the thing has a value, too, though.

    BTW, i *think* within the EU, a two-year-warranty is obligatory by law.

    EDIT: So i did a quick skimming over at alternate and made a list of what would be quite a complete system, with comparable specs:



    Now, €460 != $800 - okay no software with that... but still - mediocre price at best, i´d say, not a bargain.

    (The components might not be top-notch brand stuff, but each of them had a user rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars and a dozen ratings minimum).
    Last edited by Unimatrix11; April 16, 2009 at 08:12.

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    wodan11
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    IMO the problematic thing with Dell isn't the hardware so much as all the crap they force down your throat. Not only that, but even if you uninstall half of it doesn't uninstall cleanly. Not only that but they put all the software on a self-installing partition and don't include discs. So, you can't keep just the stuff you want.

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    Fistleaf
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    Disk space is not that much of a problem nowadays. It's whether the preinstalled stuff preloads into memory, wasting your RAM. I only uninstalled the virus scan and installed AVG antivirus. If you know what you are doing, you can disable the other TSR software and unnecessary services.

    It's hard to compare prices between different systems as there are so many other things involved, like speakers, USB ports, monitor (Unimatrix, noticed that there is no monitor in your "complete" system).

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    wodan11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fistleaf View Post
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    Disk space is not that much of a problem nowadays. It's whether the preinstalled stuff preloads into memory, wasting your RAM.
    Exactly my point. But thanks for clarifying. (Seriously)

    I only uninstalled the virus scan and installed AVG antivirus.

    And you bought a Dell? Then there's a TON of crap in there clogging your OS performance.

    If you know what you are doing, you can disable the other TSR software and unnecessary services.

    It's pretty darn hard to totally clean things out. I know; I spent 3 solid days doing it.

    It's hard to compare prices between different systems as there are so many other things involved, like speakers, USB ports, monitor (Unimatrix, noticed that there is no monitor in your "complete" system).
    Honestly, I would gladly pay a couple hundred extra $ to be able to have a totally clean OS, with install discs, and to be able to install ONLY what I want. Things such as speakers, ports, etc are minor because they are much more end-user configurable (assuming they aren't hard-wired to the motherboard, which unfortunately seems more and more common these days).

  17. #17
    Unimatrix11
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    Well, you didnt mention a screen either - so i thought that wasnt involved. Then the word ´bargain´ comes a bit closer to the truth, but still does not quite hit it, since even a couple of month ago, you could get a decent 22" for €200 - throw in a keyboard and a mouse (which was more of an ommision on my side IMO) and you are at €700 (VAT included).

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