Friday, October 29, 2004

---here is what i have been doing of late, figuring out what makes my computer game not work, and a post to a form on it.....


hi all...

well well well....
Cross my fingers and knock on wood and save often: I think that i found out what was the problem with my radeon card and neverwinter nights, where I would freeze up only 5 to 40 seconds into the new character game!
You all, Kel, and others, have read me whine and moan
about this, now, for over a week: here i have this here hotshot radeon 9600xt and I cannot even get 30 seconds into the original game without a freeze, a lockup, the screen freezes and locks up, the mouse freezes and hangs, with that ole music loop and looping.
[lots of word-repeats so that some poor newbie might find this, someday, in the search engine!!]

as....i have read of LOTS of this sort of problems with the ati and radeon cards. i even went as far, yesterday, as to check out if i could buy a Nvidia card!

[a whole 'trip' there, sports fans: nvidia video cards!
i did find that there seems to be a drift of opinion that once nvidia was King, and ati was second, in quality and relibility, but over the last couple of years, nvidia has gone downhill and Ati has gotten much much better! why even a gainward buyer had his card arrive by mail with parts rolling around the box and it took TWO cards before he found a good working card!
ati=directdraw
nvidia=openGL
---and neverwinter is a openGL game.
and *that* is the problem, with me and about 9,408 others, apparently.
some have reformatted.
some have gone through *all* the driver versions!
some even have reinstalled evvvvverything!!
--to absolutely NO avail at all: lockup in 30 seconds always!

I was, yesterday, about to Give Up! my frozen mouse curser laughed at anything that i did!

Then i tried to think it out. to think out why it was that when i installed my radeon 9600xt and at the same time installed my audigy2 zs, and directx 9.0b, and tried a "trial run" of neverwinter, to make sure that my three "upgrades" still had it where neverwinter still worked. i recalled that i used a save and i walked my character through hundreds of feet of the city and opened up my inventory, etc,etc; it worked OK then!!
---so what did i do in the meantime, since then, to Change things? why, since then, i configured my machine for Morrowind to get that fps out of the 5 to 8 fps-level, with my 280 mods! i finally got my fps level up to about
6 to 9, with the fps-optimizer at "20% view distance"
near the bridge in Seedya Neen.
then at this time, while configuring, i discovered to my small dismay that my directx diag gave to me the Report that i had no AGP! was disabled!
----that led me to a day or three of research into the arcane world of "bios" and "4 in 1" Athlon and Asrock motherboard driver upgrades, so that finally I got my Smartgart panel in the radeon control board to have the AGP active and i set it to "2x"! hooray!

so yesterday, i pondered setting my AGP to "1x".
my old motherboard, oringinally bought for a 1700 processor, only supported, with the motherboard new-drivers, up to 4x agp, so i have little choice.
Set my agp to "1x"?

why not try DISABLING the agp?!
i did this then, as this "setting", no agp, was what i had before i enabled the agp. This was after i added the radeon and the audigy and the 9.0b directx and neverwinter played OK! neverwinter played ok before i
activated the agp.

I disabled the agp, rebooted as smartgart wants me to, and then i tried again.
I then added, for good measure, the "patch" for the
animations for HOTU, as i read that this causes problems in HOTU [hordes of the underdark expansion] with some people. i then loaded up my test save, with the pregenerated character [new game as in the meantime i installed the 1.64 patch: i even contemplated uninstalling
it all and then just trying plain neverwinter, to see if that 1.64 patch was the culprit!]

i began my "game", at the very very beginning of neverwinter, the "prelude". i took the elf gal out into the main room, i talked to the guard, at length, i waited for the enevitible, the lockup! i closed the talk screen, after boredom set in and then i went to the other
person and talked some more and some more and then i bought a set of armor and then i entered both bedrooms and opened the chests over and over and then back out to talk some more, and then enter the option screen and then diddle with that and then talk some more...after about 15 to 20 minutes i quit the game...NO freezing!!
...which leads me to beeeeelive that

NO AGP FIXED MY FREEZES!!
yes, sports fans, you read me right! to actually DISABLE the agp, in the radeon smartgart panel, taking away the very very "goodness" that ati/radeon promotes as the Way To Go...AGP!!
--like taking out, in your BMW sports car, the Engine, and replacing it with something from a low cheap entry car from
"John's Salvage Yard"!....something from a ford or chevy from the 1960s!

I then tried my Knights of the republic game, untried, as i got it just to use its directx 9.0b! my hunt for answers, yesterday, took me over to the KOTOR board as *they* have Issues aplenty with ati/radeon cards too! many many radeons/ati cards have the very same lockup problems where the game IS unplayable, sometimes from square one!
kotor is opengl.
well i tried this game after quiting neverwinter. i got into the entry room at the very beginning and moved around a bit, diddling with the dialogues and such, for about ten minutes and there were NO freezes! no slowdown either!
[i guess my radeon 9600xt is SO of a "hotshot card' that
a kind of "pci-mode" does not affect the fps much!]

I wondered, then, what this action would do for my Morrowind! what would disabling the agp do for *its*
framerates?! [ah the DOS days, where the computer has to be reconfigured for *each* game!]
So here i loaded up my game to where i was, in Seedya Neen
where i had about 6 to 9 fps at 20% view distance, before
my removing of the agp. actually, i was about 200 feet to the east of that spot by the bridge, where i had the "fps-optimizer" set to about 50% view distance, so i entered that 9 fps area with 50% view.

fps??
14!!!
---I went from 6 to 9 fps at 20% view distance
to
14 fps at 50% view distance
by
DISABLING MY AGP!!

??????
!!!
---why would this be so?
is there some pecularness inherient in my asrock motherboard with athlon 2400XP with win98SE?
or...
will this "trick" work for anyone? there are so many possibilities out there of Combinations of hardwares with versions of windows and other operating systems with driver versions, that *your* milage may very well very if you try this trick. but this action is very very easy to do: just disable the agp in the ati/radeon Smartgart control panel and smartgart will reboot your machine!

of *course* this action is "counter-intuitive"! this agp is what you bought your vid card FOR, is it not?!
yes, KILL your agp and See if this helps, ye all who
freeze and lock up, with your ati/radeon cards!!
i hope this rambling long post will help *someone*, here, as i read of this problem in nearly any forum devoted to video cards and games!

so maybe i will play again, neverwinter! i will save my game a LOT, though, maybe i can live with a freeze every half hour or so, if that happens!

freestone