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Ragusa's puzzle - reporting on my building progress

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by Ragusa, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    From my side there is also little new: Hardware wise my computer performs flawless. To be fair to Vista 64 - my computer itself is rock stable and performs well. Vista 64, however bloated in comparison to XP, runs agile on my platform. Video performance for instance is excellent. It looks good.

    On the flip side there are the game (in)compatibility issues, and as for what causes those bugs I have I can only speculate. Some basic incompatibility of my motherboard and the ATI card (unlikely considering that my board supports crossfire)? Poor programming from Bioware (think of the KotoR II bugs)? Driver incompatibility between ATI and Vista? Trolls, fairies or pixies maybe? Beats me. It's as believing in metaphysics. For my part I am profoundly opposed towards superstition with computer hard- and software, and, consequently, deeply dissatisfied.

    Fact is that I think I have spotted a pattern in my MassEffect crashes. Usually graphics are beautiful, face rendering is spectacularly good. On the other hand, that splendour is inconsistent: Sometimes the animation of the characters is blurry, for instance in elevators, or when changing directions when running. The animation of the departing spaceship (the Sovereign?) on Eden Prime clearly showed the tile it was on.
    When I'm just shooting and scooting the games is stable and I can play for hours. Point is, the game isn't made that way. You need the menus - and these crashes reliably but unpredictably occur when I change from the game into a menu - be it a the general menu screen, a shop, the map, my journal or somesuch - maybe the switch between graphics modes kills the game? Which then points me towards either the game, or my graphics card driver, no? But I do have the most current 64bit version of the ATI driver and I am probably ill advised to downgrade it.

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  2. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    Most Vista related issues is due to compability of the software; you can correct this by changing the compability mode to Windows XP 32 bit. Once updated I also recommend setting the same software as Admin. These two items will allow most Windows XP 32 bit software to run in any version of Vista.
     
  3. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Munchkin Blender,
    done that already. Doesn't help.

    And, gah, with anticipation I installed the newest catalyst driver (iirc) 4.11 for Vista 64, only to see MassEffect crash again when staying in the party selection screen for two long (I have about one-an-a-half seconds and three clicks to act before it freezes to hard lock). Sadly, nothing new there.
     
  4. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    Do you have Vista SP 1? If not or if you do that possibily could be the cause. I know prior to SP1 being installed on my Vista machine I was unable to run NWN.
     
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    My Vista 64 install DVD includes SP1.

    Also, I do have DX10 (h/t to Kitrax for reminding me of the forgotten dxdiag)
     
  6. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    I eventually finished MassEffect.

    In theory it is a fantastic game:
    Cutscenes are great, dialogues is great, story is cool, combat is cool, everything looks great, non player characters are great - all that is very nice.

    Decidedly not nice:
    I have lost count on how many 'hard lock' crashes I had that required me to reboot. I think, if given one Euro per crash, I could buy me an Xbox 360 and the console version of the game. I wonder why I even bothered finishing that game - call me stubborn, in particular after expending some 40€ or so on buying the game.
    The last crash deleted an entire career, that is all saves for one of my characters. Throughout the entire game I have never, not once, been able to browse the inventory of a shop, read my journal or view my assignments without the game crashing. I ended up taking notes. I never bought equipment, I only found stuff.

    Summary:
    A great game, crippled by abysmal product support (fun assignment: Go to the MassEffect web site and try find the patch) and poor coding (there is nothing exotic about my hardware or Vista 64. The game should work. Period).

    Grade:
    Insufficient.
     
  7. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I feel sad for you. I had no trouble whit the game. Yes, some crashes.
    I know this is not helping.

    Did you upload the new free content for pc: Bringing down the sky? I remember seeing a line saying updating mass effect during installing.

    As I said before I also had lots of crashes whit other games until I ran memtest86 and found one bad simm. Since then My machine runs at least as stable as any xp version.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  8. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update #12:
    I just installed Oblivion, which crashed in a way that very strongly resembled my Mass Effect crashes, and I am gaining the impression that indeed it is more about Vista 64 than anything else.

    Consequence:
    I just ordered XP Pro (32 bit) and I am going to build a dual boot system. I'll use Vista 64 for internet, media and so forth - and XP exclusively for playing my 'legacy' DirectX 9 games.

    I am sick and tired of this.
     
  9. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    I have not heard anyone having the issues you are with Vista 64; it could be a hardware issue or it could be the initial install or the even the CD's you have.
     
  10. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    [​IMG] Gee, what shall I say? I know how to build a computer. I have quality components. I know how to set up a computer. I installed Vista, installed it on a RAID, installed the latest drivers (to the best of my knowledge) and I installed the games and that ought to be it. What more can I do?

    Spend another week in man hours on tech support message boards chasing the solution for my problem? I can as well wait until Vista 64 matures. What did my efforts turn up? That such problems are prevalent with Vista 64 actually, and not limited to certain brand or type of graphics card (on the other hand, such searches involving 'crash + game + Vista 64' are inevitably selective). I read about DirectX 10 being not completely backwards compatible with DirectX 9 because of memory addressing issues issues or some such. Appears to be solved with SP1, but still, it's possible. Then, there is my sound chip set that I haven't fully researched yet. Oh, and Securom. Anyway, a couple of my crashes were graphics card related, says Vista. I reported them back to AMD. No response yet. It really beats me. I frankly don't have the nerve and time to explore all of my computers more arcane little secrets.

    Me buying XP has the moral side effect of righting past wrongs :holy:

    I think my approach, even when born of frustration, is straightforward: Most of my games are older, written in 32bit, and run under DirectX 9. Windows XP is 32bit and has DirectX 9. I know XP well. I know it is stable. And I know it has harmonised with my games in the past. Needless to say, I used to play those games on XP.
     
  11. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Depending on which version of Vista you have (Business or Ultimate) you can upgrade your Vista installation to XP. I'm not too sure about the details but it may be worth having a look around if you already have a copy of XP. If you're in Germany I think you can do everything online without even having to call Microsoft's licensing center.
     
  12. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    That's with Ultimate only. There you have the option to choose Vista's 32bit or 64bit versions. I have Vista 64bit Premium and so this point is moot for me.
     
  13. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Yeah you can't do that with the Premium edition, sorry.
     
  14. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Like Munchkin Blender said, the issues you describe are quite possibly hardware related. Could be anything from faulty cables to even the smallest mistake in putting the computer together, configuration or simply hardware failure. There's a lot more to knowing how to properly put computers together than knowing how to connect the components. I've had issues like you've described in the past. Then I got a bit tired of them and let people who actually build computers for a living put together my last two computers... and I haven't had any such problems since.

    Which isn't to say that that wasn't pure luck or coincidence, but I don't really care. In the end, it cost me far less time, money and frustration. Especially because things like phantom random crashes are very hard to track to the source as any number of things could be causing them or contributing to them. But when I get warranty on the whole box, I can just take it back and let someone else waste their time figuring it out if it does happen.

    I guess the moral of the story is pretty common; what looks cheapest is only rarely the cheapest of the most satisfactory in the long run.
     
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    If XP does not resolve your issue it is definitely a hardware.

    Do you have a ATI or Nvidia GPU? I have been hearing horror stories about the ATi 4xxx GPUS causing system crashes, even with the lastest updates.
     
  16. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Well, I, of course, bought an ATI because of the unbeatable price-performance ratio. Yet still, I considered that. And yes, Chev warned me of ATI. But then, a good friend only gave good marks to the ATI 4870, and from the performance in Drakensang I can see why. We'll see whether that really is my problem.

    My hunch currently is that it is about 32bit incompatibility with a 64bit OS and the resulting conflicts. Do I know that? No. I'll leave the XP partition slim and will only use it for gaming. If it works there, swell, then, rightly or wrongly, I'll consider it proof. I will also try and beg Microsoft to trade my Vista 64 Premium for a Vista 32 Premium (even though I don't put much hope into that).
    There is nothing cheap in my computer :p But in a sense you make a good point. I have a buddy who has a small computer shop and now focuses on business customers, but if I ask him he'll help me out.

    Anyway, I didn't ask him to build my comp because I was, by necessity, on the save money trip and bought together all the components in other shops and not through him because of a discount here and there. It would have been unfair of me to buy the components elsewhere to then ask him to build it for me. If he is doing all the work he should also have most of the profit. Now I'm not yet desperate enough to call him and ask him to fix my comp, and I will have to get a little more desperate because I feel a little guilty about it. I am sure that Ayn Rand would dismiss this reasoning as not reflecting my rational self interest :borg:
     
  17. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I meant cheap as in "I'll put my computer together or ask a buddy who built his own to do it for me, I'll save 20 euros that setup would otherwise have cost me". Later on you usually end up paying several times those 20 euros in frustration alone. I don't know what the situation is Germany is like, but here you get a significant discount when you buy an entire computer so it's pretty much the same as hunting around for the cheapest components and putting the box together yourself. Plus, you get warranty on the entire machine.
     
  18. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    The worst bit about your comment is that it is right.
     
  19. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I am never going to beg in a store anymore if they had time during the last week or so to fix my pc for money I would pay them. Something broke in me just over two years ago.

    Frustration is to see your box five days later on the same spot in the back. So I go the next day, saturday, in the morning to ask, and they say in the afternoon. Well I go and nothing. I said it will be fixed today or I will take it whit me. It got fixed. It only had a bad HDD that had crashed after 3 days.
     
  20. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    It's best to buy at a local computer store, especially if you know the people who run it. You get much better service that way - I've only had bad experiences with large computer stores that couldn't care less about an unhappy customer when they've got 20 others waiting at the door. If I can give anyone solid advice it's this - when you're buying an entire computer, find a computer store that respects you as a customer, offers good service and warranty and delivers when promised (or at least not much later). Then STICK with it, because they're few and usually far in between.

    Sure, when upgrading minor things or buying extra external hardware I usually shop around or order it online, but whenever there's something relatively major to change or upgrade (or when I'm buying a whole new box), I just take it to the store and have them do it. They install any hardware bought with them for free anyway.
     
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