Worried about my computer running HL2


May 18, 2003
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I don't know about any of you guys, but I'm running a fairly low end system. While its not shit, it doesn't contain the latest and greatest in hardware. I'm going to upgrade it as much as I can this summer to prep for HL2, but I'm worried about how well my system will run on it, since it runs a 40-70fps average on Counter-Strike (not including times where there is lots of smoke, sprites, and dead bodies - in which it will sink as low as 15fps).

I'm not exactly sure what to upgrade first, here is my system specs (To upgrade the CPU and RAM I would have to upgrade the motherboard):

-Asus A7V Motherboard w/ AGP 4x
-AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1.2ghz
-512mb of CL=2 PC133 RAM
-7200rpm 15 gig HDD
-VisionTek nVidia GeForce 3 Ti 200 64mb
-Windows 98se

I've heard the comments about how HL2 will be scaleable all the way back to the original HL requirements (dx6 + 16mb gfx or higher) but with the detailed graphics in the new game (even though optimized) I am very skeptical. I'm just wondering if anyone can give me a comment or two on how they feel about the situation.


Oh and I see by the heading that I am a Headcrab :cheese:
I think your computer will run it fine, but that's just me! I am going to need to buy a new 3d card -- I have a low end card in a high end system (ATI Radeon 7000 32mb on an Athlon 2200+). I think I will buy an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro after the summer...
I have a similar set up to you, in the summer I am upgrading to a GA-7VAXP-A Ultra with a 3Ghz Athlon XP (Pretty much future proof for a long while) and 512mb of Crucial PC2700 Memory. At Christmas i'll get a new Graphics Card, not sure what one yet, depends on prices.

Depending on how much money you got to spend, I recommend a 2Ghz + Processor, a decent System Board (Gigabyte are good) and some decent memory. Your graphics card might run in to some problems though, with and ageing GPU and only 64mb of texture memory?

you small timers have no idea what a low power system is....

466mhz celeron
128mb pc100 RAM
built in 16mb ATI Rage
no-name Dell mobo
0 case fans
my CPU heatsink looks like a paperclip
my cpu fan makes more noise than my HD

I have trouble running HL1 @ 800x600
I used to have a system like yours but ALOT crapper, I got like 15 fps in software mod at lowest res. Try playing cs like that.
only 40-70 fps in CS? i have very similar system specs to you and i get 100 usually solid, np. duron 1.2, 256mb ddrpc2100, ti200. most minimum recommended systems for hl2 have been estimated at about a 700mhz proc with similar 'primitive' hardware. hl2 i suppose will be quite easily scaled down to play quite well on lower end systems.
You think that's bad? I'm writing this on an old piece of copper wire connected to a lemon wedge. My hard-drive is a stack of post-it notes.
I've listened to the interview with Gabe Newell. He says, straight out, that you can play the game with a 700mhz or above CPU with a TNT/Intel810i era graphics card. All that will be different is how things look: you wont have any of the bells and whistles and effects, but the game will work fine. Your system is well above the minimum, so it should run fine without any enhancements. It wont look like the tech demo however.

I hope they release a bunch of videos of the exact same scene rendered under different hardware setups so we get a sense of what the visual difference is.
lol my specs are P3 733Mhz 316 MB RAM Riva TNT 2 Ultra ..i know this is the minimum requerments but i want to experience HL2 the way it should..so hopefully i get a new computer in a couple of weeks :D
wait until early september, then you could get a top machine now for a lot less. my 2 cents.
i cant see any games coming out thats gonna push my computer too much i just need a better graphics card but i'll get that when theres a great that actually deserves it ...sorry but cs aint exactly the best looking game ever

Your specs are respectable, but they will likely not let you enjoy the full range of effects in the game. Plus, given the scenes we've seen with a lot of AI-controlled characters running around, I'd have to say that a 1.2 GHz chip will probably need some help.

Video: some of the HL2 material (that's not on a Radeon 9800 Pro and showcased at ATi's booth) was generated on a 2.0 GHz machine using a GF4 Ti 4600. Since a Radeon 9500 Pro performs like a 4600 but gives you full OpenGL 2.0 and DX9 compliance, a 9500 Pro, 9600 Pro or a GF FX 5600 Ultra would all probably fit the bill for graphical effects on a budget. The 9500 Pro has more pixel pipes, but the other two cards have much higher clock speeds... You can find any of these cards for under $200. I found my 9500 Pro for around $160 US.

CPU: depending on your mainboard's support for faster chips, an Athlon XP 2400+ OEM would be a good buy, and seems to be the price point in the AMD chip lineup right now - any higher chip, and the price goes up steeply. The 2400+ can be found for $100 US. Its "real" clockspeed is 2.0 GHz, which would constitute a very nice step up from 1.2 GHz.

You could always go with a P4 875P board, a 3 GHz HT P4, and a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra / Radeon 9800 Pro, but I thought money might be a consideration.
I hope i'll be able to play HL2:

900 mhz
128 mb sd ram
geforce 2 mx

Originally posted by himself
I hope i'll be able to play HL2:

900 mhz
128 mb sd ram
geforce 2 mx


yeah you can play it with that...but the graphics and effects will suck
yeah you can play it with that...but the graphics and effects will suck

You're full of it. Fact is, we don't know what systems will look like what yet. We only know what something over 2gig and a Ge4 will look like, not what things below that will look like: what they'll have to scale back and how that will effect things.
That's the problem: I have this crappy old mobo (Asus A7V) that wont support anything higher than a 1.4 ghz thunderbird, and doesnt support DDR.

So my question to you I guess is, if I get a new motherboard (and in turn I would need to get DDR ram and a new case/power supply) - how messed up is the installation on THAT? I know installing a new mobo is the hardest upgrade for your computer, but I don't know just how bad it is. I hope someone here can tell me.

This is what I'm looking at buying this summer:

-New Case/400w Power Supply ($70-100)
-Asus A7N8X 8x AGP, USB2.0 mobo ($125-140)
-AMD Athlon XP 2700 2.17GHz Socket A OEM ($170-200)
-512mb DDR PC2700 CL=2 RAM ($70 from Crucial)

If I have enough money I also plan on buying a new vidcard, probably an ATI Radeon 9500 (or higher) or a nVidia GF4 TI 4600 (or higher, the GF4 are getting alot cheaper now that the FX is out).

As you see that really adds up. I hope someone here can tell me how easy the reinstallation of all components is, if I have to reformat (both my HDDs), etc. Because I don't want to waste my money finding out that it won't work.

Right now, its just a $$$ waiting game until Sept. 30th.
Miasma -

The installation of the bundle you have picked is not difficult.

1) Case: Cases have standard screws. They are easy to deal with. Look inside the case before you buy it, and if you don't have a lot of experience doing installations, I might suggest buying a case with lots of elbow room so you can see / touch everything easily. Frankly, standard ATX cases are actually pretty good now. Features to look for: room, removable drive bays, removable motherboard tray, space for front and rear case fans with effective venting. (note on fans: make sure the case actually permits meaningful airflow to the fan... some cases have a beautiful front 92 or 120mm fan mounting, letting you opt for a big, deep, slow, quiet case fan... and then don't have much of a grill in front of it, meaning that your case is trying to breathe through a straw). The bloody switches and lights on the front of the case are the biggest pain in the ass, and all I can say here is that you have to read the printing right on the mainboard and hope you get everything right. No damage will result, but a light might not come on or a button might not work. Give yourself a few cracks at these, as no one has standardized these plugs yet.

2) Power supplies are easy, too. They go into the case with four screws, and have shaped plugs that only fit the things they're supposed to plug into, the way they're supposed to be plugged in. No way to screw up - plugs won't let you.

3) Mainboards screw into little "feet" in the case. Usually, you use six or so screws, and again, it's very easy - all standard size, etc. You just lay the board over your motherboard tray or the case side, look at where the holes in your mainboard are, and palce the "feet" accordingly.

4) RAM: RAM is the easiest thing to install. It only fits one way, gives a nice click when it's all the way in, and won't come out when it's fully seated in its slot. No worries here.

5) CPU / Heat sink and fan: do NOT do this yourself if you aren't 100% sure of what you're doing. Flip-chip packaging (which places the core on "top" of the chip package) is great for heat dissipation but unfortunately also makes it possible to crush the core. Get a professional to do this if you aren't comfortable doing it yourself. It's not "easy" to crush the core, but it's better not to risk it.


Other thoughts:

The video card thing: don't buy a GF4 now. Buy an ATi Radeon 9500 Pro, 9600 Pro, or whatever RV360 (if it is in fact a real, taped-out core...) is; or buy a GeForce FX 5600 Ultra. All of these will give you some degree of future-proof performance from your card, whereas the GF4s will just fade as better titles come along.

You picked a really good mainboard - Asus A7N8x is the cream of the crop for AMD boards right now. Chip and RAM sound great too.

The one thing that makes me wince is the power supply. Don't just buy a power supply because it says 400W. Buy an Enermax, or Sparkle, or another "good" supply. Any modern chip - and all modern video cards - need a serious, high-grade power supply to prevent problems. I have used Enermax for several years with good results, but there are any number of other good companies out there. It DOES matter that much: a cheap power supply can cause a lot of problems, especially with the rather respectable grade of hardware you'll be getting into. Drop the cash on it, even at the expense of knocking back (a little) on another component. A good power supply will probably not buy you a single additional point in any benchmark - but a bad one can cost you stability or even data...

Formatting: as a general rule, it is a good idea - although technically not necessary - to format with any change of mainboard chipset.

I apologize for the treatise here, guys. Miasma, you can certainly pm me if you have any other questions.
Very informative actually, thanks.
I've actually got to figure out if I'm going to need to upgrade my power supply: are power supplies that come in your average p3 era desktops not up to handling a p4, lots of mem, and a powerful gfx card?
Today my step-dad put in a new mobo for his dell which came screwed up and its pretty easy to do from the looks of it, I havent done it but i have messed with computer guts and peices before ;) Installing the proc and hsf is easy, make sure you have T greese on it though or else say bye bye to proc. Requires little force to install the proc and hsf.
1) New CPU / Graphics cards have very different power requirements than old ones. For example, while you might have a 350W power supply in your P2 or P3 box, it might supply most of the juice on the 5V rail (for example). With a P4, you want it on the 12V rail... even new supplies that aren't good quality make this "mistake". A good, name-brand power supply at 350W (or preferably higher) will get the job done.

2) Installing a cpu is fairly easy, but that doesn't mean someone who isn't 100% comfortable should risk a $200 component because they put too much wrist into popping the fan on.
How do I tell what it's supplying most of the juice to?

For the amount of money a decent new power supply costs, just replace it...

Alternatively, you could get the model number and see if the manufacturer has a tech sheet.
One of you mentioned that one of the tech videos was filmed on a 2 GHz P4 w/ a ti4600.

Could you point me to which video please? I'd kind of like to see how my system does so I don't waste money on an upgrade anytime soon.

Cheers :cheers:
ive heard the optimal rig for HL2 is gonna be a 2ghz+ cpu with plenty of ram and a GeForce 4. I have all of that but only a GF4 MX 440... which I've heard performs at the level of a GF2... any input? I'd be happy to replace it but I just got it so I'd prefer not to (although it was a bargain :) )
GF4 MX is GeForce2 level technology.

You're going to have two limitations, in terms of straight image quality, with that card:

1) It incorporates only the older DX7 fixed transform / clipping / lighting capabilities, so advanced pixel and vertex shading effects will have to be software-emulated where possible (at a sizable cost in performance).

2) It is probably limited in onboard memory, so you may be physically unable to run the game with the best quality textures resident in the video card's memory. That means swapping to system memory if you want to use the best textures, and this is dog-slow, regardless of what AGP implementation you have.

These limitations are just the still-shot limits that will affect quality. Framerates will be low thanks to the card's low fillrate and few pixel pipes. I really would recommend an upgrade; I've said it elsewhere here, I think: the Radeon 9500 Pro, 9600 Pro and GeForce FX 5600 Ultra are all worthy budget cards.

The latest drivers and some clockspeed changes to the GF FX 5600 Ultra mean it will do much better now than was the case in the first release tests. The Radeon 9500 Pro has a full set of 8 pixel pipes and really is the fastest runner of the budget group (except in Doom3, where Nvidia is king) and is being phased out, which means it's going cheap! The Radeon 9600 Pro is a good card, but is slower than the 9500 Pro it replaces. However, it incorporates some of the new memory-managing technologies from the R350 core, and overclocks like a demon. Most sites have been able to push it from 400 MHz clock to well above 500 MHz - almost double the Radeon 9500 Pro. At these clock speeds, it's a champ.

If you're going to wait a while, and are looking for a deal, there are RUMOURS that ATi has taped out a new mainstream core, the RV360. If these rumours are true, then we should start hearing more about the card within ten days to two weeks. I'm not sure that they would tape out a new product so quickly, unless it's just a speed-bump to the relatively new RV350 (which powers the Radeon 9600 Pro). If these stories turn out to be true, the RV360 will likely be the fastest toy in mainstream market.

Of course, if you have a bottomless pile of money, send me some, and then buy a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra - the card everyone hoped Nvidia would launch last fall...
i wasnt worried till i read your thread!!! Now i am :(

I got an
Athelon XP 1800
GeForce 4MX (summat)
256mb RAM

will it work ok? ?? ??????

shud do

but will it???????

of course

but what if Vavle are lying ?????

see uve made me have a convo with myself!! :devil:
The game is supposed to be able to run on very low specs, well below what you have - so yes, it probably will run. Keep in mind, as I've said elsewhere, that we're basing this on what few tidbits are floating around in the public domain on system requirements for HL2, and comments from the technical showcase videos from E3.

Your card (a GF4 MX) has the same limitations as I listed above - it's not compatible with the latest and greatest pixel and vertex shaders. If you don't need to have the best possible image quality, then I wouldn't worry about it. Your framerates will probably not be great, especially with a lot of characters and effects on the screen (when your CPU might start bogging, too), but the game is supposed to be very scalable for different hardware (again, based on the comments of Valve's rep at E3 and from the preview sites).

I don't recommend upgrading just for the hell of it, but if you really want to use the features of the game, and see the power of the Source Engine, then a better graphics card might be a decent buy. As a minimum, a DX8-compliant card will let you accelerate some pixel and vertex shading effects in hardware. DX9 cards are a reasonable price now, though, so I wouldn't recommend going that route.
From Gamespy's preview:

"With all of these considerable graphical upgrades, we were pleased to hear that the minimum system specs are currently targeted at a 700 MHz PC with 128 MB RAM and a DX6-level video card, meaning you won't need a NASA supercomputer to run Half-Life 2."

From Gamespot:

"Half-Life 2's engine was designed to be scaleable. Valve built the engine so relatively low-end systems could run the game reasonably well. That is, the minimum specs for the game should be around a 700MHz Pentium III with a TNT graphics card. Valve designed the engine for the lowest common denominator because its close ties with the huge community of Counter-Strike players gave it the impression that a large number of the game's potential fans still have old systems. We ourselves saw the game engine running on a 2GHz Pentium 4 machine with a GeForce 4 card--nothing out of the ordinary--and it performed nicely, with lots of realistic lighting and shadow effects, and shaders and bump mapping to bring out the detail in the textures."

From IGN:

"The team's current vision of the system requirements allows machines as low as P700MHz with 128RAM and a DirectX6 level card to run the game. They're supporting the lower level of system requirements but also allowing for expandability as technology moves forward. Though the game will probably ship before the full rollout of DX9, the modular engine has built-in support for some of the new features and may even support later versions of DirectX."
bugga, lol, i was planing to use the computer for HL2 moddin! o well, my summer wages will have 2 b spent on more computer hardware!! Since im a co-team leader i do need to have a hi-performance machine for compiling and such. Head over to the General Editing Forum and Check out my MOD's thread, titled Read MOD , honestly...... (i kno its a crappi name, but what tha hell) and tell me what u think of the storyline!!! feedback is appricated !!!
Yes but as Hammer stated before, that same scalable engine wont give you the eye-popping graphics shown at E3 that we are all drooling over. The computer used at E3 was actually a Dell 2ghz (AMD or Intel, cant remember) using the GF4 Ti4600.

Which is why I intend to upgrade my piece of sh*t over the summer.

Oh well, back to studying finals. :dozey:
Originally posted by Miasma
Yes but as Hammer stated before, that same scalable engine wont give you the eye-popping graphics shown at E3 that we are all drooling over. The computer used at E3 was actually a Dell 2ghz (AMD or Intel, cant remember) using the GF4 Ti4600.

Which is why I intend to upgrade my piece of sh*t over the summer.

Oh well, back to studying finals. :dozey:

awww. finals !! well if my budget allows, i'll upgrade my box of mangled wires.
For 87$ newegg.com sells a radeon 800le which is a good bang for your buck, out performs the 9000, 9100, 9200. no agp 8x but you wont see any difference compared to those cards but the 8500 le gets better fps.
Actually the best price to find stuff for good prices on the internet is Pricewatch.com (suprisingly). I found this mobo/cpu combo on there site:

Asus A7V8X nVidia nForce2 8x AGP USB2.0 Motherboard
AMD Athlon XP 2800+ (2.083Ghz) Socket A OEM
Copperbase Thermaltake Volcano Fan+Heatsink
1yr Warranty

$307 (US) from United Micro

Of course I'll have to get a new Case/Power Supply if I buy that, adding another 70-100 dollars to the bunch.

My point? Pricewatch isn't as bad as some people think. Most of (I emphesize "most of") the dealers on that site are also trustworthy and friendly.
@ Miasma

@ Miasma

I really don't mean to sound like an asshole but I feel compelled to correct your above post.
The computer at E3 running HL2 (to my knowledge) was a Dell XPS 3.00GHz 800MHz FSB w/ 1 gig DDR400 and an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. It doesn't make much sense that they had a Geforce card in the 'puter considering the demo was shown in the ATI booth.
Ok, sorry if I'm coming off like a ward of the state with a social disorder. Carry on.

To Continue about Pricewatch...

The best way to utilize pricewatch, and I've said this in another post, is to search for what you are looking for, then scroll down the available options and find one that is selling name brand parts. I also tend to feel more comfortable with the vendor if they have a website and/or list what city they're located in.
yea and are u sure it was only a 2.0 Ghz?
u think they would want it to look as smooth as possible...
Those recommended requirements run pretty high, i think ur comp will do fine with modified settings :D. You wont be able to run it on 1600X whatever resolution, but u should be able to modify it. Im completely against upgrading my system for this game.. I will just modify the settings like i said and it will run fine.
Furby - you're right about E3.

I posted (somewhere in this topic) a quote from a previewer who had the game demoed for them on a 2.0GHz P4 with a GF4 (probably a Ti4600...) and they said it was smooth with a rich set of effects enabled...

If you're really curious, you can look for my earlier post. I'm too lazy to quote my quote of a quote from a reviewer.
I'm sorry Furby, I must have been misinformed about the demo computer at E3. But it does make sense that they would use a top of the line computer.