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Old 03-23-2004, 06:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Video card/Freelancer problems

I'm sorry to post another video card question, but I don't know what to do.
I've looked through the forum, and I saw a number of issues being highlighted around the card I'm using, but the problem I am experiencing is not discussed. If I've missed the post that deals with my issue, please let me know.
So, without any further delay, here's my.. ermm.. thing:

I have recently purchased a Palit GeForce FX 5200 128Mb card to replace my old Winfast GeForce2 64Mb Ti card. To cut a long story short, I ended up formatting my system drive and installing the operating system from scratch.
My machine is:

Motherboard : Gigabyte GA7DXR motherboard (has an AGP Pro slot on it -- this is important, as the FX5200 needs a MB with AGP 2.0 compliance or better)
CPU : AMD Athlon 1800+
RAM: 512Mb PC2100
OS : Windows 2000 Pro
Graphics card: Palit GeForce FX 5200 128Mb (AGP 8x)

After the OS installation (which was done by removing the OS partition, re-creating it, reformatting it to NTFS & installing), I have installed the
1) AGP miniport driver (freshly downloaded from the Gigabyte site)
2) VIA IDE tool (recommended by Gigabyte - also freshly downloaded)
3) nVidia drivers (freshly downloaded -- I know they've just re-released them)
4) all Windows updates from the Windows Update site (incl. latest service pack and DirectX 9b)
5) Monitor drivers (iiyama VisionMaster Pro 451)
6) Norton AV
7) MS Office 2000
8) Freelancer <--- this is the game I wanted to run 'better'

I am happily running Windows in 1280x1024 in 32bit colour at 100Hz.

The game runs, and I am experiencing no crashes/freezes etc.

Just a bit of background -- Freelancer is a space combat game, following on from the Starlancer series. Elite-like, basically. By Microsoft -- uses DirectX 9 (which is why I bought a DirectX 9 compliant card)

However, regardless of the resolution -- and I've tried from 800x600 in 16 bit to 1280x1024 in 32 (with full 'beautifying' or no detail), I get the following symptoms:

When I encounter other ships flying left to right (or viceversa) across my screen, I get some badass image doubling. There is a 'ghost' ship trailing behind the actual ship by about two milimetres (on my screen, not in the fictional reality of the game :-)

I then moved to a space station and proceeded to swing the ship left and right. Even at slow angular speed, the screen jerks as the object comes into view and continues jerking (2/3 times per second) as I continue sweeping. At high angular speed, I get the image-doubling that can be observed with flying ships. If I rapidly jog the ship left to right, a stationary object (like a rock, for example) gets tripled (one 'ghost' on the left, one on the right).

To reiterate, this happens at all resolutions and colour depths.

I have then switched off antialiasing and anisotropic filtering off from the nVidia control panel, restarted the machine, used the game in lowest resolution and colour depth (with 16 bit dithering switched off) and got the same result -- the trailing image.

I am aware of possible trailing of bright objects against a dark background on a CRT. I see that as well, but those trails fade off gradually. The 'ghost' I'm seeing is very crisp and clear.

To make things more annoying, the game has a fmv intro which runs fine, then an intro sequence done using the game engine which looks fabulous (no jerks/ghosts) even at 1280x1024@32bit.

This behaviour is not something I would expect from a relatively new card, with 128Mb RAM, Directx 9 compliant -- especially as I don't remember my old card doing it.

Please tell me if there is anything that I have missed out. I'm almost at the point of trashing my new card and putting the old one back in.

I really hope you can help, and I look forward to your replies.

Mihai

PS.
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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UPDATE -- further investigation
I've now used the DirectX diagnostics tool (dxdiag) to see what comes out of that.
The DirectX Diagnostic tool enables the testing of DirectDraw & Direct3D.

DirectDraw tests
DD Test 1
This is the one that draws a number of concentric alternate white and black rectangles on the screen.
Test result was good
DD Test 2
This is the one that draws a white bouncing box in a window.
The test result was bad.
What I saw was remarkably similar to what I was experiencing in the game - the main box was closely followed by two 'ghosts'.
DD Test 3
This is the one that draws a white bouncing box in full-screen mode.
The test result was bad -- just like for DD test 2

Direct3D tests
These are the ones that are supposed to draw a spinning cube with the DirectX logo on the side.
In all tests, what I saw was a total blur - the 'cube' actually looked like a randmly spinning star with about a dozen points or more.

DirectDraw Acceleration was then switched off and tried the DirectDraw tests - no difference, so it got switched back on.

I then started playing with the Hardware Acceleration slid-bar in the Display Properties, Settings, Advanced. This seemed to have some effect on DD Test 2. When I pulled the slide right down (two from bottom), the shadows got much closer together. I didn't get a chance to test Direct3D yet.

I can't pull the hardware acceleration right down, because that disables the nVidia things altogether.

Has anybody gone through this? If so, what did you do?
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Old 03-23-2004, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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you may wana try installing an older version of the nvidia drivers. thats just a random guess but its worth trying im sure.
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Old 03-24-2004, 05:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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get the card replaced or move up to a 5600 or greater
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Old 03-26-2004, 06:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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@Cajun Tech : I've tried older nVidia drivers with no luck -- i.e. no difference in the card's behaviour.

@Cappy: thanks for the suggestion. What guarantee is there that the card will not behave the same way? I don't see how your suggestion addresses my concern. Thank you anyway.
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Mihai .... The FX 5200 is a card which is just for name sake DX9 compliant ... It infact performs worse than the Geforce Ti4800 ...

U can probably check out a few reviews too ...
I'm pretty sure this isn't the case of any other problem ..it's just that the 5200FX isn't fast enough ..

I would suggest swapping the card with a 5750 or a radeon 9600.
This would bring a drastic change in ur gaming
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply.

I've now gone back to my previous card. It may not be as fast, but at least performs as expected...

I am genuinly afraid that the problem is the AGP slot, and I am thinking the best way forward for me would be to get a very high end AGP 4x card -- something like the nVidia Ti you mentioned.

I've had a look at the nVidia site, and it looks like my best bet would be a GeForce4 4200 Ti (because you can get it in an AGP 4x variant) or a very high end GeForce3. I'll have a look at various forums to see what the 'better' one is, but if you got a suggestion over these two, let me know please.

Kind regards,
Mihai
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Though ur board has 4x AGP slot ..it can take the newer 8x cards ... only thing is that ..even those cards would work at 4x

N' as for ur question 'bout the older GF cards ... the ti 4200 is a pretty decent card ..provided ur not into high end gaming
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Old 03-26-2004, 12:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Get ATI. I have had both Nvidia and ATI. If you know what your doing, go ATI... ATI's drivers are a little more complicated to get and everything, but I think they have better quality. I currently own a GeForce 5700 FX, and to tell the truth, I dont like it tooo much. Look at my thread in PC Gaming...
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