Helping you get better performance.

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[This is speculated to be the right board... This isn't just a guide for Earth's Special Forces, bear in mind, you can apply this guide to just about *ANY* game or application.]

Maybe your system isn't a rendering machine, and you don't get more than 30FPS... That's not impossible to play with, but it's damn ugly, considering most HL MODs reach 100FPS on weaker system.

A speculated reason, on my behalf only: Unoptimized Engine. Battlefield 1942, and Morrowind (as will Half-Life 2 more than likely, knowing that idiot Gabe Newell) suffer the same blight. Don't get me wrong, Earth's Special Forces is awesome, and the best Dragon Ball Z action game I've played, but it probably doesn't *REQUIRE* the heavy machine it currently does. It's not all ESF's fault though, some of the performance issues can be blamed on Steam.

So, I'll cover the important areas, and anything else, is up to you, of course... It's always suggested to have the latest drivers for your equipment, whether it be Hard Disk Drive, Mouse, Keyboard, Sound Card, VPU/GPU, CPU, Motherboard, etc.
http://www.nvidia.com/
http://www.ati.com/
http://www.viaarena.com/
http://www.intel.com/
http://www.amd.com/



[Processor]
The Processor used to do all the calculations for the Video card at one time, and all the video card did was draw to screen. It needed to become much more powerful to match the games of today. However, over time, the video card gained its own processor, and the CPU no longer had to deal with so much of the strain. Graphics engines could soar to new heights, and performance kicked up many notches as a result. However, the new games need strong CPUs for numerous reasons... The game handler has to process and deal with thousands of operations a second, checking up on and updating each variable as neccessary. The average entity (this is a player, object, monster or NPC) can have anywhere between 5 and 500 variables... Probably higher than 5, probably much lower than 500, but you see my point I'm sure.

You might notice, that, AMD and Intel Pentium IV chips have a great frequency difference. This doesn't mean Intel chips are better. This is because the AMD has a 12-Point render pipeline, and the Intel has a 20-Point render pipeline. What this means to you is, there is a 40% difference in performance between the two, with AMD being faster. So the Intel chip has to have a higher frequency to keep up with the AMD chip.

Verdict: It is suggested to have at least 1,000 MHz (1GHz) AMD, or 1,500 MHz (1.5GHz) Pentium IV. The more the better.

[Graphics Card]
There are two companies that people take notice in, and these are nVidia and ATI, who make the industries most noticeable graphics processing units. Sorry Mad Catz, most don't want to look at your cards, cause we've yet to see results. Take note that usually you use a GPU. There is another type of card, this being VPU, however, a VPU just allows more programmable freedom that *YOU* probably won't use anyway, and it costs more. So stick to GPUs if by some weird chance, you get a choice.

nVidia began with the Vanta and TNT lines, which were good for their time. However, at a later time, they moved on to the GeForce series eventually. Today the top GeForce card is the GeForce 6800. This card is more powerful, but also requires a bit more than the latest ATI card, in the form of an additional power dongle. It is suggested to use at *LEAST* a GeForce FX 5200 for Earth's Special Forces. The best card you could use would be the GeForce 6800, although, not a lot of people have that kind of money kicking around to spend on a graphics card alone.

ATI began with the 3D, Rage and All-In-Wonder lines, which were also good for that time. However, they soon created the RADEON series, which became their flagship. Today the top ATI card is the ATI x800, which is quite a powerful card in its own right. It's suggested to use at *LEAST* a RADEON 9200 to play Earth's Special Forces. The best ATI card you could use would be the ATI RADEON x800, although, it too is a bit pricey, and not a lot of people keep that kind of money on-hand just for a GPU.

Verdict: Use at least an nVidia GeForce FX5200 or an ATI RADEON 9200. Suggested is the RADEON 9600 or the GeForce FX 5600.

Important Note: Don't get sucked into believing that higher MB means higher performance. If your card isn't Pro, and there's a choice between
128
and 256MB, GET THE 128. The 256MB card probably has less core frequency and is therefore, slower. When you buy a video card, make sure of three things:
-At least 128MB
-Has a good memory clock
-Has a good core clock

Core clock is important because it drives the card. Memory and memory clock are important because they hold textures to help make the card draw what looks nice. The higher your memory clock, the better your card will handle textures and texturing, however, the higher your core clock, the better your card will handle everything else. Try to get a good ratio of both. Also keep in mind of Bandwidth, the higher the bandwidth the better. The GeForce 6800 for example, has a bandwidth of about 42GB/sec, and the RADEON x800 has a bandwidth of about 40GB/sec. Most cards have a lot less, though.If you're buying a video card from anywhere that doesn't give you a breakdown of the core/memory/bandwidth numbers, you might make a bad choice. And in the Infotech industry, you open it, it's yours. So don't waste $100+.

[Hard Disk Drive]
Hard Disk Drive can have affect (however small) on performance, depending on the speed. If your Hard Disk Drive is a 20GB or less, and you've had it more than 4 years, chances are, it is slowing your system down. The best Hard Drives run at 10,000RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), this meaning that the magnetic discs inside rotate at 10,000 turns per minute. This causes a lower seek time, and data is accessed faster. The standard is currently 7200RPM, however, and anything less is considered to be wasted time. I won't go into a breakdown of the Hard Disk Drives, but, I would suggest a Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 120GB.

[Sound Card]
If you're not deaf, chances are, you listen to the sounds of the game. This isn't true or false to everyone, so bear in mind. On-board sound cards typically depend on the CPU for their sound output, which, hogs precious cycles that could be used for performance. The best idea is to buy either a USB sound card, or a PCI sound card. I use the EZonics ESound 5.1 Surround Headphones, which are a USB-driven pair of headphones. Very good, very good sound quality. And you never have to turn it down using the EZonics. However, some of you like to shake the house for some reason or another, and so if that's the case, look into a Soundblaster Audigy, preferrably with Surround Sound as well. If you can hear them approaching from behind, you'll never be surprised by enemies again. (That's just a speculatory sentence =p)

[Mouse]
You can play games with any kind of Mouse, really, but, the most suggestible mouse, in my oppinion is the Intellimouse Explorer. This is a 5-button mouse. Most optical mice record at 1,000,000 samples per minute, but the Intellimouse records at 12,000,000 samples per minute, catching even the slightest movement of your mouse. Don't forget to use Mouse Filter, though. You won't see increases of performance, but this is a worthwhile investment.

[Keyboard]
Keyboards are keyboards, really. Any keyboard will do, but, I suggest getting a keyboard cover for your keyboard. Trust me, I've spilled more than one drink on a keyboard, causing me to have to get a new one. And no, the keyboard doesn't spark, so don't waste your time. Also, try to get a wrist rest for your keyboard, so as to reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

[Monitor]
"What do monitors have to do with performance?" Well, very little, but, if you want a good display, look into an LCD. They cost twice as much as most CRT, however, the CRT monitor uses what are called Cathode Ray Tubes (Thus the CRT), which are lit up to display what's going on. A Cathode Ray Tube can only be lit so many times (I won't speculate how many), before it finally will light no more. The more tubes that burn out, the easier you will see that weird line that always goes from the bottom to the top. Although, an easy indication that your monitor is dying, is when you can actually see the electircal currents running through what's going on, on-screen.

[RAM]
RAM
or RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY is just as the name implies, memory accessed at random intervals. You would think that, with all of the computations and geometry handled by the CPU and the GPU, you wouldn't need RAM, right? Wrong.

RAM is neccessary to load programs into memory, so that they may be handled in a non-constant state. RAM is used, because it's an unset state. It is constantly being modified and changed. So, to allow for more and faster changes, we need MORE RAM. The industry standard is currently 512MB, although last year it was 256. The suggested RAM count would be at least 1024MB, this way you have a LOT of RAM for your Operating System and a LOT of RAM for Earth's Special Forces. Most motherboards use DDR RAM, which is suggested, well, that or DDR2. This is because it has a higher Bandwidth than SDRAM.



[Note: The colors/bold/italics/underline, etc, are in place to make it easier to differentiate information and read it all. It's not there to annoy, it's just there to help you read it. Maybe you have better eyes than I do, but, I can read things a lot easier when I can pick out the keywords using different colors/bolds/italics, etc.]

There is probably a lot of information in there, some that seems to you as non-essential, but, it seems essential to me, because it helps people make a better buy in the future.

Take in mind once more, this guide is meant as a gaming guide, not solely for Earth's Special Forces. Like all of you, I'm a gamer, so the idea is to get the most for your money... And it's really quite overtkill to spend hundreds of dollars on hardware for a single game, so if you're not buying for gaming in general, you're wasting money.
 
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Please note that these are unofficial numbers. The official recommended specifications for ESF are:

Pentium III or Athlon processor
512MB RAM
DirectX 7 (GeForce or Radeon, any models) card.

It is possible to get maximum performance out of an older system. Many of our testers were able to get 100 fps out of GeForce2's.
 
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Please don't spam - that contained no useful information at all.
keep doing it, and you'll get a warning.
 
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Cucumba said:
Please note that these are unofficial numbers. The official recommended specifications for ESF are:

Pentium III or Athlon processor
512MB RAM
DirectX 7 (GeForce or Radeon, any models) card.

It is possible to get maximum performance out of an older system. Many of our testers were able to get 100 fps out of GeForce2's.
Yes, these are unofficial numbers. I never intended to imply they were not. You said, that, the testers were able to achieve 100 Frames -- on a GeForce 2? What resolution, color depth, and refresh rate were they using? Did they use performance tweaks? What operating system?

I ask, because, I use a GeForce FX5700 (much stronger than a GeForce 2) and I don't get 100 Frames, I get more like 50 - 70... Which isn't anything to complain about, I know, but, if I can get 100 Frames... Well like many others, I'd rather get 100 FPS than 70 FPS.
 
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You know you said Monitor's didn't matter? Well they can.... If you have a monitor with crappy refresh rates you won't get your full fps..
If that's the case you might wanna turn your resolution lower to get more hertz.
Also windows xp comes with a "nice" little refresh rate lock which locks your ingame fps to 60.
Some graphics card drivers can overide this and i know there are some programs that can too.
Well it's a nice guide for those who are not quite familiar with pc's and pc parts.
 
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Shuyin said:
You know you said Monitor's didn't matter? Well they can.... If you have a monitor with crappy refresh rates you won't get your full fps..
If that's the case you might wanna turn your resolution lower to get more hertz.
Also windows xp comes with a "nice" little refresh rate lock which locks your ingame fps to 60.
Some graphics card drivers can overide this and i know there are some programs that can too.
Well it's a nice guide for those who are not quite familiar with pc's and pc parts.
Most ATI/nVidia GPUs these days override... I'm not aware of one that doesn't in the GeForce or RADEON family of graphics cards... But yes, thank you for making this note that slipped my mind. And for monitors... I think, if you can't get to 100, it's a good idea to invest in a new monitor to make sure you can get to at least 100Hz refresh rate...

Oh, and a note for all you people, if you don't own an nVidia or ATI card, consider it... You can even get a 5200/9200 for less than $100 Canadian. That's about $25 American...

Ok, that was a joke, I live in Canada, I'm not knocking Canada.
 
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I was able to get 100 fps on my GeForce4 MX 420. It most definately is a configuration issue though, as my Radeon 9800 Pro 256 can't. (I'll freely admint, I've been to lazy to change my configuration files.)

I had mine set at 1024x768, OGL, with all the eyecandy on. ESF is pretty processor intensive, but a PIII can handle it without problems. In the end, you don't need much to get ESF running fast, it's still based on HL.
 
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Ti4200's are better than FX5200's, so I'd recommend one of those compared to the craptastic FX5200.

I also believe that the 9200 is just a renamed and underclocked Radeon 8500, so get an 8500 LE.
 

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