But will it game?
November 10, 2009 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Will my developer laptop be able to handle the current crop of RPG games? Specs after the jump

I'm interested in getting back into computer gaming. I'm thinking about Fallout 3 and Dragon Age Origins. I've got a beefy laptop, with a poor gfx card, and I'm wondering if it will be able handle the games I'm interested in:

Windows 7 64
8gb RAM
NVIDIA Quadro FX 370M (256MB)

If that's not going to be able to handle these games, any recommendations on immersive RPGs that aren't twitchy that I can play on this?

thanks,
jt
posted by askmehow to Technology (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The Quadro cards are based on consumer GPUs AFAIK. Which one is yours based on? The consumer line is more common and it's probably easier to estimate if you have that reference of similarity.

Also, what CPU do you have?
posted by krilli at 7:20 AM on November 10, 2009


You might want to try this.
posted by Perplexity at 7:22 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


CPU: Core 2 Duo T9800 2.94GHz

I'm not sure what the quadro video card is based on
posted by askmehow at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2009


You can probably figure it out on Wikipedia, w/ the help of the NVIDIA page.

It seems like a nice machine, I'd expect you'll be able to run quite a few "serious" games.
posted by krilli at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2009


The Quadro FX 370M is in the same class as the GeForce 9400M. You'll probably have to run the games on a pretty low quality setting, especially as the Quadro drivers are optimized for CAD-type applications rather than gaming, but the games should run.
posted by jedicus at 7:55 AM on November 10, 2009


I should point out that you'll be interested in the graphics card classes on that page, not the particular card I linked to.
posted by jedicus at 7:55 AM on November 10, 2009


especially as the Quadro drivers are optimized for CAD-type applications rather than gaming, but the games should run

So I hear this a lot (or similar) -- what's it actually mean? Do the drivers/hardware just focus on pushing lines/triangles vs textures/shading? Naively, pixels getting pumped through a GPU are pixels, right?
posted by wrok at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2009


FWIW, I played Fallout 3 (albeit a little slowly at times) on a laptop with a GeForce 8600M and a 2.4GHz Core Duo, so it should definitely be playable for you.
posted by mikeh at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2009


Yeah, so you're looking at an entry-level 9-series with 256MB. The recommended requirement for Fallout 3 is an 8-series with 512 MB (MSR is 6-series with 256 MB), and similarly for Dragon Age: Origins. It'll run for sure, but you might have to turn down some texture quality settings to low.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:12 AM on November 10, 2009


The problem with a lot of laptop video cards (especially discrete cards from ATI and Nvidia) is that you can't just bop on over to the manufacturer's website and grab the latest revision of the graphics driver.

Unfortunately, these things tend to be highly regulated by the laptop manufacturer. So, if you have a Dell, you have to depend on Dell to "re-brand" the video driver package and put it on their website... and as you can imagine, this means that often times compatibility and performance in laptop video cards lags behind.

I've had good success however with Laptop Video 2 Go for Nvidia cards. They allow you to repackage the reference laptop drivers from Nvidia with a custom INF file that allows you to install them on your laptop.

If you're going to do some gaming with your Quadro, I'd definitely check that out.
posted by kbanas at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2009


I would strongly recommend Dragon Age over Fallout 3 for playing on a laptop, particularly one with an older graphics card. Fallout 3 plays more like a first person shooter with RPG elements, while in Dragon Age the combat is much more tactical and aiming/movement is not really an issue. I think games with slower, more strategic gameplay and casual games succeed on the laptop more than those which require more twitchy gameplay. While a bit more fast-paced, Torchlight is another recent game that plays well on a laptop, more of a Diablo style hack-n-slash than an RPG, while Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is an older RPG you might have missed that still looks and plays fairly well. Recent, slower paced games I enjoy on my laptop would be Civilization IV, Monkey Island, Plants Vs Zombies, and World of Goo. You shouldn't have too much trouble running any of these games, although the newest ones such as Fallout and Dragon Age you might need to turn the settings down somewhat.
posted by sophist at 8:45 AM on November 10, 2009


"especially as the Quadro drivers are optimized for CAD-type applications rather than gaming, but the games should run"

So I hear this a lot (or similar) -- what's it actually mean? Do the drivers/hardware just focus on pushing lines/triangles vs textures/shading? Naively, pixels getting pumped through a GPU are pixels, right?


This FAQ from Leadtek discusses the differences between the Quadro and GeForce lines. Short list: Anti-aliased points and lines for wire frame display, OpenGL logic operations, Up to eight clip regions (GeForce supports one), Hardware accelerated clip planes, Optimization on Memory usage for multiple graphics windows, Support for two-sided lighting, Hardware overlay planes, Support for quad-buffered stereo for shutter glasses, Application Optimization, Certification.
posted by jedicus at 9:11 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


To continue with sophist's suggestion and to add a datapoint, Torchlight runs great on my macbook pro 13" (bootcamped w/ Windows 7) which also uses an nvidia 9400 (comparable to your quadro) and every setting on max (at 1280x800 resolution). Fun Diablo 2 clone for $20.
posted by liquoredonlife at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2009


The problem with a lot of laptop video cards (especially discrete cards from ATI and Nvidia) is that you can't just bop on over to the manufacturer's website and grab the latest revision of the graphics driver.

I dont think this is true anymore. I regularly download mobile drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards. No problems. I think the industry is trying to get away from micromanaging laptop drivers.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2009


The desktop I played fallout 3 on:

Old AMD X64 dual core (about 1.8GHz or so, I don't recall)
2G RAM
Nvidia 8800 GT

It ran fine and I'm below all your specs. You'll be aces.
posted by chairface at 1:48 PM on November 10, 2009


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