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Thread: System Requirements FAQ

  1. #1
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    System Requirements FAQ

    Okay, we've been getting loads of questions/comments about the system requirements and while I'm happy to respond to them and I see it as one of the forum's more official purposes, they are getting a little repetitive and I think it's time that we try to collect all of the information into one place for people to look over when they've got questions. So, here goes:

    Official Civilization V Minimum Requirements

    CPU: Intel Core2 Duo @ 1.8GHz / AMD Athlon X2 64 @ 2.0GHz
    Memory: 2.0GB
    Video Card: nVidia GeForce 7900GS / ATi HD2600 XT / Intel Core i3 integrated graphics
    DirectX: DirectX 9.0c

    Official Civilization V Recommended Specs

    CPU: Quad-core processor @ 1.8GHz
    Memory: 4.0GB
    Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800 / ATi 4800
    DirectX: DirectX 11

    Additional Requirements

    Storage Space: 8GB
    Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
    Operating System: Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7
    Optical Drive: DVD-ROM drive (for retail boxed versions only)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What happens if I don't meet the minimum requirements?

    A: It's hard to say, and it really depends on just how far away you are from the minimum. If you are fairly close, or if only one component is under the minimum, you still may be able to play the game after reducing the quality of graphics or amount of animations.

    Just as important is this: If you don't meet the minimum requirements 2K/Firaxis may or may not support you if you have trouble getting the game to run.

    Q: I've got an older system, but I still want to play. What should I do?

    A: Well, you can always replace your system or just upgrade a few parts, but that is going to cost money and time. In the past, people have been able to get below-minimum systems to play the game once they found the right settings. There are no guarantees, but its likely that once the game comes out, people will find these settings and post them here.

    Q: What does it mean if I match the recommended specifications? Can I run the game with all the bells and whistles enabled?

    A: Maybe, but if you only just meet the recommended, its likely that you're not going to be able to push the game to its highest level of detail. Usually publishers set the minimum recommendation as the minimum needed for them to support you and the recommended level as the level needed to play the game with all the features the game designers intended. You may or may not be able to play with 16x anti-aliasing and High detail models.

    Q: I've got an nVidia 9200 series video card. How close am I to the recommended specs?

    A: Pretty far. In fact, it puts you pretty far below the minimum requirements. nVidia's product numbering system is far from intuitive, so simply comparing 9200 against 7900 and 9800 is not going to help you when figuring out where you stand. The 9200 is a low-end business graphics card, the 7900 and 9800 are gaming card series. The 7900GS is roughly equivalent to the 8600GT and the 9600 GSO.

    Q: The minimum requirements say that the integrated graphics for an i3 are good enough. What about the integrated graphics on my Core2?

    A: Probably not. The integrated graphics on the Core i3 and Core i5 processors is significantly more powerful than the previous generation of Intel's integrated graphics. Most people don't even think the i3/i5 graphics measure up to the 7900GS/HD2600. Firaxis worked closely with Intel on the development of the game and its possible that it was optimized with the i3/i5 in mind. Older integrated graphics won't be able to take advantage of this and likely won't make for a very pleasant game experience.

    Q: The minimum requirements ask for a dual-core 1.8GHz processor. I have a Pentium 4 processor that runs at 3.6GHz. Wouldn't that be the same?

    A: No. While its possible that the game may still run on fast single-core processors, processor ability can't be measured by simply adding up the GHz. The Core2 line is quite a bit more powerful than the Pentium line, just as the Core i3/5/7 line is noticeably more powerful than the Core2 line. And even beyond that, a dual core processor is still going to perform better on multi-threaded games than a single core processor could.

    Q: The recommended spec calls for a quad-core 1.8GHz processor. I have an i7 quad core that runs at 1.6GHz. Is that going to hurt game play?

    A: Probably not. The new Core i3/i5/i7 processors are noticeably faster than the Core2 line. When they set the recommended spec for a 1.8GHz quad core, I'm sure they meant one of the reduced-power first/second generation quad-cores. The i7 is a fourth (fifth?) generation quad core. It's slightly better than a 2.4 GHz early quad core. You can safely treat this processor as if it meets the recommended spec.


    Q: My memory and video card meet the recommended specs, but my processor is weak. What effect will that have on the game?

    A: We don't know yet, but you can probably bet on longer end-of-turn times. Reports say that the graphics quality should be based mostly on your video card, so the game will probably look fine. You may have to deal with some stuttering as you move about the globe and some delayed responses on some actions. However: This is just speculation. We won't know until the game is released.

    Q: My memory and processor meet the recommended specs, but my video card is weak or below the required level. What effect will that have on the game?

    A: We don't know yet, but you can probably bet on low frame rates (jerky movement, dropped frames) and the inability to use high detail levels. You may be able to remedy some of this by using low detail levels and disabling some of the special effects. However, as the game progresses and the screen fills with more units, cities and improvements, you'll see your performance drop again.

    Q: How do I know what version of DirectX I've got?

    A: Well, you can run the command 'dxdiag' or you could just ignore this for the moment. Any computer which meets the minimum requirements is going to be able to run DirectX 9.0c and the Civilization V installation process is going to update DirectX to the most recent version possible for your system.

    Q: What differences will I see between DirectX 9.0c, 10, and 11?

    A: Users of DirectX 10 and 11 will probably have slightly better details and lighting than those of 9.0c. The effect is usually subtle and may not be noticeable in Civilization 5. DirectX 11 users will probably see noticeably better performance and slightly better rendering.

    Q: The requirements say that I have to have XP Service Pack 3, but I only have Service Pack 2. (aka: I have Vista SP 1 and it requires Vista SP 2). Is this okay?

    A: In most cases it probably won't matter, however, if you have any problems at all, this is one of the first things you'll want to fix. As a general note, you really do want to keep your system updated with the most recent service packs. Business/professional users sometimes like to avoid updating, but for playing games you really want to stay up to date.

    ================================

    I'll continue to add more questions as they come up or by request. If you have corrections or additions, please either post them here or feel free to PM me to have them included in this post.
    Last edited by slowtarget; 09-02-2010 at 07:02 PM.

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    Video card comparisons

    The most common questions about the System Requirements deal with video cards, and rightfully so. Not only does the video card drive the user interface, but they also involve the most complexity when trying to figure out how capable your system is. If figuring things out between two and a half major vendors wasn't tricky enough, the model naming systems are annoyingly deceptive.

    I've tried to separate some sample video card chipsets into several categories which are hopefully descriptive enough that I don't have to explain them. Within those categories, I'll try to list them in a helpful and somewhat meaningful order (better cards higher).

    Note: Trying to rank the ability of a video card as a linear list is always going to be inaccurate. Some cards do better on some things and you'll never be able to make a single, authoritative ranking. I'll do my best here. Feel free to ask for corrections.

    Well Above Recommended Spec:
    nVidia GTX-480, nVidia GTX-470
    ATi 5850, ATi 5870, ATi 5970
    nVidia GTX-460
    nVidia GTX-295
    ATi 4870 X2, ATi 4890
    nVidia GTX-280

    Noticeably Above Recommended Spec:
    ATi 4870, ATi 5830
    ATi Mobility 4870, ATi Mobility 5870
    nVidia GTX-260, nVidia 9800GX2

    Just Above Recommended Spec:
    nVidia 8800GTX, nVidia 9800GTX
    ATi 4850, ATi 3870 X2
    nVidia 8800GTS 512MB, nVidia GTS-250
    nVidia 9800GT, nVidia 8800GT 512MB

    Roughly Equivalent to Recommended Spec:
    ATi 4830, ATi 3870, ATi Mobility 5850M
    ATi 5670
    nVidia 9800GS, nVidia 8800GTS 640MB

    Just Below Recommended Spec:
    nVidia 9600GT
    ATi Mobility 3870, ATi 4650
    nVidia 8800GS
    ATi Mobility 3870

    Between Minimum and Recommended Spec:
    nVidia 9600GSO
    nVidia GT 330
    ATi 5570
    nVidia 8800GTS 320MB
    ATi HD 3200
    nVidia 8800GT 256MB
    ATi X1900 XT, ATi HD2900 XT

    Just Above Minimum Requirements:
    nVidia GT 330M
    nVidia 7800GTX, nVidia 7900GTX, nVidia 8600 GT
    ATi X1800 XL, ATi Mobility X1800 XT
    nVidia 7900GT

    Roughly Equivalent to Minimum Requirements:
    ATi Mobility 5650M
    nVidia 8600GT
    nVidia 7900GS, nVidia 9500GT
    ATi HD2600 XT, ATi Mobility X1900
    Core i3/i5 Integrated Graphics (Intel HD Graphics)

    Barely Below Minimum Requirements:
    nVidia GT 230 (DDR2)
    ATi HD2600 Pro
    nVidia Go 7800 GTX, nVidia 9500 GT (DDR2)
    nVidia 6800GT

    Noticeably Below Minimum Requirements:
    nVidia 8600GT (DDR2), nVidia 8500 GT
    ATi Mobility HD 2600
    nVidia 6800, nVidia 7600GT, nVidia 8600M GT
    ATi Mobility X1800

    Well Below Minimum Requirements:
    nVidia 9400GT, nVidia 9400M, nVidia ION
    ATi Radeon 4350
    ATi HD 2400 XT, ATi X1600 PRO
    nVidia 6600, nVidia 6600GT, nVidia 7300GT
    ATi 9700, ATi 9700 PRO, ATi 9800, ATi 9800 PRO
    ATi Mobility 9800
    nVidia 8400 GS
    Intel GMA integrated graphics

    NOTE: Even just making this, I can see some irreconcilable problems. Few people seem to think that the Core i3/i5 graphics can match the performance of either a 7900GS or the HD2600 XT. It's inclusion at that level is admittedly artificial. Also, the ATi HD2600 XT seems to be noticeably weaker than the nVidia 7900GS, while the ATi 4830 should be a noticeable upgrade from the nVidia 9800GS. The result is that ATi cards and nVidia cards don't compare well within their categories. I don't know how to resolve this.
    Last edited by slowtarget; 09-20-2010 at 08:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Finally, I can use the full power of my awesome 4870, from last year.

  4. #4
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    Finally we have a System Requirements Sticky! Thanks, slowtarget.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Gate of Mordor View Post
    Finally we have a System Requirements Sticky! Thanks, slowtarget.
    Agreed. Thanks slowtarget.

  6. #6
    As someone who is guilty of having made one of the many topics regarding specs, I thank you. I anticipate the video card comparisons even more.

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    Nice one slowtraget.

    EDIT: after seen more reports of canirunit are false or at least inaccurate, I removed my post to not lead people into thinking not having of having the right hardware to run this magnificent game!
    Last edited by donald23; 08-28-2010 at 07:02 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by donald23 View Post
    Nice one slowtraget. It might be worth mentioning that http://www.canirunit.com supports Civilization V. Although some reservations need to be made. There are a few cases that reported a wrong report in regard with their CPU's.
    And the video cards, as both me and slowtarget have complained in another thread (where is it?)

    Edit: Here it is.
    Last edited by Black Gate of Mordor; 08-28-2010 at 06:22 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Gate of Mordor View Post
    And the video cards, as both me and slowtarget have complained in another thread (where is it?)

    Edit: Here it is.
    I didn't read up on that thread. I edited my earlier comment as the mistakes it makes are clear. It looks like it just does a remote version of dxdiag

  10. #10
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    I just feel a bit sad that my machine can run CivIV BTS with everything turned way up, quite happily, but based on the Tom's Hardware hierarchy I'm about 5 tiers too low on graphics card for the minimum... I'm not getting the game straight away (as I don't want to screw up my MA as soon as I get back to study), but I'll have to get at least a new graphics card to play it, according to the specs.

    Interestingly, I could spend £90-£160 getting anything from between-minimum-and-recommended to a better-than-recommended, but still be well below recommended on CPU, or I could get a decent new non-gaming PC at £450 and have to get one of those graphics cards as well anyway in order to run the game at all. I'm looking at prices on gaming machines, but I'm guessing higher than the cost of getting the £450 and adding a £160 graphics card myself... of course, all these numbers could have changed by the time this ends up happening.

  11. #11
    I have a question about my CPU speed, I tested it on a website that checks your system to see of it can run a game and it tells me my CPU speed is too slow for minimum, it says I need a Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz and it says I have a 2.26 GHz yet it still failed me, and yes, it is a Intel Core 2 Duo, so I am not sure if i should believe this site or not, I can run games like Bioshock 2, BFBC 2, and Starcraft 2, so do you guys think I can run Civ 5?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hokeymonster View Post
    I have a question about my CPU speed, I tested it on a website that checks your system to see of it can run a game and it tells me my CPU speed is too slow for minimum, it says I need a Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz and it says I have a 2.26 GHz yet it still failed me, and yes, it is a Intel Core 2 Duo
    I'm guessing you're talking about CanYouRunIt?

    Several people are having issues with it, including me. While it gets my CPU right, it thinks my video card is well below the recommended, when that's simply not the case.

    As much as I like the idea of such sites, for now, I'd say that CanYouRunIt isn't all that reliable for the Civ5 requirements.

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    graphics and processor

    I have two questions that I've tried to figure out as best I can and am sill confused a bit. Hopefully someone here can help me. I'm wanting to buy a laptop to handle this game.

    1) graphics card: most laptops with mid or high level i7 have a GT 330M graphics card - I know it doesn't support Directx 11, but as far as I can tell it should be somewhere between the min and rec. specs. Is that correct?

    2) processor: I'm also looking at some laptops that have the ATI mobility 5870, which supports direct x and should be above the rec spec. Most of those laptops have a i7 quad core clocked at 1.6ghz. The rec specs are for a quad core 1.8ghz - I know the i7 is not necessarily directly comparable to the quad core line, but will an i7 clocked at 1.6 put me below the rec spec? If so, am I better off with the faster processor and the 330M graphics card?

    3) I am aware I can resolve this issue by buying a $5,000 laptop - but that isn't happening.

    Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    I'm guessing you're talking about CanYouRunIt?

    Several people are having issues with it, including me. While it gets my CPU right, it thinks my video card is well below the recommended, when that's simply not the case.

    As much as I like the idea of such sites, for now, I'd say that CanYouRunIt isn't all that reliable for the Civ5 requirements.
    Yes that's the site. ok thanks, yeah my friend was having the same problem with the video card, the way I look at it is that if I can play all those other PC games that require more than Civ5 then I should be ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fltfire View Post
    I have two questions that I've tried to figure out as best I can and am sill confused a bit. Hopefully someone here can help me. I'm wanting to buy a laptop to handle this game.

    1) graphics card: most laptops with mid or high level i7 have a GT 330M graphics card - I know it doesn't support Directx 11, but as far as I can tell it should be somewhere between the min and rec. specs. Is that correct?

    2) processor: I'm also looking at some laptops that have the ATI mobility 5870, which supports direct x and should be above the rec spec. Most of those laptops have a i7 quad core clocked at 1.6ghz. The rec specs are for a quad core 1.8ghz - I know the i7 is not necessarily directly comparable to the quad core line, but will an i7 clocked at 1.6 put me below the rec spec? If so, am I better off with the faster processor and the 330M graphics card?

    3) I am aware I can resolve this issue by buying a $5,000 laptop - but that isn't happening.

    Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.
    Slightly slower CPU with ATI 5870 is IMO much better choice. GT 330M is significantly worse GPU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    Note: Trying to rank the ability of a video card as a linear list is always going to be inaccurate. Some cards do better on some things and you'll never be able to make a single, authoritative ranking. I'll do my best here. Feel free to ask for corrections.

    NOTE: Even just making this, I can see some irreconcilable problems. Few people seem to think that the Core i3/i5 graphics can match the performance of either a 7900GS or the HD2600 XT. It's inclusion at that level is admittedly artificial. Also, the ATi HD2600 XT seems to be noticeably weaker than the nVidia 7900GS, while the ATi 4830 should be a noticeable upgrade from the nVidia 9800GS. The result is that ATi cards and nVidia cards don't compare well within their categories. I don't know how to resolve this.
    Good job. I've always complained about how unintuitively ATI and Nvidia name their graphivs chipsets. There is no good way (other than going to a hardware site and looking at benchmark tests) to easily judge and compare the performance of different video cards...

    While a little bit out of date, this Video Card Hierarchy List should also help. At least its another data point...
    Last edited by mattlach; 08-29-2010 at 11:08 PM.

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    Add me to the list of people that are surprised / skeptical about the Core i3/i5 thing...

    My Dell Latitude E4310 has a Core i5 M520 and this is just barely enough to run Civ4 at normal settings and the native resolution of the screen. (1366×768)

    We also have a Dual Core Pentium T4300 laptop with integrated intel in the household with integrated Intel X4500HD graphics. On this machine everything in the graphics settings has to be minimized in order to play the game well..

    Seeing that graphics rendering is going to take a huge leap for Civ 5, it seems odd that something that is just barely able to handle Civ4 well would be able to handle Civ 5 at all...
    Last edited by mattlach; 08-29-2010 at 11:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fltfire View Post
    I have two questions that I've tried to figure out as best I can and am sill confused a bit. Hopefully someone here can help me. I'm wanting to buy a laptop to handle this game.

    1) graphics card: most laptops with mid or high level i7 have a GT 330M graphics card - I know it doesn't support Directx 11, but as far as I can tell it should be somewhere between the min and rec. specs. Is that correct?

    2) processor: I'm also looking at some laptops that have the ATI mobility 5870, which supports direct x and should be above the rec spec. Most of those laptops have a i7 quad core clocked at 1.6ghz. The rec specs are for a quad core 1.8ghz - I know the i7 is not necessarily directly comparable to the quad core line, but will an i7 clocked at 1.6 put me below the rec spec? If so, am I better off with the faster processor and the 330M graphics card?

    3) I am aware I can resolve this issue by buying a $5,000 laptop - but that isn't happening.

    Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

    You could do much better by building a Desktop.

    With a few rare and really expensive exceptions, laptops just really aren't intended to run 3d games...

    You could go to dell.com, buy the cheapest desktop they have available (except the mini form factors, as they don't have slots for graphics cards) and buy a cheap mid-range discrete graphics card like an ATI Radeon HD5750 or something like that, and have spent MUCH LESS money, and wound up with a system that for the likes of Civ 5 will out-perform any laptop.

    The problem really is that you want to play games on a laptop.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fltfire View Post
    1) graphics card: most laptops with mid or high level i7 have a GT 330M graphics card - I know it doesn't support Directx 11, but as far as I can tell it should be somewhere between the min and rec. specs. Is that correct?
    Yes, its on the lower end of the range, though.

    I've added the GT 330 and the GT 330M to the listing.

    Quote Originally Posted by fltfire View Post
    2) processor: I'm also looking at some laptops that have the ATI mobility 5870, which supports direct x and should be above the rec spec. Most of those laptops have a i7 quad core clocked at 1.6ghz. The rec specs are for a quad core 1.8ghz - I know the i7 is not necessarily directly comparable to the quad core line, but will an i7 clocked at 1.6 put me below the rec spec?
    Yes, technically, but this is one of those grey areas not covered well in vague requirements statements. In a CPU cage match, your 1.6GHz hyperthreaded quad-core will easily put down the popular Q6600 Core2 quad which runs at 2.4GHz.

    I'm sure that the 1.8GHz number was aimed at the very first generation of quad cores that ran at 1.8-2.0GHz.

    Quote Originally Posted by fltfire View Post
    If so, am I better off with the faster processor and the 330M graphics card?
    As Rebel44 said, you'll probably be better off with the upgraded video card (the ATi 5870). The i7 is a good chip. It can handle more than its clock speed suggests.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    You could do much better by building a Desktop.
    That's not terribly helpful.

    Its like asking whether you should buy a townhouse or a small ranch house and answering: "You should buy a mansion."

    I'm sure if he was swimming in cash he would build a computer just for games. Maybe two, just so he wouldn't have to walk downstairs to play. Most people don't have that luxury. They've got a laptop for the convenience and utility of being able to take their computer with them. Buying a desktop isn't feasible.

    So, you have to decide which is the best laptop to buy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    That's not terribly helpful.

    Its like asking whether you should buy a townhouse or a small ranch house and answering: "You should buy a mansion."

    I'm sure if he was swimming in cash he would build a computer just for games. Maybe two, just so he wouldn't have to walk downstairs to play. Most people don't have that luxury. They've got a laptop for the convenience and utility of being able to take their computer with them. Buying a desktop isn't feasible.

    So, you have to decide which is the best laptop to buy.
    In which case my recommendation would be to go buy yourself a laptop, and just not expect to do much better than limp along in games. You have to have the right tool for the right job.

    Unless - of course - fltfire doesn't scare easily when it comes to experimental stuff, in which case he could try something like this, which actually blows my mind that it is possible...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    In which case my recommendation would be to go buy yourself a laptop, and just not expect to do much better than limp along in games. You have to have the right tool for the right job.
    Agreed. It is worth pointing out that the primary purpose of laptops is not for gaming and that you're generally always going to be limping toward "recommended". However, if someone is trying to decide between two laptops, they've usually picked the laptop form factor for some reason other than a desire to play games.

    I think we both provided decent advice, it's just a (mild) pet peeve of mine when people do that. I remember asking a forum advice about building a quiet, power-efficient desktop that could play games. The second response was: "Buy a laptop." Thanks. That's not helping me. When I patiently pointed out that I can't share a laptop monitor/keyboard/mouse with a Linux Desktop, I got the annoyed response of: "Well, why didn't you say that in the first place?" I did. I said I wanted a desktop.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    Agreed. It is worth pointing out that the primary purpose of laptops is not for gaming and that you're generally always going to be limping toward "recommended". However, if someone is trying to decide between two laptops, they've usually picked the laptop form factor for some reason other than a desire to play games.

    I think we both provided decent advice, it's just a (mild) pet peeve of mine when people do that. I remember asking a forum advice about building a quiet, power-efficient desktop that could play games. The second response was: "Buy a laptop." Thanks. That's not helping me. When I patiently pointed out that I can't share a laptop monitor/keyboard/mouse with a Linux Desktop, I got the annoyed response of: "Well, why didn't you say that in the first place?" I did. I said I wanted a desktop.
    I should add, the actual Vidocks look pretty nice too but the problem is that at $239 for the cheapest one (and they don't come with a video card) they are not cost effective,unless you really have a space constraint. You can build a pretty decent desktop yourself for less than that, and still have to add the video card and monitor, and not be limited to PCIe X1...

    Cool concept though...

    [Edit: Fixed link]
    Last edited by slowtarget; 08-30-2010 at 05:49 AM.

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    I don't get it. Are laptops really expensive in the US? Cos here we can get them for $700-$1000 and they can easily play civ at minimum. My laptop ($800) can almost play recommended, its only the GPU that lets it down. The rest is flying ahead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Gate of Mordor View Post
    I don't get it. Are laptops really expensive in the US? Cos here we can get them for $700-$1000 and they can easily play civ at minimum. My laptop ($800) can almost play recommended, its only the GPU that lets it down. The rest is flying ahead.
    Thats usually the problems. With the advent of SSD's and decent low power CPU's, laptops are becoming more equivalent of desktops every day.

    Right now - however - laptops with a decent graphics card are incredily rare and expensive.

    Sure I have a Core i5 integrated graphics laptop. I don't expect it to perform very well, even though the spec is included in the minimum requirements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    CPU: Quad-core processor @ 1.8GHz
    Until readin this post, I didn't even realize there were quad core CPU's running at 1.8ghz. I thought the slowest ones were the 2.67ghz models...

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    Hey .. I was hoping someone could help me. My PC runs 4 pretty well with current setup, so I am hoping to just bump up by video card for CIV5.

    My PC is an HP Pavilion a6757c.

    Motherboard: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...&lang=en#N1392

    Specs: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...95691&lang=en#

    I upgraded the video from motherboard to GEFORCE 9400 GT. Now that Civ 5 is here I'd like to go to a nVidia GTS-250 and upgrade to Windows 7. This means a new power supply, as well.

    Does everyone think this will be good enough to enjoy Civ V? Can I use the GTS 250 with my motherboard? I have a PCIE slot available.

    Thank you everyone.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymurgy View Post
    Hey .. I was hoping someone could help me. My PC runs 4 pretty well with current setup, so I am hoping to just bump up by video card for CIV5.
    Well, Civ5 has a significantly different software design than CivIV, so that's not always a good assumption to make, but lets take a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by zymurgy View Post
    My PC is an HP Pavilion a6757c.
    To save people from the link:

    CPU: AMD Phenom 9150e
    Video Card: GeForce 6150e (integrated)
    Memory: 7GB (wha?)
    Motherboard: MicroATX nForce 430
    PSU: 250W OEM

    Hey, wave your hands for mattlach: You've got that mysterious 1.8GHz quad core that no one knew existed. So, you're right at the recommended spec, except for that weak, weak video card. But you knew that.

    Quote Originally Posted by zymurgy View Post
    I upgraded the video from motherboard to GEFORCE 9400 GT.
    ...which is also still below the minimum requirements for Civ5. But, again, you knew that....

    Quote Originally Posted by zymurgy View Post
    Now that Civ 5 is here I'd like to go to a nVidia GTS-250 and upgrade to Windows 7. This means a new power supply, as well.
    Well, you seem to have thought everything out pretty well. Yes, you're right about the power supply: You're never going to be able to power a GTS-250 and a quad-core reliably at 250W. You should be able to do just fine at 400-450W though, even if you don't pick one of the high quality PSUs.

    As for the choice of the card, the GTS-250 is a perfectly suitable card. It is a die-shrink and re-branding of my card, the GeForce 8800GTS (G92). It will put you just above the recommended spec and is a solid card with a history of good support in games and less power usage (not much) than my 8800GTS.

    The motherboard will accept it (it only needs a 16x PCIe slot), but you will want to check your case to see how much room you've got. The 8800GTS/9800GT/GTS-250 cards are often "full-length" PCIe cards, meaning that they often span 80-90% of the width of an ATX motherboard. Some people with smaller ATX mid-towers have issues with the full-size cards interfering with other components (drive cage, front panel wiring, connectors). From the schematic of your motherboard, I see that it would be very close to the PATA and top 2 SATA connectors. If you use more than the bottom 2 SATA connectors you might have problems.

    As an alternative, you could try to see if one of the "smaller" cards would work for you: I see that both XFX and Zotac have cards listed at newegg that are shorter than the reference length. They might work better for you, however, they might contribute to the last issue you want to think about:

    Heat. While the GTS-250 produces less heat than my 8800GTS, its not all that much left. Mine gets warm while gaming, and I have a case fan, the card fan venting directly outside the case (this is my card) and a large case to help dissipate the heat. If you have a mini-ATX case and a bare heat sink, you're going to want to make sure that your case is capable of getting rid of the heat generated by the card.

    Windows 7 is a little easier. If you've got the money for the upgrade and you've got more than 2GB of memory (you've got 7GB??) then there's no reason not to go to Win7-64.

  29. #29
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    How far am I from running the game at full settings? The only problem it seems is the graphics card? Can anyone tell me how my graphics card is going to effect me playing on highest settings?

    Hard Drive - 500GB SATAII 7,200RPM
    Memory - 8GB Dual Channel Memory (2x 4GB DDR3)
    Processor - Intel® Core™ i7 840QM Quad Core Processor, 1.86GHz (3.20GHz Turbo Mode, 6M Cache
    Graphics Card - 1GB DDR3 ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5730

  30. #30
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    Also, I have a Laptop, is there anyway I can update the Graphics Card?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    To save people from the link:

    CPU: AMD Phenom 9150e
    Video Card: GeForce 6150e (integrated)
    Memory: 7GB (wha?)
    Motherboard: MicroATX nForce 430
    PSU: 250W OEM

    Hey, wave your hands for mattlach: You've got that mysterious 1.8GHz quad core that no one knew existed. So, you're right at the recommended spec, except for that weak, weak video card. But you knew that.
    Huh. Interesting. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about PC hardware. I'm just surprised I never heard of it before

    Agreed. The power supply is going to be a problem. These are easy to replace relatively cheaply as long as HP used standard form factor PSU's in their case. (Sometimes the hardware vendors don't).

    IMHO your Geforce 9400 was not a huge improvement over the integrated graphics.

    The GTS250 is a pretty good card, the only thing I should mention about it is that it does not support DirectX 11. While I am an Nvidia fan (primarily because of their fantastic Linux drivers) In that price range (or maybe slightly more) you could probably get a Radeon HD 5750 or 5770 which would be in the same league (if not a little bit higher) raw performance wise, but the Radeons would also support DX 11. DirectX 11 is not necessarliy required for Civ 5, but having it enabled will allow for prettier water and clouds (or so I hear, as I have no personal experience with the game at all yet).

    So, if I were you I'd head on over to Newegg or another favorite site, get yourself a 500W power supply (provided HP uses the standard ATX form factor), then shop around for a Radeon 5750 or 5770.

    Windows 7 is not going to make a huge difference. If you had Vista 32bit I'd definitely recommend it, as with a 32bit version of windows you could only use the first 4GB of your RAM, but since you already have Vista 64bit it really won't make much of a difference. Win 7 is really just a cosmetic facelift (and a brand name change to save face after early Vista bugs tainted Vista's name). Under the hood, Vista and Windows 7 are almost identical.

    If you do get a Windows 7 upgrade though, I would not run it as a straight upgrade over Vista. This never works out cleanly. I'd back up your files and do a clean install (this can be done in upgrade versions of Win 7, but you have to install it twice, first once, and then install it as an upgrade to itself from within, otherwise the key won't take.)

    Maybe some picture or measurements of your PSU would help us decide whether or not you can pick up a standard ATX replacement, but its tough to say.

    (I agree. 7 gigs of RAM is really unusual, maybe it has something to do with the integrated graphics? Nothing wrong with it, just unusual.)
    Last edited by mattlach; 08-31-2010 at 09:15 AM.

  32. #32
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    Slowtarget ... thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Based on what you said it looks like my machine will be able to run Civ 5, but maybe not like I want .. all the bells and whistles.

    Do I take the $500 to upgrade or look at buying a new machine? I am leaning toward a new machine. lol

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    Maybe some picture or measurements of your PSU would help us decide whether or not you can pick up a standard ATX replacement, but its tough to say.
    Thank you for the feedback, especially on the video card options. The power supply is a standard size ... photographed the ATX box with specs at Best Buy then looked when I got home.

    Civ is the only game I play on a regular basis, though I do dabble with Half Life when the latest episodes come out. What would you do? Upgrade or go new PC? I'd like to spend less than $1,000 on a new PC.

  34. #34
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    How far am I from running the game at full settings? The only problem it seems is the graphics card? Can anyone tell me how my graphics card is going to effect me playing on highest settings?

    Hard Drive - 500GB SATAII 7,200RPM
    Memory - 8GB Dual Channel Memory (2x 4GB DDR3)
    Processor - Intel® Core™ i7 840QM Quad Core Processor, 1.86GHz (3.20GHz Turbo Mode, 6M Cache
    Graphics Card - 1GB DDR3 ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5730

    Also, I have a laptop, is there anyway I can upgrade the graphics card?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymurgy View Post
    Thank you for the feedback, especially on the video card options. The power supply is a standard size ... photographed the ATX box with specs at Best Buy then looked when I got home.

    Civ is the only game I play on a regular basis, though I do dabble with Half Life when the latest episodes come out. What would you do? Upgrade or go new PC? I'd like to spend less than $1,000 on a new PC.
    Are you comfortable building your own from parts? If so, you can EASILY build something very good from under $1000

    Heck, I could build a computer capable of running Civ5 decently,for ~$250 (provided I already owned a windows license, monitor, mouse and keyboard...) $1000 can build a real screamer.

    If not, your machine is very upgradeable, and it would seem a waste to get rid of it, it is still a capable machine.
    Last edited by mattlach; 08-31-2010 at 10:39 AM.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliasben3 View Post
    How far am I from running the game at full settings? The only problem it seems is the graphics card? Can anyone tell me how my graphics card is going to effect me playing on highest settings?

    Hard Drive - 500GB SATAII 7,200RPM
    Memory - 8GB Dual Channel Memory (2x 4GB DDR3)
    Processor - Intel® Core™ i7 840QM Quad Core Processor, 1.86GHz (3.20GHz Turbo Mode, 6M Cache
    Graphics Card - 1GB DDR3 ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5730

    Also, I have a laptop, is there anyway I can upgrade the graphics card?
    Keep in mind, we are all really guessing about how the game will run. All we have are the system requirements that Firaxis have posted.

    That being said, I am not 100% familiar with how the 5730 compares to other cards. My guess would be it will run solidly in the recommended category. As to if you can run everything on max or not at what resolutions we won't know until we can test it on the actual game / demo.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    Huh. Interesting. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about PC hardware. I'm just surprised I never heard of it before
    I wasn't terribly familiar with them either. From what I can tell, most of them were produced after their more popular 2.4GHz brethren as lower-heat, lower-power alternatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    Agreed. The power supply is going to be a problem. These are easy to replace relatively cheaply as long as HP used standard form factor PSU's in their case. (Sometimes the hardware vendors don't).
    A good point. Check to make sure you have a standard ATX PSU and suitable cage to bolt the new PSU into.

    IMHO your Geforce 9400 was not a huge improvement over the integrated graphics.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    The GTS250 is a pretty good card, the only thing I should mention about it is that it does not support DirectX 11. While I am an Nvidia fan (primarily because of their fantastic Linux drivers) In that price range (or maybe slightly more) you could probably get a Radeon HD 5750 or 5770 which would be in the same league (if not a little bit higher) raw performance wise, but the Radeons would also support DX 11.
    Agreed. The 5770/5750s are good cards, too. They cost a little more ($20-$30 more) but you do get DX11 support.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    So, if I were you I'd head on over to Newegg or another favorite site, get yourself a 500W power supply (provided HP uses the standard ATX form factor), then shop around for a Radeon 5750 or 5770.
    I can see a Sapphire 5770 for $140 at Newegg.
    And a couple of 80Plus rated PSUs at $80 or so.
    Throw in a system-builder version of Win7 Home Premium at $100

    Whole upgrade: $320?

    A 400W PSU should be more than enough. His quad-core is only showing as a 65W TDP. Of course, 400W PSUs are getting rare, so I'd say quality and price are more important.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    Windows 7 is not going to make a huge difference. If you had Vista 32bit I'd definitely recommend it, as with a 32bit version of windows you could only use the first 4GB of your RAM, but since you already have Vista 64bit it really won't make much of a difference.
    Good point. This is an easy way to save $100.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    If you do get a Windows 7 upgrade though, I would not run it as a straight upgrade over Vista. This never works out cleanly.
    Agreed. I'd actually advise picking up one of the System Builder licenses. They are cheaper than upgrades usually and only have the restriction that they have to be purchased with hardware and that you cannot transfer the license to another computer (you can still upgrade the current computer, there is just a limit on what constitutes "upgrade" and not "replace").

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    Agreed. I'd actually advise picking up one of the System Builder licenses. They are cheaper than upgrades usually and only have the restriction that they have to be purchased with hardware and that you cannot transfer the license to another computer (you can still upgrade the current computer, there is just a limit on what constitutes "upgrade" and not "replace").

    Wow, I wish I knew about this last year when I was building my current system...

    So how does this work? Are they bundled with hardware?
    Last edited by mattlach; 08-31-2010 at 10:15 PM. Reason: weird iPhone word replacement induced typo

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
    Wow, I wish I knew about thesexlast year when I was building my current system...

    So how does this work? Are they bundled with hardware?
    Nope. Check them out on NewEgg. According to the license, they have to be sold with hardware. Most reputable stores will enforce that, but some wont.

    They are much like the OEM licenses you could pick up for XP/2000 if you could find a retailer who was willing to break up the 20-packs they were actually sold in. Instead of trying to outlaw that, MS just embraced the enthusiast market and put out the System Builder line of licenses.

    So, here's the deal on them: You pay a greatly reduced price (Example: Win 7 64 Home Premium for $100), but you get no manual and no support from MS. You get a valid license and key and a genuine Windows installation DVD (full version, not the upgrade). The license is supposed to be used for a "new" PC, but there is no definition of what "new" is beyond the requirement of at least one new component (DVD-ROM drive is valid). Once its installed and validated on that PC, the license can't be transferred to another PC at a later time.

    I've been using them (and the OEM licenses before them) for all of my builds. I expect a build to last 3 years before I turn it into a Linux box, and that's usually about how long it takes Microsoft to put out a new OS. So, with each build I buy a new OS and I never really feel the pain of not being able to transfer the license. Of course, it also assumes that you're okay with Microsoft giving you zero support (beyond support for validating the license), but most people don't contact Microsoft for support anyway and System Builders usually provide support better than MS would give them in the first place.

    Even MicroCenter is starting to sell them. They're a good deal, especially if you build your own systems and know what you're doing with an OS.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtarget View Post
    Even MicroCenter is starting to sell them. They're a good deal, especially if you build your own systems and know what you're doing with an OS.
    Heh, sounds like they are!

    I payed $210 for Vista x64 Business Edition in July of last year (came with a free Windows 7 upgrade upon release). I was very disappointed I had to do this at the time.

    (Win XP install disk didn't support the USB controller on my new motherboard, and my motherboard had no PS/2 ports = no mouse or keyboard input for istaller), followed by Win XP x64 edition not supporting iTunes which I needed to restore my bricked iPhone before a phone interview the next day)

    So I reluctantly ordered the ISO download option from the Microsoft store and proceeded staying up most of the night getting my new rig running and restoring my phone. I eventually got the job though, so it turned out OK :P

    Over time I am glad I was forced to upgrade though (though I wish I could have done it cheaper). I was running Linux on my desktop for 95+% of things back then (even had Civ IV running through Wine) and only booted into Windows for things I absolutely needed (Like iTunes) so I thought upgrading to a more recent windows version would be a waste - especially after all the things I had heard about Vista at launch - but I have really come to appreciate the NT6 based OS's. if not for this issue, I probably still would be running XP

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