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Kang

Considering a used computer for playing DDO

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I hope I put this in the appropriate forum; the game I play is a 'fantasy' MMO so it fits... sort of...

 

I am condsidering buying a used computer to play DDO (D&D Online) on; it is a fairly old game, so I figure computers that are up to its recommended specs should be quite affordable. So far I've been using my Dad's old laptop but it's getting to be a pain carrying it out back to the woodshed (don't want to poison the family with my cigarette smoke so I ran the ethernet cable out back to the shed) almost every night after the kids are asleep to log on and play for a bit, plus I wouldn't mind trying out the high-resolution version of the game and I don't think my laptop is really up for that - I have to keep the graphics settings pretty low as it is. I also have my old 40" LCD 1080I hdtv out there but the laptop won't display on it in widescreen for some reason, so that's no good either.

 

I think I have found a potential candidate for my new DDO computer, but I am not really all that savvy about the ins and outs of desktop hardware specs. Probably wouldn't be a big deal if I was buying a brand new computer; I'm sure that would work fine since the game is now 5 years old. but the computer I'm looking at is older as well, so I'm hoping some of you guys who are in the know about computer gaming machines can help me out with a little advice here.

 

Recommended System Requirements

 

O.S.: Windows® XP/Vista

Processor: P4 3.0GHz or AMD equivalent with SSE

Memory: 1GB RAM

Graphics Card: GeForce FX or better with 128MB of memory

Network Connection: Cable Modem or DSL connection

DirectX: DirectX 9.0c

Disc Space: 3GB 5GB for high resolution

 

(I am assuming the computer described should play with fast loading of levels, graphics settings cranked up to nice & shiny, producing no complaints from me about performance - other than my own. Reasonable?)

 

 

The computer I'm thinking about (per the online ad):

 

Pentium4 524 (P) HT 3.06 GHz

1GB DDR2

Hard drive

300 GB SATA

7200 rpm

16X DVD(+/-)R/RW (+/-)R DL LightScribe drive

Chipset

ATI Radeon Dedicated HD video card 512mb

 

So, I know I would have to make sure it has a network card in it, which hopefully is the case, and most of the other specs appear to meet or exceed the recommendations for the high-res version of the game. But I am not sure about the graphics card. I think the guy could have been more specific about which 512mb hd radeon card he meant - a bit of googling tells me there are several differnt models that might be described that way. Does anyone know if the video card in the ad is likely to measure up to the one in the recommended system requirements, or, if it's impossible to say based on just this info, what questions I could ask the guy that might help shed some light on this? Also whether it should/might have any trouble displaying on the HDTV I mentioned above...

 

I know I should probably have a better handle on this stuff since I'm a programmer; when I got out of college, I probably did. But the thing is, I am the sort of programmer who maintains 25 year old batch-processing systems written in COBOL that run on a mainframe and who never has to deal with hardware, and that is what I have been for over 10 years now. Totally different worlds, and I've lost touch with the world of personal computers to a certain (ie. large) extent...

 

So what do you guys think? Will this machine do the trick? And is his $150 (Canadian) asking price reasonable? If it does happen to measure up to the recommended specs, I was thinking of offering him $120 or maybe even $100; his ad has been up for quite a while & nobody's snatched it up yet...

 

Thanks; any advice is much appreciated!

 

Kang

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Depending on how in depth you want to get, there are also different series of ATI cards out there (4, 5, 6, etc.) and that can make a difference as well, since they have different specs. From the wording you posted it sounds like it might be an onboard (hardwired card). This can make a difference, since onboard cards are usually not great for gaming. I am currently using the one on my mb because I haven't gotten around to buying a new one, and I can tell you that on graphics intensive games it is not up to snuff. On old games like EQ or SoD it works fine at max settings. Things I would also want to know are brand of the PC, or if it's a custom built the branding on the components. Once you know the brand/model of the motherboard for instance, you can find out a lot more about it, and have a better idea as to the level of performance.

 

As far as video cards go, you can actually get a really decent video card these days fairly cheap. With anything else out there, you can spend as much as you want, and performance will usually reflect it, but for what you are wanting to do, there are several lower end video cards that can do it for pretty cheap. So if the rest of the machine is up to your specs, and the price is right, you might just want to throw a new or different video card in it and be good to go for whatever you want to do.

 

Hopefully this is helpful, and not simply more confusing.

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For a hundred or even a hundred fifty it wouldn't be a bad deal. If the onboard video isn't strong enough you should always be able to get a vid card a couple generations older that will run DDO just fine.

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Yah DDO isn't that intensive on resources & such.

 

I think you'll be fine as long as you find the medium for your setting & such.

 

I play LOTRo one moderately high setting & my computer isn't that fast & I still get some darn good visuals. Eventually I want to run full DX10 (11) graphics in the game as the game is eye-candy that's for sure. I have a entry DX10 card & while it can run it, gameplay suffers when you get into large battles & such.

 

Have fun!

 

RM

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...From the wording you posted it sounds like it might be an onboard (hardwired card). This can make a difference, since onboard cards are usually not great for gaming

...

Hopefully this is helpful, and not simply more confusing.

In light of this info, I guess I should also have mentioned that the ad also mentions "Added a tv-tuner and a ATI 512MB HD Dedicated video card" in the introductory blurb that comes before the specs block I quoted in the ad. So I don't think it is hard-wired. Not sure how big a difference this makes, but I gather that makes it less likely that I would end up wanting to upgrade. This isn't something I want to keep having to spend money on if I don't have to, so I guess that might be good news. Maybe...

 

PS. It's not "simply" more confusing; it's helpful too. ::D:

Thanks for the input, everyone!

 

Kang

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FWIW, the graphics card business is a complete quagmire. Perhaps there is a dedicated gamer out there that can cogently compare some large portion of the market by card name, but if so I've never met him.

 

Four or five years ago, when I bought my last card, it was almost possible to figure out where on the spectrum a card might lie. When I started to look again a couple of months ago (for the obvious reason), it seemed as though the problem was an order of magnitude worse. (And from comment threads, it seemed as though it wasn't just me.

 

If you want more information than any sane person could process, Tom's Hardware has historically been a good resource. And GPU Review looks like a decent second source for information.

 

Good luck (so long as you don't take all the luck that I'm going to need wink.gif ).

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A 512 card shouldn't have any problems running a game whose min requirements are 128 MB. What you might miss out on is being able to run some of the bells and whistles that a newer 512 MB card would be able to run - FREX the card might not be DX10 compatible, but then if its not running Windows 7 or Vista, you can't run DX10 anyways.

 

That's one thing I noticed about the description though - it doesn't mention an operating system. I would be sure before you buy it that it will have one, or make sure that you have a copy that you can install on it. Nothing would suck worse than buying that only to find out you've got to go drop another $100+ on a copy of Windows.

 

Also, I'd invest in another stick of RAM. You should be able to double up to 2 GB for like $20 and it will make a huge difference.

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Ha right operating system. FYI all of Turbine games are Windows only none work on the mac (unless of course you have windows on it too but you probably knew that :p) As far as computer specs I don't know much about computer hardware. Those are my 2 cents.

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Also I just noticed, it might have on board networking. So you'd be good to go there. You just need your high speed modem & such.

 

I echo Chrome's recommendation of a extra gig of ram. Funny in LOTRo I would just trudge through Bree-town (one of the main settlements, epically for low level characters) until I got I put 2 Gigs in & it now cruises through the area. You'll experience that in Stormreach in DDO if you can't fight the traffic.

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One word of caution when considering buying a used computer. Make sure that you receive the operating system disk or the restore disks with it if you decide to buy. Not to mention the installation key if it's a Windows based computer.

 

Good luck.

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So some friends and I are considering playing DDO to fill the time until The Old Republic launches. Any suggestions from those of you who are playing it?

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It's a fun game, thou I wouldn't say it was a great game. When it first came out, about the only way I could adventure was make up a warforged barbarian (ie allot of hps + a strong race). I think I've played it a few times since it went to F2P mode. My game is LOTRo & that I'm a regular player.

 

You will see the D&D in the game, that is for sure, unlike a few computer D&D games that have been made. Combat is bit tricky to get ahold of as it requires you actually swing the way you want to swing, not just click, click, click like other games. When I played F2P there were a bunch of people so grouping shouldn't be a problem.

 

If you want a smooth & great looking game a decent video card is a must but IIRC it doesn't take a mega-card to run the game. Just make sure you have a good amount of memory as towns can overwelm your system with all the people in them. (Heck I only had a gig when I first started LOTRo, Bree-town was a crawl, put in a couple more & it flies by now)

 

Have fun!

 

RM

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So some friends and I are considering playing DDO to fill the time until The Old Republic launches. Any suggestions from those of you who are playing it?

Pay attention to how much favor you are gaining from the various patrons. Favor from the Coin Lords gives you extra space in your backpack which really helps, and the first two favor rewards from House Phiarlan (first, access to 30 minute buffs that remain through resting etc, then a trinket that dramatically increases your speed in public areas and lasts until you enter a wilderness or an adventure - the latter can be especially helpful in some of the various seasonal live events in the game that come up from time to time, but in general it just makes trudging from one pace to another more convenient) are really nice to have also, among others. Repeating the adventures that give these types of favor on Normal, Hard, and Elite while you're still low enough level to get decent XP from them is worth considering, as it will help speed up getting these rewards.

 

Also, some collectibles are worth hanging onto instead of trading in, as they can be used at the stone of change (just outside the bank in the marketplace) to upgrade various types of equipment. If you trade in any vials of pure water or lightning split soarwoods before figuring this out, you'll be kicking yourself!

 

If you don't have a full party of 6 players, picking up a cleric hireling before going on an adventure can make survival much easier. It's also sometimes really nice to have a rogue along, since sometimes there are chests that are locked, or traps that are really deadly if you can't disarm them. Rogue hirelings are available too if you are unable to recruit one, but unless you are willing to buy some of them with real money in the DDO store, each player in the party can only have one hireling... so chose wisely.

 

If you are shopping for gear, check the brokers before you spend a lot more of your character's wealth than you may need to in the auction house. There are brokers for all item types in the marketplace, but for higher level weapons and armor you have to go to the brokers in house Denith (for weapons) or Kundarak (for armor). When selling treasure, you also get better prices from brokers than from regular vendors. Note, each instance of the area where the brokers are located has its own list of items available for purchase; Depending on what items other players have sold off there, you can sometimes get some pretty good deals on some nice items if you take the time to instance-hop and check out what's available.

 

If you want a smooth & great looking game a decent video card is a must but IIRC it doesn't take a mega-card to run the game. Just make sure you have a good amount of memory as towns can overwelm your system with all the people in them. (Heck I only had a gig when I first started LOTRo, Bree-town was a crawl, put in a couple more & it flies by now)

 

Agreed! Same goes for DDO for sure. I did eventually find a pretty awesome deal online for a used computer (not the one I mentioned above) and I'm really happy with it - thanks for the advice, all; the better graphics card allows me to display the game properly on my HDTV, which the laptop I had been using before wouldn't, but even then, nothing made so huge a difference as upgrading my RAM from 1GB to 3...

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