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Games

Whizz-bang fast!

I just picked up ATI’s RADEON 9800 XT from Best Buy[^] and installed it in my new PC (an HP a307x[^] purchased from OfficeMax for $499 no mail-in rebates).

I cannot belive just how fast this card is compared to what I’ve been using the past few years. Even when compared to my ATI RADEON 7500 I bought two years ago.

So far I’ve installed every game I’ve played or tried to play on my laptop in the last year and every single one of them has run flawlessly and a ton faster on the new card. Prior to buying this card I’ve been using the on-board Intel graphics accelerator which had about the same performance as my laptop, pretty bad considering the PC is 800MHz faster (1.8GHz vs 2.6GHz).

Some comparisons: One of the games I bought near the beginning of the year was Microsoft’s FreeLancer. This game ran ‘okay’ on the laptop and a smidge better on the PC. I had to set the resolution down to 800×600 @ 16bit color. On the PC I was able to turn most of the enhancements on, but couldn’t touch the performance slider.

With this new card in I was able to turn up the resolution to 1280×960 @ 32-bit (highest the game supports, my monitor supports 1280×1024). I also turned up everything on the performance tab and enabled all the little extras. The game runs PERFECTLY! Instead of stuttering along it runs smoothly in all aspects I’ve tested.

Now don’t get me wrong; I like to play games in my free time but gaming isn’t my whole life…I also love to write code, read, and just see what’s new on the internet. But if anyone was outside my room when I fired up FreeLancer the first time after I installed the card they’d think I was having sex with my PC from all of the sounds I was making. :-O

My next test was to run Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on it. Like FreeLancer, this was a game I’ve been playing on my laptop and haven’t done much with it on the PC. On my laptop I’ve been running it with the default settings and its been so-so. Its okay in most places but I experienced many slow-downs in the larger areas of the game.

Plug it in to the super-charged RADEON 9800 XT and blamo, runs perfectly with everything turned on full!

On top of all that, I get Half-Life 2 (when it comes out) as well as Valve’s Premier Pack (Half-Life, Counter Strike, Team Fortress Classic, Deathmatch Classic, Half-Life: Opposing Force and Ricochet) for free. I believe it was Stimpy that coined the phrase “Happy, happy, joy, joy!”

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About James

I am a Senior Developer/Consultant for InfoPlanIT, LLC. I previously spent over 7 years as a Product Manager for what eventually became ComponentOne, a division of GrapeCity. While there, I helped to create ActiveReports 7, GrapeCity ActiveAnalysis, and Data Dynamics Reports.

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