FAQ:*insert game title here* doesn't work/Laggy! Direct X9 Problems! (updated) Hey peeps! This FAQ is created for those who have problems running their games. This not only applies to those with Sims 2 but with any other games, as well as a good template of systematic troubleshooting. First part will deal with the question "I installed it but it won't run!". The second part deals with slow running/unplayable/lagging games. To make it easier for all of us, start from the top because the first part may help fix whatever is causing the second part (lagging games). Also, you might as well download Everest Home, as it will help you find out information you need in order to diagnose your problem. For in-depth help on the Sims 2 related problems, please look here: Read THIS before you Post a Sims 2 Help Thread! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Part 1: Game doesn't run How to check system requirements before you buy the game. http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic61153.html Select your game from the drop down list and run the analysis. - If you don't pass the test, then a few upgrades or fixing are necessary. It should tell you what needs upgrading or fixing. - If you do pass the test, then on to the next one! DirectX can't find compatible graphics adapter Reason behind this, is that the games needs the DX9's 3D component to work. Some graphics cards/adapters lacks this, and thats why it won't work. In this case, if the driver fix below doesn't fix it, then you will need to get a proper graphics card, update the drivers (if possible) or upgrade your existing one. Post a new thread if you need help choosing a new card, or want more information about this. Check if you have it/can enable it: - Go to Start>Run>dxdiag - Go to Display Tab (or Display 1, Display x if you run multiple monitor setups) and find where it says Direct X Features - Click Enable for each one, if not grayed out. If gray, then your card doesn't support it, so its time to look into why... Update your Drivers Most of the time, you've got everything you need but the thing driving it is too old. Update your graphics card/adapter's driver first, as that’s what most people forgets, and where the problem starts with. You might as well check for any updates for the rest of your drivers on your PC as well at this stage, and the DirectX component, if not done so already. If you don't know what a graphics card is or what drivers you need etc. Use Everest to help you. Then look through the menus to find out what the brand and model are, then find it through the manufacturer's websites or google. You maybe lucky and find a link somewhere on the bottom of the page in Everest that will take you directly to a place to download one. For those who run Intel graphics adapters, read these two links: http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/gaming/index.htm http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/intel915g/sb/CS-016497.htm If you do have the latest drivers but still a no-go, then it could be you just need a stable one for your hardware. This requires a bit of digging of past and present drivers released in most cases. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Part 2: Laggy games For those with lagging games, and your PC has enough juice and power to run it, and you have all the most recent/most stable updates available, then here's the next part. Check your settings Sometimes you just left your game settings too high for it to handle. I'm referring to in-game settings like Texture details, Anti-alias (AA), shadow etc. If your game is unplayable because its too slow and laggy, change all the settings you can to Low or Medium then build from there, once you achieve a good FPS (Frames Per seconds), or it looks smooth enough for you. If you do want to run it at a better setting, or you think its some piece of hardware holding you back, then some upgrades are in order. Check your Temperatures and Power This part covers problems relating to heat and power problems. Open up the Sensor page from Everest or another reader and post the info given here. But first I must give you a disclaimer that software reads sometimes don't show you the correct readings. BIOS Hardware gives you a more accurate read. Anyhow, they're still good as rough guides. Temperature and power problems are most common with PCs that restart, shut off or blank out by themselves. If your temps are running too hot (over 50`Celsius, or more than your average temps for your chip) on anything, try doing a few things. -Clean out the dust and dirt, using a compressed air source, paying special attention to the fan guards/filters, Heatsinks (aluminum blocks with fins) etc and giving them a good clean. -Open the side of your PC case and point a normal desktop fan inside. -If it’s mainly your CPU temps or GPU and your PC is custom built, maybe re-applying the thermal grease/pad would help. For this, you must carefully remove the heatsink/fan assembly gently and then apply a new batch of thermal stuff, just enough to cover it evenly. Preferably about 1mm thick and spread using a plastic card or similar. Get some Arctic Silver if you can, although other brands are just as good when applied properly. Don't forget to wash your hands after! -You may want to consider an aftermarket replacement if cleaning and reapplying thermal stuff doesn't help. There are plenty to choose for your processor and some give better cooling performance while giving you a quieter PC at the same time. -Read this other FAQ:http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic13759.html If it’s a PSU or voltage problem, there are a few tell-tell signs. If any of the below applies to you, then you may need a new PSU. -First, check this site out and input all your info in it: http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp Click on Calculate and you should get a number in Watts for your PC, and then add 20% or 50 Watts (whichever is greater) and that’s some headroom. If the above wattage calculation are greater than whets listed on your PSU label (pictured) on the side of your PSU. If you don't know your insides of your PC, use Everest Home to help you. -If the voltages reads more than 5% up or down from the actual voltage rating (eg: +12V rail is 11.4-12.6V) then your PSU might be under-performing. Check your +12, +5 and +3.3 Voltage rails as they are the most important ones. -Its important not only that your PSU has enough Watts on it, but enough Amps to provide the muscle to the components. For those with moderate or high end graphics cards, you'll probably need somewhere over 20Amps, 16-18Amps being your minimum on the +12V rail. Other times, if you don't do heavy gaming or gearing, 15Amps should suffice, although sometimes its pushing it. If you plan to leave your PC on 24/7 or most of the time, look for a PSU that has good efficiency and Amps on all the voltage rails and gets good feedback from reviewers. You can find most of this info on your PSU label. -Beware of cheap/generic/imitation PSUs. These can cause more trouble than you think. Some of them overstate the true ratings and/or don't give a good efficiency. To know what’s good or not, google for the brand of your PSU as well as look for reviews on the net. If you do need a new PSU, looking at brands such as Antec, Enermax, Thermaltake etc are a step in the right direction. Although since not all PSUs are created equal, looking at reviews and tech specs are more important. There are more people who can answer your questions on PSUs on this board, just post your questions Miscellaneous troubleshooting -If you think you have too many things running in the background then turn off all non-essential processes from your task bar or close the programs and try again. -If you think its a HDD related problem, then go defrag and chkdsk /f your HDD. Other hardware suspected problems please post a new thread for us to help you with. -If you think you have a malware problem, read onto this, and post a new thread in the security and web forum: http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic58138.html -Sometimes security software suites stop the game running at all, so you might want to temporarily disable them and try your game out again. -General PC speedup FAQ:http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic53669.html PIO or DMA? Go to Device manager [Start>Run>devmgmt.msc] then expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers>Primary IDE Channel>Advanced Settings. See if any is set to PIO mode or if its at DMA. Transfer mode should be left at DMA if available. Do so with the all other channels as well. If any of them is set to PIO, then go back to device manager, right click Uninstall on the device and then Reboot. After it reinstall, it will tell you to reboot again. Do so and check the transfer mode after you finish this cycle. ------------------------------------------------------------ Without getting to in-depth, these are the most common problems you'll find having trouble with games. If none of the above solves your problem, then open a new thread in the relevant section of the forum (gaming, hardware, windows etc) rather than sticking it here. For the benefit of people helping, post up your PC specs using the report in Everest (if you don't know your complete specs), what game you're having trouble with and what you've tried. Any question or clarifications of my FAQ then post away here or otherwise, and someone able will answer. Happy Gaming! N3051M.