Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Video Woes, Solved?

Got my housework done, finally (and man does that shit pile up when you laze about in a depressed fashion for a week and a half), and had some time to settle in and play a game, instead of just reading diagnostic reports.

Two things found:

1) My personal system/FO3 combination responds well to forcing the hard drive cache use to on. This apparently causes severe stuttering for some folks, but my game went buttery smooth with it on.

2) Seems the video card, if not the sole issue, has been the driving force behind my major issues. Played twenty odd minutes. Started getting stutters about 12 to 15 minutes in. It would miss a frame here, freeze up a few seconds when a spawn point was triggered, things like that. Problems got progressively worse as time went on. Alt-Tabbed back to Speccy, and the GPU had spiked from idle temp of 78C up to 94C.

Switched game off, let it cool back down to idle, started it back up. Played another ten, fifteen minutes. Problems began to manifest again. Same thing, but a bit worse. Closed the game, looked over the readout, and it was sitting at 95C, but the graph showed it had spiked to about 100C.

Seems like anything over 90C is bad ju-ju for the card, and apparently this particular specimen shows its heat-fatigue with major caching slowdowns. With what heat does to RAM chips, that's not really surprising. I'm still amazed nothing has burned out.

So, I've got my pedestal fan set up and aimed properly, and the card is happily idling along at 77C. Jumps to 80C when I watch a full-screen movie.

Suppose I get to buy a new card, then.

Seems you can get a pretty decent one for a C bill here lately, which is the top-out of what I'm usually willing to pay for a video card.

Yeah yeah. I should be springing for something like this, but like I told the Lady when she pointed it out to me while we were browsing the list: putting that thing into my PC would be like putting a Hemi into a Civic. Yeah, it's technically possible... but why? At the end of the day, it's still a damned Honda.

At the end of the day, this is still a thirty month old Emachine.

Seems though, like I can get a GF9600 or so for the hundred bucks. Just have to be careful, cause I'm pretty sure my PC doesn't support PCI-E 2.1 - my current card is a 2.0.

I really wish they'd pick a fucking standard and stick to it. ISA, then PCI, then AGP, then BETTAR AGP ZOMG 8X BESTEST EVAR... and now we're back to PCI? People need their damned schizophrenia meds. Or girlfriends.

'Sides. Even with an ailing card, with hard drive caching on, the game was running at 1024x768, decent draw distances, and still pulling a solid 25fps outdoors. Fallout 3 is the newest game I have much interest in running, probably won't buy New Vegas if it's still put out by Bethsoft anyway.

Don't see much point in putting a shit-ton of money I don't have into a PC just to say I have a more powerful one.

I prefer to own 454 Casulls for bragging rights. They're way more fun, and don't become obsolete every other year.

Anyhow, seems like the outside fan method will keep the computer running until I have a chance to get into town and see about a new card. It's just going to cut heavily back on my gaming.


  1. Heh, my personal taste in guns is a trifle more archaic. There is a Land pattern (Brown Bess) musket that I have been lusting after for years. Going by the butt stamps it started in the British Army, was traded to the Navy - where it was cut down to carbine length and the muzzle flared (much easier to load on shipboard), traded to the Spanish, then went off to Mexico. Five different markings, over a century of use. Still fires, the action on the lock is smooth....

    The Auld Grump, the weirdest gun that I ever fired was a Gyrojet, back then the shells sold for about five dollars a piece. They go for about fifty a shot now. The gun just felt wrong - very light, no noticeable kick, sounded wrong, and smelled wrong. Weird ass gun.


    Never seen a Gyrojet in person (tad before my time), but I've read a bit about them.

    Only handgun ever made that actually had LESS power at the muzzle than at 25 yards.

    That and the hissing sound the rocket bullets made when fired was supposedly pretty unnerving for the operator.

    That, and at best, the thing had power equivalent to a 38 special.

    I loves me some .454 Casull, though. Can load 45 Colt brass down to below 45acp power levels to have cheap practice and no recoil, or break out the Casull brass and H110 to make the revolver capable of being used to hunt full-grown Kodiak and/or Japanese import commuter cars... and everything in between.

    Never could get into muzzle-loading. Something about that whole two rounds a minute if you're damned good thing... just isn't fun when you learned to shoot on Mausers and Kalashnikov-derivatives. That and the plume of smoke that would double as marking an evac LZ...

    Suppose, though, if you've GOT to be archaic, you may as well go for the gold, and the Brown Bess certainly is that.

  3. Yeah, I used to describe the hiss the Gyrojet makes as 'a dangerous espresso machine'. :P Accuracy was also not its strong point - which is why it failed with the military.
    Even in the '70s the Gyrojet was an expensive toy, but it felt like a cheap piece of junk.

    As for stopping power, at the best it was actually closer to a .45 - but accuracy meant that you generally weren't aiming at something that far away.

    I have actually fired more blackpowder than modern guns - I used to do ACW recreation, a small amount of Jacobite recreation,and a very small amount of American Revolution. I can do two rounds a minute with a Bess, almost three, which is pretty close to what the Brits wanted in the field. I have never had a gun blow up on me, but I did have a cannon crack when somebody was too quick with a bucket of water.

    I know someone with a buccaneer musket (the same guy owns the Bess I lust after), big ass gun, used for sniping. The Brits had an awful lot stolen when people went over the side in the islands. Never fired it, too big for my tastes - I like carbine length guns, and this thing is eight feet long, with a place on the stock for a brace. Something similar was used to kill Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

    I have fired wheel locks as well as flintlocks - truth to tell, in some ways a wheel lock is dang near as crazy as a Gyrojet. Unreliable, twitchy, overly complicated.... Give me a flintlock, or even a snapchance. You don't see too many modern guns that have seen a century of service, and can still be fired a century after that! :P A flintlock is a thing of beautiful simplicity.

    Done some firing with a Bess in a foggy dell, with about thirty other people. A stench like the Devil's own flatulence, eyes watering 'til you can't see, and it just hangs there, for hours after the engagement. I had a gunner's cough for a couple of days after that.

    The Auld Grump

  4. Heh, and the mention of the Wild Hunt gave ma the name I wanted for the Big Bad in my tabletop FO game, actually, it gave me several of them.

    Gabriel Ratchett
    Gabriel Trump
    Gabriel Horn
    And, in another persona (a bland, bespectacled persona), Henry P. laTota. (Somebody likes anagrams.... :P )

    My equivalent of Stephen King's Randall Flagg. Fond of Jazz music, has been since at least 1919, when he was called The Axeman.... (Look him up.)

    The Auld Grump

  5. Ugh, Flint lock. I do not like any weapon that may require the gun-fight be called on account of rain.

    And having had a double set trigger apart in the past, I'd have to disagree about that whole simplicity thing.

    Though no, you won't see many smokeless rifles that are two hundred years old and still shootable.

    ...probably has something to do with the fact that true smokeless has only existed about 115 years...

    Fifty-three, if we're talking about Her Majesty's soldiers, who for some reason kept using cordite until the 7.62 NATO switch in 1957.

    Hm. Axeman looks standard fare. Ripoff of Jack without the selectiveness, and using a bigger weapon. S'the American way!

    "he (or someone claiming to be the Axeman) wrote taunting letters to city newspapers hinting at his future crimes and claiming to be a supernatural demon "from Hell"."

    As opposed to being a completely normal demon from Albuquerque, I suppose. Gods I wonder if some people ever bother to read their own writing, or listen to themselves talk...

  6. The only unique part of the Axeman, really, was his bizarre 'I won't kill you, if you're playing jazz' letters. As far as can be made out he actually did keep that part. (There's also a pretty nice bit of jazz titled The Axeman's Jazz. Always nice when your villain brings his own music to the game....)

    Jazz took an amazing jump in popularity in New Orleans at that time....

    Jack wasn't the first serial killer, either, though as far as I can make out he was the first to play the newspaper game. Or at least the first to have people play the newspaper game for him. At least two people wrote those letters.

    Sawney Bean was earlier, and to my mind much, much nastier than either Jack or the Axeman. Him and his whole family. (Already used him, in a D&D game years ago.) 'Course unlike those two, old Sawney got himself caught, castrated, and bled to death, along with his sons, while his wives/daughters ended up burned at the stake. There is some possibilty that he was legend, but his execution was noted in the register....

    Now be quiet, I need to get a .44 - God has been talking to me through my neighbor's dog again, I need to hear who he wants me to kill....

    The Auld Grump

  7. I know Jack wasn't the first. He just happens to be one of my favorites.

    How do you not love someone who shivved whores in London alleys for years, taunted the authorities, and never got caught?

    Pretty sure there have been serial killers in one form or another as long as humans have been diverse enough to be able to be broken down into groups.

    Feh. Son of Sam. So lame. One would think if Lucifer were involved, he could come up with better than talking through the neighbor's dog.

    I ask you: whatever happened to the days of evil compulsions being the domain of smokin' hot harlot-temptresses? Kids today. So boring.

  8. Yeah, he never figured out that the dog was lying to him.... I tell ya, never trust a talkin' dog. They're all a buncha liars. Now if a cat tells ya to kill somebody, ya gotta ask what's in it for them....

    There are much more successful baddies out there, but at least Berkowitz showed some imagination, not like the guy who strolled into the police station with a bag full of heads.

    Haigh, now he was scary. Got a bit stingy with the acid though. Shipman? Quiet sort, they gave up on figuring out how many he killed. Fish, used to know an Albert Fish. That weren't him.

    I'll stick with good old Sawney though, he'd feel right at home in the Wastelands. Show those folks in Andale how it's done....

    The Auld Grump, how'd we get on this topic again? :P

  9. You were working on historically accurate and plausible ways to mentally scar your players for the rest of their natural lives, I believe.

  10. Oh yeah, that's it. :)

    The Auld Grump

  11. See, you're going to too much trouble.

    You want to scar the kids?

    Break out the Barney and Teletubby DVDs.

    I'm pretty sure it would violate the Hague Conventions... but you're not a government, and they're not uniformed combatants, so why worry?

  12. Nar, some of 'em grew up on that stuff.

    I'm the one who would be scarred....

    Bananas in pajamas, are coming down the stairs....
    *Sobs quietly in a corner.*

    The Auld Grump

  13. Eh, cowboy up. Scars r'good fer ya. Builds character.

    Or puts hair on your chest.

    Or something. I'm not good at this motivational crap without invoking CAS or fire support.

  14. As for simplicity and the flintlock - take a look at the insides of a wheel lock someday. A wind up spark toy as the action for a gun.... Fragile, destroyed by rust, prone to just spinning, sending sparks everywhere except the pan.... Sometimes it took a second or two to trigger to fire, and sometimes it just didn't fire. (Not very often, and it just meant that you needed to rewind your gun....) On the upside, it was a lot more convenient for starting fires than a flint & steel was.

    You actually can fire a flintlock in the rain, once. Make sure that you keep the pan covered before readying for the shot. Good luck loading it in the rain though.

    The advantage of both the wheel lock and the flintlock over the matchlock - you could hold your fire. You had to keep the match (actually a bit of burning cord or slow fuse) spinning in circles to keep it lit.

    The Auld Grump


    The most exciting sixty seconds you will ever have.

    "Is it going to go off? What about now? How about NOW? ...Is it safe to point it someplace else yet? I wonder if it'll go off when I run the worm down the bore to pull the ball..."

    As I said: know about non-metallic cartridge guns, just don' like 'em. As I have told others, I believe they invented the metallic cartridge for a reason.

    Also know all about matchlocks and wheel locks and pin fires and needle guns, and paper cartridges... going back to the arquebus and suchlike other archaic pains in thine asseth that doth masquerade as weaponry most powerful. Made me learn all that mess in the history of the firearm in gunsmithing school. Was always intrigued by the Swiss made compressed air powered muzzle loaders, supposedly available in the late 18th century. Regarded as a coward's weapon at the time (didn't produce a cloud of smoke on firing, so was obviously meant to assassinate gentleman officers, donchaknow), but these days people go to inordinate amounts of trouble to get rid of their firing signature.

    As for the first shot being a good with the flintlock... again, have to at least partially disagree. It depends a lot on the rain in question. Growing up on the Mississippi, I've seen spring showers that had us expecting to see Noah come floating by on an Ark at any minute. Some of that stuff was so pervasive that even with a raincoat, you'd be soaked to the skin inside five minutes. I'm sure it's technically possible to rain-proof the pan with beeswax or whatnot, but that sort of thing seems rather like more trouble than it would be worth, at any time after 1880 or so.

    For my part, guns didn't start to get interesting until the Volcanic Repeater, and even it was pretty marginal; with a power level akin to that of a light-loaded .40 Short and Weak, as I recall. Now, the Shiloh Sharps? There's an interesting rifle. And Borschardt's work warrants merit if only because of the step forward in technology that it was. Opening the door, as it were, more so than being usefully practical in its own right.

  16. Heh, my experience with a flintlock in the rain was in Virginia, ninety degrees, and raining so you couldn't even sweat properly. (I was with a New Hampshire Revolutionary War recreationist group at the time.) The powder was damp enough to clump, but dry enough to fire.
    But we did get that one round off, then charged with plug bayonets fixed. (Sad to say, that part of the recreation was handled by rock - paper - scissors. If you won then you won, if you lost you lost, and if you tied then you played again. I knew the pattern, so if I didn't lose the first round I won the second.... It was funny seeing that same system showing up in a Vampire LARP decades later - the pattern worked then too. :P )

    That same trip was where I discovered the joy of blackpowder smoke in a dell in the fog. Talk about fog of war - my eyes were waterin' like to fall outa my head.

    Fired a few Minie Balls too, years later. Those things were mean. We did some shooting against some poor defenseless cow legs (no cows, just the legs - we ate 'em later), what those balls did to bone was just brutal - they weren't broken, they were pulverized.

    The Sharps was sweet. You can thank Col. Hiram Berdan for their success. He bought enough for his unit out of his own pocket to outfit his sharpshooters. (The ACW recreationists I was with called them 'Berdans' because of this. There are some real purists in that ACW crowd, including some that bring sausage casings and stage blood in plastic bags, for their death scenes. :P ) The Whitworth was nice too, never got to fire one though - they were on the other side.

    For archaic, I have also helped build and fire both catapults (onagers) and trebuchet.

    Back on Fallout...
    I am having to reinstall again, this time because of Microsoft, not Bethesda - I forgot to change the directory, so it was installed in Program Files, which prevents mods from working. Worst 'feature' of both Vista and 7 - permissions. I have been using computers since 1972, I do NOT trust Microsoft or their 'Trusted Installers' more than I do myself! >:( Almost makes me wish I had gone Linux.

    The Auld Grump

  17. Vampire LARP. You can only be referring to the Camarilla. I actually attended one of those once, when I was 18, as a prospective member.

    Once. Those fuckers were strange even by MY standards, and I'm pretty sure I'm insane. But sane enough to know I'm insane, so it works out.

    Standout of the group had to be the guy who showed up in a clown suit (!), carrying a toy chainsaw. While he never mentioned it that I know of, in retrospect, he HAD to be Malkavian. The "cowboy" with the "horse" that consisted of a kid's toy head-on-a-stick was nice, too. The cherry on top was the local "prince", a greasy, unkempt, unshaved man who went everywhere in an equally greasy and unkempt leather jacket.

    Makes me want to go take a shower just thinking about it.

    I was later told by the friend who had talked me into attending that the things I saw were pretty much par for the course, and the guys dressed like that every week.

    What happened to the good vampire cults where you just drink blood and get laid? Kids, today.

    As for Windows, I avoid Linux for one of the same major reasons I avoid a Mac - I'm lazy and like being able to just buy a game, install it, and go. Yeah, I know, there's WINE and the like, but I don't trust emulators. Never had good luck with them. I turned UAC off in a hurry when I started using Vista, but it still strikes me as odd.

    I mean, no other game that I know of has that issue. It's JUST Fallout 3. Even Oblivion usually works fine from within \Program Files\

    Just strikes me as a tish suspicious and all.

    Makes me wonder once again where Bethsoft dredged up their programmers and debuggers.

    Also scares the hell out of me to think that these same people may well be working on New Vegas as we speak. Not holding out huge hopes on that one.

  18. I have not run into many games with the issue, but I have run into a number of other programs - Campaign Cartographer is a prime example, the instructions actually tell you outright NOT to install to the programs directory. A few others that I am currently too tired to look up, but mostly the ones that either get frequent updates or additions. (I have a subscription for monthly additions to Campaign Cartographer, which was fortunately on an XP machine when the issue came up. It caused problems for a lot of folks.)

    Corel is another company that suggests avoiding the Program Files directory. So does Avast anti-virus. Go look on the Microsoft forums - they are still getting complaints about it, and not just from Bethesda customers.

    The LARP I was in actually had a rule about bathing.... If you smelled bad they would hand you your money back and tell you to return after you took a shower and changed clothes. But it also had a clown with a chainsaw, so I guess some things are a given. :P

    I beat the clown 17 challenges in a row, when he was trying to read my aura. What was funny was that if his character had just asked mine would have been perfectly willing to tell him.

    My character was happy most of the time - a Nos with True Faith, and a member of the Knights of St. John of the Hospital. He had actually gained Humanity since becoming a vampire. I like Nos, secretive and homely buggers that they are. Heck, if I were playing, instead of running, a Fallout RPG then I would likely play a ghoul. Nosferatu, by and large, are not bad folks as vampires go.

    One of the PCs playing a cop was utterly convinced that my character was wet works, based purely on the way I stood at military rest. I stood that way because my knee hurt. :P (Well that, and the company I kept - one of the other PCs was a professional spy, and we would swap techniques.... Nice knowing each other's secrets. My character had been a professional blackmailer before being turned, and realizing that there really was a Hell....

    But I always thought that Malkavians should be scary, not funny. Think mad prophet, not Emperor Norton I.

    The Auld Grump

  19. Oh, wow. I haven't used a Corel product in ten, twelve years. I didn't even know they were still in business. Kind of odd about Avast. I don't remember seeing that notice the last time I looked at it. Guess I need to start paying more attention.

    Never really got into the whole LARP concept.

    Is actually one of the reasons I like computer games; it is what it is.

    No interpretation, no arguing over "fight" results. I don't have to smell anyone - whether it be someone who bathes like a Viking, or someone who just thinks their godawful perfume/cologne is attractive. Don't even have to take off my carry piece; as I recall, the Cam had a rather strict organizational no weapons policy. I was told at the time that even the toy chainsaw was stretching it.

    And damn it all... I forgot to mention I had a knife on me. Damn Swiss-cheesed brain of mine.

    Granted, it's a bit of a cop-out; no imagination required and all, but I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.