I bought a new PC about a year ago, hoping that it would be enough to enable me to play PC games for perhaps two years. Imagine my joy when the first two games I need to check out are both unplayable. (We might also discuss whether I had to spend some 1000â‚¬ on hardware I’m only needing a year later, but let’s not go there.) With just some four hours of tinkering, the issue is gone – I don’t know why I even bother, this is time I could’ve spent completing Halo 3.
My system specs should be well above the minimum to play both games: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ dual core processor, GeForce 7600 GTS 512 MB (something of a low-end card, but perfectly serviceable), 1 GB RAM (low, but enough), Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X motherboard (high-end a year ago). I was getting something like 5-10 frames per second at 800 x 600 resolution and low settings on both games – they were entirely unplayable, right from the menus. I was not amused.
The basics of updating every single GPU, CPU and motherboard -related driver didn’t help, so before flashing BIOS (“just in case”) I sat down to Google for a solution. After vigorous searching and browsing it turned out that I needed to access my nVidia control panel’s advanced mode and select single-monitor support for 3D applications. The default was dual-monitor support, it seems. This solved the issue – Enemy Territory runs very well, Airborne less so, but it’s well within playable performance. It looks like this affects many people with dual-monitor setups. Even though most games don’t care about the second monitor (they’re not using it for anything, as you can usually see), these two somehow waste their energy on it. I didn’t have to unplug the monitor or anything, just turn off the 3D support for it, which is fine anyway, I only use it for a web browser or Photoshop.
Not that I’m entirely happy. After the issue was gone, there was still the usual BS of adjusting settings and restarting the game several times until I got a level of quality I was happy with, along with high enough FPS, wasting a further hour with that. What’s positive is that even on low quality settings, the PC games of today are starting to look pretty sweet. The reason I’m posting this is I tend to rank high on Google and if I can cut down on someone else’s time looking for a solution to this, it’s worth it.