Research video drivers as well. I bought Napoleon: Total War the other day, and had a few problems with it. Running an older rig, Athlon x2 5200+, 2 gb ddr 2 667, 320 gb hd, 650 watt ultra psu, and a 9600gt. And Windows Vista.
Long story short, game would work a while, then crash to the desktop. Came to find out, part of the problem seemed to be driver issues. There were a couple of other things I did, made sure I had the latest version of direct x, etc. But sadly enough, I guess with that particular game, and with Empire Total War, they didn't test with nvidia driver versions later than 182.06. Which is from what February of last year? Long story short, I installed that set, and mind you, before I had the latest drivers as far as I know, even tried a beta driver. After installing that version, I was able to play 5 hours without a crash recently. Think my next card may be ATI.
Seems like a lot of people are having trouble with Steam.
That's why I only purchase actual copies of a game.
LOL I wish that actually worked....
Both games I've purchased on DVD lately that require Steam, also required a work around to get them to INSTALL from the DVD instead of trying to download the whole game via Steam. Absolutely, massive pain in the butt that it's not default.
But yes, often times games that have DVD and Steam versions, the patches/updates aren't the same. And often times early on there can be issues with Steam versions. Or at least it was that way in the past.
I've played ME2 a couple times through and never had a problem with it. That was with a GTX260 & with an SLI GTX260 setup, both with an i5-750. Your buddy's system is definitely capable of playing ME2 without a problem. I'd say there's a driver problem, or a corrupt file/data system for the game.
Might consider reinstalling the game (save your saved game files).
I know there is also the ability through Steam itself to have it check data files, and re-download any that don't look right (though this deletes saved game files. So copy those first!!). I had to do that to get Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II to work properly.
I used to hate steam, but it's not as bad as I thought originally. The nice thing is that if something is deleted, you lose a disc or something, you can download the installers again. My first experience with steam was with the empire total war demo, that demo was so slow. Made me irate about the whole steam issue. However, with napoleon total war, my experience has been a lot better. I know I bought Ghostbusters which required activation online, however, I don't think it used steam, and only allowed you like 3 activations. Which is stupid. At least with steam, you should theoretically always have the credentials to get to your game. And it's all there in the event of crashes. So I guess that's good. Don't know that I still totally like the idea of having to register all my games, but I can see why they do it help curb piracy, and it's a better alternative to other types of drm i suppose.
Hey my first computer was a commodore 64 at about 5 years old. My first pc was a 200 mhz AMD K-6 with 32 mb of ram. You save stuff over time. I've got about 3 stacks of discs that are on spindles that you'd buy blank discs on, and a wire rack of pc games and cd's that have piled up over the years...you never know. Besides, when most guys were going to playstations and what not, I was gaming on my pc. Although my ps3 does rock .