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Best graphics card to play "X-COM: Enemy Unknown" on my laptop?

Last response: in Video Games
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October 5, 2012 6:40:07 PM

Hey guys,

I was just wondering if someone could give me some advice on upgrading my laptop for XCOM before release. It's just that, for some reason, whenever I'm on the mission briefing in the Skyrancher with troops (4:09-4:21) or just before debriefing when the Skyrancher takes off again (37:34-37:41) I get some HUGE lag on my system. I'm not exactly sure what the problem is, but I've got a feeling it may be my graphics card:

http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.c...UCT_ID=1077027 (My system specs)

Just before the game comes out here in the UK (Pfffft, have to wait until the 11th =( lol unfair!) I was just thinking about upgrading my hardware to make sure the game runs smoothly. Based on my current hardware configuration (lets face it, laptops can't handle as much lol) What do you guys think? Is there a good graphics card out there my machine could handle that's capable of running XCOM smoothly at the highest settings? My price range is pretty flexible, looking at around $600, maybe more if need be. (Is the graphics card even the issue?)

If possible, I'd like to run on highest settings, but if I need to buy more than 1 or 2 components, I'd settle with medium settings/loading screen lag I guess (the demo didn't run at 60fps on high, but was fully playable, apart from the horrendous Skyrancher lag =( Can I overclock my current hardware to fix the problem? Would you recommend another component upgraded instead/as well?

Let me know what you guys think. Thanks guys =]
a b D Laptop
a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2012 7:02:31 PM

Very few laptops have any kind of upgradeable graphics card period, as the GPU is soldered directly to the motherboard. In some of the high end gaming laptops the GPU might be on something like an MXM card, but even then you're going to be severely limited in your ability to upgrade.

Just for starters, is that the power systems for your laptop were designed for the video card that came with the unit, and its power needs. Then there's the amount of heat the video card gives off at various stages of operation, and the cooling systems of your laptop were designed with the thermal output of the video card that it shipped with in mind. Then there is the fact that finding MXM video cards is not as easy as walking down to the local electronics store, and even if you find someone willing to sell you one, you're going to spend significantly more for the card. In a couple of cases I have seen people quoting prices of $400-$500. Even assuming you paid $2K for a gaming laptop, that's around 25% of the cost of the entire unit that you're sinking into just a video card.

You'd probably be better off spending that $600 on a PS3 or 360 game console and a copy of X-COM. Odds are you'd have a good chunk of change left over.
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a b D Laptop
a b U Graphics card
October 6, 2012 6:55:49 PM

the hd 4650 in your lappy is enough to play any xcom game of old. its also not to shabby for newer games.yes its not exactly top draw but niether is it bargain basement. the cpu may be an issue as its a dual but if the old xcom games are anything to go by its likely not to be that much of an issue as the game mechanics were pretty simple. if its a turn based shooter(sorrry i havent looked the game up yet) then a dual core will be more than enough. but i will check the minimum reconeded specs and let you know....


rite i had a look and yeah you should manage to play it fine. its still a turn based rts shooter so your looking at medium settings to make sure you dont get any slow down when you have 100 or more explosions and characters on screen at the same time...
if you can play starcraft 2 or DOW then theres no reason why you cant play this.
October 6, 2012 7:46:23 PM

HEXiT said:
the hd 4650 in your lappy is enough to play any xcom game of old. its also not to shabby for newer games.yes its not exactly top draw but niether is it bargain basement. the cpu may be an issue as its a dual but if the old xcom games are anything to go by its likely not to be that much of an issue as the game mechanics were pretty simple. if its a turn based shooter(sorrry i havent looked the game up yet) then a dual core will be more than enough. but i will check the minimum reconeded specs and let you know....


rite i had a look and yeah you should manage to play it fine. its still a turn based rts shooter so your looking at medium settings to make sure you dont get any slow down when you have 100 or more explosions and characters on screen at the same time...
if you can play starcraft 2 or DOW then theres no reason why you cant play this.


Thanks for the reply. One of the reasons I was so fustrated with this graphics card was that Toshiba doesn't allow the use of 3rd party drivers on their hardware.

You have NO idea how much trouble I've had to go through trying to update drivers for my graphics card. It's the only component that really causes me any problems playing high end games. The dual core processor is awesome for mid-high end games. 4 gig of ram on a 32 bit system is the best you can get. Its just this graphics card that lets me down.

However, I've actually mananged somehow to update my drivers recently and, lo and behold, the lag is about 85% gone! It caused me no end of hassle, but I think I finally solved my problem!! (no thanks to Toshiba...)

It's just that I get a SLIGHT framefrate drop now when the camera slings from one side of the map to the other, but if the full game is updated with DX11 support (which it SHOULD BE) I'm hopeful that will go away too.

Stupid toshiba driver lock... it caused me no end of grief with this piece of hardware... anyways thanks for the help guys, helped steer me in the right direction.

Just a final question, from what I've read, DX11 support over DX9 is supposed to increase framerate performance with cards that are able to support it (or so I've heard) What opinion do you guys have on this? If the full game offers DX11 support, do you think I'm likely to see a small framerate increase?

Thanks guys
!