How to Increase System Performance

Hi I would like to know the most affordable way to upgrade my laptop so that it will run Medieval 2: Total War and Empire: Total War smoothly. My computer can run Rome: Total war just fine but not the later two games. The actual battle portions of Medieval 2 and Empire are unplayably slow and choppy and Empire looks like it's in 2D! I just got into computer gaming so I'm pretty new when it comes to upgrading my computer. My laptop is a Dell from 2006. I ran dxdiag and it says my computer has a Genuine Intel(R) CPU with 1,014 MB of RAM. In the "Display" tab it says the name of my device is a Mobile Intel(R) 945GM Express Chipset Family and the "Chip Type" is an Intel(R) GMA 950 with 224 MB of total memery. Under "Drivers" it says my "main driver" is igxprd32.dll. From reading on the internet I'm getting the sense that I need more RAM, a new graphics card and a new processor. I don't want the latest and greatest, just good enough to handle both of those games smoothly. If anyone can suggest to me what I should buy I would GREATLY appreciate it. Thanks!
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  1. By the way Yougamers.com recommends for Empire Total War:

    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT 512MB


    Processor: AMD Athlon64 X2 5600+


    Memory: 2048 MB

    But is there anything less pricey that would work just as well?
  2. I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you that your laptop is not upgradable from a graphics stand point, but just to confirm can you give the exact model of the laptop.

    If you're looking for a laptop then you would need to buy a new one, and if so we'd need to know your budget.
  3. Unless it is very high end you cannot upgrade the graphics on a laptop. The only thing you can do is lower the settings/resolution and hope that if they are low enough your system can handle it.
  4. Your most likely cause in glitches and delays in the game are due to the low amount of ram you have and also the fact that the game is running from a slow hard disk drive. I would highly recommend you go to 4gb or more of memory and upgrade your hard drive to an SSD. Also if you are running Vista, dump it and go to Windows 7.

    I promise you will not be sorry! :)
  5. Agree with the others - the Intel GMA 950 is a pos - basically. Very low end 3d and business graphics were it for this little pokey. Also the RAM is too little for any gaming - I would suggest 4G minimum for that - not 2G.

    So your real option is to buy another laptop - just the way it is 6 years later....
  6. billj214 said:
    Your most likely cause in glitches and delays in the game are due to the low amount of ram you have and also the fact that the game is running from a slow hard disk drive. I would highly recommend you go to 4gb or more of memory and upgrade your hard drive to an SSD. Also if you are running Vista, dump it and go to Windows 7.

    I promise you will not be sorry! :)

    His GPU is the main problem. Getting more ram/SSD/new OS is not going to change that. If his main goal is playing a game his GPU is simply insufficient for then spending hundreds of dollars on the upgrades you suggest will certainly make him sorry.
  7. Thanks for helping me out guys. Im not sure what model it is but it is silver with white trim and was very common a few years ago. Ive heard that desktops are better with games but Id still prefer a laptop. Could I get a laptop with Microsoft Office from $500-$900 that could run games like Empire? Thanks.
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