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Ati 8500LE Problems

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 29, 2003 1:48:16 PM

I was recommended to buy an ATI 8500LE (128MB version) from Crucial earlier this year by a few people on this forum when I was buying my new PC. The card up to now has been fantastic but with that said all I really play is Command & Conquer Generals but usually in 1024x768 with all the effects on high and very very smooth.

I installed Halo yeseterday and I was really disppointed to find that I could only play it in 640x480 with most of the effects turned down or off before it would run smoothly.

I installed the latest 8500 driver but it did not seem to make much difference. Display properties showed 8500 driver and not 8500LE (not sure if this makes any difference). I have had a look at the Benchmarks around this site and my card seems to be ok when compared to similar cards, I'm just not sure what I can do to make things any better.

The spec of PC is

AMD AthlonXP 2400
512MB DDR (333mhz fsb)
Soltek SL-75FRV
80GB Western Digital (8MB Buffer)
Windows XP

Can anyone please make some suggestions for what I can do to improve the performance by any means. I'm not convinced that the card is being pushed 100% but I would welcome anyones comments or suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

More about : ati 8500le problems

September 29, 2003 2:53:27 PM

The <A HREF="http://www.gamespy.com/reviews/september03/halopc/" target="_new">Halo review at Gamespy.com</A> said the same thing.

On a 2.54ghz P4 system with a GF4 Halo runs sluggishly at 800x600, even with some features turned down.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
September 29, 2003 3:15:40 PM

i found the comand&conquer generals more cpu and MEMORY scalable, so u don't need this powerfull graphic card to play smoothly, all u need is rams, this was my experience with this game.
So thats what u will be disapointed a bit with other games, but the 8500le is good for directx8 games (8.1), but without AA and AF.
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September 29, 2003 3:25:56 PM

Remember that Halo runs on the Xbox at 640*480 ( I'm pretty sure anyway), and that's with a built in video card that's essentailly a Geforce3 class GPU... which is basically what your 8500le is.

So the game is probably very demanding at higher resolutions...

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
September 29, 2003 3:39:05 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe is gonna love your name :) 

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
September 29, 2003 6:19:32 PM

Thanks for the info. I had a look at the review of Halo and the guy said his P4 2.5 had to run it 800x600 with things turned off so that has reassured me a little.

I've just run 3DBenchmark 2003 and my score is 1032. Do you think that sounds right for my spec of machine?
September 29, 2003 6:24:24 PM

It's about right.

My 8500 got me 1200 or so.

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
September 29, 2003 6:39:25 PM

Ok m8, thanks vey much for the info.

If I were to upgrade on a very tight budget, what would you suggest? I'm comtemplating just selling my 8500LE on ebay and get whatever I can for it and maybe get a Radeon 9000 perhaps?
September 29, 2003 7:33:40 PM

A redeon 9000 is slightly slower than an 8500LE. The 8500/8500LE/9100 has 4 pipelines with 2 textue units each, the 9000/9200 has 4 pipelines with 1 texture unit each.


On a tight budget, I'd look for a 9500 non-pro or a 9600 non-pro, and overclock 'em. They have excellent DirectX 9 shaders and overclocking headroom.

I got my 9500 non-pro on ebay for $80. Not only can I overclock it, but I successfully modded it to a 9500 PRO.

My old card was an 8500, and my 9500 non-pro is LOTS better, especially with AA enabled.

------------------
Radeon 9500 (modded to PRO w/8 pixel pipelines)
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3529
September 29, 2003 10:09:02 PM

Thats fantastic, thank you very much for the info and advice. The 9500 sounds like the way forward :) 

Thanks again.
September 29, 2003 10:14:51 PM

I get 1330 with my Radeon 8500OEM but then again my card is overclocked to 300/325 while your Crucial 8500LE has a stock speed of 250/166. (yes, 166).

You might want to wait for some other Halo players to speak to see how they fare. I mean if Geforce4 running on a P4 2.54 (the review config) is forced to 800x600 with reduced eye-candy then that game is ridiculously demanding. Something is wrong.

Maybe there's a fix and maybe not but you definitely want to learn which videocards can run the game well.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2003 2:11:23 AM

I specifically told all questioners NOT to buy the 128MB card as it's clocked MUCH slower than the 64MB card (exept in the case of Crucial, where the 64MB card was clocked much slower than everyone elses).

A cheapo 64MB Radeon 8500LE could have been up to 25% faster in some games.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
September 30, 2003 9:56:11 AM

The reason that Halo needs such a beast of a machine to run it at a steady pace is because it's got Microsoft written on it which automatically suggests there will be problems in one way or another ;) 

Can you recommend a good resource which provides the software and information on how to overclock the 8500LE?

Is there anything to watch out for as I've never overclocked a graphics card before?

Thanks.
September 30, 2003 5:16:52 PM

Believe it or not I use Riva Tuner, and old utility written originally for nVidia cards.

I like Riva Tuner because I'm not interested in any of the advanced features of some of the other OC programs. I can find my max stable overclock, test it, and set it to be the default with Windows.

For the times I want a little higher overclock I can change it for the one session only. The next time I reboot the videocard reverts my stable overclock. (I know I could flash a modded BIOS. I prefer to not to do this).

As for overclocking. Start by taking out your video card and look at the DDR memory chips to determine their design speed. You'll see a some numbers that usually end -7, -6, -5, etc. These are the cycle times in nanoseconds. Double-digits like -33 or -55 mean 3.3 ns and 5.5 ns. To get speed of the memory just divde 1000 by the cycle time (e.g. 1000 / 5 = 250 mhz). This will give you a rough idea of how far you can overclock.

Sometimes manufacturers give you some leeway. They run the memory at say 275 Mhz but it's designed to run at up to 303 mhz (3.3 ns memory) and then you can say another 25 mhz to 325 (my video card for example).

IIRC, your Crucial 8500LE had 6 ns memory (1000 / 6 = 166 mhz) and it's already running at the memory's design speed but you never know how far you can overclock. I just like to skip right to the memory's design speed.

Since this isn't the overclocking forum I'll give you the obligatory warning.

Overclocking is risky. You might damage your hardware. The risk is yours and yours alone!

That out of the way, you can overclock anyway you want. I prefer start with memory speed. I increase in 10 mhz steps (some people take slower). I keep increasing until I get artifacting. This can noise dotting the image or incorrect textures. When this happens I back off by 5 mhz and just narrow it down.

Now that I know the highest the memory can go I reset it back to default speed and start testing the GPU. This I usually bring up to what I hear other people overclock minus let's say 10 mhz, e.g. if I head someone got their Radeon 8500 to 300 mhz I would start with 290 mhz. When you overclock the GPU to far the system will most like freeze. If it does reboot and pick a lower speed if it doesn't then increase your overclock.

When you are done you have max speeds for both your GPU and memory. This does not mean you can run both at their max. The GPU will produce more heat when overclocked and this can impact memory overclock. However, it give you a general idea of what you can obtain. It gives you baseline which is useful should you want to alter cooling, add fans, change heatsinks, etc.

As for Halo, that review had an update stating that the models in PC Halo are the exact same ones used in Xbox Halo. I think I read elsewhere that most of the game is a direct port from the original except mouse/keyboard and other typical PC control options have been added. There is also new content for multiplayer. Single player has exactly the same content and I'm pretty sure I also read the textures are original. It doesn't sound like performance should be worse on PC's.

Hopefully there's a tweak guide coming in the near future.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
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