What is the primary source of video game lag?

i need to know if it’s RAM,processor speed MHz,or video card memory or a what combo of these. i’m plannin’ on upgradeing for civilization4.
it lags like hell. your help would be appreaciated as usual.wonder if there are also other factors? i got 250MB ram,1500MHz,64MB memory vid.card.
windows service pack 2.got the latest video driver(thats why it even works.)

i got limited cash to throw at this and i gotta make it count.

Your RAM and your video card both look suspect to me. Civ IV also requires a Pentium 4 if I’m not mistaken, so that could also be a problem.

Word to the wise, if your system doesn’t outright demolish a game’s ‘recommended’ requirements (i.e. not just the ‘minimum’ requirements), just bite the bullet and lay off.

RAM, most likely. I had RAM troubles until recently, I slapped another 256 in there and now my computer is running almost perfectly.

ram ram ram… that’s ewe problem…


I have a similar problem (my wife bought it for me for Christmas without realising the system wouldn’t cope). My pc has 512 RAM, 1.1MHz and 64 MB graphics card running XP.

Firstly, I would recommend upgrading your RAM anyway, as you will notice a huge improvement on all your applications. However, I don’t think this will be enough for the game. If you were to combine this with a new graphics card (128MB) then you might start to see an improvement, and provided you keep the maps small it might even be playable. This option should cost you no more than £150, but is not guaranteed.

Obviously the best option is to upgrade your processor (as Truth Uzi says, the game is processor heavy), but it is also the most expensive, not to mention inconvenient. One thing I would add, if you are thinking you will upgrade your processor in the not too distant future bear in mind the RAM and graphics card you have in your current pc may not be compatible.

Lastly, I am toying with getting a new graphics card for my pc, so if I do I’ll load up Civ and let you know how it plays.

I wouldn’t always agree with this. I find with some games it is the game-play that grabs me, so I can turn all the settings down (video and audio) and still enjoy it, with Civ being one such game.

The graphics card is a big thing too. That’s why getting a laptop can be sad. The graphic card’s life is ticking away.

Anyway, graphic cards can make a huge difference.

I don’t even have a graphics card, I bought a motherboard with onboard graphics and sound and it runs like a dream. It runs recent release ‘The Movies’ like a dream. Great game, BTW, for anyone into that sort of thing. Like Theme Park, you build your studio lot, hire staff to look after it, scriptwriters and directors, actors and extras…

You can make primitive movies with the thing too, particularly if you’ve got a mic so you can record lines of dialogue. More info can be found at


Lag is due to one of 3 things:
-Memory shortage, either ram or the video memory built into the card (256 meg cards are a good place to start, while less than 500 megs of RAM is insuficient for serious gaming)
-processing power (both on the CPU and on the video card)
-and of course, bandwidth…but that is only aplicable for online gaming.

Most computers now, even office ones, come with at least 512 megs of RAM… Realistically, you need at least a gig for any serious gaming, but if it’s really a home office PC that you play games on sometimes, 512 will suffice.

dudes,i have a laptop which my computer guy says is not the best for PC games. i find out AFTER it’s bought. but a stationary computer is too much of a pain in the ass.

since i dont have a room any more and sit on a chair with my laptop on a chair in front of me,i’m not even in a room,i’m at the beginning of a hallway!!

What do you mean by ‘lag’ - lag has nothing to do with processor/ram/etc.

Explain what you mean - some sort of slowness?

a lag is a slowing down, a falling behind… time doesn’t seem to function properly… like jet lag… but it is also a kind of bolt…

but it’s nothing to get arrested for…


Yes but it has specific meaning in computing, much like idealism has specific meaning in philosophy.

I mean to ask what does he mean by lag, not what does one mean by lag as a general word. :slight_smile:

Lag is more like pragmatism in philosophy, while idealism is the state where mind shapes the frames as it perceives them, to take the form of space-and-time.

Only on ilp. :unamused: :smiley:

it just slows to a crawl once the game gets complex enough.civilizations multiply and build armys of units-more for the game to keep track of.takes seconds to pan the map around. gets slower and slower…
in real bad cases the sound it’s playing will catch and loop,like a trooper saying 1 piece of a word over and over till’ it loses all meaning.

my computer guy says in a laptop it is nearly impossible to replace the vid card cuz’ it’s built in. :astonished: each time i double my ram it ill cost 60-70$.
didnt get an estimate the price of laptop processors.if you are computer elites,you may know. my modle is a CL50 if that means anything to you.
a pro note.if you need any other info,ask me.

If you’re gonna do gaming, do NOT get a laptop without custom ordering it and checking out the hardware yourself. There are some laptops that can take the demand, though. My dad works for a company that designs golf clubs, and he brought home one of the engineer’s new laptops two weekends ago to test it out. When I played my games on it, it was FAST. It was also something like eight grand.

It had a dual-core 2.5 gHz Turion 64 processor (AMD’s high-end mobile line).
It had an NVidia 1400 FX Go, one of NVidia’s high-end mobile video cards.
It had a gig of DDR400 RAM.

If you need help ordering a new laptop or whatever, PM me and I’ll help you. The category of laptop you’d be looking for will often be listed as “Desktop Replacement.”

Laptops are not good for upgrading. In a race, it is much easier to keep up than to catch up. Go with maybe the second or third best hardware you see available, and try and get a “gaming” laptop if you can, because those are more likely to have good upgradeability.

8000$!!! OMG! i got mine for like 2000$. we are in the poor house.

AND i got that laptop like,2 1/2 years ago. then games got harder to play as usual.

for a pauper,i’m lucky to even have a comp. i guess. dunno your fanacial situation,pxc,but it sounds better than mine.

gameing laptop…i dont see myself as buying more computers.ever.

I have the same problem with Civ. 4…it’s a symptom of too little RAM. Try closing down other applications while you play it. Might free it up a little bit.

My friend installed his ATI 9800 Pro 128MB card onto my system (see above) to get an idea how much difference it would make to playing Civ IV. Although I didn’t get to play much (he wanted it back :frowning: ) I could tell it made a huge difference to performance.

Unfortunately, this is not much help if you have a laptop.