SOLVED: 'C&C Red Alert 3' lagging on medium-low settings (new MBP)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sn0warmy, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

    Joined:
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    Denver, CO
    #1
    SOLUTION
    I had the stock 5400rpm drive installed while trying to play Red Alert 3. I kept getting a 5 second lag every few seconds, even on medium/low settings. After installing a new 7200RPM drive there is NO more lag, even on HIGH settings, and the computer actually runs cooler, believe it or not. (more details in post #20)


    PROBLEM
    I bought the game last night for my 2 month old Unibody MBP. It installed just fine and started up fine as well. But for some reason when I am playing, the game lags every 15-20 seconds for about 5 seconds. Even with the graphics turned down to low and shadowing/shading turned off. I have my energy settings on 'higher performance' so I know that the 9600GT graphics card is enabled.

    I'm pretty convinced that my issue is not the lack of a capable graphics, or my lack of ram (4GB). I'm beginning to think that my 5400rpm hard drive is the culprit.

    I'd love to splurge for an SSD drive, but I'm not about to drop $300+ on a hard drive. Would installing a 7200rpm drive solve my issue? Or is there something else I'm overlooking?:confused:

    For those who don't know what 'Command & Conquer - Red Alert 3' is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Alert_3

    Minimum Requirements: AMD Athlon 3000+/Intel P4 2.2GHz or equivalent, 1GB of RAM, 6GB free on HD, nVidia GeForce 6 series/ATI X1800 or better, DX9c or 10 compatible sound.
    Recommended Requirements: AMD Athlon X2 (3500+)/Intel Core 2 Duo (2.6GHz) or equivalent, 2GB of RAM, 10GB free on HD, nVidia GeForce 6800 or better/ATI X1900 or better.

    As you can see, The game isn't extremely demanding. And I exceed all of the minimum requirements as well as the "recommended requirements".


    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Funny thing is that I have the same problem too. Just different game-Need for Speed Undercover.

    Does the laptop heat up when you play the game? I don't know why but mine does while playing NFS: U. The specs aren't extremely demanding... ... Are you playing in Mac or Windows?

    [​IMG]

    The area that I marked out (near the screen) is the place that heats the most/gets warm and sometimes really hot when high graphics. The palmrests (Marked out with circles) are also a bit warm on high graphics. I think it's some drivers issue or something... I don't know.

    On OS X, when my friend played Runescape on it (A java game. ... Very very small spec requirement) it would heat to 50-60C. For no reason.
     
  3. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #3
    After reading a few other threads of people having the same "hickup" issue with 5400rpm drives while gaming, I started looking around on newegg for 7200rpm drives.

    I ran across this Hitachi 320GB 7200RPM drive:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145228

    The funny thing is, if you read the reviews you'll see that other people were having the same issue as me and upgrading to a 7200RPM drive solved their problem.

    Looks like I'll be ordering this drive today. :D

    It will have to get me by until those SSD drives drop way down in price.
     
  4. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #4
    I am playing the game in Snow Leopard

    I believe our problem is the 5400rpm drive. In the last 10 minutes I have read at least 5 different people saying that the 5400rpm drive was their issue. Read the reviews of the 7200rpm drive I gave a link to in the 3rd post. I think upgrading this will solve our problem.

    And yes, my laptop usually sits around 40 degrees Celsius. But after playing Red Alert for 2 hours it was sitting at 80 degrees Celsius. I believe that's to be expected though.

    I'll be ordering this 7200rpm drive today. I'll be glad to let you know if it solved my problem or not.

    BTW, make sure you get the Hitachi drive and not one of the other brands. I originally was going to get the Seagate drive for $5 cheaper but if you read the reviews for it you'll see people are having problems with it clicking in their Unibody MBP's. The Hitachi drive is what apple uses and Apple released that "fix" so it doesn't click.
     
  5. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    #5
    How are you going to migrate your files? I don't want to do a clean-install again. -.-
     
  6. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #6
    I'll do a clean install. I always do. I just feel like it's the better way to go in the long run. Even though it sucks. :(


    BTW - a couple of the reviews for that hard drive even said that the new drive allowed the computer to run cooler than the stock 5400rpm drive. Not sure if I believe it but I figured I'd mention it since you are worried about heat issues.
     
  7. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I think I'm going to try to migrate it over using Time Machine. Doesn't having a faster RPM hard drive make the laptop use more energy/battery?
     
  8. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #8
    Yeah, I think it does. But I have my laptop plugged in 99% of the time anyway.

    I just ordered the drive. And since I use my laptop for work, my boss is even letting me expense it.:D
     
  9. Perrumpo macrumors 68000

    Perrumpo

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    #9
    This is interesting. Never knew that a 5400 rpm drive could be the culprit. I tried running RA3 on my Classic MBP, and it was too laggy. I never looked into it much since I have the game on PS3.

    With my uMBP, I've only played C&C 3 on it, which was flawless gameplay even on the highest graphics. I have an SSD, too, so I'll have to give RA3 another go!
     
  10. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #10
    Now I'm convinced that the 5400rpm drive is to blame. Because I played C&C 3 on my uMBP and it was laggy too. And that game doesn't take very much ram/graphics/processing.

    I ordered the new 7200RPM hard drive. I even opted for the overnight shipping. So I will let you guys know how it works out.
     
  11. Perrumpo macrumors 68000

    Perrumpo

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    #11
    Actually, if C&C 3 was laggy on your uMBP, it makes me more suspicious of the 5400 being an issue. Look at the specs of your uMBP to mine. The only substantial difference is the hard drive, and it runs beautifully for me.

    However, it ran quite well on my stock 15" Classic MBP, too... as long as I had a fresh restart.
     
  12. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #12
    haha, that's what I'm saying. I think the 5400 rpm drive is to blame.;)
     
  13. Perrumpo macrumors 68000

    Perrumpo

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    #13
    hahah, my bad. I misread and thought you said, "I'm not convinced..." :eek:
     
  14. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I don't buy that it's the hd. Any decent game will offload everything important into the ram during the loading screens. It's more likely just that it is ported to OSX from windows and they haven't ironed out all the issues yet. If you really want it to work well, boot into windows and try it there. Not only will it likely be smooth..but you'll also get much better framerates.
     
  15. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #15
    That's a good point. I asked a tech buddy about it too and he said "It's an EA game right? EA games are made for Windows and the Mac versions are just emulated from the Windows versions. So it's going to run laggy on your mac unless you play it in Windows."

    Which is really lame when I think about it. Especially considering that Red Alert 3 for the mac is $20 more than it is for the PC. Yet it runs poorly.:mad:

    Well the harddrive should be here today, and I have read plenty of reviews saying that it helps big time with this problem. So I will install it tonight and let you know what my results are.
     
  16. Perrumpo macrumors 68000

    Perrumpo

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    #16
    Just tried RA3 on my uMBP. It performed flawlessly! HUGE difference from my old MBP.

    I'm so glad I can play it now. It's nice not being limited to 50 units like you are in the console version. I enjoy massive armies :D
     
  17. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #17
    So you think the 7200rpm drive will make a difference for me?

    Obviously an SSD drive will make a huge difference. I'm hoping the 7200rpm drive will be noticeable as well.

    Thanks for the update!
     
  18. Perrumpo macrumors 68000

    Perrumpo

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    #18
    I'm sure it will, and you will know soon enough!

    I've never had a 7200, so I can't say, personally, how much of a difference they make, but that would be ridiculous to need an ssd in order to play it, so I'm sure you'll be fine.
     
  19. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Actually Need for Speed Undercover was for a console I think (It's also from EA), since it's a bit slower in Windows for some reason. :\

    Have you installed it yet?

    Update: Talking about hard drives, could it be the hard drive stalling thing? http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/32786/apple-performance-update-(snow-leopard)
     
  20. sn0warmy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #20
    I installed it last night, got everything up and running. And low and behold!! It solved my problem completely!!:D

    Before, I was having a 5 second lag every 15-20 seconds on medium settings. Now I have it set on high settings and I have NO lag whatsoever!!


    The craziest part, which I still don't understand, is that I read reviews that after installing this 7200rpm drive, the internal temps were actually cooler. And I can tell you that it's true.

    With the 5400rpm drive I was running about 41-45 degrees celsius on normal operations. It jumped up to 85 degrees celsius after playing C&C Red Alert for 1 hour.

    Now with the 7200rpm drive I'm idling at 36 degrees celsius as we speak. I've got Safari, adium, itunes, and mail open. And last night, after playing Red Alert for over 2 hours my computer stayed right around 65-70 degrees celsius. It never even got hot enough to make me uncomfortable with it on my lap.

    EXTREMELY happy with this purchase. I highly recommend it!
     
  21. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Aw man, that's AMAZING. What type of HD did you buy?

    Hitachi/WD?
     
  22. ObsidianIce macrumors 6502

    ObsidianIce

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    #22
    interesting..so the slower hard drive can't handle it. Can the game be installed on an external firewire drive. I'd be fine running it over my FW800 connection on a 72 or 10k drive.
     
  23. MarcBook macrumors 6502a

    MarcBook

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    #23
    No problems with Boot Camp

    I bought RA3 Premier Edition for PC a while back and I run it in Vista using Boot Camp.

    My MacBook Pro (in my signature) has a 5400 rpm drive and it doesn't experience this problem.

    Although gaming support for Mac (via Cider) is getting better, I still tend to favour Boot Camp since you get better performance, better support from the game publishers and so on.

    It's a shame that OS X is still so far behind Windows when it comes to gaming. I would love to not need to reboot whenever I want to play games!
    :rolleyes:
     

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