How I Made Final Fantasy XIV Run On a Netbook
With Square's recent announcements that Final Fantasy XIV was going to take one serious gaming rig to run, even on its most minimal settings, a lot of gamers have been debating on whether or not it will be worth it to upgrade to a new computer. Well, I'm here to say that I managed to get the benchmark to at least minimal specs on a netbook....or at least an overpowered netbook. I'm talking about the first generation Alienware M11X; something that just came out this year.
For those wondering what the required specs for Final Fantasy XIV are (as of this time):
CPU: Intel Core 2 DUO @ 2.0 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ RAM: 1.5 Gb Video RAM: 256 Mb Graphic Card: nVidia GeForce 8600 / ATI Radeon HD 3600 Sound: DirectX Compatible DirectX: 9.0c OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Now granted, you can probably get a desktop computer that could run the thing for ~$500-$800 USD, but it's not practical and it's also certainly not portable. For comparison's sake, here's the specs for the M11X r1 (retail version, courtesy of Amazon):
1.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 Processor with 3MB cache 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz (two DIMMs) 320GB, 7200 RPM SATA hard drive (no internal optical drive--use external) 11.6-inch high-definition widescreen 720p (1366 x 768) LCD; HDMI output Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit) Operating System Without overclocking the game only manages a paltry 1100, which according to the Final Fantasy XIV website:
[Under 1500] Insufficient Performance Does not meet specifications for running the game.
What? How could that be? This netbook just came out this year and SHOULD more than have the horsepower to run Square's newest MMO. At least on its minimal settings.
So what did I do? I squeezed every single ounce of power out of this thing: 1)I overclocked my processor via the bios. Going from 1.3 ghz of horsepower to 1.7 made about a jump to 1250. While that isn't enough to run the benchmark smoothly, the next few steps will. 2) I installed EVGA Precision and Furmark to overclock my GPU. Jumping the core clock from 450 to 565, the shader clock from 1080 to 1356 and the memory clock from 790 to 850 while checking its stability with Furmark ensured that my computer would run slightly better (and hotter) than it normally would. The result? A nice upgrade of approximately five extra frames per second. 3) I patched the benchmark with a mod in order to force it to run in full-screen mode which upped it by another 100 or so. The end result? A nice 1580 benchmark score. Which equates to:
[1500-1999] Low Performance Capable of running the game, but will experience considerable slowdown. Adjusting settings is unlikely to improve performance.
Now, granted it's not going to run flawlessly, but for those of you who like me went out a purchased a M11X before the new processor upgrade wanted to run the game; it's possible. This guide can also be used to help any other computer owner whose rig may just be slightly too old to run the thing. People who are looking to try this method, be warned...be sure to get a computer fan and/or cooling pad. It'll decrease the internal temperature of your computer by about five degrees, or you can just go out and buy a PS3. Cost alternatives FTW. Note: The author doesn't take any responsibility of any damage done to your computer. If you're unsure of what you're doing, don't do it.