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A fight with a Dell (Warning: This is LONG)
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:00 AM
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SteeleDragon78 SteeleDragon78 is offline
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Unhappy A fight with a Dell (Warning: This is LONG)

So, I'm pretty sure this fits here, but if not, the mods can tell me where to move it to. This isn’t so much a request for help as it is a story of my hubris. I will have a TL; DR at the end, and a maybe not so surprising twist.

I'm a gamer. I love playing most video games, from ancient Atari classics to AAA blockbusters like AC and the likes. My wife is also a gamer, but is more into things like WOW and MK. We wanted to teach the kids how to play WOW and other coop games, rather than just the deathmatches in Halo and COD.

The problem started with my poor dell laptop, it’s a 5-year-old AMD A6 Inspiron with 8gigs of ram and an anemic graphics chip. It originally came loaded with Windows 8 but was shortly upgraded to Win10. Both were more than this poor machine could handle. So, I thought I could toss Linux Mint on there and still get some use out of it, and it worked fine for low power games like portal and half-life.

Then the boys got here, and I got the bright idea of teaching them WOW as something we could do as a family. I know that it is technically possible to play WOW on Linux, with some tweaking and the proper WINE/Lutris combination. I read several articles, watched 5 YouTube videos on how to config it, and basically followed the bouncing ball on how to do it. 7 hours later I am frothing at the mouth and seething with rage as this POS refuses to run the game.

I realize that I’m not a Linux guru and have only dabbled with it both professionally and as a tinkerer, but this thing made me feel like a Luser. I have no problems running cli updates and installs, I really like apt-get, and Mint is one of the most forgiving distros I have played with. But I was defeated.

I decided to try Win10 on it again, but something about 10 made the mouse movements choppy and very laggy. Very similar to Win95 during a defrag. Add to that, the base Win10 install image I had didn’t have the drivers for all the hardware on this middle of the road Dell. I spent many hours tweaking and reinstalling different things to try and get it playing the game. All for naught, we got a pitiful 12FPS and the Wi-Fi was sketchy. Again, I was defeated.

So, I decided to do something drastic, something most tech savvy folk on this board would shiver to do. I installed windows 8.1. My thought process was a little bit “It came with 8 installed, maybe it was tuned for it”, and a little bit “I’m gonna watch this f&^%$&^ burn”. I still fell dirty for downloading it (via MSDN with a clean license, same with Win10), but I was desperate. Again, I had to comb the Dell support site for the drivers and had to pummel it into submission to install the game. The default drivers from Dell kinda worked, but the game wasn’t happy with them. And the newest drivers caused a similar lag with the mouse as Win10. I was getting pretty pissed at this, and pretty pissed because of the Jameson I consumed to kill the shame…..

Then I saw something, on the Dell support page under supported OS, they had drivers for both 32 and 64-bit Win7! I know that its on its last support legs, and some folks will tell you that its not secure, but its temporary. I pulled out my physical copy of Win7 ultimate that I bought just after it launched (got a sweet deal on the system builder version on TigerDirect!) and fired it up. 10 hours of install and updates later, it worked (kinda). The touch pad driver refused to install, and I had to use 3 revisions back to get it to install, and then had to put all the Dell bloatware on it to turn it off just to be able to type on the keyboard without my fat hands pulling the mouse pointer across the screen.

Once all that pain was complete, we fired up WOW, and it was bad. 15FPS in town, maybe 22 in the wild. I felt horrible making the kid play the game on this thing. He on the other hand was having a blast. He and his brother are making me crazy with HOW they play the game, but they are enjoying it. I tried to play on it and it physically hurt to do.

And now the not so surprising twist, Dell has a decent Father’s day sale that I decided to get a new beefier machine. I will relegate the old Dell back to Linux Mint and use it for tinkering. I know what a lot of you are going to say, “You should have just got the new one in the first place”, but I thought I was L337, funny that.

TL; DR: I fought with a POS Dell for 4 days and it still ran like a POS Dell. Bought a new shiny Dell to play WOW on.
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Suggestion
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Old 06-07-2019, 12:49 PM
earl colby pottinger earl colby pottinger is offline
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There are not a lot in games, but just to try it - Haiku OS.

https://www.haiku-os.org/ for the base version.

https://download.haiku-os.org/ for the latest betas.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:52 PM
Buzzard Buzzard is offline
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And of course, Dell components only work with other Dell cra... components, so there's little to no reusing much of anything but the screws.

Much cheaper and easier to buy a load of parts off Newegg, Tiger Direct, or Amazon, and make your own happiness. ...Well, sometimes it's cheaper on the 'deals' when you figure in OS costs.
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Old 06-07-2019, 03:55 PM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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You may wanna give WoW Classic a shot (link is to closed beta) -- it's made by Blizzard, and it's essentially vanilla WoW without all of the modern bells and whistles. Might be less of a power/RAM hog than the later revisions.

As for the video -- Are you using the GPU that's integrated into the CPU chip? The ones back then were pretty much garbage, and I've heard that the more modern ones are at least "less crappy." You may be able to track down a regular video card for cheap (like $30) that'll fit in there.
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:08 PM
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lordlundar lordlundar is offline
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Quote:
Quoth EricKei View Post
You may wanna give WoW Classic a shot (link is to closed beta) -- it's made by Blizzard, and it's essentially vanilla WoW without all of the modern bells and whistles. Might be less of a power/RAM hog than the later revisions.
Wouldn't count on that. WoW Classic is NOT Vanilla WoW. It's Vanilla WoW balancing and content (v1.12 iirc) but the infrastructure is Modern WoW.

As for the story:
"Why did you fight with that for four hours?"
"Because I love tinkering with computers!"
"Why did your eye start twitching?"
"Oh it just does that sometimes."
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Last edited by lordlundar; 06-07-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-08-2019, 02:25 AM
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SteeleDragon78 SteeleDragon78 is offline
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Quote:
earl colby pottinger:There are not a lot in games, but just to try it - Haiku OS.
i will keep that one in mind for tinkering.

Quote:
Buzzard And of course, Dell components only work with other Dell cra... components, so there's little to no reusing much of anything but the screws.
its a laptop, so not really up-gradable from the start.

Quote:
lordlundar:As for the story:
"Why did you fight with that for four hours?"
"Because I love tinkering with computers!"
"Why did your eye start twitching?"
"Oh it just does that sometimes."
this on soooooo many levels when dealing wit the kids stuff. i want to instill some computer geek experiences with them, but being 12 and ADHD.... i know from personal experience what that's like.

Eric, i played one of the beta stress tests, was a slap in the head how much the game has changed. they have all the stability and security parts of the evolved WOW, but the content and rules of vanilla. and it does need a gruntier system to run it due to those differences.
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  #7  
Old 06-08-2019, 11:17 AM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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Ahh, my bad. I sit corrected
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"Target the reavers -- Target the reavers! Target everyone! SOMEBODY, FIRE!" - The Operative, "Serenity" (2005)
"[Friendship,] like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. ~ C. S. Lewis
"French is my favorite ... Especially to curse with ... It's like wiping your arse with silk. I love it." The Merovingian, "The Matrix: Reloaded"
"Customers are like van gogh. They intentionally remove their ears when it suits them." TheDangOofMan, Reddit
"Logic: sometimes it's not a thing." - Food Lady

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