Laptop suitability & megabase compatible rig configuration

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Laptop suitability & megabase compatible rig configuration

Post by je11693 »

Hi guys,

I am comtemplating trying Factorio. I've never really played a game on a computer before so a little unsure if I will like it.. but regardless of that, I was just wondering if someone could advise if I will be able to play the game on my laptop which has the following spec:

Windows Vista Home Premium; Service Pack 2
System type: 64 bit Operating System
Processor: Celeron(R) Dual-Core CPU T3000 @ 1.8GHz
Memory (RAM): 4.00 GB
Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile
Chip type: Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family
Total Available Graphics Memory: 1759 MB
1366 by 768 pixels

Many thanks!
Last edited by Koub on Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Updated title after topic merging

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by Loewchen »

Generally your laptop is not suitable to play the game at normal speeds and might not work at all, but you can try the demo: https://www.factorio.com/download-demo to find out. You should expect that you will not be able to play multiplayer or build big bases.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by je11693 »

Loewchen wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:35 pm
Generally your laptop is not suitable to play the game at normal speeds and might not work at all, but you can try the demo: https://www.factorio.com/download-demo to find out. You should expect that you will not be able to play multiplayer or build big bases.
Thanks Loewchen. Would you recommend an upgrade or just get a new laptop altogether? If a new laptop, what would be the most basic/cheapest version you would recommend? (I'm live in the UK)

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by Loewchen »

je11693 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:57 pm
Thanks Loewchen. Would you recommend an upgrade or just get a new laptop altogether? If a new laptop, what would be the most basic/cheapest version you would recommend? (I'm live in the UK)
Upgrading your laptop is out of the question. Recommending a new one requires to know what your budget is and what you intend to use it for (beyond factorio), I would suggest a dedicated subreddit like: https://www.reddit.com/r/SuggestALaptop, make sure to read the sidebar before making a post there.
For factorio, any modern intel i5 or i7 cpu will work just fine, if in your budget, ask for one with a dedicated graphics card with at least 1GB VRAM.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by Zavian »

Also I recommend at least 8GB of Ram.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by je11693 »

Loewchen wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:19 pm
je11693 wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:57 pm
Thanks Loewchen. Would you recommend an upgrade or just get a new laptop altogether? If a new laptop, what would be the most basic/cheapest version you would recommend? (I'm live in the UK)
Upgrading your laptop is out of the question. Recommending a new one requires to know what your budget is and what you intend to use it for (beyond factorio), I would suggest a dedicated subreddit like: https://www.reddit.com/r/SuggestALaptop, make sure to read the sidebar before making a post there.
For factorio, any modern intel i5 or i7 cpu will work just fine, if in your budget, ask for one with a dedicated graphics card with at least 1GB VRAM.
That's the thing, my current laptop is suitable for all I need. I'm thinking of getting a PS4, but you can't play Factorio (plus a lot of other games) on it, so looking into a different laptop that would be suitable. Would it be possible to et one for ~£250?

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by eradicator »

Loewchen wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:35 pm
Generally your laptop is not suitable to play the game at normal speeds and might not work at all, but you can try the demo: https://www.factorio.com/download-demo to find out. You should expect that you will not be able to play multiplayer or build big bases.
What do you base this "not suitable" on? Sure, it won't run a megafactory at 60UPS, but it should be totally suitable to play a small factory up to the point where @je11693 can judge if they like the game at all. And at that point they can still decide if they like it so much that they want to buy a new system for it.

@je11693:
Step 1) Try the demo right now. The most important data you're missing currently is if you enjoy the game sufficiently at all.
Step 2) If you like the demo then buy the game, and play it until you either get bored or actually build a factory that is too large for your system to handle.
Step 3) After that you can come back with a far better idea of how much money you want to spend on a new system. For £250 you can't even buy a new laptop that is the same speed as your current one. I have no clue how the second-hand laptop market looks in the UK, but with that budged that seems the only semi-realistic option. (For a new laptop that runs megabases you'd have to at least quadruple that budget. A stationary system is generally cheaper, but might not suit your usecase.)
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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by je11693 »

eradicator wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:44 am
Loewchen wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:35 pm
Generally your laptop is not suitable to play the game at normal speeds and might not work at all, but you can try the demo: https://www.factorio.com/download-demo to find out. You should expect that you will not be able to play multiplayer or build big bases.
What do you base this "not suitable" on? Sure, it won't run a megafactory at 60UPS, but it should be totally suitable to play a small factory up to the point where @je11693 can judge if they like the game at all. And at that point they can still decide if they like it so much that they want to buy a new system for it.

@je11693:
Step 1) Try the demo right now. The most important data you're missing currently is if you enjoy the game sufficiently at all.
Step 2) If you like the demo then buy the game, and play it until you either get bored or actually build a factory that is too large for your system to handle.
Step 3) After that you can come back with a far better idea of how much money you want to spend on a new system. For £250 you can't even buy a new laptop that is the same speed as your current one. I have no clue how the second-hand laptop market looks in the UK, but with that budged that seems the only semi-realistic option. (For a new laptop that runs megabases you'd have to at least quadruple that budget. A stationary system is generally cheaper, but might not suit your usecase.)
Thank you for the advice. It's not essential I get a laptop, would a stationary PC require a budget quadruple the £250 mentioned? To be honest, I mentioned that because that's how much a console would cost, and I've never had a PC/laptop for gaming so am not sure what's realistic. If I go the PC/laptop route id probably want something that would allow me to play a verity of strategy games e.g. Civilisation, Factorio, etc.

Sounds like the best first step is trying the demo and going from there.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by posila »

I don't recommend buying Factorio if you're going to play it on that configuration.

Mainly because of poor graphics chipset, but other things (RAM, CPU) also just barely satisfy minimum requirements.

As far as I could find, Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family has some models with DirectX 10 integrated GPU, and some models with only DirectX 9 integrated GPU. Next update will require DirectX 10 capable GPU and DirectX 11 installed (which should be possible to do on Windows Vista, but it failed to install for me when I was testing it).

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Re: Laptop suitability

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je11693 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:56 am
Sounds like the best first step is trying the demo and going from there.
Yes. That's most important :).

For budget questions Löwchen is right about suggesting to use a dedicated forum to ask. I haven't built a PC in 10 years and haven't bought one in 5. Luckily todays PCs are so fast that you can buy one now and it'll still run most things years later ;). The main difference compared to consoles is imho the minimum budget, which is higher for various reasons. I don't have a good grasp on current medium-power stationay systems so i don't want to make too many vague guesses. If you don't already own a good monitor to use with it it might not even be cheaper than a laptop, though in the long term a good screen is a nice thing to have even with a laptop.

So a vague guess would be that you might be able to get a stationary system that runs large factories for probably not less than 500€, but only if you assemble it yourself and have someone that gives you very good advice which components to buy. Given that you're building from scratch (i.e. can't reuse old power supplys, harddisks, dvd drives etc?) a stationary system probably wouldn't be lower than 750. Generally speaking the benefit of stationary systems is that - if you can build them yourself - you save the cost of assembly, and can easily expand the system later. Whereas upgrading a laptops CPU/GPU can be mostly considered impossible. If you can't assemble the system yourself then there's no real difference between laptop/desktop in the low to medium budget segment.

Btw, if you're gonna ask on the reddit remember to mention that factorio has a large dependency on RAM latency, which is uncommon for other games which are mostly limited by cpu/gpu. Factorio also requires large amounts of VRAM especially for the HD textures 3GB of VRAM is recommended. "Other strategy games" is also pretty vague. There's a large difference in required graphics performance between let's say civilization 4/5/6 simply due to the release date. And the newer ANNO series games are new more demanding on graphics than on the cpu due to being pumped full of eye candy.

TL;DR: Buying the right PC if you have no experience with PCs is a lengthy endeavour because there's sooo many different aspects to consider. And i don't really want to spend several days writing them down :p.

@posila: any progress on the VRAM optimizations?
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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by Zavian »

My current PC is about 7 years old, with a 7 year old graphics card, and that runs Factorio fine. Performance starts to drop once I get to the megabase stage, but that will affect every computer eventually. (The larger you build the more work the cpu has to do per second, so if you build large enough eventually every PC will drop below 60 updates per second. Multiplayer also has some extra cpu overhead compared to single player, and multiplayer bases are often larger than single player bases, you are more likely to experience performance problems on large multiplayer bases than on single player bases).

My specs CPU Intel i7 860 @ 2.8 Ghz
Graphics card Radeon 5770 with 2GB ram.
Memory 12 Gb ram.

That pc also runs lots of other games. (I'll often need to turn the graphics down to get acceptable framerate and I don't play action or shooter type games, so most of what I play is from either Paradox or indie developers, and typically doesn't need flashy graphics).

Where I live I could buy a 3-5 year old used PC that has similar performance for less than my local equivalent of £250. Intel integrated graphics from the last 4 or so years should be fine for Factorio, (at normal to low graphics quality and a small performance penalty over a second-hand midrange graphics card). If you don't know much about PC's see if you can get some help from a knowledgeable local friend.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by zOldBulldog »

If your end up deciding to upgrade your laptop;

1) Google "best budget gaming laptop 2018". You will find reviews for gaming laptops of different pricing ranges. You will also learn what features are the most important for gaming. You might as well get the best that fits your budget. And "best" does not mean most expensive.

2) Regardless of budget always stay away from boutique gaming laptops that make it hard to upgrade or repair (that means no Alienware and especially no Razer). Instead stick to those that focus on self-upgrades and easy repairs (Asus does very well in this category, and consistently ranks at least one laptop each year in each price category, I will definitely go Asus when I replace my nightmare to repair/upgrade Razer)

3) I know this is not your plan but there is wisdom in avoiding the top priced computers but still buying a very good one. It hurts your wallet short term, but you save money long term. Plus you tend to be happier with the computers you use. I did that for my laptop in 2013 and desktop in 2014. Both still run awesome and are able to run all of the games I try. It will probably be another 2-4 years before I feel any need to upgrade. I spent more at first but over the years I spend less total.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by Jap2.0 »

Like a few other people have said, just try the demo. I put probably 15 hours into the demo before I got the game... which is a lot, considering that I could probably complete the whole thing in well under an hour. If you're building a PC or getting a laptop, you probably want 8GB RAM, at least a decent, probably Intel, CPU, and dedicated graphics if you want it to be any decent quality or want to play other games. As other people have said, memory latency is important, although there's not a ton you can do about that, and 3GB VRAM is recommended for the highest graphics settings (although 2GB on a fairly old card works quite well for me, and graphics optimizations are coming in the next update). If you're looking for advice, you can find some good stuff just by googling and comparing on various online sites, and if you go on Reddit there are various places that can help you (/r/buildapc, /r/suggestalaptop, as Loewchen mentioned, etc. You might want to link them this thread.) Something new won't cost quadruple 250, although if you want something good that will last it may cost double or triple.

Also note that Factorio isn't especially resource intensive - it runs a midsized base very well for me with an i7 950, GTX 770, and 12GB DDR3 RAM, and something some people seem to be missing is that it takes dozens or hundreds of hours before you even start a megabase, and many people never make them.
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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by reverse.yellow »

Jap2.0 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:20 pm
-snip-

Also note that Factorio isn't especially resource intensive - it runs a midsized base very well for me with an i7 950, GTX 770, and 12GB DDR3 RAM, and something some people seem to be missing is that it takes dozens or hundreds of hours before you even start a megabase, and many people never make them.
I run a similar setup with an i7 4600U and 12GB DDR3 except I don't have a graphics card. I just run with the integrated graphics which ended up being Intel 4000. Performance is OK for the small base I have so far. (No dropped frames or anything yet.)

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by eradicator »

Jap2.0 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:20 pm
Something new won't cost quadruple 250, although if you want something good that will last it may cost double or triple.
Huh, that's the "i haven't bought a thing in 5 years" part :p. Though ofc you can buy crap even for 250 my point was (supposed to be) that if OP wants a system that runs a decent sized factory (with MP) and play other games (that demand more graphics power) AND on top of that have a decent system that's not limited as to what other possible future games it can run (Satisfactory :P?) and doesn't become obsolete after a year....then the price goes up and up and up.

But for my own curiosity i tried pokeing geizhals a bit and i can indeed see some (hopefully) decent laptops at around 750€ (670£).
Link to search results

Filters used (heavily biased towards my personal knowledge/preferences):
  • At least full HD non-glare display
  • 8th generation Core i5 with 4Ghz+ (single thread performance is important, and i don't know anything about current AMDs.)
  • 8GB Ram with two slots (Dual-Channel should be faster, right?)
  • Some sort of dedicated graphics with 4G (because 3G is not a selectable option. Also the first results is a GTX 1050, and i have this feeling that xx50 is actually the previous generation, though probably still sufficient for OP. Again i don't know anything about Radeon. Also if OP wants to use a non-Windows OS driver support needs to be considered.)
  • SSD and HDD (because SSDs are generally too small for current games that frequenty need 30G+ for installations, and especially if OP wants to store other stuff. (External USB HDD are significantly cheaper per TB, but also less practical to carry around.)
(Just for the record: My largish (but not mega) factories run fine with my 3.2 Ghz / 2 GB Vram / 5 year old laptop, but in MP i am the slowest participant (because my friends all use somewhat recent desktop systems that were more expensive than my laptop :p))
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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by je11693 »

eradicator wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:19 am
Jap2.0 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:20 pm
Something new won't cost quadruple 250, although if you want something good that will last it may cost double or triple.
Huh, that's the "i haven't bought a thing in 5 years" part :p. Though ofc you can buy crap even for 250 my point was (supposed to be) that if OP wants a system that runs a decent sized factory (with MP) and play other games (that demand more graphics power) AND on top of that have a decent system that's not limited as to what other possible future games it can run (Satisfactory :P?) and doesn't become obsolete after a year....then the price goes up and up and up.

But for my own curiosity i tried pokeing geizhals a bit and i can indeed see some (hopefully) decent laptops at around 750€ (670£).
Link to search results

Filters used (heavily biased towards my personal knowledge/preferences):
  • At least full HD non-glare display
  • 8th generation Core i5 with 4Ghz+ (single thread performance is important, and i don't know anything about current AMDs.)
  • 8GB Ram with two slots (Dual-Channel should be faster, right?)
  • Some sort of dedicated graphics with 4G (because 3G is not a selectable option. Also the first results is a GTX 1050, and i have this feeling that xx50 is actually the previous generation, though probably still sufficient for OP. Again i don't know anything about Radeon. Also if OP wants to use a non-Windows OS driver support needs to be considered.)
  • SSD and HDD (because SSDs are generally too small for current games that frequenty need 30G+ for installations, and especially if OP wants to store other stuff. (External USB HDD are significantly cheaper per TB, but also less practical to carry around.)
(Just for the record: My largish (but not mega) factories run fine with my 3.2 Ghz / 2 GB Vram / 5 year old laptop, but in MP i am the slowest participant (because my friends all use somewhat recent desktop systems that were more expensive than my laptop :p))
Thanks eradicator. Would it be cheaper and better to go for a desktop instead of a laptop? I already have an unused Asus monitor which is quite good. Regarding other games, I presume these systems would be able to handle cross platform games that have been released on consoles and PC eg Assassins Creed, as well as PC only games like Factorio, Civilisation VI, etc?

Thanks for providing that search result, it's very helpful given my lack of knowledge!

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by zOldBulldog »

To the desktop vs laptop question, yes. Desktops are cheaper than laptops.

They also age more gracefully because they make it easier to upgrade a little at a time.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by Zavian »

Laptops often use parts that are tuned for low power consumption, because they generate less heat and can cope with smaller/quieter cooling solutions and smaller batteries. That means laptop makers can build smaller/lighter laptops. But that low power consumption often comes with reduced performance, so for a fixed amount of money, you will almost always get better performance from a desktop.

Regarding being able to "handle cross platform games that have been released on consoles and PC eg Assassins Creed, as well as PC only games like Factorio, Civilisation VI, etc? " A desktop with a decent midrange graphics card should be able to handle all of these.

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by je11693 »

Zavian wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:24 pm
Laptops often use parts that are tuned for low power consumption, because they generate less heat and can cope with smaller/quieter cooling solutions and smaller batteries. That means laptop makers can build smaller/lighter laptops. But that low power consumption often comes with reduced performance, so for a fixed amount of money, you will almost always get better performance from a desktop.

Regarding being able to "handle cross platform games that have been released on consoles and PC eg Assassins Creed, as well as PC only games like Factorio, Civilisation VI, etc? " A desktop with a decent midrange graphics card should be able to handle all of these.
Thanks! What would be considered a midrange graphics card? Any recommended sites where I could put together a PC?

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Re: Laptop suitability

Post by je11693 »

What about the Ultra Budget Alternative about half way down this page?

https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/pc-build-gui ... gaming-pc/

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