Game Help:Onboard Graphics

From SimsWiki
Revision as of 04:18, 25 July 2008 by Whiterider (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Sims 2 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Expansion Packs  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Body Shop & Homecrafter  | Miscellaneous Issues  | FAQ Index

MTS's Sims 2 Q&A Help Forums



How to Play with Onboard Graphics

Some computers, particularly package deals which aren't designed for gaming, don't have a real graphics card. Instead, they have a chip on the motherboard which does the job of the graphics card. However, these chips aren't nearly as effective as graphics cards, and for gaming you really want to have a separate graphics card. You can however get by without for TS2 - for a while.

First off, you need to be sure that you are using onboard graphics - use the System Specifications FAQ to find out. Much of the advice in this article can also be useful for low-end graphics cards.

What Can Go Wrong with Onboard Graphics?

Some of the most common indicators that your onboard graphics chip is having trouble are:

  • Blurry clothes, skin and eyes on your sims
  • Blurry textures on objects and on the ground
  • Blurry reflections in mirrors
  • Blurry/crunchy thumbnails in the Buy and Build catalogue
  • Game crashes to desktop, the colours go weird and the resolution drops, and an error message tells you that your graphics drivers have stopped responding

If any of these occur, you need to do something about it! If you leave things as they are, not only will the game be nigh unplayable; but in the end you will damage your graphics chip, and because it's just an onboard chip, if it does fail completely it can damage your motherboard, thereby totalling your computer.

Settings Fixes

You may be able to improve things dramatically just by fiddling around with settings. It's not a permanent fix, and eventually you will want to upgrade - particularly if you install more Expansion Packs, as these increase the stress on your graphics chip with each new release. But you can certainly make the game more playable, and extend the life of your onboard graphics considerably.

Turn Down those Settings!

First thing to do is to turn your graphics settings right down ingame. Turn off everything you don't need - shadows, reflections, lighting - and turn everything else down as far as you can stand to. The less work your chip has to do, the longer it'll last.

Play in Windowed Mode

Play your game in Windowed mode, and turn off vsync using the "vsync [on/off]" cheat. You may want to put this in your Userstartup.cheat file so you don't have to type it in every time you play.

Clean Your Computer

Computers get exceedingly dusty inside that case, and the more dust and gunk there is, the hotter the components get, and the harder it is for them to work right. If you have a laptop, you need to get a professional to clean it out for you, but if it's a desktop you can do it yourself.

Here's how to give your computer a basic spring clean:

To start off, you need a handheld vacuum cleaner, or an extension for an upright vacuum which gives you a small nozzle or slit to use - think of the kind of thing you'd use to vacuum out your car or the top of a cabinet.

Making sure that the computer is switched off, start by vacuuming the fans at the back of your computer, particularly the power supply fan. Keep going until there's little or no fluff coming out of them, it might take a while depending on when they were last cleaned.

Now you need to take the case off. Make sure not to touch any of the components inside, and if you think you're likely to brush against something by accident, make sure you're wearing an anti-static strap connected to the case, or are keeping hold of the case with one hand (or foot, if necessary).

Once you've got the case off, get vacuuming! You need to get the fluff and dust out of the fans, the corners of the case, and off of the motherboard and other bits of circuitry. Don't be shy! You can get up pretty close to the components without having to worry about causing damage. The only things you definitely shouldn't do are drag the nozzle across components, and try to pick the dust out with your fingers. Keep on vacuuming until there's as little dust lying around as possible. It can also be helpful to squirt fans and stubborn bits with canned air, which loosens the dust. If you're in a smallish room you might want to open a window - you'll be surprised at the amount of fluff you'll find.

When You Start Noticing Blurriness...

As soon as you start to see blurriness in your game, that means your graphics chip is getting to the stage at which it will get damaged. As soon as you start seeing this, SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER!

Do not try to keep playing when it's like this, as you will be causing damage. Shut down, go do something else, and give it time to cool down. This is essential, as the longer you leave the computer running like that, the shorter the lifespan of your graphics chip will get.


By far the best solution to this problem, and the only one that will be a permanent fix, is to upgrade. There's no need to buy a new computer, you just need to buy and install a graphics card. You don't need to spend too much on it if you don't want to, just make sure that it's on the list of supported cards. If you're not sure what to get, you can ask a local computer repair shop, or you can get help from the S2C Hardware and Software board - make sure to read the sticky first! Be advised, though, that if you're using a laptop, you may not be able to upgrade - and even if you can upgrade in theory, doing so might cause more problems than it fixes; make sure to do your research!


Thanks to HystericalParoxysm and simsample for the information in this article.

Sims 2 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Expansion Packs  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Body Shop & Homecrafter  | Miscellaneous Issues  | FAQ Index

MTS's Sims 2 Q&A Help Forums


Personal tools

game select