n2k3 installation/configuration

Test machine is CyberPower GLX101 desktop with Intel Core i5-660 Processor & Windows 7 Home Premium.

specs:
 Processor: Intel Core i5 660 / 3.33 GHz (dual-core)
 Hard Drive: 1 x 750 GB - standard - Serial ATA-300 - 7200 rpm
 Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 PSU: 600 watt
 RAM: 4 gigs of DDR3 SDRAM (16 gigs max capability)
 card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 (1 gig dedicated)
 Total cost: Roughly 900 bucks

The GT 240 isn't the latest & greatest card on the market, but seeing as how I'm not a die hard gamer save for three year old and over titles such as nr2003 & GTR-2 it's sufficient.

 (installation)

Dusted off the factory Jewell case and installed the software. Next immediate step was to install the 1.2.0.1 patch.  

Following step was to install the no cd patch (exe) There's a lot of bunk no cd patches out there, download the following one, first on top here

Third step was to turn off dep (or windows data execution prevention) For this step, follow the outlined instructions here

At this point nr2003 is up running & launching with zero issues on my end. So at this stage it's time to tune & optimize the graphics. Set aside a few minutes and follow the tweaks outlined in the tweak guide pdf available again from dmr here

That done, shift attention to your display cards control panel (in my case a Nvidia panel) apologizes to ATI based card owners (I have never run an ATI based card and am unfamiliar with them as far as a control interface goes) To sum up, what I ended up doing was tweaking the settings and variables to optimum allowed values. My specs are GeForce GT-430 with 1mb dedicated paired up with 4 gigs of DDR3 ram (this is barely mid level for what's available card wise currently out there and the pc is capable of 16 gigs of DDR3 max) Although this is more than enough to stand up to the task of generating max eye candy for nr2003.

Quick bench test. During testing (single car) using dmr cup 12 I'm pulling on average 142 fps all around Daytona at extreme max out both to the cards control panel settings and the in sim graphical settings. *This is the default Daytona, I was in a bit of a rush due to configuring and didn't get around to downloading the updated tracks available out there. So this quick bench test will be using the default Daytona track...

Following that I loaded up the max 43 car field in 2048 res and again hit Daytona. Max frames at the tail end of the pack was 42 fps. Lowest dipping point around the tri-oval of about 34 to 29 frames at absolute peak bottleneck which occurred for a split second or so. Now with updated higher resolution tracks, no doubt it might dip into the low twenties (perhaps even teens) I'm not really concerned because there is limitless adjustment to be made on my end to free up the fps at least into the mid forties.

For one, I don't run 43 car fields. I could also pull down on the sound settings, track-side objects, pit animations, mirror details, cars on track, the visible rendering distance (or draw), etc. So all in all with some minor compromises, 40 plus or more frames out of dmr cup would be no problem at all and still relatively close to absolute extreme. Jumping back out after ten laps or so my gpu temp at peak was 47 Celsius with zero over clocking. This is the advantages of a liquid cooled pc which of course even nowadays is somewhat rare.

Conclusion: capable pc under a grand out on the market, yes in fact, I am briefly dipping into the danger zone of low fps. But then again that is to be expected, because I had the settings cranked at extreme overkill. A little fine tuning of settings to find the right compromises between performance & visual appeal and any issues would be solved (even opting to run a full 43 car field)

Bottom line is it just comes down to what you want out of it all -- must I run a full 43 car field at extreme max settings? At the same time though it's not an impossibility if that was my aim. I'm not expecting a super computer for the amount I invested, but with some simple plug in upgrades (upping the ram, higher end card, that all would be no problem)

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