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Randal

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi Everyone,

We have a much smaller room now for the bridge and things are still packed up in boxes. I'm trying to take advantage of Memorial Day sales this weekend and get five laptops to replace the PC's I've had to kludge to make work. The idea is that eventually these laptops will be placed inside stations.

I have five touch screens still that work great for Artemis and would like to keep them. So here are my specifications for the type of laptops that we'll need:

It must be able to be closed and kept running so that we can use outside interfaces for buttons and mice. One station already has a flight yolk and throttle system.

Of course it needs WiFi for now. I may set up a dedicated router though and wire it all in but we'll see. I no longer own a house as I'm living with my daughter who is my communications officer. She's the one who bought the house and had a room dedicated to Artemis.

3D graphics, not the integrated type as that is too slow.

RAM 4GB is what I'm thinking.

VGA and/or HDMI (I'll have to double check).

Windows based of course.

Is there anything I'm missing in all this? I'm looking for low price obviously as five laptops can get expensive quickly. I'd like to get a game running without too many headaches. All the CAM lights and DMX wiring is going to be a headache enough.

It's been a year since we've played and some of my energy is coming back after they cauterized a leaking blood vessel in my stomach. Apparently I had been bleeding out a while. I'd like the first game to go without a hitch.

Any suggestions or tips will be most appreciated.

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MarkBell

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Reply with quote  #2 
Glad to hear you're doing a bit better!  As far as laptops with dedicated graphics cards, you're probably looking in the $500+ range, unfortunately.  Most of the stations probably don't need the graphics, since you can disable the VIS tab in the artemis.ini file, and so all they'd be supporting would be the station interface.  That could bring the cost for most of them down pretty considerably.  Do you already have a dedicated server?
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LawsonThompson

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The only machine that needs a dedicated card is the server; all the other stations can do just fine on integrated graphics, with caveats.

I've been doing a LOT of research on the necessary hardware to run Artemis at its current incarnation. Here are some of my results: LTE Bridge PC Hardware Research  (Google Spreadsheet) where I was shopping around like a madman trying to squeeze as much performance for the dollar while replacing bridge hardware recently.

What I've found thus far: Windows 10 is AWFUL with the DirectX 9 engine currently used for Artemis. Linux Wine or Windows 7 have nearly double the performance on equivalent hardware. Five-year-old hardware running Artemis on Windows 7 will run rings around current-generation machines running Windows 10, even with the massive modern jump in CPU. 

The Windows 10 DirectX 9 performance penalty is real--so far as my Intel HD and nVidia based systems are concerned.

In the spreadsheet, I have a list of CPUs and single-thread Passmark scores. I've found that the Passmark single-thread score is quite indicative of how well a machine runs Artemis. Here are the conclusions I've come to regarding single-thread Passmark score:

  • 500 to 1000: Don't use for Main Screen or Observer, but otherwise OK. Usable if you remember to turn off damage screen flash effects. 
  • 1000 to 1500: Sweet spot of price v. performance. Windows 10 will decrease 3D frame rate down to 30, which is barely enough for a smooth main screen experience.
  • 1500 to 2000: Some lag on Windows 10 in crowded scenes. Add-on GPU overcomes much of the lag--but not all.
  • Over 2000: CPU-wise, this is overkill; Windows 10 performance penalty still happens under heavy graphics load.
Most surprising: Intel Core i5-2320M which logs 1495 Passmarks runs as a fighter at 60FPS or faster under Windows 7 or Linux, but drops to a disappointing 20 to 30 FPS under Windows 10. This is a 6+ year old laptop CPU! People are practically

Other thoughts:
  • Closing a laptop and keeping it running is a setting buried in the Windows Power Setting control panel, so that's perfectly doable regardless of the hardware. It's all in software. I run all my laptops this way on my bridge.
  • If you can go Ethernet, and if the BIOS has settings to obey "WOL" (Wake On LAN), then you can actually have all the laptops closed and asleep, then power them all up from a command line on the server machine. I have automated the startup and shutdown of all the gear on my bridge. Quite handy to just fire up a single batch routine and have everything spring to life!
  • Intel Core i7-7300 desktop PCs are a great sweet spot of performance + price. I have two of these, one is my server. Threw in an nVidia 1050Ti which didn't even need an additional upgraded power supply, and this little sub-$750 total price system can actually run some of the HTC VIVE VR games! Runs Artemis like a dream.

Where you'll end up paying more: VGA vs. HDMI--or both. Trend now is HDMI only to save space. You'll be hard pressed to find a consumer laptop sporting HDMI and VGA at the $250 price point.

Are you in metro Atlanta? Make sure you check prices at Frys and Micro Center--my favorite toy stores!

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Randal

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Yes, well not in Metro Atlanta but there is a Fry's about twenty minutes from here across the street from Micro Center. 😉

I don't drive anymore. I haven't driven in well over a year. Medication and exhaustion are not good things for being on the road. So I order everything online.

What I have now is a dedicated server with a nice graphics card (I forget what it is at the moment) and five desktops running Windows 7. They have dedicated graphics cards. I had to buy those even though they wouldn't be using 3D. Somehow, they simply were too slow so I upgraded them. I also had to buy five USB wireless network adapters for them.

The power cords like to slip out easily on all of them (not the server) and the cards I accidentally bought were half height so they sometimes slip. We broke one of the USB WiFi things so I have to get another.

I am thinking about going Ethernet. If so, then the WiFi adapters will not be necessary but I'll have to make sure the laptops have a jack for it obviously.

The touch screens that each station has will use either VGA or HDMI so only one will be necessary.

My brother built a rough draft science station (he plays the science officer) and it was big, too big for the new room we have to use which is another reason why I'm thinking laptops. I'd like to continue my vision of having switches on the stations and lights for effect and laptops can be small as long as we can attach the monitors. There are the 2-in-1 laptops that work like a tablet too and that might work also.

Lastly, I'm thinking about getting two screens or two laptops for the helm so she can have the tactical going as well as the helm screen. Weapons I may do the same thing for.

For now, we can play as is but the spaceship feel is what I'm striving for. Oh yes, and needing the main view screen. That's a must.

Thanks Mark and Lawson for your input. I've read through them several times. You've given me ideas and that is something I need a lot.

Randal

P.S.: I just loaded the spreadsheet. Very nice. 😉

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