Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

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Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Jonathan David on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 12:41 pm

My Windows XP desktop on which I have been running MSTS has finally died. I also need a new laptop as that is getting ancient and very slow.
Therefore my question to the experts on here is:
Can anyone please provide a (minimum) specification for a laptop to run MSTS well without lots of patches etc being needed? I feel that this might be useful to others as well as me.
I have read the various threads dealing with Windows 10 problems and am aware of issues with at least one make of graphics card, but I suspect that there is a lot that others have learned and which I am sure they will be only too happy to pass on to others on this most useful website.
Jonathan David

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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Scampispeedway on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 1:28 pm

Hi Jonathan, I looked into getting a Laptop Computer so that I could take with me on my trips,
but I eventually decided that the usage and the cost it was not worth buying one.
I don't blame you for asking on the Forum for advice as many people think any Laptop will run
MSTS but you must be prepared to pay about the same if not more than a Tower Computer for
a decent one with a good enough Graphics Card installed.

Bob
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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  slipperman12 on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 4:18 pm

Hi Jonathan,
I'd like to support Bob's comments. Laptops are usually built to a certain price-point and even the very expensive ones very often have their CPU and/or GPU throttled down to keep heat to a minimum and battery usage to a maximum. MSTS uses the CPU much more than the GPU, so the faster it is the better. I know Open Rails certainly pushes the GPU because when I'm running it, the fan is running at top speed, whereas I don't hear anything when running MSTS! As far as I know, the manufacturer of the "other" sim doesn't support running it on a laptop.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Jonathan David on Sat 17 Dec 2016, 9:59 pm

Many thanks for responding.
I am aware that a suitable laptop will not be cheap. However, we need a new laptop anyway to use when we are abroad, and it seemed sensible to me to combine the two uses in one. Also then I could use MSTS while abroad.
But if the feeling is that I would find it cheaper to buy a "normal" laptop plus a tower machine for MSTS than a laptop really suitable for running the Sim I am willing to go down that route.
When I looked before at possible laptops the price was over £700.
In the latter case, some idea of a specification for the tower PC would be useful.
What is really annoying is that when we bought the tower PC I use for serious matters I intended to run MSTS on it, and therefore also bought a suitable spec graphics card. Only to find that the firmware is specifically set up so it will not take an external graphics card. (For the record the PC is Packard Bell.)
Jonathan

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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  slipperman12 on Sat 17 Dec 2016, 10:25 pm

Hi Jonathan,
and therefore also bought a suitable spec graphics card. Only to find that the firmware is specifically set up so it will not take an external graphics card. (For the record the PC is Packard Bell.)
For a desktop, that's a little odd!! If it really is a PC in a tower case, I've never heard of one where the firmware (ie BIOS) limits the user in that way! Could you please give the model number so I can check it out.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Scampispeedway on Sun 18 Dec 2016, 1:48 pm

Hi Jonathan, about 4 years ago my old computer developed a fault which meant getting a new one.
At the time only ones with Win 7 were available and so had it built in the Computer Shop in Gateshead,
later on I got it dual booted to use both Win 7 and XP and that is the one I'm using at present and quite
happy with it as I get the best of both worlds.
The only modification I've had installed is a new Graphics Card along with the Power Supply as the
connections to it were different, I was thinking of using TSXXXX in the Win 7 partition and keeping
XP for MSTS, the Graphics Card I was advised to get was the Geforce GTX 960 as this would do for
both Train-Simulators.
For information about my Computer Specs they are as follows :-
Ikonik Taran A30 Black Case
Asus P8H61-M LE/USB3 B3 Motherboard
Intel I5-2500k Quad-Core 3.3GHZ 6MB  Processor
1TB Hitachi SATA 7200PRM 32MB HDD
4GB DDR3 PC1060 1333MHZ HYPERAM
SAMSUNG 22X RW DL SH-22AB SATA
650W WINPOWER Plus 12CM FAN PSU
1GB AMD SAPPHIRE HD 6570 PCI-E GRAPHICS Card
This new computer cost me just under £600 to build and I had bought the better Graphics Card and Power
Supply for £210.00 in 2015 and so this only cost me £30.00 to get them fitted this year.
Posting on the UKTRAINSIM.com forum when I was asking what Card to buy, I was told to that the GTX
960 was o.k.and the Processor was more than adequate to do the job.

Bob
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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Jonathan David on Tue 20 Dec 2016, 9:18 pm

Sorry to be so long replying.
The PC is a Packard Bell Imedia L4875.
It has an Intel core processor and Intel HD graphics.
I took it into our local computer shop when I got the graphics card, but the card could not be installed because the necessary options on the menu were greyed out.
I therefore put the card in the XP computer which has recently died - but the card predeceased it with a disintegrated fan.
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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 20 Dec 2016, 9:52 pm

Hi Jonathan,
It appears that the L4875 does have the correct socket for a separate graphics card but someone else has had the same problem as you : http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-1798999/graphics-card-problems-packard-bell-imedia-l4875.html
I can't find a download of the manual for that PC, so, I'm sorry, but am unable to help Sad

As a matter of interest, when you visited your computer shop, do you know if they looked at the BIOS settings screen? On normal PCs, that is where the selection of the default video display is to be found. If they only looked at Windows settings, that's why it was "greyed out"!

Cheers,
Ged






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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Jonathan David on Tue 20 Dec 2016, 10:13 pm

I am sure he looked at the BIOS settings. he is pretty good with computers normally. The link you gave also says the settings were greyed out in the BIOS settings.
But from the advice above it looks like a separate laptop for general use and a tower for MSTS is the only realistic option. I think the laptop can probably be a fairly standard model as I mainly use it when abroad for e-mail/Facebook/BBC radio. so the two together may be affordable.
Jonathan

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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  Jonathan David on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 8:30 am

Three and a half questions and a warning

Thank you for your help earlier.

Things have not panned out quite as planned. I initially decided to buy a new laptop and leave MSTS for later. However, when the techie at my local computer shop saw my spec and found a nice reconditioned machine for me it turned out to be capable of running MSTS too - and does. I needed much the same spec for my other activities involving desk top publishing as for simulation which deals with some quite big graphics files.

So now I have MSTS up and running after a fashion.
First the warning. The laptop came with a year's "free" subscription to Bullguard anti virus. Bad news. Bullguard kindly quarantined about 50,000 train simulation files of all kinds, and I could not find a way to get them back. Of course I had copied from a back-up hard disk so all was not lost. Although I am not absolutely sure yet that it didn't quarantine some from the Hard Disk too. Fortunately I have a further backup of the backup.
Now the three questions.
First, when I start Train Store I get a message about language resources not being available. I assume this is a Windows 10 issue. Is it possible to do anything about it?
Secondly, once an activity has started, until I toggle out of MSTS to another window and back in again none of the controls work. Again, is there a solution?
These two are fairly trivial but annoying.
Thirdly, not related to Windoes 10 at all. How does one use the Editor with a Mini-Route to create activities?
Incidentally, I am still working on it, but although 90% of the routes I had installed now work, some do not despite having been reinstalled from the original source files. They crash as soon as the MSTS opening sequence tries to bring up the screen showing the route and activity options. There may be no single solution, and I am wondering if it is sometimes because for some reason tsection.dat is not being found.

Jonathan

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Re: Spec for a Windows 10 Laptop

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 7:29 pm

Hi Jonathon,
I'm pleased you managed to get a decent laptop Smile

Of  your three questions, I can answer two very easily!!
1. Train Store  - language resources.  This is nothing to do with Windows 10!  It is from Windows 7 - download and install file 22392 from UKTS (Train Store - Update for Windows 7) and you shouldn't see that message again.

2. Once an activity has started ...  I think that is normal procedure.  The reason is that Train Store has "handed over" control to MSTS and is waiting for it to finish, either normally, or by the user forcing an exit.  Anyway, you wouldn't normally see the Train Store screen while MSTS is running!!

3. It's always been a problem creating activities for mini-routes!  That's why I created MSTS_Swap - available frorn UKTS as file ID 35276.  It not only allows you to run any MSTS installation in Sim or Editors mode, but also several utilities, so long as you have them properly installed - see the readme.

There!! I've answered all three Very Happy Very Happy

As for the routes crashing, it's important to read the readme accompanying each route as it should contain details of what needs to be installed for it to run.  There can be problems if you've installed an old route, which used an older version of tsection.dat.  If you run mainly UK/European routes, it's best to install tsection.dat #38 or #42UK, available from UKTS as file IDs 27747 or 13758 respectively.

Cheers,
Ged


Cheers,
Ged


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