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StarCraft 2 recommends the "Ultra" graphics setting, but even on "Low" the FPS drops extremely low when there are a lot of units on the screen.

I've already downloaded and installed the latest drivers for my motherboard and video card and followed the steps in this performance optimization guide. Is there anything else I can do to make StarCraft run better, aside from upgrading my hardware?

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I've had the same problem of terrible performance (less than 1fps in the largest battles!) even on lowest settings with Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to solve it other than upgrading to i7 (thus gaining two orders of magnitude in fps, which is ridiculous). I believe Blizzard has something to fix there! –  Rotsor Aug 23 '11 at 0:54
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4 Answers 4

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The simple answer, very little.

You can kill all other running programs (virus scanners, services you don't need, applications like MSN Messenger, Skype, etc). Aside from minimalizing what is currently running on your computer therefor freeing up resources to be consumed by SC2, upgrading hardware is your next step. (You could try over-clocking, but that's mostly for the advanced computer users).

When you start to add individual units and the processing behind each and every unit it all adds up very quickly. The custom map Desert Strike is a prime example of this if it goes to the end battle where there is literally almost 1000 units moving towards each other. The computer's ability to handle a large majority of units and their animations/AI is a combination of all of your above components. You might find a light improvement by upgrading more RAM and a better video card.

**Side note: When you say you turned everything to low does that include death animations, shadows, ground clutter, etc.?

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yep, everything. –  Sly Aug 17 '11 at 20:23
    
Unfortunately if everything is already turned down, in game, there's not much more you can do. It's just the nature of the beast of a mass amount of units having to be rendered and then animated. –  Sorean Aug 17 '11 at 20:25
    
Part of it is that SCII isn't really designed for A: high/wide angle camera shots that render a lot of terrain at once, and B: simulating/rendering mass amounts of units; projectiles are resource-intensive for one and the rendering tech is a lot fancier than something that is really built for large scale (see SupCom series). –  RCIX Aug 25 '11 at 15:37
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I think that CPU and Video is more than enough for SC2. I have a similiar CPU and game works like a charm.

Change sequence is: MB + RAM -> CPU -> Video

If driver updates cannot help, then I suggest you change MB to AM3 socket with DDR3 RAM. This will boost your performance more than a CPU and Video upgrade.

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I saw a tremendous performance boost when upgrading my CPU and memory one generation. I can now micro in 200 vs 200 situations, this was not possible before.

Graphics card before and after upgrade: Geforce 480 GTX 2GB

Up to a certain point you can't just throw more GPU power on Starcraft 2 you have to throw CPU/Memory at it instead.
Your CPU needs to be able to handle AI on hundreds of units at certain times.

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You can upgrade to Windows 7 64 Bit and get about 1% more FPS in cpu and access to memory over 3GB. Update every single driver you can get. Disable every service you don't need. For example change from DHCP to static ip and disable the DHCP module. Disable every single eye-candy, every anti-virus, the windows firewall, the windows indexing service, disable the log and event service. Use a tool to change the affinity and priority of Starcraft to a better one. Update to the latest directx. Maybe you can use a tool like Ati Tray Tools to unlock some special video card options. I'm serious about this because I'm not really a fan of spending my money when they can't build decent computer. Run the game in a lower resolution. Here is a link for disabling logging: http://www.cucirca.com/2006/12/08/how-to-disable-windows-logging/. But it can be useful to find errors. Here is a tutorial and an automated tool: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/windows-7-services-optimization-guide.

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