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I've downloaded the Civilization V trial and found my current PC is sorely lacking, particularly where graphics are concerned. The system requirements detailed in its Wikipedia article suggest that the graphics hardware recommended is 512 MB ATI 4800/nVidia 9800 or better video card, however it's quite difficult (not being an expert on graphics hardware) to work out what laptops fit this bill.

Does anyone have any idea what Windows Experience Index I should be looking for in a new laptop to compare with a 512 MB ATI 4800/nVidia 9800 or better video card? (If someone has one of these cards and can tell me what their WEI ratings for Gaming Graphics are, I guess that'd be a suitable answer to this question! =)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

My desktop runs a 1GiB 9800GT, and the WEI score is given as 6.8 (for what it's worth) for gaming & normal graphics. HDD is 5.9, while the others are all above the gfx rating.

I'm running Civ5 at 1920x1080, 2xMSAA and everything on High - the frame rate is generally acceptable (although remember that "acceptable" here is highly subjective), although it does take the AI players quite a while to all turn as you move towards then end of a game on a huge map.

Note that the recommended spec also includes a quad core CPU and 4GB RAM, which should also be taken in to consideration if you do purchase a new laptop.

In response to comments on badp's answer:
When you tried the demo on your laptop, did you do so with the AC connected / power options appropriated configured? Sorry if this is obvious to you, but some people forget that when not on mains most of the system is tuned down quite a lot to converse battery.

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My laptop is generally always on AC power - it's a laptop purely for the convenience of being able to disconnect it and take it with me if I need to... =) That said, thankyou for the info that a WEI score of 6.8 seems acceptable for playing Civ 5, +1 =) – Rob Oct 9 '10 at 22:40

The nVidia 9800 misleadingly scores (much) more than 3.2 (source).

Since Civ5 has a demo, however, I would rather try it and judge performance by that, instead of comparing benchmarks :)

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My current laptop has a gaming graphics rating of 5.5 and that appears to, based on my experience of playing the demo, be nowhere near enough. Unfortunately I can't wander into PC World (a large chain of UK computer stores) and install the demo to see how it plays, hence me asking the question! =) – Rob Oct 9 '10 at 21:19
@Rob, how do the other bits of hardware in your current laptop compare to the requirements? Might not have been the graphics causing the bottleneck. – DMA57361 Oct 9 '10 at 21:28
@Rob, if you're getting a new machine I'd look forward to playing games that will come out, rather than playing games that already are out. :) – badp Oct 9 '10 at 21:46
@DMA57361, everything else is more than adequate - the processor (should that be plural for multiple cores?) is more than enough and the HDD is SSD (which is well and truly above and beyond what's needed). To put it into perspective, lowering the video settings (i.e. turning various setting from High > Medium > Low) makes the game progressively more responsive. I guess the core of my question is actually: `What WEI would the listed cards give?' :=) – Rob Oct 9 '10 at 21:48
@badp, Except I'm not a massive gamer, if I can get Civ 5 working that means I'll be happy... simple things and simple minds ;) – Rob Oct 9 '10 at 21:49

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