I have downloaded Half-Life using Steam. But, I am unable to play it due to heavy performance issue. When I click Play Game, Steam asks for Training, Easy, Medium, Hard options. After choosing one, Steam starts local server & launch the gameplay. But, I am unable to play due to heavy lag and low framerate.

Here are requirements for the game:

Minimum: 500 mhz processor, 96mb ram, 16mb video card, Windows XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

Recommended: 800 mhz processor, 128mb ram, 32mb+ video card, Windows XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

And, I don't think any of today's PCs don't satisfy the requirement of this decade old game.

Anyway, here's my Laptop specs:
CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7 with 8 cores (4 hyperthreaed) - Turbo Boost upto 3.2GHz
GPU: 1GB ATI Raedon
OS: Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Mouse: Yes
Keyboard: Yes
Internet Connection: Yes

How to fix this performance issue?

  • Do you have anything running in the background? Check your Task Manager to see what is using your system resources.
    – Batophobia
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 7:45
  • @DavidStarkey Nothing is using my system resources.. I am able to launch/use high-end apps flawlessly at the same time using Alt+Tab.
    – user7588
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 8:01
  • 3
    – user49998
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 8:55
  • 1
    I know some games have an issue with Windows 8. I'd try looking into that. Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 15:12
  • 1
    I don't know if this applies to ATI cards as well, but for NVidia cards, some games need to be manually set to run on the NVidia chip instead of Intel Integrated Graphics. So saying that, even on the Intel chip, you shouldn't have that many issues
    – lasagne-
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 12:38

3 Answers 3


Performance issues with any game can be because of any number of reasons. I guess the logical ordering to check for the cause are as follows:

  1. Videocard too slow or videocard driver is not installed. (My gut says the latter seems to be the issue here!)
    • Check if driver installed and updated
      • Driver updates might fix performance issues for newer games (I've heard stories about new drivers causing worse performance for older games too (forced obsolescence), but that's anecdotal.)
  2. Slow CPU or something's eating up CPU time
    • Check the power plan/power saving options for CPU clock-scaling limits!
    • Also check for CPU temperatures and thermal throttling! (OHM)
  3. Too little RAM available, something's hoarding RAM and Trashing the system?
  4. Too slow a harddrive for this game, or some other program is just performing a lot of drive I/O (bit-torrent?)
    • Harddrive becoming old, check SMART values
    • Harddrive I/O mode might not be set correctly causing poor performance (AHCI vs ATA mode for SATA drives)

I would say that it's due to the video rendering mode/drivers/graphics chipset.

This question was asked in 2013 -- that same year they had removed direct3d support from the game (and it's derivatives/mods like CS 1.6, TFC, etc).

Your only options are running it in software (doesn't look as nice, only left handed models in CS, slower rendering of dynamic lights/flashlight) or OpenGL. OpenGL may not run very well on some integrated cards or certain display hardware, like some notebook AMD devices or anything pre HD graphics on Intel.

I was pretty upset when they removed direct3D because it was one of the games I could run very well on my old laptop with intel integrated graphics. Counter-Strike is pretty much unplayable on a machine that handles the source engine at a steady 30fps (I can play HL2/TF2 on this same machine on low graphics fine). Half-life isn't any better, but I can get by with software mode as long as I don't need the flashlight much. I used this same laptop for about 8 years and had always played Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Natural Selection, and other mods on it.


"Recommended: ... Windows XP"

It probably doesn't like using DirectX11.

"Just solved this issue on Windows 10 today. Under the Video settings menu, use the OpenGL driver instead of DirectX and you should be good to go." –Tom's

  • Valve has updated their games for modern OS'.
    – user598527
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 15:44

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