I recently downloaded the Tribes: Ascend beta and while it's really good, my graphics performance isn't.

I've currently got these specs (forgive me if I'm not the best with technical jargon):

  • Toshiba Satellite laptop
  • Intel Core i5 processor, according to CPU-Z it's 2.67GHz
  • 8gb of DDR3 RAM (up from the factory-issue 2gb)
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470

Right now I'm getting around 30fps on Tribe's worst possible settings, (minimal quality, manually turning all graphical fanciness off in the config file, 1280 resolution). I know my machine doesn't have the best GPU, but is there any way I can use my extra RAM to my advantage?


  • Not a real answer, but there might be a slight possibility the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 can borrow some system RAM somehow - a lot of integrated graphics solutions do it. Not sure it would even help, though (and you'd have to google it yourself, I don't know).
    – MGOwen
    Mar 1, 2012 at 6:26
  • You could do what I do - plug in an old top-of-the-line 21" CRT (that cost $2000 new and about $50 now) and play at 1024x768, or even 800x600. Much better colour reproduction and contrast make up somewhat for the slightly lower resolution.
    – MGOwen
    Mar 1, 2012 at 6:33
  • I doubt there's anything you can do to increase your performance with that game other than use a different system. It's just a fact of life that mobile video cards won't always be supported even though the desktop version with the same number is. This is probably a case of just that. Mar 1, 2012 at 7:41
  • 1
    I feel your pain, but if you do have a bottleneck and that's what you must fix; changing unrelated things won't help :(
    – badp
    Mar 1, 2012 at 8:16
  • my only recommendation is to try to overclock the GPU
    – l I
    Mar 1, 2012 at 12:34

4 Answers 4


IMO, Having extremely large amounts of RAM won't help much if your system is being bottle-necked by a GPU.

  • @DMA57361, The OP's Radeon 5470 may not be better than the 3870. The '5' and '3' indicate the generation but the relative power of each card is decided by the second number, i.e., '4' in the OP's integrated card vs. '8' in the minimum required. Mar 1, 2012 at 9:19
  • Yeah, I did wonder if there was going to be a numbering issue; I'm an nVidia user myself. However, surely the second 'power' number isn't going to be directly comparable across generations? In the same way that my nVidia 460 won't necessarily outperform a 530 (which currently follow a similar XYY pattern with X = gen, YY = awesomeness).
    – DMA57361
    Mar 1, 2012 at 10:16
  • @DMA57361, I looked up the cards on the net and it seems the 3870 outperforms the 5470, which is expected, given that 3870 was a high end card of the 3xxx generation while 5470 is low end notebook gpu. It may be a newer architecture, but the 3870 is still more powerful.. The second power number may not be directly comparable, but the difference in the numbers is too large for them to be considered equal. Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22
  • Do you have the link you looked this up at so I can correct my post?
    – DMA57361
    Mar 1, 2012 at 11:06
  • 1
    Radeon 5470: link Radeon 3870: link Check out the benchmarks for the two cards. Mar 1, 2012 at 11:19

From what I can find, the min spec for the game is currently:


Graphic card: ATI ... graphics card with 512MB video ram or better and Shader Model 3.0+ support. (ATI Radeon 3870 or higher...


Graphics card: ATI ... graphics card with 1GB video ram or better and Shader Model 3.0+ support (ATI Radeon 6950+).

With thanks to vinaysshenoy:
Unfortunately, your 5470 doesn't perform as well as the min-spec 3870, so you're going to have trouble getting any reasonable performance from your current machine.

I'd recommend having a look in your BIOS. If your graphics hardware doesn't have it's own integrated memory then it's already using some of the system's, and in this case the BIOS can often be adjusted to tell it how much to use. Make sure it's set to at least 512MB if you have the option to control it. If it's set below that then turning it up might help your performance, if it is already at that level adding more probably is unlikely to help.

Otherwise, you're stuck with the usual (weak) advice for boosting graphics performance:

  • Upgrade your graphics drivers, DirectX, etc
  • Ensure the power config is set to provide max performance (and/or play on mains power).
  • Ensure your machine isn't overheating.
  • etc

If you're running graphics drivers provided by Toshiba, I'd recommend an upgrade to a more recent version from ATI/AMD.

I have a similar laptop, and my performance was abysmal with the Toshiba drivers. Toshiba has locked out the drivers on many of their laptops so that you can only install versions downloaded from their site, which are typically way out of date. The ones for my laptop were from 2010!

I used the trick described in this video, which essentially boils down to:

  • Download the latest full installer from AMD - unfortunately, this URL is not really public. There's currently a pattern to them, and I believe the latest available is:


  • Change the drivers for your video card to the standard "VGA" driver in the control panel
  • Restart your computer
  • Install the driver you downloaded above.

I went from bluescreens when trying to start Skyrim to some pretty good performance by installing these newer drivers. Be warned that you're going outside of Toshiba's recommendations by doing this, so they might not be as willing to provide support if you don't have their drivers installed.

Some people reported issues with particular versions of the driver, although I believe 11-12 is considered relatively stable. If you have issues, you might try changing the version number in the URL (say, 11-11, etc), downloading a different driver and trying again.


To get the best performance whatever the hardware or RAM, a good place to start is with the (tribes.ini) configuration file. Many people have desired to alter graphical settings beyond the scope of what's available in the in-game menus. In your particular case a minimal configuration could boost your FPS considerably.

Before you do anything MAKE A BACKUP of your file. The file is located @ INSTALL_PATH\Hi-Rez Studios\HiRezGames\tribes alpha\TribesGame\Config

I highly recommend checking out the config file in this thread for an excellent example. For a full breakdown of the majority of the values which appear in the file check out this guide

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