Shockingly, you can play TF2 on a netbook

NB: Tested on a ION 2 netbook

This is only a preliminary test of Team Fortress 2 on a netbook, and not any bog-standard netbook. Using my Asus 1015PN, an Intel Atom N570, ION 2 powered netbook, you might just be able to play Team Fortress 2 on your netbook, with some major tweaking much like what I did to play Half-Life 2 on my previous non-ION netbook.

Downloading the 10GB worth of data from Steam took quite long, but since it’s a free game, might as well try. With ION 2, the gameplay quality wavered wildly from acceptable to abysmal. When you play with a lot of bots, it slows down significantly. When you play online, however, it usually is fine until you get cornered and get into a big gun fight with sentry guns, rocket launchers which will eventually lead to your loss as you’ll see frame rates tumble from 18 to 5.

And the problem with online games is that more likely than not, you’ll find servers that are chock-full. Certain maps are better than others too. Maps that stretch very far are a drain on performance, but smaller and more indoor-based maps are less strenuous on the netbook. One odd thing is that when I lowered the graphics down to 640×480, I actually got around the same frame rates, and sometimes worse, than when my display was 1024×600. Not sure why, but it does show that you have to toggle the settings around and find out what suits your netbook best.

I suspect that the biggest bottleneck is now the Atom rather than the graphics processor. Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do unless you decide to overclock the system. However, I suspect that if you have bought an AMD-powered netbook, you might have significantly better chance of playing Team Fortress 2 reliably.

On a later date, I hope to write a guide on how you can tweak Team Fortress to be able to play it on a netbook such as mine. Hopefully, the tips that I gained from modifying Half-Life 2 would come in handy.

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5 Responses to Team Fortress 2 on a netbook – preliminary tests

  1. Gesit Prasasta says:

    if we use TF2 unlimited High fps pack, may be it will have more better FPS rank

  2. Kris says:

    Hey, im using an acer aspire one netbook with 1.66 GHZ with intel atom n455 and i need help. I want to play tf2 on my netbook but i need to tweak it so it will get more fps but the problem is that the tf2 ultimate fps pack’s original download wont show and it will just show that the page has been lost. could anyone post another download area or something of the sort?

  3. Tyson says:

    If you put -dxlevel 81 into the launch options, you get MUCH MUCH better fps. I went from 20 fps on lowest settings on my desktop to 40-80 fps at max (except antialiasing) at DirectX 8.1

  4. amblo says:

    so. can we play TF2 on Netbook Acer Aspire One D270 CPU*Atom N2600 (1,6 GHz, 1 MB L2 cache) Memory 2 GB With d: 200 GB and c: 97,5 GB

    • Well…kind of. Setting TF2 to run in DirectX 8.1 mode raises FPS by a lot. Combine that with a custom config from fakkelbrigade.eu/chris/configs/ and you can get some pretty decent framerates. You could also try someone else’s config if Chris’s don’t work for you. Also make sure you have the latest graphic drivers from Intel (currently 8.14.8.1091 is the latest).

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