Counter Strike – Making it work on old PCs


I’ll use CS as abbreviation for Counter Strike and we are talking about CS 1.6 (v 21)

If you play Counter-Strike (to know more about CS visit Gotfrag) and you own a old PC these are few tips that might help you get a decent frames-per-second or FPS. The platform for testing is a PC with 256MB RAM, no grapics card and 1.6 GHz processor, 15/17 inch CRT Monitor (yeah it’s an old config nowdays), and we are trying to get a FPS of about 60+. For decent game you need a steady FPS of about 90, but hey if you play only for fun then 60 FPS is still playable.

These commands are to be executed on the game console and are tested on servers with ping less than 50. So open up your console and start typing the commands.

Note : You need to play with the values to get the best results. So use your brains and fiddle with the vales to get the best out of your PC.

  • radartype 1 (changes the radar from transparent to opaque, you loose FPS but highly recommended)
  • cl_cmdrate 101
  • cl_updaterate 101
  • fastsprites 1 ( make it 1 because the other settings never worked for me)
  • hud_centerid 1
  • max_shells 100
  • max_smokepuffs 100
  • rate 2500 (Sets how much data you transfer to the server connected – for a 14.4 connection, rate 1500, for 33.6k connection use rate 3000 for a 56k use rate 3500 for an ISDN rate should be 5000 – all connections faster than that should be between 5000 and 9999)
  • fps_max 100

This will be all with commands. Now time to use some refresh rate fixes.

You need to download “reforce” or known as “RefreshForce”, it’s an application that finally nails the FPS. Download it from Major Geeks or any other place where you can find this application. Download it, scan it with your antivirus and run the application executable. The setps involved are.

  • Auto Populate the monitors
  • Select the active monitor (it’s the one with the string “ACTIVE” in it)
  • Find the entry X=640 Y=480 and set the frequency to 75 (you can set it higher, but you need to refer to your monitor display modes) If you set it to an incorrect value then you will be in trouble, so YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOUR MONITOR SUPPORTS. I know it’s rude but it’s in interest only.
  • Follow the above instructions for X=800 Y=600.

And you are almost done. Now fire the game and goto settings and put video mode to 640 x 480 16Bit, connect to a server and use command “cl_showfps 1”. Repeat the same procedure with video mode 800 x 600 16Bit, and check the FPS.

You will need to change the values as i mentioned earlier.

If you still cannot get FPS to the mark few more things you can try.

  • Reboot the PC and after reboot close as many applications as you can. Then launch the game.
  • Read the services guide on The Elder Geek. Follow their instructions carefully so that you do not screw up your PC.
  • In your computer BIOS (i am not telling how to go there) there are settings for Graphics Aperture and Shared Memory, you can change it to test out your game performance. Set it less than 128MB and test for every value.

I know it’s lots of work, but hey you get to play the game finally.That will be all from me. Thanks.

Note : I am telling how to screw up your computer, but I am not screwing it up, so you are responsible for whatever goes wrong with your PC.

Edit : The command to check FPS in CS is “cl_showfps 1”, i had to put it up here because almost everyday i am finding “show FPS in Counter Strike” as a search term, I guess this will help you a bit.

6 comments so far

  1. Achal Kathuria on

    FPS of 60 is way more than sufficient for playing cs just for fun, Try Q4 and you can play any game on 30 fps for whatever purpose. I think seeing a high FPS figure blinking on the corner is important for you to be able to play well is just a psychological influence, anyway our eye nominally needs a frame rate of 16.

  2. DarK on

    If you play CS for sometime on different FPS, you will notice the recoil on higher FPS seems to be lesser, when compared to low FPS systems. And recoil of guns is a very big issue in CS, so you need 60+ FPS to play properly, but i’ll stick to 90+ FPS for quality gaming.

  3. vardan on

    Hey wat about “sys_ticrate”….wat shud i set it to??? n i heard “developer 1” makes a differenece…..wat exactly does it do?????

  4. DarK on

    Hmm… i am new to this command too.. but about the information i looked up on internet, it’s something related to FPS on servers, and increasing it gives better accuracy, but you need to check it out yourself for now, as i am a little busy with projects and exams..

    btw sys_ticrate is a server command
    Few Links about the command “sys_ticrate”
    http://www.staticservers.com/gameservers.php?game=halflife&mod=ns
    http://www.gotfrag.com/cs/forums/thread/187135/
    http://forums.cyborg2.com/showthread.php?p=406315

    about the “developer 1” command I will tell as soon as I get it tested on my server 🙂

  5. SlipKnoT on

    hud_deathtimenotice 1
    and if your turn off chat hud_saytext 0 u get better fps

  6. The Saakeman on

    Just Get an older counter strike a have the oldest and newest version , Yes the older version has less graphics but is more playable
    I have the old version for a friend who don’t have a
    graphics card
    I have the new version becuase a have a graphics card


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