I wanna make EQ2 beautiful, but how?


Sep 3, 2011
I've been reading up on a lot of posts and sadly, I can't interpret most of what's being said. I'll cut to the chase, though.

My Goal: I want to enable shadows on Everquest 2 (EQ2) to make the game more realistic and fun to look at. To be more specific, I would like to enable GPU Shadows (it actually looks nice even with "Low" shadows, so as long as I have that, it would be great) and have about 30 FPS in cities and 40 in open areas.

My Problem: My computer can run it, but it greatly decreases my performance. Normally, with the settings I have, my FPS is between 22-30 (lower when in cities and higher when in open areas). With shadows, I get about 12-23 FPS.

What settings I currently run:
- Character Resolution: High
- Texture Resolution: Max
- Character LOD Resolution: High
- Rendering Distance: 331 (out of 1000)
- Complex Shader Distance: 300 (out of 300)

My Computer Specs:

HP Pavilion a1330n (it's a prebuilt computer with tweaks to the graphics card and the memory)
AMD Athlon 64 3800+
2 GB Memory (DDR SDRAM)
ATI RADEON Xpress 200P (RS482) + SB400
ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series

My Budget: $100 (please let me know if there are other options that provide a huge upgrade that's about $20 or so above my budget)

I realize that I probably have to get some new computer part to make it run better, but if there's a free way to make my computer better (other than the usual disc defrag and the such), I'm all ears for that. My biggest concern is to just make the game look nicer (and the shadows do a nice job with it), but if it happens to be that the upgrade suggested would hit 2 birds with 1 stone (say, for example, a larger Rendering Distance setting without ruining the FPS), that would be much appreciated.