Officially playing Half-Life 2 and Valve’s Source-engine utilizing games on Intel 945GM chipset is impossible due to Auto/Quick Save bug that crashes the game. There’s no known solution for this issue in Intel’s software compatibility database.

This page is intended to provide a workaround for those who really want to run Source-games even though the performance is not even near the best available.

I got this workaround as a comment for blog entry describing this issue.

When you are on Steam, go to “My games” tab and right click on desired Source-game, which in my case was Half-Life 2. Select properties, then there’s this button labeled “Set launch options”, click it and write in following parameter: +mat_forcehardwaresync 0. Click OK and close the properties-window. You should be now able to play the game without the fear of any crash related to Auto/Quick saving.

The original comment added also -window parameter, which would run the game in a window, but for me it did work even without it.

Finding decent graphics settings is whole another problem and is not described in my blog.

Edit: I’m really impressed how much traffic this page has got so far… Thank You For Helping Me to Help You to Help Us All.
Edit 2: It seems that some people have been sending comments in Russian. Those comments were tagged as spam by the blogging software and were not published. I found them by chance while checking the “Spam Purgatory”. I translated them on Google Translate to see whether they were anything decent. They seemed so and I accepted them here. Please, write comments in English so the software publishes them automatically and won’t treat them like mere spam.

Edit 3: Policy change: Comments only in English.

33 Responses to “Intel 945GM chipset and Half-Life 2”

  1. Bliss Says:

    Cheers mate worked a treat but the performance is gay as hell

  2. BigBrother Says:

    ^^ Intel 945GM is probably not meant to be used in gaming in the first place… just a guess, though. 😉

    Lowering DirecX level makes game perform a little better, but the graphics *will* be ugly(/even uglier)
    For DirectX 7 use “-dxlevel 70”.

  3. ups101 Says:

    does +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 itself cause performance degeneration, or is performance just bad no matter what?

    as for getting more comments, just make sure you write about really super-specific stuff like half-life2+945gm, which is information hard to come by elsewhere – I found you thru google

  4. BigBrother Says:

    Actually a friend of mine told that +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 improves performance, but I haven’t had enough interest to test it personally. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong (supposing that that lucky one has found this unlucky blog).

    For example playing SimCity 4 is also quite an experience (and Half-Life 2 and SimCity 4 really are similar: in both you can ruin a city), so the performance is just bad.

    Of course, integrated graphics chips rarely provide excellent gaming experience with “quite recent” games. 945GM probably is a lot better with Half-Life 1 (not the Source one).

    As for googling: What doesn’t exists in Google, doesn’t exists (or is really hard to find).

  5. GODJonez Says:

    Aside from mat_forcehardwaresync 0, you might also want to use these settings as well:

    mat_bumpmap 0
    mat_specular 0

    Either add them to the command line prefixed by + as instructed with the mat_forcehardwaresync above, or create autoexec.cfg into your cfg folder and add those lines there without the + mark.

    Should improve the perfomance a great deal.

  6. Dragonfly Says:

    You rock man!!! when i found the intel page [] saying no official fix is there, my heart really sank. Cos i ve waited long to play half life 2 and i thought i couldnt do it just cos of the chipset. But nice blog man.. keep blogging…

  7. ajay Says:

    Hi! I’m thrilled this little blog exists as I am in the same boat. I have a Dell XPS M1210 (which was touted as a gaming laptop, I might add angrily) with the intel 945gm chipset. However, I tried adding the launch property you suggested above but with little success. In both Half-Life 2 and Portal I still get the auto save crash. What is doubly strange is that I doesn’t matter if I gimp the graphics to practically nothing or if i run them at pretty high levels. Still crashes at the auto save point.

    I was also wondering if you’ve discovered any tweaks for this chipset to run Team Fortress 2.

    Anyway thanks for any help and for existing

  8. BigBrother Says:

    (This comment may sound a bit unpleasant and mean, but at the moment I’m very tired, it has been a long day…)

    Sorry to hear that the trick had little success, I haven’t even tried to play the game for a while as I can play on a computer with a real graphics accelerator (some NVIDIA 6600 I think it is…). I love good looking graphics and my poor laptop with this “notorious” chipset doesn’t provide them…

    I don’t believe that Portal would work on 945GM very well as it’s laggy on my desktop computer (not so new, btw) so I don’t have any real intentions to get it working on the laptop. Sorry.

    (But.. I CAN confirm that the first Half-Life just works, but no one is interested in that, I believe (PS. I run it on WINE in Ubuntu))

  9. […] Intel 945GM chipset and Half-Life 2 […]

  10. ajay42 Says:

    in case anyone is still trying to run the Orange Box, I now have all the games (well except Ep2 but i expect that to come together shortly) up and running. Check details here:

  11. stephonodiono Says:

    That’s a hard one… I think your best bet is trying to get a new graphics card. If that doesn’t work try getting a new DirectX.

  12. Storm Says:

    Original poster is a godsend, thank you for making this available!

  13. BigBrother Says:


    I probably should have mentioned that this a laptop, if I haven’t said it before, so getting a new graphics card is out of question. And as another note: suggesting getting a new graphics card as a solution to problem on other card is a very very bad suggestion.

    (an extreme example)
    How would you feel if you had a problem with your brand new (expensive, which 945GM is not) ATI graphics card and people tell you to get NVIDIA instead? Not very happy?

    And getting a new directX… I suppose gamers update it frequently and it seems that dx9 is the last version for windows xp, so there shouldn’t be any problem on this regard.

    I wrote this article thinking about laptop users. If someone does have a “normal” computer with this same integrated graphics card, I’d suggest them to get a new graphics card too… It is an ugly workaround, but I trust that the readers do what they feel is right.

    (I’m sorry if someone finds this comment harsh or otherwise unpleasant. It wasn’t my main goal)

  14. Alan Says:

    here is the solution: you have to force directx 10.

  15. Sam Says:

    To get way better frame rates, go to my website and scroll down to the 945gm + Source engine games article, and I’ve got these and a couple more tweaks listed, plus reccomended settings for seperate resolutions, and the different settings required for Ep 2, Portal and TF2. really useful!

  16. Tom Says:

    Wow thanks I was gutted when the demo crashed Not anymore and it’s not too bad either I might stick in some more Ram and try and optimize it further

  17. Alex Says:

    Thank you so much for this fix! I spent hours looking through Steam documentation, trying various things because I had no clue what was crashing HL2 (and Portal wouldn’t even load). I also had an ongoing support ticket with Steam Tech Support, who after several attempts, we’re unable to solve my problem. I gave up figuring there was no solution. Then, I realized several months later that I never even bothered to ask our dear friend Google for the solution, and here I am:-)

    By the way, if anybody never caught my hint above, this same fix works with Portal crashing right before the menu screen.

    thanks again!

  18. Half-Death Says:

    The only thing that wont work on intel 945 is episode two..
    all others work

  19. Sedgemoor Says:

    Genius – worked sraight off (well so far anyway)

  20. Tsu Says:

    I’m trying to run Portal on a 945GM chipset.

    I’ve tried all of the suggested tricks and nothing works with Portal. I get the game started with a few of them, but then it crashes as soon as I go through the first portal. Nothing I’ve tried helps–any solutions?

  21. ElSniperino Says:

    Well, I have HL2, TF2 and others working for me on my 945GM, with autosave, on full textures, models and shading. for HL2 I have [-dxlevel 81 +mat_forcehardwaresync 0], but -dxlevel 90 will work too. For TF2 I have my own custom autoexec (you can grab it from me by asking at and my launch options are -dxlevel 90 +mat_forcehardwaresync 0

  22. Mitch Says:

    Nice blog, thought everything was okay till my game stopped running and it stated that my driver had stopped responding or something.

    Happens whenever a part in a game gets too complicated to run for my system (not very technical) 😦

  23. Rafal Bielecki Says:

    Anyone tried to run HF2-EPISODE1 on MSI Wind/Advent 4211 (intel 945 express) with really smooth frame rate ?

  24. Peter Says:

    I FOUND THE PERFECT SOLUTION! Go to your “my games” tab and right click your HL2 game and select properties. then go to set launch options. type in ” -dxlevel 90 +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 -autoconfig ” with spaces included. IT WORKS ON HL2, HL2 E1, and HL2 E2.

  25. Dave Says:

    Alan’s solution above ( worked fine for me (OS: MS Vista). I used “-dxlevel 100” in the Launch properties section in order to force HL2 to pick up Direct X 10.

  26. ray daley Says:

    I’ve been working on a good command line for Portal & the Intel chip for a while and this is my improved version:-

    -applaunch 400 -steam -dxlevel 81 +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +mat_forcemanagedtextureintohardware 0 +snd_async_prefetch_priority +mat_softwarelighting 1 +mat_reducefillrate 1 +mat_bumpmap 0 + mat_specular 0 +mat_picmip 2 +mat_max_worldmesh_vertices 1024 +map_background none -autoconfig

  27. ray daley Says:

    it seems this may be even better and add a better chance of longer functionality (yep, i managed to find more commands in under 30 mins):-

    -applaunch 400 -steam -dxlevel 81 +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +mat_antialias 0 + mat_disable_bloom 1 +mat_forcemanagedtextureintohardware 0 +snd_async_prefetch_priority +mat_softwarelighting 1 +mat_reducefillrate 1 +mat_bumpmap 0 + mat_specular 0 +mat_picmip 2 +mat_max_worldmesh_vertices 1024 +map_background none -heapsize 1024000 +datacachesize 128 -autoconfig

    -nosound (can be added if it turns out the glados audio is one of the things making the game crash)

  28. Peter Says:

    This one works perfectly for me. I found it on youtube:
    1.) Check to make sure you have Steam and your Half-life games installed. (Should already be)
    2.) Now go to your “My games” tab on Steam.
    3.) Right click any Half-life 2 game, Portal, or Team Fortress 2 game. You can also choose any Mods.
    4.) After you right clicked on the game, go to “Properties”
    5.) Go to “Set Launch Options…”
    6.) Paste in this ” +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +snd_async_prefetch_priority 1 -dxlevel 90″ (INCLUDE THE SPACE AT THE BEGINING!)

    I found it at If you have any questions, comment on that guys video.

  29. Fef Says:

    It doesnt work with Team Fortress 2.
    It crash again…

  30. David Moritz Says:

    Thank you so much! I searched so many different forums and support sites and nothing helped until I found this one! It works like a charm! I can now play Half-Life 2 no problem! I was wondering if you had another code that would allow me to play Portal on the same Chipset.

  31. Carlos Says:

    This also works in portal, and other half life 2 games +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +mat_bumpmap 0 +mat_specular 0 +mat_clipz 1 +r_dynamic 0 +sv_robust_explosions 0 +mat_dxlevel 70 +cl_show_splashes 0 +violence_hgibs 0
    +violence_hblood 0 +violence ablood 0 +violence agibs 0 +ai_expression_optimization 1

  32. roboduk3 Says:

    Thank you ever so much! I am quite happy that I have now got team fortress two working for once!

  33. Elmo Dipaola Says:

    Great line up. We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.) This is a very good tips especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article.

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