Friday, October 12, 2012

Rocksmith PC Runs on a Laptop - Cord Issues, but Got it Working

I downloaded the Demo from Steam onto my wife's newer, nicer Lenovo G535 laptop last night. (That's three different computers I've downloaded the demo to.) Took about 35 minutes to download over a fairly slow connection on my wireless home network. Gotta wonder how long it would take the entire program to download. . .

Important to note that the Lenovo G535 is far from a state-of-the-art new model. I'm not even sure they still make them. We bought ours as a refurb earlier this year. They're still available for around $350 online.

Our Lenovo has an AMD E-350 dual-core 1600 Mhz processor (my preference - I rarely buy anything that doesn't have AMD processors). 4GB of RAM. ATI Radeon 6320 video. 250GB HDD.

Once everything was downloaded and installed, I started up Rocksmith from the Windows 7 desktop and logged into my new Steam account. Because I have played on other computers using Steam, I avoided the irritation of going through Soundcheck and "this is a guitar" introductory stuff. We got straight down to business at the main menu.

I plugged in my USB cable before I started Rocksmith, which triggered Windows to automatically install whatever driver it needed for the cable. I didn't have to do anything.

Rocksmith booted up fine, but I would not say it was any faster on the Lenovo than on my XBox. One thing I have noticed is that when the intro song starts I can click on it and make it go away immediately on the PC. On my XBox it seems like I have to wait until Brian plays a few notes before I can click through the intro. (No offense Brian, but I've seen you play that riff a thousand times. It's a cool riff and I enjoy looking at all the different guitars but sometimes I just want to play my guitar.)

From the main menu, I went to Songs and selected Number Thirteen, plugged in my guitar and nothing. Couldn't tune. The tuner came up and the software seemed to be working fine, but nothing was coming through from my guitar. I double-checked my device controller and my Rocksmith USB cable was there. Tried restarting Rocksmith. Tried plugging into all of the other USB ports on the laptop. Still nothing.

I didn't have this problem on our other laptop or my desktop, but the issue is common and has been addressed on Steam discussions already. No definitive answers as to what causes this problem or even what the problem is, but the solution seems to be simply restarting your PC after the cable driver is installed. That's what I did and from that point everything worked fine.

Tuning was easy - no issues. And, note that I was using my First Act ME431. It was still in tune from the last time I played it. Just sayin.' It's not my favorite guitar by any stretch but it's perfectly adequate for playing RS and you can buy used ones for $5 plus shipping.

I played through the song using headphones and scored about 87,000 RSP. It seems that timing is much better on the PC than on my XBox set-up. I need to tweak the lag on my XBox version of the game, but I've just gotten used to a certain amount of lag. The PC version seems lag-free from the get-go without any adjustments. Notes crossed the strings exactly when I heard them. 

So, it IS possible to play RS for PC on a laptop system as long as you've got at least a reasonably high-quality laptop. I can't quite tell why our other laptop wouldn't work, but I suspect the processor in that one is just not powerful enough to handle RS. Our somewhat outdated Lenovo worked fine, so probably any laptop made in the past couple of years would also work fine.

Will try bass and multiplayer next.


  1. One thing you may find is that the act of playing events is video card bound (rendering the background and notes), and once you get into the 'bigger arenas' there is more motion to render and your min-spec video may not hold up. I had some heat issues (i cleaned out my fan to fix it) but they didn't really show up until the big events. Heat is obviously worse with laptops, too.

    It doesn't surprise me that your laptop doesn't load much faster than the xbox. Desktop drives spin at 7200 rpms, vs 5400 for laptops (or slower). Every generation of HDs adds additional cache on the disk as well. If you really want to make that laptop fly, when that HD dies, replace it with a Solid State Disc (ssd). Essentially an array of thumb drives/memory cards, activities like booting, starting programs and loading are a gazillion times faster. I don't think an SSD would effect playing the game tho, as i believe that once the event starts, the audio is CPU (or some sort of RAM/CPU bandwidth) limited, and the video is Graphics card limited.

    Have fun,

    1. I'm very interested in these solid state drives. The military has used them for quite some time specifically because they're durable and not subject to vibration damage (or soldier damage for that matter).

      Honestly, load time is not a big deal to me. I use the time it takes XBox to load Rocksmith to pull my guitar out of the case, find a pick, etc. As long as the game itself runs smoothly, I'm OK. As you point out, though, just because the demo runs pretty well on my laptop doesn't mean the actual full-blown program would run that well.

      I'm not not inclined to buy in until I've got a little better feel for how the entire game runs on PC. Everything I've seen and written so far is based on the stripped down demo version.

    2. Well, an SSD would improve the time between selecting a song and playing. As it is on my pc w/ standard HD, that screen where it says "amp mode is on" between the song selection and tuning is too short to play anything. That would be much faster with an SSD. that time waiting for stuff to load (i.e. riff repeater) can never be short enough. If you do any other type of disc-bound computer work, it will almost always be faster for that, too.

      The downside of an SSD is that b/c it is still developing as a tech, they are not as reliable as spinny HDs. In a large corporate or military environment, this isn't usually a problem as backups, spares, and contingency plans exist. at home tho, people do not back anything up, so a failure is a big deal.


  2. For the record, If you go to Windows Service Manager, (Right click "My computer", go manage, click services), then find "Windows Audio", right click it, stop this service, then right click again and start the service it fixes the bugs encountered without doing a full system restart.

    You could make a batch file in notepad, save it to your desktop and have it just stop then restart the service, name it RockSmith_fix.bat or something. :)