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World of Warcraft computer build

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July 13, 2009 2:52:07 AM

I've been playing WoW on my Macbook that's hooked up to my 24" monitor. Obviously not a great setup. I'm looking to build myself a computer. It will be used mainly for work (web and graphic design) and WoW. My budget is not very high ($400-500, $600 max) which I totally understand is not going to allow me to build a beast of a machine. All I want is to be able to play WoW on decent settings and get more than the 10-15fps on low settings that I'm averaging now.

How would this build fare?
Case: Antec 300
Power Supply: APREVIA 520W
Mobo: Asus M4A78
Memory: 4GB DDR2
HDD: WD 500GB
Optical Drive: LG DVD/CD RW

I'm really struggling with deciding on a processor and video card.
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB or Radeon HD 4850 1GB?

The only thing that makes me lean toward the 4850 is the 1GB possibly helping it deal with the 1900x1200 resolution. Other than that, I have no real idea of which one would be better for me.

AMD Phenom X3 720 2.8GHz or AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz?
How much of an impact with tri-core vs. dual-core have on WoW?

I've never built a computer and everything I know about it has come from doing research online. I just wanted to run this by more knowledgeable people before I actually drop all of my money and buy everything. Any suggestions/warnings/advice on anything would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
July 13, 2009 3:42:09 AM

Check the setup in my signature... that thing can't do WoW at 1920x1200 at max graphics.

Why?

WoW's graphics engine is badly coded, the new tweaks and such were tacked on and aren't optimised to work efficiently. You'll have to spend a fortune to build a system that'll be able to cope with Dalaran during peak hours, and even then you'll get network lag.

But... here's my input into it:

PSU: Get a Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, or Antec. I've never heard of Aprevia, and that's a bad thing when it comes to PSUs... if they fail they might take your entire system with it.

Mobo: Not a big fan of Asus boards, I prefer gigabyte... but don't know much about Asus' AMD boards.

Memory: Nothing to add.

HDD: Here's where things go a bit downhill... because of how WoW is, it does a lot of random access of small files, ideally you want an SSD, failing that a 10k rpm or faster drive. That said, they're pricey. Just letting you know one area where you might notice a bit of stuttering.

Optical: Doesn't impact WoW.

CPU: WoW isn't a multicore app, it gets a little boost from dual core systems, and hardly any extra from above that. That said, an X3 would probably do best, let WoW have its' way with 2 cores, and your OS doing the rest. X3 720 with a good aftermarket cooler and slight overclock gets my vote, never could justify a Black Edition.

GFX: Now... here's where things get a bit grey. Logic tells me that at 1920x1200, the 1gb 4850 will be the better card, but I think WoW performs better on nvidia cards than ATI cards (this is purely speculation based on getting rather decent performance on an old 256mb 8600GTS, then moving up to a 4870X2 and not really going too far past 60fps with all settings maxxed, but with no multisampling... or... it might be at 2x, can't be bothered logging in to check).



General advice when putting everything together:
Get some good quality thermal paste, stuff you get with your heatsink is terrible, dispose of it.
Get an aftermarket heatsink, costs you a bit extra but is worth it in my opinion. Dispose of the thermal paste that comes with that too.


And finally, a general forum tip:
If you've got any questions, post then in your original thread, generally the regulars who reply to threads (myself included) turn on e-mail notification, so we can continue to help after we've offered our opinions.
Remember, no single person on these forums is 100% right, always get many opinions on things. Building a PC isn't black-and-white, there's a ton of gray. Read what people are saying and weigh up the options.

Apart from that, good luck!
July 13, 2009 3:58:47 AM

WoW Does run better on Quad vs Dual. Wow is more CPU dependent then GPU. You definitely want a fast dual or a quad.

My i7 920@ 3.4 and ati 4870 gets 50fps avg in dalaran @ peak hours, and 105avg on epic flyer with all settings maxed @ 1680x1050.

Obviously that setup is way over kill.

Take a look at this. http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/268160-31-lovers-hate...
Id let her go for $600 tower only no monitor ect....
Then you could still use your mac software as well as game on windows :) 
She will play wow @ 1680x1050 on high settings with good fps.

I benched her against other macs, faster then any imac and 13th on the list against the quad core mac pros. the mac pros only beat me on multithreaded and HD access.http://db.xbench.com/search.xhtml?text=bigmac&sort=scor...

Im selling my i7 rig tomorrow as well, bid starting @ $600 but i suspect it will go above $800.

@ Kraynor, your rig should max wow no problem, try turning off your pagefile, and see if you get any improvement.
Related resources
July 13, 2009 4:41:52 AM

Quote:
PSU: Get a Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, or Antec. I've never heard of Aprevia, and that's a bad thing when it comes to PSUs... if they fail they might take your entire system with it.

Perhaps this power supply instead? Because yeah, I'd rather not screw up my entire system.

I'll look into different motherboards, just in case. I'll also see if I can dig up anything on WoW and ATI vs. NVIDIA. Thanks so much for the feedback; I really appreciate it. I'll definitely take note of everything.
July 13, 2009 9:51:09 AM

Actually, I had my pagefile turned off up until about 2 days ago when I started playing Dawn of War II again, and it complained about the fact it was turned off. Now the page file is on my RAID.

Think there's something iffy somewhere along the line in my system, I've got a sneaking suspicion that my graphics card isn't quite up to the level a 4870X2 should be at. Oh well... just gonna have to grab me a 2nd one at some stage and overcome that drawback with sheer quad-GPU horsepower. Won't help much in WoW though, it doesn't touch my 2nd GPU.

Anyway, that's a much better PSU, and 500W should be plenty for that rig.
July 13, 2009 12:03:12 PM

I really wish they would do something about that graphics code in WOW!

@ 1920x1200 I can max the GFX settings out (except shadows) and still get a decent-ish FPS in Dalaran (about 20-30fps)
IronForge and Stormwind (Outside of Northrend - old graphics) run better and it runs max 60fps all the way through (115FPS without VSync)

My setup is a E8500 @ 4.2ghz, 4GB (884mhz 4,4,4,18) and an overclocked GTX285 - If this can't run wow at a constant 60fps, then there is something really wrong with WOW itself!

FYI - The game does seem to be totally CPU dependent. I went from an 8800GTX to my current GTX285 and it only made a very small difference in frame rate, barely noticeable really!

Would love to try a Quad Core to see how that improves things but the problem there will be if WOW doesn't utilise all the cores efficiently and I would struggle to OC a Quad to 4.2ghz then I may end up getting worse performance because of it!

Then there's I7 which is more efficient but that's a lot of dough just to play WOW! :0
July 13, 2009 12:32:34 PM

I read somewhere they're redoing the graphics engine for the next expansion... though I don't know if that information was reliable or not... they might just leave it since they've got a new MMO coming up.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 14, 2009 3:41:48 AM

Kraynor said:
I read somewhere they're redoing the graphics engine for the next expansion... though I don't know if that information was reliable or not... they might just leave it since they've got a new MMO coming up.


Blizzard has routinely stated WoW will not be getting a new graphic engine but will be getting tweaks with each new expansion.
October 29, 2009 11:18:13 AM

Hey Daship, read your post on the computer you where selling,was wondering if its still for sale or you have any other pc's that i can play wow on reliable ?
December 29, 2009 4:22:07 PM

I'm gonna be building myself a gaming machine in the near future too

It'll be a Phenom x3 720 Cpu, a 5770 GPU, 4G ram, an Antec PSU and a Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 board, but the thing i'm getting hung up on right now is what kind of keyboard to use, i found a g500 mouse pretty cheap on the LogicBUY deals this week on Tom's hardware thankfully but still dunno if i want to shell out for a G15, a Cyborg, or go with a logitech ultralight keyboard.

Basically i just need something functional that can handle several keys pressed together well, did you have any idea what you'll be using?

BTW i dont like WASD as much as i like RDFG for my arrows, more keys around to press for lots of hotkeys in the middle of the board, so macro keys on the sides might only be usefull for a trade macro or something similar lol.
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