New Build - Low FPS in WoW

Hey guys. I just built a new rig with a 2.66GHz i7, 6GB DDR PC 1333, and two Radeon HD 4870s DDR5 1GB in crossfire. I started off using XP SP3, and just switched to Win 7. In both OSs I was running great with everything except WoW running 1850x1050 resolution. In Dalaran I jump between 25-30fps max and 8-15fps. Typically if I'm sitting still I hit the high end fairly consistently, if I'm riding around in the city it'll dip pretty randomly between those values. The FPS seems the same between XP and Win7, running Catalyst 9.10 drivers on both. I run Batman AS and Crysis Warhead in max settings and never dip below my refresh rate in the former and around 35-40fps in the latter, so something must be wrong with WoW.

I read on the forums that WoW is set by default to only use two cores, and that you have to change a var in your to enable multicore threading and can see huge benefits in game fps boosts. I set the processAffinityMask value to 85, 240 and 255 and didn't notice a change in the FPS after reloading the game each time, though I noticed the game seemed to load much faster. I have a G15 keyboard with coretemp module on the LCD so I can see my process load in game, and core 0 was sitting at around 50% load the whole time with the other 3 seemingly idle, so that has me suspicious. Here's the thread:

Temps seem good all around, CPU maxes at about 40c in game, GPU at 60c with a 750MHz GPU clock and 1050Mhz memory clock. My memory is all being recognized, but I did notice several things using CPUz, GPUz and ATIs CCC software. GPUz shows my clock varying between 600MHz and 750MHz, and CCC shows my manual clock value of 750MHz but at the bottom shows current GPU clock at 600MHz. Also, CPUz has my i7 jumping between 1600MHz at a x12 multiplier and 2800MHz at a x21 multiplier. I can sit watching CPUz and it'll shift every 10 seconds or so. I haven't overclocked or messed with anything so it should be running at a factory x20 multiplier at 2600MHz. Is my problem a bad CPU or some setting I'm not aware of? It seems like both my CPU and GPU are being randomly throttled and downclocked without my intervention.

I disabled Catalyst AI and that didn't change anything. I've heard about Intels Speedstep tech that sounds like a power saving feature, but I'm not finding much info on it. Could that be my problem?

EDIT: I disabled Speedstep in the BIOS, that was what was causing the CPU clock to jump back and forth, sitting at 2600MHz constantly now, but no improvement in WoW.
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  1. 1) WoW's graphic engine is badly optimised and has had things tacked onto it every expansion instead of getting the complete overhaul it needs.
    2) It isn't well coded for multithreading.
    3) It doesn't seem to get along that well with ATI cards, I got better frame rates with my GT260 than my 4870X2.
    4) Dalaran is always going to lag because of the amount of texture loading and network throughput that's required.
  2. I wouldn't blame the GPU setup. I ran a single 4870x2 in WoW, and saw very little improvement in framerates over my 4870 512mb, though I was able to crank up all the sparkle without effecting FPS negatively. Though the FPS you are reporting is obviously very low, I was seeing 40+ in dalaran @1920x1080, with the very occasional dip into the 30s, with technically inferior hardware.

    I was seeing max settings performance that exceeded yourse on WoW playing friends upgrades I performed in the last few months, by stuffing 4670s into older dual core AMD machines.

    Your GPU clocks are changing based on 2d/3d load. 600 is your base, 750 is your load. What you are witnessing is a normal power saving feature, as long as you are seeing the 750mhz when running 3D applications, there is no concern. Your memory clocks are high (1050 compared to stock 900) but generally you will see artifacts and other errors before an FPS handicap if the memory is running too fast for its own integrity.

    I DID notice a huge FPS increase in WoW when I OC'd my CPU from 2.6 to 3.25ghz, but I don't imagine an i7 would have a tough time with that game even at stock clocks. Speedstep on an i7 should not have been causing a performance problem, unless you are attempting max OC. At stock clocks, speedstep will actually improve your performance over not having it enabled, as it automatically overclocks individual cores on less than quadcore load.

    WoW is CPU dependent. Try lowering lowering your resolutions and see if you maintain the same FPS. If your FPS are staying steady as you drop the resolutons, you can be pretty sure that it is not your GPU causing the issues, but a CPU limitation.

    If you are only seeing the FPS issue on higher resolutions then there is a possible GPU issue, whether it be heat (you have awesome temps) or an actual hardware issue. Though, the fact that your other games are running fine points to a driver issue, imo.

    You may want to try older drivers just for the sake of ruling it out. If you find an older driver set that works well, then you know, heh. If not, I am fresh out of ideas.
  3. Awesome reply Jofa, thanks. I tried changing resolutions and was still having the same problem, so I did some more digging and found this article about a new Windows 7 core "parking" feature that disables and enables cores on the fly. I won't try to explain what that does, but by disabling it in the registry it cured my problem. Here's the article:

    So you were right, it's a CPU problem I was having. My cores are all running a few degrees warmer now at idle and load, and I'm a bit leery of randomly deleting reg keys, but hopefully this doesn't have any adverse effects elsewhere!

    If someone with a quad core and Win7 tries this and still has problems with wow, check my link to the wow forums about changing your processAffinityMask var in from 3 to 255. Thanks for the help.
  4. Awesome, glad your problems are resolved, hows the FPS now?
  5. JofaMang said:
    Awesome, glad your problems are resolved, hows the FPS now?

    40-55fps in Dalaran with no stuttering, occasionally dips to mid 30s. I imagine if I overclock to 3.6ish I'll see some nice benefits based on how CPU intensive WoW.
  6. Definitely, it was a bigger jump in overal visual performance from stock cpu to 3.25ghz, than replacing the single 4870 with the 4870x2. With the i7's proven power, that high of an overclock should have you laughing.
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