World of Warcraft

OK, my home built rig is a few years old, and I never upped the video card from the tweener I bought at the time. I'm running Pentium 2.5 GHz (FSB 512?), 512MB of corsair, and an MSI Geforce card (maybe the 5500?). This is all on an MSI motherboard (intell chipset) just before Hyperthreading was officially adopted. (I think I may have the ability to enable Hyperthreading, but the CPU was not officially HT ready).

I have a dual monitor setup, thanks to the MSI's DVI and VGA outputs. The DVI goes to my LCD flat panel widescreen w/ 1280x720 resolution (usually).

So I just started getting into World of Warcraft, and basically everything is just fine. Playing in Wide Screen is definitely the way to go. But in the busy areas (Ironforge and Ogrimar) the video gets seriously choppy. The keyboard is still being read, but the video lags... so I end up turning around completely instead of just vearing right. This only occurs in areas where there are LOTS of other online characters. While this happens, I hear the hard drives (two Maxtor 200GB, raid level 1 via the MSI mobo), starts thrashing like crazy. These drives are NOT my boot drive, but my boot drive didn't have enough room to install WoW, so I in selected the raid for installation.

OK, now the questions... hopefully from people who actually play this game.

So if I want to COMPLETELY eliminate this choppy video, what should I do? Will a memory upgrade do it? Do I need a new CPU? Is it time for a new video card? All of the above?

OR... is it time to start a new system from scratch?

Do I need SLI in order to COMPLETELY eliminate this problem? Will SLI even help?

I don't mind spending some money, or taking on the project of building a new rig... but as a matter of principle I don't want to spend more than I need to. I want to spend exactly what I need to spend in order to COMPLETELY elimiate the choppy video.
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  1. a memory upgrade would help
    so you run WoW on 1280 resolution?
    maybe video card upgrade would help to run on that high resolution aswell
  2. First you would want a memory upgrade, basicaly that trashing it probably your PC using the HD swap file. However I did play some WoW in the past and even if you upgrade your memory and video you still may get some lag in the cities just because of all the network acivity on the server side so I doubt it would completely go away.

    A good test would be to reduce your resolution and maybe turn of some of the graphic setting and see if you still have the same problem. If it does go away then that a good idication that a stronger card could improve your video lag issue.
  3. CPU is fine - no need for change

    memory NEEDS to be 1GB or more (do this and I expect most of your issues to be resolved)

    lastly a better graphics card always helps - but I expect you are AGP so choice is limited.
  4. I gave up WoW a while back. Whenever I was in IF, everything just slowed down to turtle-speed. Alot of it is because its lag from 1/2 of all the players being in IF at the same time!

    I'd say get the 1 GB of RAM, but you're still going to see chopiness. It won't be super smooth, unless you play at 1am or something. Give that a shot - if its nice and smooth at 12-1am or during some off peak times, its probably just the WoW server.

    You also may want to increase your HDD swap file size. That may help, but the underlying issue is the tons of people on the server. You may also want to switch your swap file to your HDDs that don't have RAID 1. Its a swap, and if your RAID 1 is thrashing, then your swap is on the RAID 1. Which is pretty pointless since you never want to keep your swap file on a mirrored RAID. Plus its slower because of RAID overhead.

    An ISP upgrade may help, but may not be worth it.
  5. Ahh, ignorance in all it's forms...
    Don't upgrade anything. Everyone lags in IF because of how many people are there. It's nothing to do with your computer. End of story. The new patch gives auction houses in all the major cities, so this should cut congestion and improve everyones frame rates. WOW is not a video or processor intensive program. I keep my video card half clocked when I play, becuase it doesn't need to get all warmed up just to put some cartoons up for me.
    If you really really want to spend money to feel like you did something, more RAM never hurt anyone.
    Cheers
  6. Well, IF lag is one thing. Here is what I run into. I run at 1600x1200 with about 1/2 the detail options on. Granted my CPD is a 1.4 P4 8O , but I have an AGP 6600GT with a gig of RAM. I can run around out of the cities at 40-60 fps, but every once in a while it bottoms out to 4-10 fps, just unplayable. I notice my HDD thrashing as well. Is that just intermittent server lag, or what? Supposedly there is a known issue with 60xx cards in WoW. My swap file is as big as XP allows (4096 min 4096 max or something). Just suck it up and deal, or upgrade the pig?
  7. Regarding your question about SLI in a game like WOW I believe it helps!

    That said I have to explain myself because someone on here is going to say "SLI sucks unless you buy the best of the best" and they will be saying that because most of the time when you have two lower end products they won't put up higher frame rates then 1 higher end product and sometimes the higher end product is even the cheaper rout.

    Why then do i say SLI helps? its because of the MINIMUM frame rates. SLI set ups don't dip as low as comparable priced single cards because they share the load. Sometimes when the going gets tough (like in IF) comparable single cards can crawl at 3x slower frame rates then SLI set ups.

    Wile you won't hardly find any web pages catering to people who want to see the minimum frame rates I offer this link to one page that pits 2 6600 against a 6600gt. LINK

    of course get the memory and if you still lag you might wanna try a less crouded server or maybe upgrading your connection speed.
  8. Ive seen this before and infact no video card, ram, or hard drive will help. Processing all the chars you see is CPU only lag and the only way to make it better is get a faster CPU. :?
  9. A little proof of that would be nice.
  10. Thanks for the comments all. Especially from those of you who sound like you've actually expirienced this.

    Let me make one clarification. The RAID is striped (wanted speed for music and video), not mirrored for data integrety. I had the system set up and running before I bought the drives for the RAID. So I'm assuming that the page file is on my boot drive, not on the RAID (I don't think it would migrate without telling me). I suppose it could be my boot disk that I hear flailing in those busy locations... but whichever drives are getting busy, they get REALLY busy.

    I never quite understood the page file, though. Is that essentially "virtual memory"... so if the program needs more memory, it swaps the content of my RAM out to the disk and then pulls that data back as needed?

    Would increasing the size allow less swapping? Wouldn't I just be swapping larger amounts of data?

    Unless I'm completely off base (very possible), I could see how bumping up to 1GB could decrese the need to swap as often, but I don't see how adjusting the size of the swap file would make me need to swap less often.

    What is the optimal setting for for the page file? I remmeber there was a rule of thumb, like total memory plus 20% or something like that.
  11. With enough memory you can remove the swap file all together however some silly programs can malfunction without a swap file. Regardless with enough memory the only time your hardrives should be thrashing is when your loading the game. Insuficiant memory is the only reason anyone needs virtualization.
  12. Oh ok, so you have RAID 0.

    Windows might automatically put some swap file space on your RAID. You can check Right-Click My computer->Properties->Advanced->Performance Settings

    You should put the swap file on your RAID actually, and not your boot. It should be faster, I would think.

    yes, the page file is the virtual memory. Once you run out of RAM, it will dump some RAM into your page file, and load the new data into RAM. Once the computer requests the data that was dumped to the page file, the computer will pull the data out of the page file and put it back into the RAM. Pretty expensive.

    Well, if your virtual memory is set too small, you can run into a lot of problems. Windows would probably start to be super slow.

    I thought the rule was total memory + 50%. I always use that.
    When I played I had 512MB of RAM, and I usually wasn't swapping that much.. I think WoW for me showed in the Task Manager at like 300-350MB RAM at the worst. But that was almost a year ago :)
  13. Speaking from 1sthand experiance here.
    upgrading your memory from 512 to 1gig will make THE biggest difference.
    I had an old nvidia Ti4600 card 1.8ghz CPU and 512mb ram.

    Upgrading the ram alone made the choppyness in IF go away.

    Whenever your HD starts thrashing, you have run out of RAM & windows is using you HD as memory. since slow memory is about 80ns, and Very fast HDs are 6ms 6000ns, you can see where stuff will slow down.

    the more memory you can add on, the better off you will be.
  14. "Ahh, ignorance in all it's forms... Don't upgrade anything. Everyone lags in IF because of how many people are there. It's nothing to do with your computer. End of story... my video card... doesn't need to get all warmed up just to put some cartoons up for me."

    Depends how you play the game. If all you do is PvP and/or play casually then yes, who cares if you get 5-10 FPS in IF. I had the same problem with my old computer, but it affected me quite a bit because, believe it or not, I frequently played in environments even laggier than IF :P The 2nd encounter in BWL would give me 2-3 FPS. Clearing to the third encounter often resulted in extended freezing of my entire screen. Fighting the lab packs after Firemaw resulted in 4-5 fps, ect. In general, I never got above 15 fps while raiding in BWL, and it was annoying as hell... yet while playing casually on my alts I would get ~40, and IF was at most a minor inconvience. Anyways, I trashed my 6 year old comp and upgraded, now it seems WoW is incapable of getting my FPS below 20-25 ever with max settings at 1600x1200... and I'm sure as hell glad I did it :)

    Just as a refernce for the OP, I'm running 2GB PC3200 Corsair, 7800 GT, AMD Opteron 148, and a standard 80 GB WD 7200 rpm hard drive.
  15. my cousin's PC is:
    cpu: celeron 2ghz
    vga: en6600GT 128mb AGP8x
    ram: 4x256mb dual channel kingston ddr
    and he plays at blizzard, and he dont have any lag at all.
    i mean that u just need to change the ram and the vga
  16. I don't lag in IF or Org.

    I did on my old pc though before I upgraded.
  17. 'ignorance of all forms' :roll:


    anyway as far as i can tell, being played before, the HDD is the one that slows down ur com when u reach IF or Ogrimmar.

    unless u can stripe a Raid 0 with a dual raptor or better yet the ramdrive thing, u will inadvertently suffer from that lag.

    the fact that the game loads textures and models on demand is what causing it.

    however with sufficient amount of ram, u can be sure that the 'lag' will only come when u first enter a city, or u see a new model/texture.
  18. I went from a P4 1.6 with 1 GB of ram and a 6600GT AGP to this:

    Antec True Power II 550
    Asus A8N-E nForce4 Ultra S939
    AMD 64 3200+ Venice CG stepping
    eVGA Geforce 7800GT 256MB VIVO
    4X Corsair PC 3200 512 MB DDR dual channel
    Sound Blaser Live! PCI
    Maxtor 60 GB IDE 7200 System Drive
    IBM 185 GB IDE 7200 Media Storage
    Dell 20" Widescreen LCD 2005FPW

    I'm here to tell you, it's not all network lag. I was running 1024 x 768 med detail settings and getting 30 fps average, 5-15 fps in IF or flying. I am now running 1680 x 1050 with all the settings MAXXED and getting 59 fps average, 25-29 fps flying. I have not even overclocked yet. Now if I could only find more time to level up...
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