WOW, my life, and a 6600GT - whats the next step?

I built this system a few years ago:

Albatron PX-915P Pro MB
P4 520 (2.8GHz) CPU
Albatron 6600GT vid card
1G ram (4x256k)
Thermaltake Truepower 420W PS

I'm a casual gamer, and it has handled everything I threw at it with reasonable FPS using mid end vid settings. Then WOW entered my life. Prior to the BC expansion pack WOW ran flawlessly. After BC was installed I started getting a REALLY annoying video glitch. Often, when entering a new area where many new textures were suddenly getting loaded, the video will hiccup, and then many objects will appear without any or with messed up textures. The frame rate also drops into the single digits. Once this occurs, it never clears up on it's own. Forcing a reset of the video card by toggling vsync using the in-game controls usually clears it, but not always. Exiting and re-starting the game will also usually clear the problem. Re-starting the PC will always clears the problem. The problem is just as likely to occur five minutes after turn on as it after 5 hours of continuous use. Fortunately it never happens when in instances. I have no problems in any other application. The WOW tech support forum has lots of threads with people describing similar problems that started when the version 2 (BC) patch was released, and none (from what I have see) with any success at fixing it. This has proved to be the most vexing comp problem I have ever dealt with. I have tried four different versions of the Nvidia drivers, used driver cleaner between vid driver installs, ran a ram check test, updated my chipset driver, updated my MB bios, cleaned dust out of the case, tried both OpenGL and DirX modes, ran the WOW repair tool, removed the WTF folder, and played with every vid setting in the game. Nothing has changed the rate of occurance or nature of the problem. I have communicated with Blizzard and Nvidia tech support, and while they have made useful suggestions, nothing has worked. (BTW, Albatron has not answered any of my Emails - they no longer seem to be interested in supporting any of their older products. Remember that if you are considering buying anything from them.) Based on all of the above, I am concluding that this is most likely due to a H/W or BIOS problem in the video card. So I have been looking at replacements. I have a new 450W, 33A +12V PSU on its way from newegg, so any single card currently on the market is fair game. Right now I am considering the Nvidia 8600GT, ATI 2600XT, and ATI X1950Pro. After replacing the PSU and video card I plan on dropping in a P4 640 CPU and some more ram, so I can get another few years out of the system. So, my questions to the THG community (the most knowledgeable on the web, IMHO) are:

1. Does my conclusion that this is a problem in the video card make sense?

2. Does it make sense to stay away from Nvidia given the problem I am having, or will a new board from a new manufacturer just be a new roll of the dice compatibility-wise?

3. Is there any strong argument against any of the boards I am considering, given that WOW is my application of interest? I would like avoid any compatibility problems and to get at least 40 FPS using 1440x900 res, and 4xAA, with all the video quality settings maxed out.
8 answers Last reply
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  1. X1950PRO blows away both 8600GT and 2600XT , but your CPU will bottleneck it
  2. You may also want to consider picking up 2x512mb RAM sticks to up your ram to 1.5gb. 1gb is kind tight for WOW. Also, Don't run WoW in "WIndowed Mode' as this increases memory usage.

    Any of those cards listed, even the 7600GT, would all be fine.

    Be sure to get a DDR3 version of any of those cards.
    A few companies have slipped in some DDR2 models which are not up to snuff.

    As Maziar noted the X1950 pro is definitely the fastest but the others should work as well. Depending on your budget the cheaper ones may be better if they help you get the xtra bit of RAM into your system.
  3. Am i missing something here you started having a problem after installing a patch,lots of other people started to get the same/similar problems when they installed this patch,and you think the vid card that ran flawlessly before has suddenly gone wrong?
    May i suggest it may be the patch that is the problem :)
    No seriously what is this patch and what does it do can it be uninstalled. It may be that it has added some effects that your currant card does not support or has trouble running so if you could let us know what it is/does it might help trying t solve the prob.
  4. Have you tried... Getting a life and dropping WoW??
    Just jocking mate. It looks like a patch problem to me. Just wait a few days and I'm sure Blizz will fix it with an update.
  5. could always try reformatting the hard drive completely, it might be windows dieing on you (though patch is much more likely)
  6. mactronix's advice is the most sane along with the advice on upping your RAM. With RAM so cheap I'd dump the four 256 and just get two 1GB chips. WOW is one of the few games that really benefits from 2 gigs. eBay the 4 256MB chips to recover some of the cost of the RAM.

    A 6600GT can handle WOW without breaking a sweat.
  7. Anoobis said:
    mactronix's advice is the most sane along with the advice on upping your RAM. With RAM so cheap I'd dump the four 256 and just get two 1GB chips. WOW is one of the few games that really benefits from 2 gigs. eBay the 4 256MB chips to recover some of the cost of the RAM.

    A 6600GT can handle WOW without breaking a sweat.

    I agree with everything mactronix said... WoW ran fine on my ATI Mobility X1400... and that card gets its teeth kicked in by a 6600 GT. If WoW is the only thing you're playing right now, I'd consider more RAM... the video card shouldn't be a problem.
  8. To answer mactronix, no I can't roll back the patch. Wish I could, but WOW doesn't work that way. Everyone needs to be using the same version, so when Blizzard releases a patch they push the new version out to everyone automatically. Blizzard is aware of the problem, they don't believe the WOW app is the cause because they cannot reproduce it and if it was then then the problem would be occurring on every system with a 6600GT. The user community thinks the cause is the WOW app because it is happening on such a wide variety of H/W configurations and the only thing in common is the WOW app. My guess is that it is a subtle timing issue that was introduced with the 2.0 patch, but that it only occurs to a low percentage of systems. My hope is that changing the vid card will eliminate the problem.

    The 6600GT gave satisfactory FPS until I got a widescreen monitor and started running in 1440x900 res. I had to tweak down some quality settings to get the FPS back up to satisfactory levels. So, the primary reason I'm looking at new cards is to fix the missing textures problem, but I do want some more GPU power to get the FPS higher also.

    Thanks to everyone for the sage counsel.
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