What to upgrade for WOTLK?

Hi guys, thanks in advance for any info you can provide.

My current specs: nothing oc'd
AMD x2 4800
2gb performance ram
BFG 7900gtx
1680x1050 resolution
Windows XP

I strictly play wow and have been noticing my fps drop below 30 and often 20 frames during graphics intensive raids and crowded places. I have heard that the upcoming expansion will require even more powerful hardware.

What I'm looking for is a quick, cheap way to improve performance in wow, with playable framerates (30+) in all raid environments. What would be my best upgrade route? Is it time to upgrade my mobo and processor along with my graphics card?

I'm hoping that a simple video card upgrade will do the trick, looking to pay in the neighborhood of $250 but willing to pay more if absolutely necessary.
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  1. Personally I'd go for 2GB more RAM, and a better GFX card (unless that is an old skt 939). Then a full upgrade would be best, however a GeForce 9600 will laugh at WOTLK.
  2. Last I checked, Windows XP only supports up to 3gb of ram. Am I mistaken?

    I believe it's an old socket 939, in which case upgrading the mobo, cpu and video card is in order?
  3. WoW likes lots of RAM, but if that board takes DDR, save your money for your next build.
    A better graphics card now, however, would not be wasted because you could move it later. What brand and model is your PSU? If it turns out to be a quality one of at least 450W, then you could buy a 4850 now and see a good improvement. If the PSU is questionable, it is probably best to plan on a more comprehensive upgrade. You could get a 4670 with a weaker PSU, but I don't think that's the best use of funds. You could get an Antec Earthwatts for ~$50 or so and then get the 4850, but again you may just want to wait for a new build.
    Any 32bit OS can see 4GB of address space, but that counts video memory, system ROM, and any other bits of memory that other cards may use, so typically you'll see 3.2GB-3.5GB of system RAM if you put in 4GB. As cheap as RAM is, I think that is still worthwhile. For your new build, once you have confirmed there are no compatibility issues, you can use a 64bit OS and see all 4GB of it.
  4. I don't remember the exact wattage, but I'm pretty sure it's an Antec with 500 watts or above.

    So your recommendation is to go for a 4850 and 2gb of ram? Should I be putting in 2 more gb's of the same ram that's in my system atm, or does it not matter? Also, I prefer Nvidia cards (semi fanboy :P), is there a Nvidia equivalent to the 4850?
  5. 9800 gtx+ I believe is equivalent performance at higher price. Not trying to insult you but it is foolish to stick with Nvidia for fanboy reasons. 9800 gtx+ are 159.99 after rebate, and you can get a 4850 for 139.99 after rebate.
  6. Thanks, I thought I read that the 9800gtx was equivalent.. thanks for clearing that up. As far as fanboy reasons go, I believe in product loyalty and until I have a bad experience with a Nvidia card, performance being equal and price being comparable, I'll stick with the brand that I know. $20 is not a lot to pay for peace of mind. :D
  7. Unless the OP is playing at some obscene resolutions / AA levels, wouldn't a 7900 GTX be plenty for that game? I played WoW w/ the first expansion on a MUCH less capable ATI X1400 and it ran fine for me at moderate detail levels and resolutions.

    Is there a chance that the OP's network connection contributes to the low FPS?
  8. I play @ 1680x1050 and my fps was always fine until about a year ago, and is still fine when there isn't much going on in my screen. When I'm by myself or in a small group, my fps stays steadily above 100. The fps drops occur when I'm in a raid or when I'm around a lot of people, and when that happens, it dips below 20 at times and even below 10 when there is a lot of activity going on.

    My latency is usually below 100ms so I don't think it's a network issue.
  9. The game your playing? WOTLK = more of the same

    Seriously? I would probably just put an ATI 4850 in for the time being providing your current box has PCI-E. But you need to start looking at getting a new machine. You can bring that 4850 into your new machine and be in good shape.
  10. ^ to the HD4850. If you really want to stick with Nvidia then the 9800GTX, or GTX+. Your cheapest and best upgrade path is your graphic card which can be moved along to a new build.
  11. Thanks for all the helpful information guys. I'm going to go ahead and pick up a 9800gtx+ this weekend and hopefully that makes raids enjoyable again.
  12. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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