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Awful framerates - any ideas?

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July 31, 2010 1:09:29 PM

Greetings hardware junkies,

I'm a self described geek, having fixed problems exactly like this for other people for years, but I simply can't figure out what is making my WoW framerate so freaking slow. Here's the rundown:

Processor: AMD Phenom 8450 Triple-Core (2.11GHz) 64 bit
RAM - 2Gb (could be better but should be enough for WoW...)
Gfx: ATI HD 5770 (link http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
OS: Windows 7 - installed last weekend (i.e. no there's not spyware/malware slowing it down, since it's performance hasn't changed since install).

Just installed the newest ATI Catalyst drivers, and D3D and OGL are
Direct3D Version 8.14.10.0768
OpenGL Version 6.14.10.10061

My framerate is between 10-15 with the MINIMUM settings. I don't hear my gpu fan running higher than it is when idle. My suspicion is that someone WoW is not offloading the load to the gfx card, as my cpu is a constant 33% (trip core).

Seeking any advice - if there's some driver pack I'm missing, or something, or a setting I can tweak, or a utility to grab more info to diagnose the issue, I'm willing.
Thanks folks,
~mule

More about : awful framerates ideas

a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 31, 2010 1:34:47 PM

Hello and welcome to the forums
First of all do a clean install of an "Older" driver(like 10.6),here is how
1_Download and install driver sweeper(you can find it in guru3d.com)
2_Go to control panel and uninstall the driver from there
3_Reboot and go to safemode and open driver sweeper and click on "ATI" and choose clean.
4_Boot normally and Install the new driver
and check if your FPS becomes normal or not
Also how's the situation in other games ?
July 31, 2010 2:20:57 PM

Acutally, I had the 10.6 driver first - I tried the 10.7 to see if there was any improvement.

And, I don't really play other games, so I don't quite have a reference. My wife's setup is very similar (dual isntead of trip core) but win7 with ATI HD 5770 and on that box we have the same framerate issue, but I don't notice problems with Oblivion even on high detail settings. On this machine I don't know.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 31, 2010 3:30:10 PM

Turn up the graphics settings a bit, see if your performance drops or stays the same. Im betting on it staying the same, your CPU isnt very fast so it and your memory is probably bottlenecking your system a bit, if you can increase the graphics settings a bit and not see a performance hit then its a CPU related limit.
July 31, 2010 5:08:58 PM

Most likely its not the RAM, but the CPU, a 2.11Ghz Dual core (Wow only recognizes 2) is SLOW by today standards, while 2GB is perfectly fine.
July 31, 2010 5:39:18 PM

1) I'd strongly recommend 4GB of RAM with Windows 7 generally speaking (especially if you have 64bit version).

2) Your CPU @ 2.1Ghz is going to limit some applications. WoW does not multi-thread properly, so the faster your CPU speed the better off you'll be. The original Phenom series wasn't amazingly impressive anyhow.

3) Do you play using WiFi? I keep seeing this with folks having FPS issues with WoW. Wireless internet is HORRIBLE for latency problems when gaming. If you're using WiFi, please plug in a network cable directly to the PC and see if that resolves your issues.

4) You did not mention your monitor resolution, but an ATI 5770 should be more than adequate for WoW. If changing your resolution, image quality settings, etc do not improve your FPS then you may have a latency problem, or a generally limitation due to your CPU. Again, WoW does not like multi-core CPUs, and adding some of the "addons" to WoW eats up CPU cycles (and RAM).

If your CPU sits at 33% load, that basically means it's using 100% of a single core more than likely. Which means it's being limited by the clock speed of that single core, and won't allow your system to spread the workload onto another CPU core.

How do you fix this? Overclock your processor.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 31, 2010 5:45:29 PM

I'd recommend checking out GPU-Z and check the bus interface to make sure it's running at x8 or x16. I've seen others and myself lose a lot of performance with the bus interface at x1 or x4. This is usually caused by poor seating.

You also might check if you have an integrated gpu, and make sure it's off if it does.
July 31, 2010 6:57:15 PM

Thanks to all for comments. I'll address them with more information here.

hunter315: I will try that soon and get back with results.

Timop: When I played this on the exact same hardware EXCEPT only running an ATI x850 with 256Mb, I got 59.9 fps (which is due to /maxfps = 60). This is why I doubt my cpu can't handle it. Also it's trip core.

jerreece: 1) For sure, I actually did, I just bought the wrong stuff. I'll be upgrading my mobo in the coming months rather than RMA'ing the ram and buying different ram.
2) As I told Timop above, it ran before the hardware upgrade (on xp) with 59.9 fps. This is why I doubt it is directly a cpu issue.
3) No, I refuse to game on wifi. :-)
4) Lowering my resolution does increase performance, but is not an option. I'm at 1440x900, which is the lowest I'm willing to go. This is the resolution I was at before with 59.9 fps. As for addons, my performance is just as poor with a completely vanilla UI.
5) I agree that being at 33% means a single core is being overloaded. What I believe is the problem is somehow my computer is sending work to the cpu instead of the gpu. Have you heard of that happening or what can be done about it?

bystander: I did check, and I should have said, it's running at x16 as it should be. I do have an integrated GPU, but it is not connected. As for 'turning it off' would disabling it in Device Manager do the trick?

Thanks for your input. Hopefully my followup information here will shed some light on what might be going on. I will get back with results for hunter when I can.
July 31, 2010 7:39:43 PM

Your biggest single problem is your CPU. It's simply too slow, that is all there is to it.
July 31, 2010 7:51:42 PM

I'm in agreement with jitpublisher. The CPU clock speed (considering WoW is only using 1 core) is your limit. I highly doubt the system is/can send GPU work to your CPU. More than likely, if a single CPU core is running @ 100%, and the GPU is getting hardly work load, it's because the GPU is waiting for the CPU to send it data.

WoW really is a single threaded application. It really doesn't like multi-core (nor do the addons for it last I played!!). So clock speed is where it's at with an old application like this. Now, if your Windows is 64bit, that 2GB of RAM simply isn't enough. At idle (nothing else open, right after boot up) my Windows 7 64bit uses about 1,200 to 1,300MB of RAM (Win 7, Antivirus, and a CPU use monitor active).

Windows 7 (be it 32bit or 64bit) will use more system resources than XP. So especially with older titles like this, it stands expected that they run better on XP (when you have lesser system resources). If you don't have enough RAM, your CPU and hard drive will be swapping data through your system, and the GPU will be forced to wait on data.

Whether you have the newest tri-core or Quad core (or hex-core) CPU really doesn't matter with WoW since it doesn't use multiple cores.

BTW: If you use any addons, try disabling ALL of them. Then restart and see if that has ANY noticeable affect in FPS. If your overall FPS increases, that's a good sign that your CPU is limiting you. By removing the addons, the CPU is doing less work (on that single core that WoW is tying up). It may still sit at 100% for that single core, but it can dedicate itself just to WoW, and not calculations from the addons.
July 31, 2010 8:18:40 PM

It simply cannot be a processor limitation. I was running the same game on higher graphics settings with a worse graphics card on the same cpu at max fps (59.9). It may be that the cpu is overloaded because the load is not being transferred to the gpu, but the cpu itself is not a problem. It's an OS/driver related problem. Somehow, WoW is asking the cpu to do the work instead of the gpu.

I understand that it's expected to run better on XP than on Win7, but to go from max frame rate to 10-15 is not expected. What also isn't expected is for my gpu to sit there doing nothing.

As for the memory, I am at 600Mb (140Mb of it in Firefox) used without wow running. Wow typically uses ~500Mb, sometimes up to 700Mb. The 2Gb is suboptimal, but not really a problem.

As I noted in part 4 of my previous response, I have the same performance problem with a vanilla interface (all customizations wiped, all defaults).

My problem definitely lies in my under-utilization of the gpu.

To bystander - I'm unable to find the integrated gfx in device manager. I don't believe I even installed drivers for it - my sfx and nic were found by PnP, so I didn't bother with it. I was hoping that might be related, but it appears it is not.

I have also noticed that I get a good 20-30% higher fps while running in OpenGL mode instead of D3D.
July 31, 2010 8:48:28 PM

So we've decided it can't be your CPU, because it can't be.

Uninstall everything. Start over. WoW, your drivers, DirectX, etc. Use DriverSweeper to make sure you've removed it all. Re-Install WoW, re-install your drivers. Re-install DirectX.

If the problem still exists, then it's just a mystery.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 31, 2010 9:52:32 PM

mule said:

To bystander - I'm unable to find the integrated gfx in device manager. I don't believe I even installed drivers for it - my sfx and nic were found by PnP, so I didn't bother with it. I was hoping that might be related, but it appears it is not.

I have also noticed that I get a good 20-30% higher fps while running in OpenGL mode instead of D3D.



You won't find it in the device manager. You should be able to find it in the BIOS. Some boards will require you to disable the integrated graphics processer, others just require you to enable the new one. You'll have to look through the menus or booklet to find it.
July 31, 2010 9:58:35 PM

Just a thought, have you got triple buffering ticked? this increased my fps dramatically. And it really can not be a CPU issue, wow is hardly a graphically demanding game, I played it on medium/high on a 2.8 ghz pentium 4 with HD4650 DDR2 at about 55fps, and you cant say that pentium 4 has faster architecture than a phenom x2 ?
July 31, 2010 10:46:29 PM

adam_x_brookes said:
Just a thought, have you got triple buffering ticked? this increased my fps dramatically. And it really can not be a CPU issue, wow is hardly a graphically demanding game, I played it on medium/high on a 2.8 ghz pentium 4 with HD4650 DDR2 at about 55fps, and you cant say that pentium 4 has faster architecture than a phenom x2 ?


Phenom, not Phenom X2. Technically he has a tri-core. Which could be called a Phenom X3. However, it's an original series, not the Phenom II X3. Either way, doesn't really matter. WoW is trying to run on a single core, and 2.1Ghz only goes so far if you only have a single core doing the computations.
August 1, 2010 12:19:05 AM

bystander said:
You won't find it in the device manager. You should be able to find it in the BIOS. Some boards will require you to disable the integrated graphics processer, others just require you to enable the new one. You'll have to look through the menus or booklet to find it.


I looked and the only option really was to choose the order of primary display PCIE -> PCI -> IPG (current) or IPG -> PCI -> PCIE - I left it as it was.

Also, yes I'm using triple buffering. I've tried about every Boolean combination of the settings in there for optimal performance. =(

Best solution

a b Ý World of Warcraft
August 1, 2010 1:16:25 AM
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At this point, I'm wondering if there are hardware issues. Your CPU might not be great, but with minimum settings, WoW should not perform that poorly. Not even close.

I'd recommend trying your video card in another machine you know is working fine, and see how it runs on benchmarks or WoW. I might also test your memory to make sure there are no issues there.
August 1, 2010 8:25:00 PM

bystander said:
At this point, I'm wondering if there are hardware issues. Your CPU might not be great, but with minimum settings, WoW should not perform that poorly. Not even close.

I'd recommend trying your video card in another machine you know is working fine, and see how it runs on benchmarks or WoW. I might also test your memory to make sure there are no issues there.


Or he could run fur-mark ? Perhaps if he wanted to test the card to make sure its working correctly he could run a GPU bench, if its awfully low, in its score, we'll know if its just not operating correctly or otherwise. In my case, I have a Crappy desktop with an AMD Athlon 4200 X2 and 2 GBs of ram and a 4650 running windows 7 32bit, It will even multibox WoW fine(not great but around 30-40 FPS).

Edit::: I also wonder, Some games have a thing for running better when the "affinity" is turned to a particular core, rather then being Automatically allocated. Perhaps Turning (in the device manager) the other two cores off on the Game will help the cause?
a b Ý World of Warcraft
August 1, 2010 8:32:41 PM

DaveWesh said:
Or he could run fur-mark ? Perhaps if he wanted to test the card to make sure its working correctly he could run a GPU bench, if its awfully low, in its score, we'll know if its just not operating correctly or otherwise. In my case, I have a Crappy desktop with an AMD Athlon 4200 X2 and 2 GBs of ram and a 4650 running windows 7 32bit, It will even multibox WoW fine(not great but around 30-40 FPS).

Edit::: I also wonder, Some games have a thing for running better when the "affinity" is turned to a particular core, rather then being Automatically allocated. Perhaps Turning (in the device manager) the other two cores off on the Game will help the cause?


The reason I suggested try it in another computer, is because it could be other hardware problems effecting gaphical performance.
August 2, 2010 12:30:51 AM

DaveWesh said:
Edit::: I also wonder, Some games have a thing for running better when the "affinity" is turned to a particular core, rather then being Automatically allocated. Perhaps Turning (in the device manager) the other two cores off on the Game will help the cause?


I do already, although it has an insignificant effect. I'm pretty sure the cores share their L1 and L2 cache, so it seems unlikely to have much effect.
August 2, 2010 1:55:54 AM

I loaded my old hard disk with XP on it (when I put win7 on, i used a new hdd) and loaded up the drivers for the 5770 here, and I'm getting max frame rate with "ultra"... so as suspected it is entirely windows 7 drivers not being able to offload work to the gpu... why, I have no idea. I guess I stick with xp for now...
August 2, 2010 3:02:36 AM

Best answer selected by mule.
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