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Best GPU Choice for World of Wacraft?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 15, 2010 4:03:12 PM

I've been out of the loop for a while - haven't looked at upgrades or built a new system in 4+ years and haven't played WoW in over several months. I figure I'd come back for Cataclysm and see what that's all about so I'm putting together a new system.

I've heard that WoW doesn't support SLI, so my original idea of running dual GTX 460s might now work out so well. I suppose I'll just go with one card (take the price of the two 460s, ~$480 and just spend it on one great card). I'm currently considering this overclocked GTX 480:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In addition to World of Warcraft, I plan on playing Starcraft II, Team Fortress 2, and maybe some even newer games like Brink. Being able to play all these games on high settings with very comfortable FPS is a must. Wondering if the 480 is a bit overkill? If so, anything that will cost me less cash and perform just as well would be nice.
September 15, 2010 4:08:07 PM

a 480 for a starcraft or WoW is overkill. the 460's are good and specially 2 of them in sli beat a 480 hands down. so you could go for that. else hold your horses and wait for the budget based gtx 450
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a c 189 U Graphics card
September 15, 2010 4:12:04 PM

Well, tell us your full specs first...

I agree with you, i always prefer a single powerful card than dual (SLI/CF) cards setup.
Yes, your choice is good.
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September 15, 2010 4:15:22 PM

Processor: i5-760
Motherboard: Asus P7P55D-E Pro
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 460 (2x)
Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Case: Antec P183
Power Supply: Antec CP-850 850W
CPU Fans & Heatsink: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus

Is what I currently have in mind. I'm considering putting some extra money into an i7-860, instead of my current i5. So it's a choice between an i7 or i5, or two GTX 460's vs one GTX 480 (or something similar and cheaper, or two cards vs one)
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 15, 2010 4:16:01 PM

Well, tbh games like wow/tf2 don't require a good gpu.
With gtx 460 you could play the games at the highest settings.
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September 15, 2010 4:22:44 PM

wa1 said:
Well, tell us your full specs first...

I agree with you, i always prefer a single powerful card than dual (SLI/CF) cards setup.
Yes, your choice is good.


i agree as i am running a single 470. but considering his situation he could go for a 460 and later sli it still providing better temps, fps and powe efficiency.
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a c 189 U Graphics card
September 15, 2010 4:25:39 PM

If i were you then i will stay with i5 and OC it a little (you have a GREAT CPU Cooler there) and grab GTX470. You can add another one later if you have money, 2x GTX470 would be awesome and good for a long term...
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September 15, 2010 4:43:06 PM

wa1 said:
If i were you then i will stay with i5 and OC it a little (you have a GREAT CPU Cooler there) and grab GTX470. You can add another one later if you have money, 2x GTX470 would be awesome and good for a long term...


Yeah, the only reason I was considering the i7-860 is because of the money that I'm dumping into the other components of my build: the (potential) SLI GTX 460s, a nice SSD, proper cooling, etc - my processor might be considered the bottleneck.

Now, as I mentioned, I haven't run SLI before but I'm assuming that with games like Starcraft II and other up and coming releases, SLI is taken full advantage of?
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September 15, 2010 4:52:27 PM

prolific said:
Yeah, the only reason I was considering the i7-860 is because of the money that I'm dumping into the other components of my build: the (potential) SLI GTX 460s, a nice SSD, proper cooling, etc - my processor might be considered the bottleneck.

Now, as I mentioned, I haven't run SLI before but I'm assuming that with games like Starcraft II and other up and coming releases, SLI is taken full advantage of?

totally... certain games have reported closed to 100% (2x performance :pt1cable:  ) scaling (i think just cause2 and farcry 2) while rest have shown close to 80% :D  . Also think about factors like CUDA (if you've got an ipod or ps3 or anything to watch movies in a big picture, then you need the awesome power of video upscaling and transcoding), PHYSX and 3D VISION :sol: 
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September 15, 2010 5:00:53 PM

Neither WoW nor SC2 are optimized for SLI. If there is any performance increase it is minimal. However, neither require much GPU power either. I play both at max settings (except for shadows in WoW) on 1920x1080 without a problem on my 9800gt 1GB.
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September 15, 2010 5:00:59 PM

Thanks for the reply. Looking forward to any other suggestions out there.
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September 15, 2010 5:02:41 PM

kaosnkorruption said:
Neither WoW nor SC2 are optimized for SLI. If there is any performance increase it is minimal. However, neither require much GPU power either. I play both at max settings (except for shadows in WoW) on 1920x1080 without a problem.


What's your current GPU?

And it's just as much your CPU couple with the RAM, etc that helps better your WoW experience -- from what I've come to understand, at least.

I'd just like to be at ~60 FPS as consistently as possible. Trying to figure out what build will enable that for both WoW and other games.
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September 15, 2010 5:30:05 PM

prolific said:
What's your current GPU?

And it's just as much your CPU couple with the RAM, etc that helps better your WoW experience -- from what I've come to understand, at least.

I'd just like to be at ~60 FPS as consistently as possible. Trying to figure out what build will enable that for both WoW and other games.


today's games are slowly starting to use the potential of quad cores. ex mafia 2.. i myself am running a q6600 on stock with a 470 (major cpu bottleneck) but that dosent stop me from maxing out my games in HD while getting 45 -50 fps... if i were to oc then i would easily hit the 60+ sweetspot.. so an i5 should be marvellous unless ur are into heavy multitasking like rendering an animation clip, watching a bluray movie and transcoding all at the same time. in such a case i would advice an i7.
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September 16, 2010 1:19:17 AM

Yeah, I've heard nothing but good things about the i5-760 but for the same price, I can have an i7 instead - I live an hour away from a Microcenter. I'd like some more opinions, however, sounds like either one is a win-win.

As far as the GPU, still not sure what to do. Once again, sounds like either option will run WoW and other games flawlessly but I'm still looking for some strong opinions and definite answers.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 16, 2010 1:42:39 AM

kaosnkorruption said:
Neither WoW nor SC2 are optimized for SLI. If there is any performance increase it is minimal. However, neither require much GPU power either. I play both at max settings (except for shadows in WoW) on 1920x1080 without a problem on my 9800gt 1GB.


Crossfire most definately works in WoW. In Dalaran, I go from 30's to 50's in FPS when I have Crossfire enabled.

Just one note, CF does not work when in windowed mode, which a lot of people use in WoW.

Also, shadows is the killer. If you want good shadow level, which definately is a lot more enjoyable, you do need a lot more graphics power. When I went from no shadows, to having shadows on, I had a few creepy experiences with birds flying overhead, and even horde coming to fight, which weren't present otherwise.
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September 16, 2010 2:02:35 AM

warlord1609 said:
today's games are slowly starting to use the potential of quad cores. ex mafia 2.. i myself am running a q6600 on stock with a 470 (major cpu bottleneck) but that dosent stop me from maxing out my games in HD while getting 45 -50 fps... if i were to oc then i would easily hit the 60+ sweetspot.. so an i5 should be marvellous unless ur are into heavy multitasking like rendering an animation clip, watching a bluray movie and transcoding all at the same time. in such a case i would advice an i7.


In the PC community HD isn't very high, even cheap 15 inch laptops use 1366x768 so 1280x720 is considered on the lower end of resolutions.
Full HD, 1920x1080 is on the higher end though.
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September 16, 2010 2:09:51 AM

bystander said:
Crossfire most definately works in WoW. In Dalaran, I go from 30's to 50's in FPS when I have Crossfire enabled.

Just one note, CF does not work when in windowed mode, which a lot of people use in WoW.

Also, shadows is the killer. If you want good shadow level, which definately is a lot more enjoyable, you do need a lot more graphics power. When I went from no shadows, to having shadows on, I had a few creepy experiences with birds flying overhead, and even horde coming to fight, which weren't present otherwise.


Thanks for the reply man. What your current system build look like / do you plan on putting something new together (upgrading) for Cataclysm?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would that card be considered overkill?
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 16, 2010 2:12:42 AM

prolific said:
Thanks for the reply man. What your current system build look like / do you plan on putting something new together (upgrading) for Cataclysm?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would that card be considered overkill?


With that card, and a good CPU to go with it, you should be good at 1920x1200 resolution with everything maxed except shadows would be 1 notch below max. You might expect 40 FPS in dalaran, and over 60+ most everywhere else, even in raids.

I'd probably dial it down to a 470 myself, if I were to start over.

460's in SLI might be nice, but I do like to play in windowed mode so I can read Wowwiki and monitor vent.
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September 16, 2010 2:28:28 AM

I'm a windowed mode player myself (have been in every game possible it seems) and I do like the idea of one card vs a SLI/CrossFire setup.

That 480 came recommended by a friend(s) and the reviews are nothing but solid, especially in the noise/cooling respect. I'd consider it pretty future-proof as well, not sure if I'm 100% correct in saying that but it sure seems like a good bet.

As for my CPU and such, i7-860 and 4GBs of RAM should get the job done pretty nicely, no?
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September 16, 2010 3:30:03 AM

I think you should wait for the radeon hd 6000 series.
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September 16, 2010 3:34:52 AM

Are those 100% set-in-stone for a Q1 2011 release as well?

Ideally, I would like to have a new rig up and running around late November and hop into the Cataclysm action. I also figured the GTX 480 would be future-proof in a sense, maybe I'm wrong by saying so?
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September 16, 2010 3:37:41 AM

The HD6000 will be around Christmas, AMD's trying to rush in for the holiday season.
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September 16, 2010 3:42:55 AM

That definitely makes things interesting.

My concern is that the new 6000 will be pricey - it may not seem like it, but I'm definitely looking to stick within a budget of sorts. Now, the new card, without a doubt, will be worth it so it's gonna be a hard choice.

I'm wondering if I should be waiting for the 6000 just to catch the price drops in current models? I can't see the GTX 480 becoming obsolete; I figure I'd still be able to run all the games listed effortlessly.
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September 16, 2010 4:19:03 AM

The 6000s should drive the prices of the other cards down.
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2010 4:45:43 AM

The only drawbacks to the 480 solution - besides cost lol - are the heat and the noise. These may not be an issue for you.

And folks don't need a 480 to play WoW at max settings, shadows included, max viewing distance, at 1920x1200.

A 5770 does it for me on an 8GB i5 750 with Win7 and WoW on an SSD (full disclosure) running at 3.0GHz, using a one-click overclock provided by Gigabyte mobo's software suite.

In Dal right now to check. It's not worst case - it's Wednesday night 12:30 AM server time - but it's getting 36 FPS min, 50 max spinning around on the nBank steps. The usual crowd is there waiting for Randoms or ICC pugs. CPU utilization across the 4 cores is 45-45-25-10. Its not a raid, so DBM and other add-ons are silent and no Vent is running,

A single 460 would certainly do better. An 8xx cpu would give marginally better fps, and a 930 another marginal step forward. Plus protection against more demanding raid situations. A 480 isn't needed to meet your goal, and we haven''t yet used 2x460s which are faster than a 480, if needed, for other games or future MMOs.

If WoW is your goal, and there is a budget, a 930 with a 460, and a mobo/psu that can support SLI, might be the most flexible way to go. And you might save enough money for an SSD . . . game loads and zone-in times are . . . quick.

Otherwise, mash WoW with a 480 lol. I can understand that, I have a 5870 in my other gaming rig.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 16, 2010 5:33:36 AM

Twoboxer said:
The only drawbacks to the 480 solution - besides cost lol - are the heat and the noise. These may not be an issue for you.

And folks don't need a 480 to play WoW at max settings, shadows included, max viewing distance, at 1920x1200.

A 5770 does it for me on an 8GB i5 750 with Win7 and WoW on an SSD (full disclosure) running at 3.0GHz, using a one-click overclock provided by Gigabyte mobo's software suite.

In Dal right now to check. It's not worst case - it's Wednesday night 12:30 AM server time - but it's getting 36 FPS min, 50 max spinning around on the nBank steps. The usual crowd is there waiting for Randoms or ICC pugs. CPU utilization across the 4 cores is 45-45-25-10. Its not a raid, so DBM and other add-ons are silent and no Vent is running,


I have a feeling your max isn't completely maxed. Maybe your AA is x1 (which by the benchmarks listed above would indicate), maybe you have something not maxed, but at your resolution, I'd not expect those results.

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,689378/WoW-Wrath-of-...

Click on the 1920x1200 tab, not even the 4870x2's get that high. It might even be a CCC option that is set lower.
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September 16, 2010 6:46:16 AM

i have a gtx 470 and im running wow on 1920x1080 4x AA and FULL SHADOWS its amazing, get around 50 fps in dalaran and 60 fps in lk encounter 25man.

my system is
AMD phenom x4 9950 @ 3.1GHz
8GB DDR2 800
MSI GTX 470

i got the system just for wow and to max it out. especially in cataclysm blizzard will be adding dx11 support for water and i would like to run it in full too (maybe i will upgrade my cpu later)

thats why i suggest nothing below gtx 470 for wow and do not opt for an SLI if they dont add support for it in cataclysm.
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September 16, 2010 6:55:25 AM

To your point about a CCC option . . .

All WoW settings are as reported, including 24-24-8x.

I went into CCC and restored factory defaults. While I can't ever recall being in here before except to change monitors and resolution, FPS dropped to 25.

Changing AA from Multi-sampling to Super-Sampling dropped FPS to 17.

Sorry about the report above, and thanks for the lesson lol.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 16, 2010 7:14:51 AM

Twoboxer said:
To your point about a CCC option . . .

All WoW settings are as reported, including 24-24-8x.

I went into CCC and restored factory defaults. While I can't ever recall being in here before except to change monitors and resolution, FPS dropped to 25.

Changing AA from Multi-sampling to Super-Sampling dropped FPS to 17.

Sorry about the report above, and thanks for the lesson lol.


Ya, that's more like what I'd expect.
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September 16, 2010 10:17:42 PM

Twoboxer said:
If WoW is your goal, and there is a budget, a 930 with a 460, and a mobo/psu that can support SLI, might be the most flexible way to go. And you might save enough money for an SSD . . . game loads and zone-in times are . . . quick.

Otherwise, mash WoW with a 480 lol. I can understand that, I have a 5870 in my other gaming rig.


Thanks so much for your detailed reply man, and to everyone else who's chimed in thus far.

I plan on grabbing an i7 from a Microcenter ~1hr or so away, for $200, saving $80+ rather than buying from Newegg. I plan on using that cash towards a single GTX 480, as overkill as it seems.

Ideally, I'd like to be built and running by Cataclysm release, but I don't see it happening. I'm thinking about waiting around for Black Friday (Cyber Monday?) and grabbing a SSD at a discount. Also, as someone mentioned earlier in this thread, the new 6000 series graphics cards will cause a drop in current prices.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 16, 2010 11:14:58 PM

I don't see an issue with the 480 with a 1920x1200 res monitor. It will allow for the highest quality settings that you can with a single card, which helps when you play in windowed mode (I know CF doesn't work in windowed mode, SLI is likely to be the same).

I however question the SSD. While they are faster, they show to make little to no practical use for gaming (other activities may be improved more).
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September 16, 2010 11:44:20 PM

Hmm, interesting opion on the SSD. I've heard nothing but great things about upgrading to one; some call it the single best upgrade you could make. In fact, and in this very thread, I would assume Twoboxer owns one and had this to say about it:

Twoboxer said:
If WoW is your goal, and there is a budget, a 930 with a 460, and a mobo/psu that can support SLI, might be the most flexible way to go. And you might save enough money for an SSD . . . game loads and zone-in times are . . . quick.


I'd like to see some links to support your statement - not calling you uninformed or anything like that, just the first time I've heard someone knock a SSD like that.

Regardless, a SSD for Windows boot is nice (as well as the other programs) and worse case, I can't see it slowing game load times.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
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September 17, 2010 3:11:30 AM

prolific said:
Hmm, interesting opion on the SSD. I've heard nothing but great things about upgrading to one; some call it the single best upgrade you could make. In fact, and in this very thread, I would assume Twoboxer owns one and had this to say about it:



I'd like to see some links to support your statement - not calling you uninformed or anything like that, just the first time I've heard someone knock a SSD like that.

Regardless, a SSD for Windows boot is nice (as well as the other programs) and worse case, I can't see it slowing game load times.


While an SSD is faster at reading info, how often is it really useful when gaming? So instead of spending 10 seconds loading a zone, you do it in 8 seconds. You still have to wait for your party to zone in. How often are you really zoning? Once you are zoned in, there is no benefit to it.

All the benchmarks for gaming advantages for SSD's result in saying it's a tough sale. I believe those who do a lot of video editting and other more harddrive intesive things, get more benefits.
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September 18, 2010 3:48:33 AM

sabot00 said:
In the PC community HD isn't very high, even cheap 15 inch laptops use 1366x768 so 1280x720 is considered on the lower end of resolutions.
Full HD, 1920x1080 is on the higher end though.

i meant full hd.. sorry
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September 19, 2010 4:50:49 AM

bystander said:
While an SSD is faster at reading info, how often is it really useful when gaming? So instead of spending 10 seconds loading a zone, you do it in 8 seconds.
You often die alone, you can get kicked from the server while the raid waits . . . its a little more useful than you make it out to be lol. But listen, based on what's currently known, there's no doubt that for gaming its a luxury. Depending on the rig, budget money probably should be spent elsewhere.

There may be some other benefits, though:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-idf-2010-amd-bobcat,2748-4.html



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September 19, 2010 10:51:14 AM

Another comparison. i7 930 @ 4.011ghz, gtx470 stock, WoW maxed aside from shadows one notch down. This includes reduce input lag and 8xmsaa.

In Dalaran when it's fairly busy i get a minimum of about 55, not busy it's about 90ish. In a raid it never drops below 60 that i recall. About 200-250 in IF..lol. The GTX 470 is most definitely more GPU then is need ed for WoW. With vsync on capping the fps to 60, gpu usaage is usually like 30% or so. Maybe peaking at 50% in the most intense situations.

WoW is all about the uber fast CPU, that'll make the most difference.
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September 30, 2010 5:24:47 AM

I vote for a bigger PSU. I have a 650 Earthwatts powering a Phenom IIx4+GTX 470 and I can't seem to game stable with an overclock on either the CPU or the GPU. With overclocks off, it runs like a champ. But when I push either component, I get crashes and resets.
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September 30, 2010 5:19:14 PM

dirtmountain said:
Nice build, i'd consider going with the Crucial 128GB SATAIII SSD though since your motherboard supports it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Ah, good call - definitely work looking into.

As for the PSU concerns, I don't plan on overclocking at all. I originally had a 850W PSU selected but I was told by multiple sources that 850 was way, way too much. Where should I land?
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September 30, 2010 5:51:06 PM

Just a random note, not so much on the technical side of things...

Portals are being removed from Dal & Shatt, so Org/SW/ & UC/IF will most likely be hubs again, reducing the number of players per area (and increasing the size). Rumor is also that Cataclysm has been delayed into December, giving you more time to take advantage of Black Friday.
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September 30, 2010 5:56:52 PM

Actually, I believe I spoke too soon. Your selected PSU has 52 amps on the 12v rail. That's plenty enough to power a 470. Sorry to worry you, I spoke before thinking.
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September 30, 2010 7:46:05 PM

eskEMO_iwL said:
Rumor is also that Cataclysm has been delayed into December, giving you more time to take advantage of Black Friday.
FYI, Amazon this week updated the in-home delivery dates of pre-orders from unknown to 11/26/10.

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September 30, 2010 10:23:04 PM

ScoobyJooby-Jew said:
Actually, I believe I spoke too soon. Your selected PSU has 52 amps on the 12v rail. That's plenty enough to power a 470. Sorry to worry you, I spoke before thinking.


No, no, I appreciate the reply regardless man.

I've read the same thing about the release date being pushed back til early December sometime, let's hope it holds.

Any other thoughts comments out there?
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November 30, 2010 4:42:30 PM

I just updated my cpu a little but I ran 2GB ram, core 2 duo e6750 (2.66) and a 9800 GTX 512 mb gpu on a 19x1200 monitor and I had no problems at all with fps . I dont raid at all since molten core once way back in vanilla so i cant tell you fps there but Arena'ing at 2500+ in all 3 brackets was never a problem. I noticed there is always a delay in objects appearing so i eventually turned down the how far you can see and objects a tad and my fps is always high. I now have a gtx 470, 4gb ram and overclocked my cpu to 3.7 ghz and guess what... no difference AT ALL. my fps is a bit higher but its not even noticeable. Can't help you with SC2 though.
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November 30, 2010 10:00:28 PM

@ 5abivt You see no difference because that cp is severely bottlenecking that card in WoW, mostly because WoW on makes use of 2 cores. My i7 @ 4.011ghz and my gtx 470 is loads faster in WoW then my Q6600 @3.2ghz and 8800gts 512 ever was.
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November 30, 2010 11:59:01 PM

Yeah, I'd look into upgrading your CPU before your GPU, for sure.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
December 1, 2010 12:15:08 AM

When it comes to wow it is best to aim for the best cpu that you can honestly afford even though single instance its needs are fairly low however when logging more than one accounts means that your system will take a large performance hit after the third or forth account.
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