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Graphics Card Upgrade for WoW Cataclysm

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 7, 2010 10:29:21 AM

Hello Everyone,

I currently own an AMD Phenom 8450 (3-core) 2.1GHz on an ASUS M3A78 PRO (DDR2) motherboard, paired with a Radeon 3850.

I am planning to play WoW Cataclysm at 1680*1050 resolution. Not any other games...

Which graphics card do you think I would have to buy to play maxed out at the above resolution and not stutter in raids, cities etc?

Do you think there would be a CPU bottleneck before I was able to do that ??

Motherboard can take pretty much all AMD CPUs to date but I'm not sure I would need a CPU upgrade nor do I have the cash to throw away.

Any help is much appreciated!

Harris
a c 169 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
a c 136 V Motherboard
December 7, 2010 11:40:22 AM

Your CPU will definitely hold your VGA back.So get a new CPU like Phenom II X4 965 and as for VGA,a card like HD 5770 will give you a great performance boot for your resolution.
December 8, 2010 5:02:05 AM

Thanks for the response firstly :) 

So, do you think CPU is maxed out with particular graphics card (Radeon 3850) and there is no point in upgrading without a new CPU to go with ?

Sorry for being thorough but I myself can't figure out a way to test that.

If I open task manager, and if I remember well 1 core is around 80%, 2nd at 60% and 3rd at 40%...

The other thing I could possibly do is get the GFX card first and if not satisfied get the CPU to go with...
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a c 169 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
a c 136 V Motherboard
December 8, 2010 6:32:52 AM

Well,WoW benefits from faster CPUs so if you only upgrade your VGA,your current CPU will cause major bottlenecks preventing your VGA to run at its full potential so the best thing is to upgrade both VGA and CPU
December 8, 2010 12:15:27 PM

I don't think that board supports AM3 processors, but I could be wrong.
December 10, 2010 10:07:25 AM

Thank you both!

Currently, I'm leaning towards an Athlon X4 and a GTS 450...

Andon the motherboard does support AM3 CPUs...

At least they are listed in the CPU support list in ASUS site...
December 10, 2010 12:14:10 PM

Okay cool, that should work pretty good. Get the quad if you need 4 cores, but if your only reason for upgrading is to play WOW I'd go with an X3 at a higher clock speed to save a few bucks.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cataclysm doesn't benefit from more than 3 cores but it is dependent on clock speed. there will be no difference between triple or quad cores in Cataclysm. This came from the Cataclysm performance review here on Tom's Hardware, check it out if you haven't already.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/world-of-warcraft-c...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/world-of-warcraft-c...

a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2010 12:19:18 PM

Yes, a really fast dual core is an good option but a quad-core is better overall.
Make sure you try to get a DirectX11 card for WoW as performance is increased.
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2010 12:57:36 PM

I run a ASUS TOP gts 450 and a athlon II x 4 3.0 Ghz and play WoW at 75 fps in ultra so i can tell you that'd be a good option as long as your mobo will accept the am3 cpu .. after a little research it looks like you can use the athlon II x4 but you will need the latest bios update

they can be found here http://support.asus.com

December 10, 2010 1:08:29 PM

Many many thanks people :)  Really appreciate it :D 

g00fysmiley what you say really contradict's tom's findings saying that pretty much all AMD CPUs have a ceiling of around 60fps if I understood correctly ?? That's good to hear anyhow!

Thanks again!
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2010 1:16:15 PM

can only say what i'm getting on my pc, i can sceen shot and image shack link at home showing the processor and gpu as well as in game showing the fps being recieved. not i get 75 fps at a lower resolution than you 1280x1024.

however i still get 60 fps on my 37" lcd tv at 1080p i figure its limited at 60 fps on that one due to 60 Hz being the maximum refresh rate
December 10, 2010 3:12:45 PM

Given the facts and without much thought my mind tends to think that there is something wrong with tom's setup rather than that your scores are too high ;) 

Tom's measuring average fps in a specific flight path and obviously yourself something completely different so maybe comparing your figures with his was irrelevant in the first place :)  My bad!

Either way the numbers seem definetely respectable!
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2010 3:32:17 PM

I liked the toms review alot, don't get me wrong, and it was done in a very logical way to put stress on your system. the draw distance and sheer amount of graphics to rendor in a flight is much higher then you will experience on the ground while questing, doign dailies, or instancing.

when in cities my fps will drop into the 40-50's on the 1080p tv btu stays 75 fps on my monitor in ultra. also while flying i will get some m,inor fps dropping in flight but i'd still classify it as smooth (i consider anythign over 30 fps smooth and 20 -30fps playable) even in battle grounds with full effectsa and clashing teams i i still never even drop below 30 fps when i check.

i think the results in the tom's review had a purpose to show when its truely stressing your system however WoW is not going to be constantly straining your system that much
December 10, 2010 4:49:46 PM

For cataclysm a triple core or quad core Athlon or Phenom II will perform the same, but clock speed makes the biggest difference. What quad are you considering? If you are debating between an X4 at 2.6 and an X3 at 3.2 the X3 wins hands down. I've been doing a lot of research on this because I'm building a computer for a co worker specifically to play Cataclysm. The GTS 450 is perfect for it.
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2010 8:01:46 PM

I think Tom's recent article showed that Intel dual-cores do well, and AMD Tri or Quad cores do well.

An Athlon X4 + GTS 450 should play fairly respectably for you I'd think. And that's a good way to go budget wise as well. :) 
!