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PC mainly to play WoW

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January 4, 2012 5:47:30 PM

I currently am playing World of Warcraft on a 5 year old MacBook Pro... It doesn't run bad on the lowest settings, but it is time to upgrade to a desktop.

I am looking to keep this build under $400... I do not need a monitor or OS, as I already have both.

From the little research I have been doing, I would like to stick with a i3, i5, or i7.

Thanks in advance!

More about : play wow

January 4, 2012 6:07:32 PM
January 4, 2012 6:13:38 PM


For the OP in this context because he needs a rig to play only WoW I am going to recommend Nvidia because WoW does play better on Nvidia hardware. WoW maxes out on a GTX 275 with 60fps 95% of the time.
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January 4, 2012 6:38:42 PM

Just about anything will play WoW at decent settings at mainstream resolutions, even the onboard HD2000 graphics included on the i3/5 will do the trick. If running at 1080 or above then you would want to invest in a decent GPU.
Look at some of the $500 System Builder articles on the site, and take out the graphics card to get an idea of what you would need. The nice thing about a desktop over a laptop is that you will be able to upgrade the GPU or other parts later if you find that it does not have the horse-power you want.

General build:
i3 or i5 (i7 is overkill for everything except production work, i5 is best for gaming, but the i3s are quite good if sticking to a budget. Some i3/5s have HD3000 graphics which is more likely to work for what you want without needing a dedicated GPU. Also, Microcenter has killer prices on CPUs. I was planning on an i5 for my latest build, but was able to upgrade to the i7 for only $30 in their store compared to buying online.) $100-180
h67 or z68 motherboard, $90-130 (p67 is viable if you are absolutely going to have a GPU, z68 is suggested for greatest flexibility)
4-8GB Ram 1333 or 1600, less than (4GB is plenty, while 8GB will give you a little 'future proofing', be sure to buy in pairs to get the most performance) $40
Case $40 (I like my Thermaltake V3 Black edition as it is cheap, well built, quiet, and looks very professional for the price, and there are some other great cheap cases out there if you look for a while. Be sure to get something that can take, or comes with, 3+ 120mm fans)
PSU 450-600W $40 (450-550W is more than enough juice for most people, and will support most aftermarket graphics cards. Get something heavy, with a good rating, and a minimum of a 120mm fan)
CD/DVD drive, $20 (anything will do, cheap is best)
HDD 250-500GB, less than $90 (price is droping quickly, so that longer you can wait to buy one the further your money will go, and look into upgrading to an SSD as soon as you could afford one)
Keys and Mouse (if needed), less than $50 (Logitech all the way!)

There is your rough budget, and it should do the trick. If you find that you need a little extra kick in the graphics department then buy a GT560 or AMD equivilant down the line
January 4, 2012 6:40:11 PM

jnest said:
I currently am playing World of Warcraft on a 5 year old MacBook Pro... It doesn't run bad on the lowest settings, but it is time to upgrade to a desktop.

I am looking to keep this build under $400... I do not need a monitor or OS, as I already have both.

From the little research I have been doing, I would like to stick with a i3, i5, or i7.

Thanks in advance!

I recommend saving up a bit more money because $600 gets you a competent rig but $400 you have to sacrifice to much where it counts unless you know where to buy some parts used locally such as HDD, PSU, RAM, and CASE.
January 4, 2012 6:41:13 PM

CaedenV said:
Just about anything will play WoW at decent settings at mainstream resolutions, even the onboard HD2000 graphics included on the i3/5 will do the trick. If running at 1080 or above then you would want to invest in a decent GPU.
Look at some of the $500 System Builder articles on the site, and take out the graphics card to get an idea of what you would need. The nice thing about a desktop over a laptop is that you will be able to upgrade the GPU or other parts later if you find that it does not have the horse-power you want.

General build:
i3 or i5 (i7 is overkill for everything except production work, i5 is best for gaming, but the i3s are quite good if sticking to a budget. Some i3/5s have HD3000 graphics which is more likely to work for what you want without needing a dedicated GPU. Also, Microcenter has killer prices on CPUs. I was planning on an i5 for my latest build, but was able to upgrade to the i7 for only $30 in their store compared to buying online.) $100-180
h67 or z68 motherboard, $90-130 (p67 is viable if you are absolutely going to have a GPU, z68 is suggested for greatest flexibility)
4-8GB Ram 1333 or 1600, less than (4GB is plenty, while 8GB will give you a little 'future proofing', be sure to buy in pairs to get the most performance) $40
Case $40 (I like my Thermaltake V3 Black edition as it is cheap, well built, quiet, and looks very professional for the price, and there are some other great cheap cases out there if you look for a while. Be sure to get something that can take, or comes with, 3+ 120mm fans)
PSU 450-600W $40 (450-550W is more than enough juice for most people, and will support most aftermarket graphics cards. Get something heavy, with a good rating, and a minimum of a 120mm fan)
CD/DVD drive, $20 (anything will do, cheap is best)
HDD 250-500GB, less than $90 (price is droping quickly, so that longer you can wait to buy one the further your money will go, and look into upgrading to an SSD as soon as you could afford one)
Keys and Mouse (if needed), less than $50 (Logitech all the way!)

There is your rough budget, and it should do the trick. If you find that you need a little extra kick in the graphics department then buy a GT560 or AMD equivilant down the line

Anything Under a GTX275 will not play WoW maxed out at 1080p with 60fps.
January 4, 2012 6:49:31 PM

CaedenV said:
Just about anything will play WoW at decent settings at mainstream resolutions, even the onboard HD2000 graphics included on the i3/5 will do the trick. If running at 1080 or above then you would want to invest in a decent GPU.
Look at some of the $500 System Builder articles on the site, and take out the graphics card to get an idea of what you would need. The nice thing about a desktop over a laptop is that you will be able to upgrade the GPU or other parts later if you find that it does not have the horse-power you want.

General build:
i3 or i5 (i7 is overkill for everything except production work, i5 is best for gaming, but the i3s are quite good if sticking to a budget. Some i3/5s have HD3000 graphics which is more likely to work for what you want without needing a dedicated GPU. Also, Microcenter has killer prices on CPUs. I was planning on an i5 for my latest build, but was able to upgrade to the i7 for only $30 in their store compared to buying online.) $100-180
h67 or z68 motherboard, $90-130 (p67 is viable if you are absolutely going to have a GPU, z68 is suggested for greatest flexibility)
4-8GB Ram 1333 or 1600, less than (4GB is plenty, while 8GB will give you a little 'future proofing', be sure to buy in pairs to get the most performance) $40
Case $40 (I like my Thermaltake V3 Black edition as it is cheap, well built, quiet, and looks very professional for the price, and there are some other great cheap cases out there if you look for a while. Be sure to get something that can take, or comes with, 3+ 120mm fans)
PSU 450-600W $40 (450-550W is more than enough juice for most people, and will support most aftermarket graphics cards. Get something heavy, with a good rating, and a minimum of a 120mm fan)
CD/DVD drive, $20 (anything will do, cheap is best)
HDD 250-500GB, less than $90 (price is droping quickly, so that longer you can wait to buy one the further your money will go, and look into upgrading to an SSD as soon as you could afford one)
Keys and Mouse (if needed), less than $50 (Logitech all the way!)

There is your rough budget, and it should do the trick. If you find that you need a little extra kick in the graphics department then buy a GT560 or AMD equivilant down the line


Nay. Cataclysm changed WoW system requirements dramatically. You need a pretty good pc to raid 25m.
January 4, 2012 6:54:58 PM

4eyed said:
Nay. Cataclysm changed WoW system requirements dramatically. You need a pretty good pc to raid 25m.

Come to think of it my old GTX 275 still drops to around 40fps on maxed settings in Stormwind with high server load.
January 4, 2012 7:02:56 PM

Well, you can't do much with $400 really... maybe if you got the cheapest motherboard you could get and a i3 2100... I'll try my best to recommend you with a set-up but you won't get amazing performance. Definitely better than that Macbook but... Now, if you had $500-600 to spend you could make yourself a very decent quality gaming machine that could play WoW on ultra settings with no lag at all... I'll make you a list that'll add up to $400 and next to some items I'll place a more expensive one, in case you wanna spend a bit more. I'll do the best I can with that $400 budget.

The case. Since your on this low of a budget, I recommend the Rosewill Challenger.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is a great budget case. Not too flashy but actually looks ok (the blue LED fan is a nice touch). This case actually has decent cable management, which I love. It also has some other additions that usually aren't in the cheaper cases (i.e. the side hard drive wheels and the locking 5.5" bays).

The Processor. Well, you said you've done a bit of research but you haven't done enough because there are many different i3's, i5's, and i7's. But I am going to infer that you meant the second generation. Well, on your budget you're not going to be able to get an i5 or i7 but the i3 2100 will do nicely.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It actually has a $15 promo code that ends 1/9. I recommend getting it soon (before 1/9), as it will give you some extra money to spend. But this CPU is great for budget builders. Although it's dual-core, it can act as a quad-core with its Hyper-Threading technology. Comes clocked at a solid 3.1 GHz which is more than enough to run WoW. Also, it won't bottle-neck any of the mid-end Video Cards (which, in case you don't know, just means that the CPU won't be holding back the video card. Bottle-necking can happen if the CPU isn't powerful enough, bu this one is).

The motherboard. Your best off with just the lowest-priced compatible motherboard from a good-quality company like Asus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus is the #1 manufacturer of motherboards. You can be rest assured that what you get will be good quality. Nothing else to say. It's micro ATX (the motherboard size, smaller than standard ATX) and your case supports micro ATX, which is great.

The video card. So, here's where it gets a bit tricky due to the price. If you just wanna play WoW on like medium-high ish settings then you can grab this $55 GT 520 from Asus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I've heard great things about this video card and it seems ok. In fact, read the 1 review on it. The guy there says that it can play WoW on high with minimal lag, which is nice. Also, the card has a fanless cooler (I heard from others that the stock fan was very small and loud, so I'm recommending this one). All in all, a great card.

Now, on the other hand, if you want to play WoW on Ultra settings with no lag AT ALL and you want to future-proof your system then I DEFINITELY recommend the gtx 560 ti. But it IS about 4 times as expensive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I can tell you that this card will last you many, many, many years to come (5+). Also, Gigabyte is a good-quality manufacturer and you can trust their products. I personally don't own this card but the reviews about it are raving and I'm going to be getting it soon. This one is all up to you...

The RAM. For a game like WoW, 4 gigs of RAM is more than enough. Kingston is the #1 manufacturer of RAM, so you might as well go with them.

The Hard Drive. So, recently there has been a flood in Thailand and it destroyed most of the factories that manufactured pieces for hard drives. So, because of lack of hard drive pieces, the prices shot up to about 2 times as much (or more). I recommend you go with a small recertified (makes it much cheaper) 250gb hard drive (you'll find cheaper but this is the cheapest with a SATA port, not IDE which is older and won't be compatible with your system)..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
In a few months, when hard drive prices lower (which they will), you can grab yourself a nice big 1TB drive or something like that for a much cheaper price (if you want).

Last, but not least, is the power supply. A 500w power supply should do you nicely. Corsair is a great company, and I haven't been able to find a single bad thing in any of their products. They especially make really nice power supplies that last a long, long time. I'm surprised this one's price is so low. It also has a $10 rebate, making it only $50 if you choose to mail it in.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'd also like to say that it's rated 80 plus which means it is extremely efficient compared to other non-80 plus power supplies.

If you were to go with the gtx 560 ti you would be paying $571.93 after a $10 mail-in rebate and the $15 off code for the processor. If you were to go with the gt 520 you would be at $406.93 after two $10 mail-in rebates and the $15 off code for the processor. Based off of this, I actually recommend you to get the gt 520 instead of the gtx 560 ti. the gt 520 seems to fulfill your needs perfectly. Also, you could always just upgrade the card if you need more power in a few years if you need to. It goes over the budget just a tad bit but I tried to squeeze every bit out of those $400 that I could and you would have a very decent gaming system that will easily handle WoW on High ish settings.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions I'd love to answer them! Good luck with the build!
January 4, 2012 7:05:04 PM

Ah shoot. Lol I started writing my reply when no one had answered yet... :D 
January 4, 2012 7:08:10 PM

NeutralEnergy said:
Ah shoot. Lol I started writing my reply when no one had answered yet... :D 

That GPU fails so hard and your build is Jankey AMD for budget or bust.
January 4, 2012 7:17:27 PM

NeutralEnergy said:
Well, you can't do much with $400 really... maybe if you got the cheapest motherboard you could get and a i3 2100... I'll try my best to recommend you with a set-up but you won't get amazing performance. Definitely better than that Macbook but... Now, if you had $500-600 to spend you could make yourself a very decent quality gaming machine that could play WoW on ultra settings with no lag at all... I'll make you a list that'll add up to $400 and next to some items I'll place a more expensive one, in case you wanna spend a bit more. I'll do the best I can with that $400 budget.

The case. Since your on this low of a budget, I recommend the Rosewill Challenger.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is a great budget case. Not too flashy but actually looks ok (the blue LED fan is a nice touch). This case actually has decent cable management, which I love. It also has some other additions that usually aren't in the cheaper cases (i.e. the side hard drive wheels and the locking 5.5" bays).

The Processor. Well, you said you've done a bit of research but you haven't done enough because there are many different i3's, i5's, and i7's. But I am going to infer that you meant the second generation. Well, on your budget you're not going to be able to get an i5 or i7 but the i3 2100 will do nicely.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It actually has a $15 promo code that ends 1/9. I recommend getting it soon (before 1/9), as it will give you some extra money to spend. But this CPU is great for budget builders. Although it's dual-core, it can act as a quad-core with its Hyper-Threading technology. Comes clocked at a solid 3.1 GHz which is more than enough to run WoW. Also, it won't bottle-neck any of the mid-end Video Cards (which, in case you don't know, just means that the CPU won't be holding back the video card. Bottle-necking can happen if the CPU isn't powerful enough, bu this one is).

The motherboard. Your best off with just the lowest-priced compatible motherboard from a good-quality company like Asus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus is the #1 manufacturer of motherboards. You can be rest assured that what you get will be good quality. Nothing else to say. It's micro ATX (the motherboard size, smaller than standard ATX) and your case supports micro ATX, which is great.

The video card. So, here's where it gets a bit tricky due to the price. If you just wanna play WoW on like medium-high ish settings then you can grab this $55 GT 520 from Asus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I've heard great things about this video card and it seems ok. In fact, read the 1 review on it. The guy there says that it can play WoW on high with minimal lag, which is nice. Also, the card has a fanless cooler (I heard from others that the stock fan was very small and loud, so I'm recommending this one). All in all, a great card.

Now, on the other hand, if you want to play WoW on Ultra settings with no lag AT ALL and you want to future-proof your system then I DEFINITELY recommend the gtx 560 ti. But it IS about 4 times as expensive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I can tell you that this card will last you many, many, many years to come (5+). Also, Gigabyte is a good-quality manufacturer and you can trust their products. I personally don't own this card but the reviews about it are raving and I'm going to be getting it soon. This one is all up to you...

The RAM. For a game like WoW, 4 gigs of RAM is more than enough. Kingston is the #1 manufacturer of RAM, so you might as well go with them.

The Hard Drive. So, recently there has been a flood in Thailand and it destroyed most of the factories that manufactured pieces for hard drives. So, because of lack of hard drive pieces, the prices shot up to about 2 times as much (or more). I recommend you go with a small recertified (makes it much cheaper) 250gb hard drive (you'll find cheaper but this is the cheapest with a SATA port, not IDE which is older and won't be compatible with your system)..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
In a few months, when hard drive prices lower (which they will), you can grab yourself a nice big 1TB drive or something like that for a much cheaper price (if you want).

Last, but not least, is the power supply. A 500w power supply should do you nicely. Corsair is a great company, and I haven't been able to find a single bad thing in any of their products. They especially make really nice power supplies that last a long, long time. I'm surprised this one's price is so low. It also has a $10 rebate, making it only $50 if you choose to mail it in.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'd also like to say that it's rated 80 plus which means it is extremely efficient compared to other non-80 plus power supplies.

If you were to go with the gtx 560 ti you would be paying $571.93 after a $10 mail-in rebate and the $15 off code for the processor. If you were to go with the gt 520 you would be at $406.93 after two $10 mail-in rebates and the $15 off code for the processor. Based off of this, I actually recommend you to get the gt 520 instead of the gtx 560 ti. the gt 520 seems to fulfill your needs perfectly. Also, you could always just upgrade the card if you need more power in a few years if you need to. It goes over the budget just a tad bit but I tried to squeeze every bit out of those $400 that I could and you would have a very decent gaming system that will easily handle WoW on High ish settings.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions I'd love to answer them! Good luck with the build!


Thanks for all the replies! I am liking this setup, but I have a question... Could I just forgo the regular HD, and go with a SSD instead? Such as: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171545

January 4, 2012 7:23:26 PM

jnest said:
Thanks for all the replies! I am liking this setup, but I have a question... Could I just forgo the regular HD, and go with a SSD instead? Such as: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171545

WoW will play like crap on a GT520 even on low it will play so shettty you will not want to even play it. WoW really does take some decent gaming hardware to run now in days after Cataclysm so really GTX460 min if you want to run the game decently and you will find out the hard way if you dont take heed.
January 4, 2012 7:57:54 PM

You should save at least another 200$. This is the absolute minimum to run WoW on ultra ( shadows high ):

i3 2100
Socket LGA 1155 mobo
4gb ddr3 ram
Gtx 460


January 4, 2012 8:01:59 PM

4eyed said:
You should save at least another 200$. This is the absolute minimum to run WoW on ultra ( shadows high ):

i3 2100
Socket LGA 1155 mobo
4gb ddr3 ram
Gtx 460

Agreed but he could go to AMD for the CPU and be just as well with 4 AMD cores.
January 4, 2012 8:21:26 PM

Headspin_69 said:
Agreed but he could go to AMD for the CPU and be just as well with 4 AMD cores.


Yeah, but intels perform a lot better in wow... Still, dual core is starting to become outdated...
January 4, 2012 8:30:48 PM

4eyed said:
Yeah, but intels perform a lot better in wow... Still, dual core is starting to become outdated...

My OCed Phenom II x4 B55 @ 3.7GHZ performs very well in WoW I don't need anymore CPU performance in WoW.
January 4, 2012 8:32:13 PM

Nah WoW still doesn't take a massive amount to play. I've read reviews written approx. a week ago with people with a gt 520 playin on med-high settings. You do have another fool-proof alternative. Buy a gt 520 from EVGA and register it when you receive it. After that, if you think it's not enough power then EVGA has a Step-Up Program (See Here- http://www.evga.com/support/stepup/ ). SO you can just send it in and pay the difference within 3 months and you'll get a better card (like I said, the gtx 560 ti is one really amazing card with one of the best price-performance ratio compared to any other card out there).

EVGA GT 520: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's as easy as that. Any more questions?
January 4, 2012 8:37:12 PM

NeutralEnergy said:
Nah WoW still doesn't take a massive amount to play. I've read reviews written approx. a week ago with people with a gt 520 playin on med-high settings. You do have another fool-proof alternative. Buy a gt 520 from EVGA and register it when you receive it. After that, if you think it's not enough power then EVGA has a Step-Up Program (See Here- http://www.evga.com/support/stepup/ ). SO you can just send it in and pay the difference within 3 months and you'll get a better card (like I said, the gtx 560 ti is one really amazing card with one of the best price-performance ratio compared to any other card out there).

EVGA GT 520: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's as easy as that. Any more questions?

Sure you can play WoW on a gT520 yes but the framerates will be crap and in high action areas it will dip below 30fps on even med settings. Even with my GTX275 which is a hell of allot more powerful than a GT520 I can still dip down into the low 40fps so that GT520 will never stand a chance in hell to play with enjoyable IQ settings and framerates.
January 4, 2012 8:41:11 PM

Oh and btw yes, you can skip the hard drive and go with an SSD. Especially if you're deciding to keep all your extra space-taking downloads (other than OS and WoW) on your old Mac. Keep in mind, though, that Windows 7 takes up ~40gb of space (maybe a bit less). WoW is... I'm not sure how many gigs of space it takes up now but I'm guessing around 20gb. So you would have 60gb of left over space.
January 4, 2012 8:55:14 PM

Ahh you have a point. You've gotten it through my head. He's right. If I were you, I would go ahead and grab a gtx 560 ti. It'll last you awhile and you'll be able to play on maxed out settings with very minimal lag. For more proof, compare these 2 benchmarks on the same site.

PassMark GT 520 benchmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G...

PassMark GTX 275 benchmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G...

The GT 520 scores 342... While the GTX 275 is over 5 times greater than that. It scores a 1,921. All the while, the GTX 560 ti scores a phenomenal 2,973. I say go for the GTX 560 ti.

PassMark GTX 560 ti benchmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G...


At the end of the day, you'd be spending quite a lot more but it really is a quality system that you'll have... Like I said in my first post, you really can't do much with $40o :/  Anyways, anything else?
January 4, 2012 9:01:47 PM

NeutralEnergy said:
Ahh you have a point. You've gotten it through my head. He's right. If I were you, I would go ahead and grab a gtx 560 ti. It'll last you awhile and you'll be able to play on maxed out settings with very minimal lag. For more proof, compare these 2 benchmarks on the same site.

PassMark GT 520 benchmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G...

PassMark GTX 275 benchmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G...

The GT 520 scores 342... While the GTX 275 is over 5 times greater than that. It scores a 1,921. All the while, the GTX 560 ti scores a phenomenal 2,973. I say go for the GTX 560 ti.

PassMark GTX 560 ti benchmark: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G...


At the end of the day, you'd be spending quite a lot more but it really is a quality system that you'll have... Like I said in my first post, you really can't do much with $40o :/  Anyways, anything else?

Thats a real Jankey benchmark chart you posted a link to but once again a GT520 is not a gamer card it is more designed for a replacement for if onboard video dies or HTPCs.
!