What a difference technology makes!

It’s been really crazy in real life here so I haven’t had a chance to post in a while. I have however been faced with some serious WoW issues as of late that I wanted to talk about.

I was, unfortunately, a member of OCOA better known as Obsolete Computer Owners Anonymous. While I may have put some window dressing on my machine giving it a new GPU and some other upgrades the CPU and Motherboard were both purchased at least 3 years ago and were at the time roughly 1 year old. In design. I understand the rule of thumb for PC’s is that once a rig becomes at least two years old it becomes a dinosaur for your purchasing level (high end parts are not high end in 2 years and economy parts are well below economy in 2 years). The issue for me is that while I once was very computer inclined and up to date on hardware, I’ve become fairly distanced and rely heavily on guides such as those found on TomsHardware and Newegg reviews.

I play a large number of PC games and for the most part I have been getting by with my computer by upgrading the graphics card when necessary as they tend to be the work horses for newer games. The problem is two-fold for me: 1.) My old Motherboard is throttling my GPU’s performance 2.) Warcraft is a CPU intensive game. As the game engine evolves to WotLK and ultimately Cataclysm my performance has dropped and dropped. The last straw for me was Firelands and my abysmal computer output.

While the Tier 11 bosses were tough for me I still felt like I could function at 15-20 frames per second using very neutered graphics settings . I never felt hampered or limited though I was never happy with the experience. In the Firelands given the terrain detail and open environment I am finding myself slowing to a crawl for certain encounters. The worst so far has been Majordomo Staghelm. During the scorpion phases when the raid is grouped up my framerate (using very bare bones settings) plummets to 5-9 frames per second and has dropped briefly as low as 3. I’m pretty sure we can agree this is pretty much unplayable.

With external hard drives being so ridiculously cheap I realized that upgrading and reformatting (something I had waited a full year to do) would be relatively painless. The ability to copy off Warcraft wholesale along with my movies/music/documents/saves etc. to a backup device really made life easy. I am upgrading to a i5-2500 CPU, ASUS P8P67 Motherboard, 8 gigs of RAM, and a new SSD to install my OS to.  I’m hoping this will pair nicely with my GTX 570 graphics card already in the machine. Our raid performance is not necessarily linked to our computer’s performance but there are times, as was the case with me, where extremely poor computer performance will directly impact your play.

While I do not recommend every healer (or player in general) get the top of the line computer, I would recommend you have one that can perform in raids when grouped up to a passable level even if it means tweaking your graphics settings. Even the setup that I am purchasing, though not necessarily top end, will drop in FPS during those moments but the goal is for my lowest end framerate to still feel relatively smooth.

I hope no one else out there is struggling with the same issues that I was and if so I wish you the best of luck with any of the upgrades that you need to take care of.

NOTE: If any more technically minded computer savvy WoW players want to leave any hardware advice here for other folks please do.

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4 responses to “What a difference technology makes!

  1. Thats pretty much the only fight I have issues with also. I ended up just turning the graphics down to poor just for that fight. I thought it was one of my mods playing up at first.

  2. MMO-champion actually gives great computer hardware advice about once every few months with 3 tiers (highest to lowest playable recommended specs). They do it as a build-your-own type of thing, so that you can see what pieces you’d need.

    • I ended up getting my new rig online tonight. Some tweaking needs to be done but my frame rate is now quite playable during those nasty AoE or group up phases. Not perfect but I don’t think any rig that I could afford would be that much better than what I have now.

      The difference is night and day. I think my computer is fairly comparable to one of the higher end options mmo-champion listed.

  3. Tell me about it! Just upgraded from a CPU that, in firelands, AVERAGED 3 fps, to a fairly standard CPU that averages 20-30 fps. Helluva difference in my numbers (went from 8-10k to now 10-12k effective hps) and my fellow healers’ mana pools… not to mention I can now use DBM, Power Auras, recount, etc! I’m sure once I get a graphics card it will get even better.

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