Edited by: Mathew "Berek" Anderson - July 31st, 2008
At least once a day or every other day someone asks whether Warcraft can run on their system. A lot of the time people ask what the deal is with their frame rates. A lot of these questions go unanswered in the game manual and on the company website. I am going to address a few key issues to get your game up and running 110%.
One thing you have to remember is that although war isn't so graphic intensive like say half life 2, it is however a very memory hungry game! It will use every single byte that you have extra. With this in mind maybe half the questions will get answered right here and you will just go and close a few programs and restart your game to see a frame boost.
Said before, there is a great difference in Network and System lag. Network lag makes of course your character do something a second later after you click. You will often see this problem when you are looting and the server is getting bogged down or your end is. However with network lag you should still have nice speed when going through your menus and such and the mouse pointer won't be slowed down. System lag on your end will cause everything to be slowed down and your mouse will move slow, menus will even be slightly slowed down etc.
One easy way to tell the difference between system and network lag is to download a network monitor addon for Warcraft that shows your "ping." This is the rate a packet of data takes to travel between your computer and the server. Ideal is below 100. Playable still is in the low 100's with the game getting "network" lag higher than that.
"I just bought this new computer.. so i should be able to run Warcraft right?"
Sure you should be able to run it.. One thing is new computers that you buy say at .. wal*mart or target or somewhere tend to include only the minimum requirements to play the latest games. If that. Most of these new mass produced systems only come with *gag* a gig of ram. The first thing you should do is to go buy another gig of ram to boost you to 2. You will notice at least 10fps (frames per second) difference in your game.
"I upgraded my ram and I still get lag, but it isn't network lag? What gives?"
If you upgraded your ram to 2 gigs and your still getting choppy gameplay then the next thing to look at is what is bottleneck your system. See if your system is using onboard video. Most new computers are, so go buy a new video card. The manufacturers cut corners by slapping a chip on the motherboard to handle video instead of using a premium addon card with it's own memory. On-board video shares the system ram so it is a big bottleneck.
I upgraded my video card from an onboard ati-220 or something to a geforce 8600. In games that are on the whole way more intensive than wow, like prey and halo, i went from 30fps before (and less) to 100fps in prey etc. A big boost. Usually they don't just "sell" you the computer to play games well. They sell them on their functionality. Video cards are cheap. You can go pick an ATI 4xxx series card for under 300$. Under 200$ if you want a budget card. This will improve all your games, vastly.
"I have a semi-recent video card.. but it says I have a Celeron 1.8ghz cpu on my box, will this be slowing me down?"
Another bottleneck to address is CPU viability. In my system I have a Celeron. It brings me down a lot because the Celeron is Intel's budget processor. Doesn't have the onboard cpu cache like the other chips they produce and this brings it down. If you have a celeron chip than maybe you should look for a replacement. However, if your CPU speed is above 2.0ghz and all you want to play is WoW then you should be fine!
"Everything is fine, processor above 2GHz, video card with its own memory
(256 megs of ddr3 or above), Windows XP (Vista is still in its infancy and this alone may cause some issues), 2gigs of ram, still not hitting sweet frames."
You have a more than capable system to run wow but still getting crappy frames.. Another thing to take into considerations is if you are a pack rat. If you like to have MSN, Allah's website, Itunes or media player, and a few other things going while you play then thats your problem right there. One way to see what you have loading when your computer boots is to click: Start button, run, type in the box: msconfig.exe go to the startup tab. If you have like itunes helper, msn, and a few other programs that are not needed starting when your computer starts uncheck them.
If your computer is new, I bet you my left kidney that packaged software is causing your slowdown! The only things needed to start with your computer are windows key components, printer stuff / video things you need, your Nvidia/Ati drivers, sound drivers and that's it. Weather report.com, bigfix.exe or any trash program doesn't need to start with Windows.
To get maximum performance Warcraft should be the only program running besides windows key components. Especially if you have a nice shiny new computer with lots of ram and a premium video card. This way you can turn all the settings up in the video menu and enjoy Warcraft with a high resolution and some anti-aliasing (smooths the jaggies on the in-game graphics).
::Added tips for making your computer run World of Warcraft smoothly::
*Defrag your hard drive.
Warcraft access the swap file like.. a gazillion times a minute (yes i used gazillion). Click on start, programs, accessories, system tools and then defrag. Select the hard drive with wow on it and click analyze. Then view the report even if it says "Your system does not need to be defragged at this time." A system even fragmented at 3% and over needs a good defrag. 4% is a lot. I don't know why they didn't fix this in the many XP patches over the years but anything over 3 and 4% fragmented is insane. After you defrag (if your system was like even 3% fragged ) you will notice a pleasant difference.
*Disable your anti-virus software.
Software like Norton Anti-Virus and McAffee or whatever use an awful lot of memory. Most of them have memory leaks which cause the program to just plain eat up your available memory over time. Don't worry about disabling it while you play because unless your looking at massive porn sites alt+tabbed while you play then it won't hurt you. Start it back up after your done. Usually this can be achieved by right clicking on the icon in the corner of your taskbar and simply closing the program. If it wont, then control +alt+ delete and enter the task manager and manually close it.
Doing this should add like another 5-10fps or even more depending on the scenario.
*Make sure you have at least a few hundred megs of free space on your hard disk.
A major thing that is often overlooked is people often don't have enough space for the windows swap file to move around on their hard disk. Even 200megs free will ultimately cause a whole lot of slow down in your games. Because even though you have a lot of memory its your hard disk that access and moves the information around first. This can slow a system at least 25%. If you even have like 500 megs free i would look to delete a few program that you don't need. Maybe burn some of those mp3's onto a DVD or 2 to save space. (Which is something I've been meaning to do but haven't lately!)
Everyone seems to address all the hardware related issues but often overlooks this key point! Free some space up and you will squeeze some more performance out of your game.
*What else could be making it slow?
You could in the end have a virus or large amounts of spyware. I suggest doing a system wide and memory scan with your chosen viral detection software. There are numerous freeware scanners out there but the best "free" software I use , used to use, is AVG. Even if you don't know it, by going on myspace or other often trafficked user websites you could be picking up stray code worming it's way into your browser. Weird "*.exe" files running in the background (control + alt + delete to view current running programs )could be spyware. Google the executable's name and you should find an answer.
Well good luck and i hope that someone got some use out of this. These are my tricks and tweaks. There are other ways to increase frames massively like overclocking your system or video card but that voids the warranty on both. If anyone has any other tweaks and tips please add to the thread for everyone to utilize. Thanks! -inf
Edited, Jul 31st 2008 10:55am by Berek