How To: Improve Your PC’s WoW Performance

Recently I have become a bit concerned with how badly my PC is running WoW so I have done a bit of researching around on how to boost this performance without spending a shed load of cash.

My PC specs are:

  • Case: Novatech Gaming Case with 3x Scythe 1900rpm120mm Fans (1x exhaust 2x intake)
  • Power Supply: Novatech 750w
  • CPU: AMD Bulldozer FX-8 Eight Core 8150 Processor
  • Heatsink: Cooler Master TX3 Evo (with 2x Scythe PWM 92mm Fans in push/pull config)
  • Motherboard    GIGABYTE GA-770T-USB3 AM3
  • Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3
  • Graphics Card: Palit GeForce GT 630 1GB GDDR3
  • HDD: SanDisk 128GB Solid State Hard Drive + Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA HDD
  • Monitors: 1x 23″ Samsung (1920×1080) and 1x 19″ Dell (1440×960)
  • ADSL: 2MB connection (I’m 8km from my exchange, so best I can get until fibre comes)
Nothing amazing but also nothing really crappy and it does deliver a reasonable rendition of WoW. However, over the summer the system had been running hot, 28C at idle, 42C when running WoW and in LFR the temp would rise to 48-50C and my FPS would vary between 10 and 60 FPS in LFR depending on activity. In normal 10 man raids I vary between 45 and 60 FPS. My graphics settings were custom running through the list my settings were:
  • Display Mode: Windowed
  • Resolution: 1920×1080 (Wide)
  • Multisampling: 8x
  • Vertical Sync: Disabled
  • Texture Resolution: High
  • Texture Filtering: 8x Anisotropic
  • Projected Textures: Enabled
  • View Distance: Ultra
  • Environmental Detail: Ultra
  • Ground Cluter: High
  • Shadow Quality: High
  • Liquid Detail: High
  • Sunshafts: High
  • Particle Density: High
  • SSAO: Disabled
  • Triple Buffering: Disabled
  • Reduce Input Lag: Disabled
  • Hardware Cursor: Enabled
  • Graphics API: DirectX 11
  • Max Foreground FPS: 60
  • Max Background FPS: 8
The biggest concern was that I was cooking my unclocked CPU and that this was killing my FPS as I knew from previous research that the main cause of performance loss while playing WoW is the CPU battering that WoW does.As my ADSL runs at a pitiful 2MB, I had already installed the Leatrix Latency Fix to ensure that I was getting the lowest latency possible. This is a registry hack, which according to the author “will reduce your online gaming latency significantly by increasing the frequency of TCP acknowledgements sent to the game server. For the technically minded, this is a program which will modify TCPAckFrequency.”

Then while listening to the Bitter and Salty podcast (yes it is a WoW podcast!) they were discussing a similar issue and provided a link in their show notes to a pair of fixes (fix 1 and fix 2) they found on the official forums. They made interesting reading and made some suggestions about moving a few in game tasks directly to the graphics card software. I followed the instructions and amended the setting in my NVIDIA Control Panel and the below settings in game:
  • Multisampling: 1x
  • View Distance: High
  • Environmental Detail: High
  • Ground Cluter: High
  • Shadow Quality: Fair
  • Liquid Detail: Good
  • Sunshafts: Disabled
  • Particle Density: Good
These changes make minimal graphical difference to the game but still gave me a great performance boost as I was now running between 30 and 60 FPS in LFR depending on activity. In normal 10 man raids I vary between 50 and 60 FPS. My temperatures were unchanged. So I did some reading and found that my CPU was most likely being forced to run as a 4 core processor by Windows and looking at the task manager performance module confirmed this to be the case. A quick registry tweak (shown below) fixed that but the temps still sat in the mid 40s when running WoW. 

I also discovered that my CPU was badly configured as by overclocking it I could raise the performance and lower the temperatures by dropping the voltage (all beyond me but the instructions were simple to follow). I ended up with a smoother running PC that was now running about 5C lower.
CPU cooler with dust jacket. Not good.
Ultimately with a big enough improvement I was happy esecially as the room ambient temperature was hovering around the 20-25C most of the time. 
But two weeks after making the change my BIOS battery decided to die and I had to replace it. Upon opening my case I was presented with a nasty surprise as my CPU cooler was covered in dust, I wish I had not gone into “ERMGHERD PARNICK” mode when I saw it and cleaned it off before thinking about a photo but the one here is a good representation.
Needless to say since cleaning the cooler up (and adding a 2nd fan to suck air through the CPU cooler in addition to the one that was blowing air through the PC is a lot happier and now sits at room ambient temperature when not under load and around 28C when playing WoW.
So next on my shopping list for my PC are some heavy duty dust filters, although I am concerned that they will reduce my air flow and increase temperatures but it can’t be as bad as a layer of dust! Can it?

Posted by Evlyxx


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