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Graphics card choice

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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Daeren » Sat May 08, 2010 2:16 pm

The hostility might be because of experience we have with the prebuilt computers, both with lack of oppurtunity for upgrades and sometimes a customer service that is alot like insurance companies at their worst.
This would include loss of warranty if you open up your computer, even to remove dust that builds up over time (because trust me, it does)
Noise, once again, to save money they choose few and small fans running at high speeds producing noise and fail early.
Lack of upgrades
You pay more than what you actually get
Not to mention artificial blocking of new driver upgrades. To save service time, the brands prefer to have their own certified drivers for their products so they know exactly what they're working on. If you're lucky, they get maybe one upgrade during the first 6 months, then they stop upgrading their drivers. And if you try to download general drivers, you get an error that you cannot install these drivers, contact your manufacturer for your specified drivers. Enjoy having 2-3 year old drivers.

Been screwed over too many times. So yes, I hate most brand computers.
I'll take one example of a warranty issue. A laptop that cost around 3000$ had overheating problems around one year after purchase (I don't remember if it was right before 1 year or right after 1 year) and the fan stopped running. So, since we hadn't done anything with it, we sent it to warranty service, because laptops, especially expensive ones, aren't supposed to stop working from dust after a year (no, pressurized air didn't resolve the problem either). We handed it off at the brand's own service center to not only save time and money, but to ensure it didn't got damaged on the way. We explicitly said that they should call us before doing anything that's not covered by warranty. So, I didn't hear anything from them until 4 days later when it was at our local mail office, ready to be picked up. Apparently he had tried to call me once, but my cell phone was off/busy or something, so he had replaced the fan and entire cooling solution inside the laptop, and sent it to us. Cost? 300$. I refused to pay and complained and went through 3 different people there over 8 weeks in order to remove the bill that was sent to us. Do note that it was one of the major brands of laptops.

I could probably mention more examples, but you get the idea. Examples include placement of components which blocks from upgrades which include metal frames, PSU placement, CPU/fan placement, drive bay placement, lack of places to mount fans.

It's not that I hate assembled computers, I just hate "smart solutions" and bad customer support.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby tlitp » Sat May 08, 2010 2:40 pm

Casual browsing of the technical support forums reveals a rather popular misconception about WoW and GPUs. From "freeze-ups HALP", to "lag ffs blizz fix it", to "LOW FPS HALP GUSY !!!1" - many people think that their WoW experience is somehow GPU-limited.
The culprits usually are, in no particular order :
  1. dusty/overheated GPU/PSU
  2. crappy "no name" PSU (you thought that a $300 GPU goes along nicely with a $50 PSU, huh ?)
  3. faulty installation of the graphics driver
  4. poorly configured graphics driver
  5. poorly configured config.wtf
  6. outdated/crappy/conflicting addons
  7. CPU/RAM limitations (much more probable than GPU ones, in WoW)
  8. hardware failures (usually faulty RAM)

I'll cover briefly the topics #3-5.
#3 : Driver Sweeper. Use it. Makes driver updates less nerve-breaking.

#4 : I own a NVIDIA card - the ATI equivalents should be easily spotted.
Ambient occlusion (SSAO) : nice image enhancement (see HERE), significant performance hit.
Recommended setting : "Off".
Antialiasing : do not use "Enhance application setting", it will effectively double the computational load. Configure the AA within the game.
Recommended : "Use application setting".
Maximum pre-rendered frames : high values improve the performance, but affect adversely the input lag. (if, and only if, experiencing very low FPS, consider changing it to a higher value, like 5-8)
Recommended : "3".
Anisotropic filtering : image improvement, minimal performance hit. Configure the AF within the game (texture filtering).
Recommended : "Use application setting".
Force mipmaps : image enhancement, moderate performance hit.
Recommended : "None/Off".
Anisotropic filtering optimization
Recommended : "Off".
Texture filtering quality : use "Performance" only if experiencing very low FPS.
Recommended : "High quality"/"Quality".
Triple buffering : configure it within the game. You'll usually want it enabled.
Recommended : "Use application setting".


#5 : configure accordingly config.wtf, but be careful not to create duplicate entries (make a backup, for any eventuality). Also, do not play in windowed mode - it's always a performance hit.
SET gxWindow "0" ("windowed mode")
SET MaxFPS "0"
SET gxfixlag "0" (corresponds to "reduce input lag" in-game)
SET shadowLOD "1"
SET shadowinstancing "1"
SET fixedfunction "0"
SET componentCompress "1"

SET ffxGlow "0" ("full screen glow effect" - it's a performance hog)
SET textureCacheSize "536870912" (overrides the default value, which is 256 MB; only use it if you have a GPU with at least 1GB RAM)
SET extShadowQuality "value" (0 for extremely old cards, 1-3 for newer ones; corresponds to "shadow quality" in-game; never use values above 3, irrelevant of your GPU; recommended value is "2")
SET M2Faster "value" (default is "1"; people with multi-core CPUs might want to try "2" or "3" - revert to the default if you're seing artifacts or unexpected FPS drops)

Note : read HERE. If you find yourself in this position, use the following settings (remove textureCacheSize and any gxApi duplicate) :
SET gxApi "d3d9ex"
SET gxTextureCacheSize "value" (value=50-75% of your GPU's memory, in MB; use lower values if you alt-tab a lot, or multi-task heavily)


Lastly, AF/AA within the game. Most modern GPUs should be able to run AF 16x. AA, however, is more taxing - consider using 1x/2x MSAA for older cards, 4x for newer ones (I'd recommend not using AA 8x unless you really know what you're doing). Keep in mind that SSAA (supersampling) is considerably more computationally-intensive than MSAA (multisampling).
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Ulrik » Sun May 09, 2010 7:36 am

So I build my own machines but do it so infrequently that I loose track and have to relearn all the new stuff that's out.

For the moment I'm doing a CPU/Mobo/Ram upgrade going from a P4 3Ghz to i7 930 2.8Ghz quad. Everything else in the box is fine. Brand new PSU. Drives, monitor, and peripherals all good to go.

My question is how good or bad my GTS 8800 640Mb is nowadays? I planned on leaving it alone for a while till I get more funds. My brother keeps better tabs on hardware and he says it's still not too bad. Keeping in mind anyway that this is mostly just for Wow. :lol:
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Daeren » Sun May 09, 2010 8:21 am

It should be plenty

Last generation cards are still good. While waiting for my new card, I used my old 4850, and the fps skyrocketed with new CPU and ram upgrades, much more than GPU. So, you'll be fine until you find a game you don't feel runs smoothly enough.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby fafhrd » Sun May 09, 2010 12:18 pm

I should probably spring for a new cpu (currently a core2duo E8500 @ 3.16GHz), but removing and reattaching that heatsink is not something I want to do again >.> thing was such a bitch to attach the first time.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Levantine » Sun May 09, 2010 3:37 pm

Jesus, way to remind me that I need a new CPU sometime in the near future. My Core2Duo somethingsomething 2.4GHz just doesn't cut it anymore. T.T Yay more money I really don't have.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby fuzzygeek » Sun May 09, 2010 3:56 pm

tlitp wrote:Casual browsing of the technical support forums reveals a rather popular misconception about WoW and GPUs. From "freeze-ups HALP", to "lag ffs blizz fix it", to "LOW FPS HALP GUSY !!!1" - many people think that their WoW experience is somehow GPU-limited.
The culprits usually are, in no particular order :


Thanks for this. I've been sporadically troubleshooting my computer because I'm not getting nearly the performance out of it that I should be.

Like, 6 fps during Saur. When I pull all the whelps at Sindra my FPS actually go negative and I find myself back upstairs doing the Dreamwalker fight.

It's an exceedingly beefy rig --
Cor2Quad 2.66 OCed to 3.12
Win7 64bit
8gig Ram
nVidia GTX 260
SSD OS/WoW drive

I run at 1920x1200 windowed, since I have several monitors and do things on them during raid.

Windows indexes it at 7.1, FWIW. On 10s it runs fine, but it can get choppy as hell in 25s.

I found some settings that were different from what you posted, and added the line items to the config.wtf file. Hopefully this pans out. I'm on the verge of getting a different video card, but I think the problem is something deeper.

I was actually looking for the FPS limiter the other day -- on load and character screen the FPS jumps into the hundreds and the fan on the video card kicks into high gear, which seems unnecessary ...
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Mozen » Sun May 09, 2010 7:04 pm

Wait, C2D 2.66GHz no longer enough for WOW?

Well, okay, I admit I raid with just about every effect at the lowest setting except particles and view range. Particles is at the bare minimum to see my Consecration. I suppose come 4.0 it'd really be too old, though I don't really want to upgrade again...
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Santcuff » Sun May 09, 2010 7:19 pm

I might just have to suck it up with my pretty bad specs for a bout a year :cry:
I'm just probably not going to have the money to buy all the stuff I will need for a long time.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby fafhrd » Sun May 09, 2010 11:29 pm

Speaking of debugging FPS issues, I've noticed that my FPS seems to be absolutely stellar for the last 10% of LK, after you get ressed. Whether it's 10 or 25, once I accept that res, I seem to cruise along at a smooth 60ish fps.

This is surprising, since as far as I know, everyone is attacking the boss - yet before that phase I get around 15-20 fps.

The only real difference I can think of is that for the final 10%, no one is healing. I'm not sure what about no heals going off would lead to that big a performance difference for me though - I'm not a healer so I don't have any healing specific mods installed, and I believe I've disabled every available option in my unitframes and grid for showing incoming heals, so I don't think stuff like lib-healcomms should be processing heals very much.

Does anyone else find their performance jumping up after being ressed for the final 10% of the LK fight?

This happens on both my hunter and warrior, even though they have only some mods in common.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Santcuff » Mon May 10, 2010 11:12 am

Going to need about 550 dollars at least to upgrade everything :/ not going to have that money for while probably
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Koatanga » Mon May 10, 2010 3:47 pm

fafhrd wrote:Speaking of debugging FPS issues, I've noticed that my FPS seems to be absolutely stellar for the last 10% of LK, after you get ressed. Whether it's 10 or 25, once I accept that res, I seem to cruise along at a smooth 60ish fps.

This is surprising, since as far as I know, everyone is attacking the boss - yet before that phase I get around 15-20 fps.

The only real difference I can think of is that for the final 10%, no one is healing. I'm not sure what about no heals going off would lead to that big a performance difference for me though - I'm not a healer so I don't have any healing specific mods installed, and I believe I've disabled every available option in my unitframes and grid for showing incoming heals, so I don't think stuff like lib-healcomms should be processing heals very much.

Does anyone else find their performance jumping up after being ressed for the final 10% of the LK fight?

This happens on both my hunter and warrior, even though they have only some mods in common.


You probably have mods that show incoming heals on your raid frames, or you're running Healbot or some such. While that's extremely important information to see, all that information being passed around does impact your performance.

Mods that interact with one another, such as Healbot telling another Healbot how much healing is being done to whom, often use hidden whispers that are extremely inefficient.

So yes, it is entirely possible that healing is killing your frame rates.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby fafhrd » Mon May 10, 2010 3:55 pm

Koatanga wrote:
fafhrd wrote:Speaking of debugging FPS issues, I've noticed that my FPS seems to be absolutely stellar for the last 10% of LK, after you get ressed. Whether it's 10 or 25, once I accept that res, I seem to cruise along at a smooth 60ish fps.

This is surprising, since as far as I know, everyone is attacking the boss - yet before that phase I get around 15-20 fps.

The only real difference I can think of is that for the final 10%, no one is healing. I'm not sure what about no heals going off would lead to that big a performance difference for me though - I'm not a healer so I don't have any healing specific mods installed, and I believe I've disabled every available option in my unitframes and grid for showing incoming heals, so I don't think stuff like lib-healcomms should be processing heals very much.

Does anyone else find their performance jumping up after being ressed for the final 10% of the LK fight?

This happens on both my hunter and warrior, even though they have only some mods in common.


You probably have mods that show incoming heals on your raid frames, or you're running Healbot or some such. While that's extremely important information to see, all that information being passed around does impact your performance.

Mods that interact with one another, such as Healbot telling another Healbot how much healing is being done to whom, often use hidden whispers that are extremely inefficient.

So yes, it is entirely possible that healing is killing your frame rates.


Like I said, I've specifically disabled any display of incoming heals. Now, I don't know how good Grid and AgUF are at actually disabling parsing of incoming lib-healcomms messages when the feature is disabled, but I have done everything short of editing the mods myself to disable them. And no I'm not running Healbot, although just about everyone in the world using Grid or the popular unitframes mods are running lib-healcomms as an embedded library, so if that were the issue, I'd expect more people would have noticed the same jump in performance as me. I would guess most people haven't even disabled the incoming heals features since they're usually on by default.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby Daeren » Mon May 10, 2010 10:01 pm

fafhrd wrote:
Koatanga wrote:
fafhrd wrote:and AgUF are at actually disabling parsing of incoming lib-healcomms messages when the feature is disabled, but I have done everything short of editing the mods myself to disable them.

Got a problem right there. Remove ag UF, and replace with Shadowed UF. It's pretty much identical, just even more settings you can toggle. And it's faster, and less buggy.
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Re: Graphics card choice

Postby fafhrd » Tue May 11, 2010 7:37 am

I was actually thinking of running part of tonight's raids with using default unitframes and no raidframes (usually grid) to see if those are at fault. Might give shadowed a try if that indicates a problem in the unitframes, thanks :)
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