World of Warcraft (WoW) Complete Mac FAQ

Discussion in 'Games' started by GreenWing, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. GreenWing macrumors newbie

    GreenWing

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Welcome to the World of Warcraft Complete Mac FAQ



    UI Mods NOTE - at current keyloggers are supposedly rife in downloads. Personally, I am only using the top ranked and most reliable mods such as CT Mod to help avoid third-party programs.

    UNFINISHED - Tired!
    More to come soon, particularly references to quoted information and links to other posts on the forums. Also a breakdown of more specific performance on mostly current Mac models.




    Quick intro: A detailed collection of Mac/WoW related questions and answers for those considering buying a Mac/WoW. See CONTENTS for... well the contents.


    Long intro:

    Hi,

    I have just bought my new iMac C2D and am so far very pleased with it (about 2 weeks in now).

    Anyway, I am unfortunately a keen-ish WoW player and before I bought my new system (upgrade from my old PC - Athlon 3400+, 512MB RAM, ATi Radeon 9800 Pro) I spent hours agonising over the performance I could expect for WoW on my new Mac.

    After searching here, the wow-europe.com forums, and google I found various bits of information, of varying levels of use.

    Therefore for those considering the purchase of a new Mac I will try to cover the major points within this text and also link to the most relevant and comprehensive pieces of data.

    Conclusion to my story:
    I have to say that, ultimately, I was not disappointed in the least with my Mac!



    CONTENTS:
    To make this document easier to search I have also used searchable headings (Press Ctrl+F Windows/Cmd+F Mac, Then enter the appropriate text e.g. "@3"):

    @1: How do I get a Mac?
    @2: How do I get WoW?
    @3: Can I use my old discs that I used to install WoW before?
    @3.1: How long will it take to install?
    @4: What hardware is important to running WoW? (General)
    @4.1: Minimum Requirements (as of 01 Jan 2007)
    @4.2: Recommended Requirements (as of 01 Jan 2007):
    @5: Universal Binary: WoW Patch 1.9.3 & what it means for me?
    @6: Other patches of note
    @7: General overview of Mac performance
    @7.1: G3 Performance
    @7.2: G4 Performance
    @7.3: G5 Performance
    @7.4: Intel CPU Performance
    @X: Performance boosting tips


    @1: How do I get a Mac?

    OK, no exhaustive tutorial on this, www.apple.com for more info.
    If you can get an Educational Discount I thoroughly recommend it!
    And by the way, in the UK the HE Uplift contract just basically gives you phone support for longer, standard 3 year parts warranty is included in the HE agreement anyway!


    @2: How do I get WoW?

    Amazon etc. are now selling WoW for £10/$20 approximately. The expansion, The Burning Crusade, is out soon too. New players MAY not really need to get this yet as the extras are mainly aimed at advanced players.


    @3: Can I use my old discs that I used to install WoW before?

    I have seen this question a few times before so here goes:
    Yes, if you installed WoW on another PC or Mac before, then you can use your old discs again.
    The account is tied to the discs and you can use your account on multiple computers so this is not a problem. You cannot run more than one login from one account at any time though, so multiple people can't use the same account on different computers at one time.


    @3.1: How long will it take to install?

    An interesting question if ever there was one. Even after you install the 4 discs of data there is about 1GB of data worth of game patches to install on top of that (I cannot say whether newer versions of the game in the shops require less to download - I would expect so). My WoW application folder is nearly 5.5 GB in size at the time of writing.
    The download process for me was seamless on a 2MB broadband connection, but still took maybe 3 hours, though I had the odd other internet app/download running. Problems have been reported on the official forums that speeds were only in the 200 Kb level or less. I was downloading at a busy time (beginning of Christmas holidays) but seemed to have no real problems.
    Just don't expect fast downloads when a big patch has just been released!


    @4: What hardware is important to running WoW? (General)

    Theoretically and simply put, just like anything on the net there are three things that can limit play speed of WoW: Your computer, your internet access speed, and the speed of the server Blizzard is running the game on.
    You can impact the first most by buying a "L33T G4MING RiG", however with WoW this will only help you so much. You will also be limited by your internet access speed, which you may also be able to influence to some degree if you are the all important bill-payer.
    Lastly there is the server speed. You can't really do anything about this, and it will at times limit even the ultra-gamer with the newest gaming-PC on a T3 line.

    What you can do something about:

    RAM:
    I have seen mixed info on this one but in my opinion this is probably going to be one of the killers. Obviously on an old system there may be no point having 16GB RAM, just because you can, as its not going to be the bottleneck. However common sense and some evidence I have seen suggests that 1GB RAM or more can dramatically improve game performance. This is also the recommended level suggested by Blizzard (up from the 256MB (!!!) originally suggested for PC's when I bought the game).

    GPU (Graphics Card):
    This is maybe less important than RAM as you can easily make the game run better on "integrated" GPU's e.g. on the new Macbooks, by turning graphics options down. As the GPU also uses system RAM in these setups, then RAM is again more important.
    Basically if you have the minimum specs to run WoW you will be able to, you just shouldn't expect to have the graphics options turned all the way up.

    Processor:
    Obviously a faster one will make the game run better, but spending massive amounts of extra cash to boost specs on the top of the range iMac or mac pro wont necessarily improve it that much. I will go into this further under the respective headings for each setup.


    @4.1: Minimum Requirements (as of 01 Jan 2007):

    [Reference: http://www.wow-europe.com/en/requirements/index.html#technical]

    PC
    Windows 2000/XP
    Intel P3 800MHz or AMD Athlon 800MHz
    512MB RAM
    32MB 3D GPU e.g. NVidia GeForce 2 or above, and up-to-date drivers
    Direct X9.0c (Included on the discs, but your card must support it)
    6.0GB Hard-drive space
    4*CD-ROM
    56k internet connection

    Mac
    Mac OS 10.3.9 or better
    933MHz or higher G4/G5
    512MB RAM, DDR recommended
    NVidia or ATi GPU 32MB VRAM
    6.0GB Hard-drive space
    56k internet connection

    Seriously, these, I would guess, are a bare minimum!


    @4.2: Recommended Requirements (as of 01 Jan 2007):

    [Reference: http://www.wow-europe.com/en/requirements/index.html#technical]

    PC
    Intel P4 1.5GHz or AMD XP 1500+
    1024MB RAM
    64MB 3D GPU e.g. NVidia GeForce FX 5700 or above, and up-to-date drivers
    Broadband internet connection
    Two-button scroll-wheel mouse

    Mac
    1024MB RAM
    64MB NVidia or ATi GPU
    Broadband internet connection


    @5: Universal Binary: WoW Patch 1.9.3 & what it means for me?

    Basically Blizzard patched the game so that it will now run as a native Intel processor application on intel Macs. This avoids running it via Rosetta emulation, which means your processor now has to work less hard to give you more performance. Many Intel-based Mac users reported massive improvements in performance after this patch went live, especially those on the lower end systems with less powerful GPU's.
    The patch improved the use of OpenGL functionality as far as I understand, meaning those running on integrated graphics cards should see a big boost in FPS (frames-per-second, the standard measure of performance in gaming).

    [Reference: http://www.wow-europe.com/en/patchnotes/patch-190.html]


    @6: Other patches of note:

    Patch 2.0.1:

    Of most note...
    • Added support for Multi-Threaded OpenGL on Intel Macs running OS X 10.4.8 or higher. Depending on hardware, scene and graphical settings, this can raise frame rates up to a factor of 2X.
    • Improved video hardware detection and default settings, especially with Intel video.
    • Vertex Animation Shaders have been disabled for systems with Intel video.

    [Reference: http://www.wow-europe.com/en/patchnotes/patch-2010.html]


    @7: General overview of Mac performance

    This very site has a good overview for you to start with...
    http://guides.macrumors.com/World_of_Warcraft


    I also strongly recommend a look at this site...
    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/games/mac_wow_performance.html

    Below I will try and summarise this and other info for different system setups.

    Realistically you should expect good in-game performance with any new iMac or Mac Pro. Mac minis seem to need maybe a bit more RAM than they have at base specification.

    @7.1: G3 Performance

    "not technically supported, however the game will run on the newest of them"
    "expect relatively weak performance with the graphics settings at their lowest"
    [http://guides.macrumors.com/World_of_Warcraft]

    Expected FPS:


    @X:

    Performance boosting tips:

    1.Remove WTB/WTF folders after update.
    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/games/mac_wow_performance.html#updateTip

    2. Turn down graphics options/reset to system defaults/turn down Distance under the Video Options.

    3. Don't run background programs, especially on older systems.

    4. Minimize use of UI Mods, some of them strain system resources.

    5. Ensure that no other programs are downloading simultaneously with WoW.

    6. Consider adding more RAM (obviously a bit more extreme).

    7. Use game options menu to change to a windowed mode, or press Cmd+M to do the same thing. A lovely feature in its own right - far superior to alt+tab as I once read somewhere else.

    8. Ctrl+R shows the in-game framerate counter.




    Thanks to those who wrote all these original documents - they were a valuable resource.


    More to come...
     
  2. GreenWing thread starter macrumors newbie

    GreenWing

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Location:
    UK
  3. GreenWing thread starter macrumors newbie

    GreenWing

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Location:
    UK
  4. GreenWing thread starter macrumors newbie

    GreenWing

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Just in case...

    I don't know what the character limit of posts is so I'm playing safe.

    Please PM me if anything is wrong.

    Suggestions are gladly accepted, though time may limit what I can do about various topics!

    Thanks for reading, and hello to all on the forums,

    GreenWing. :)
     

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