WoW Performance: 1 or 2 GB?

Discussion in 'Games' started by Demon Hunter, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #1
    Does anyone know how performance is affected by adding another stick, or lack thereof? Espcially as it pertains to the Powerbook...

    I hear that WoW is very dependent on hard disk speed/RAM.
     
  2. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #2
    I cannot confirm this first hand, but NUMEROUS members of the community have mentioned that WoW never exceeds 300mb or so of memory usage. It sounds like a bug to me, so that may change at any time. Because of that limitation, it is frequently paging data from the HD, so HD speed can make a difference. Some users have reported a very slight improvement from 7200 to 10k drives. If you are using a PB w/ a 4200rom drive, you would likely notice some increases going to a 5400rpm system, but the gains would probably be negligable going to anything more.

    So, to answer your question more succinctly, going to 2gb of RAM from 2gb, right now, isn't likely to help at all, and you may be able to get a little improvement by upgrading your drive speed, if it's a 4200 rpm drive.

    Later this week, or maybe next, I am going to test WoW RAM usage on an iMac by running it with a single 512mb stick (should be just the right amount to fill up with 300mb for WoW and 200mb for the rest of the system) and then put in another 256 or 512 stick and retest, looking for any improvement in framerates.

    What kind of PB do you have and what sort of framerates are you seeing?

    Rob
     
  3. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #3
    I dont know where you get your information but WoW isnt bound by HD or ram (if you have over 1gig), its processor bound all the way (of course, there is also the video card).

    I often encode DVD while playing WoW and my performance, while not great, are totaly acceptable if I am not going into any major city or PvP area. Knowing howmuch ram/hd work is involved in DVD encoding, my guess is that OSX give one proc to WoW and the other to my encoding software.
     
  4. patseguin macrumors 65816

    patseguin

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    #4
    I found a definite performance increase after upgrading from 1GB to 2GB RAM. I think the next WoW patch will offer even better performance with the new 10.3.8 drivers so you may want to hold off buying the RAM until then.
     
  5. a2daj macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    #5
    Last Thursday I went from 1 GB to 2 GB of RAM in my dual 2.5 G5 and one thing I noticed during the weekend is that there's a lot less paging in after a long WoW session. With 1 GB of RAM after a few hours of WoW and then either quitting or switching to windowed mode my HD would grind for about 20-30 seconds and my system was unusable until it was done grinding away. With 2 GB, I can use my system right away.
     
  6. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #6
    WoW performance IS bound by hard drive speed to some extent. I've noticed that when entering a crowded area, WoW has to read a bunch of info from the hard drive (I'm guessing it's reading in clothing/armor/weapon textures). So, having a quicker hard drive helps with some aspects of the game. To flatly state that "WoW isn't bound by HD or ram" is incorrect.
     
  7. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    Feb 6, 2004
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    Hell@HighAltitude
    #7
    1.5GB RAM is plenty. But if i had to choose between 1 or 2, i'd round up of course.
     
  8. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    #8
    weird. It ignores any more than 768 MB on a PC...
     
  9. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    Hell@HighAltitude
    #9
    Coming from the guy who vowed never to buy a subscription based game... LOL ;)

    Not that you said you bought it...
     
  10. zaphoyd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Wisconsin/Illinois
    #10
    working on narrowing this down

    My experiences so far using various computer labs around campus

    1. dual 2.0Ghz G5 2GB ram 64MB9600 (1650x1050) nearly flawless with everything on high.

    2. Dual 2.5Ghz G5 512 ram 256MB9800 (1280x1024) "chunky fast" it is highly varied, sometimes very fast, sometimes drops to really sluggish. Generally unplayable maxed (compared to the first system), decent at lower settings.

    3. 667Mhz G4 Powerbook 1GB 32MB7500 (896,600), with everything set to low you get a very smooth, steady 10fps. very playable, doesn't look great, but is smooth at least. AH cities very bad.

    4. Single 1.8Ghz G5 64MBNvidia5200 512MB (800,600) frame rate slightly better than the 667 powerbook but very choppy and generally unplayable.

    5. Dual 2.5 G5 256MB 9800 1280x1024 1.5GB ram: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! awww what do you mean there is a 100fps cap... boooooooooo


    Moral of story:
    Lack of ram can ruin even the most beastly of macs, and lots of ram can make even a lowly dual 2Ghz with 9600 run a 20 inch display flawlessly

    in this game ram is king. 512MB is nowhere near enough

    512 -> 1.5 makes all the difference.
    1GB lets an older powerbook play reasonably well

    so yeah ram ram ram, and avoid the Nvidia 5200 like the plague
     
  11. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #11
    Thanks!!! That's extremely helpful, I owe ya. :)

    ROFL @ the 5200 plague. Of particular surprise was this,

    If that isn't proof that the 5200 is pathetic, I don't know what is.

    Three cheers for zaphoyd! :cool:
     
  12. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #12
    Doesn't make much sense. Run top while WoW is running. 300 MB max (resident). I have 1.5 MB and most of it is never used by WoW. If you like to have lots of other apps running, then sure, but I don't see how anything over about 768 MB (leaving room for OS X) is going to help if you run WoW alone, and maybe Safari for Thottbot. So yeah, nudging up from 512 might help a bit, but 1.5 is overkill for WoW...of course get as much RAM as you can afford, but 768 should be plenty for now if your funds are constrained.
     
  13. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #13
    Well, since you are looking at campus lab machines, I would be suspicious of the actual performance relitive to other similar machines. You don't know what is running in the background, etc. Is #4 an iMac or a PM? iMac's perform almost 50% faster acros the board when the power saving settings are changed to highest from automatic, for example. I don't know about the PMs sensitivity to that.

    Anyways, if you search around a little bit on this website and on the official WoW tech forum, you will see lots of people who report varying fps from similar machine to similar machine, but you wil also see lots of people who don't have any improvement with adding more RAM, and also lots of people who will tell yout aht WoW doesn't use more than 300mb at any time.

    I suspect that the biggest perceptable performance is a video card with mroe VRAM, and it allows more textures to be buffered, which currently aren't being buffered in system RAM due to some sort of either bug or poor design choice, and have to be constantly paged in fromt he hard disk. If they update WoW to take advantage of all available RAM, I suspect that Mac users all around will see more consistant performance (it may not give you any more MAX fps, but the drops wil be smaller and faster to recover).

    This could be tested, in a way, by a PM user with lots of RAM moving all of the WoW data to a ram disk and then running it. The speed at which the textures are pulled from the drive to VRAM should be at least similar to the speeds at which they would be pulled if they were correctly stored in system RAM.

    Rob
     
  14. a2daj macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    #14
    WoW was using over 400 MBs of RAM last night when I checked in both top and Activity Monitor. This was in a Dual 2.5 with 2 GB of RAM running 10.3.8.
     
  15. jasylonian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Location:
    sacramento
    #15
    when you say avoid the nvidia 5200, is that all of the nvidia 5200's (32/64)? i'm running this on a rev b. 12" albook and i'm just wondering if bumping from 512MB to 1.2GB would be worth anything?
     
  16. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #16
    It won't hurt, but don't expect much improvement in WoW. The graphics chip and CPU are probably your biggest limiting factors (and the slow laptop hard drive).
     
  17. Rob587 macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #17
    is 5400rpm the absolute fastest hd we can get in these powerbooks? isnt there a way to get a better one?
     
  18. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #18
    You can get 7200rpm 2.5" drives aftermarket that will wrk in the PBs, but they are very expensive, and not really that much faster than the 5400rm drives. An external FW800 drive would probably be just as good, and a decent gaming PC would probably not be much more than the HD upgrade.

    Rob
     
  19. zaphoyd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Wisconsin/Illinois
    #19
    All machines except the powerbook are G5 towers. The 1.8 in fact is not a lab machine but the personal machine of one of the Computer Science Tech Staff. The powerbook is my personal computer. All of the labs i have tested in are run by the CS dept, are running nothing but finder and WoW (Thott/safari on my laptop), latest version of Mac OS X. They are running the game from the internal hard drives and connected to a 100Mbit internet connection. I have tried booting from my external fw800 video drive and running it, no real difference than the internal drive so I don't think they are running too much extra crap. Only sharing protocol on is ssh.

    I really don't think the graphics card makes *that* much a difference. At least given a lack of ram

    the dual 2.0 with 64MB 9600 and 2GB of ram runs the game better at full res on a 20 inch screen than the 2.5 256MB 9800 with 512 does on a 17...

    bump the 2.5 to 1.5 and it flys. 1.5 may be overkill, but 1 certainly isnt.

    regarding iMacs. my 1.8G5 iMac at home runs the game like crap (512MB/5200 not surprised) going to get a 1GB chip for it and see how much difference that makes.

    Another CS student I talk to has a 867MHz 12 inch with 640Ram(still doesn't seem enough) and a 5200. He runs everything low and it is still choppy. (Note 10.3.7/8 seem to have fixed at least a few 5200 issues. I still wouldn't run out and buy one or ever spec a G5 tower with one, but this is good news for iMac and 12 inch PB owners)

    not all nVidia stuff is as crappy as the 5200 fortunately. Ran WoW on a G5 at the apple store:
    Dual 2.5 2GB ram 256MB 6800 30 inch display <- :D:D:D
    this beast can run the game at full resolution. all max, terrain distance set 2/3 of the way. I was hitting the frame cap just running around stormwind. Oh and it makes you kinda sick looking at the game that big... No shaders though :( not sure if 10.3.8 fixed the no shaders on the 6800

    I will try doing some various testing with top and various machines/length of WoW session. The most any G5 towers have here is 2GB.. hm WoW data wont fit in any ram disks, and I don't think they would take kindly to me cannibalizing the whole lab to run WoW tests.

    A few other issues I am noticing with all machines:
    1. the mouse looses focus to the game, and requires a restart of the game (could be interface mods?)
    2. the screen simply turns black. Game is still running, cursor is still visible. window and unwindow helps sometimes
    3. Game starts freezing up every few seconds and becomes choppy and unplayable for no apparent reason on a system that should maul it.

    anyone else having any of these issues and/or know any solutions?
     
  20. Echinda macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    #20
    All Hail Zaphoyd!

    Thanks for all the great info, Zaphoyd. I've got an old g3 iMac and am looking to replace it in the next couple of months (I've finally convinced my wife to let me but only now that the slot loading drive is refusing to kick out disks 75% of the time. She is frugal!).

    I am looking at the g5 iMac with the 20" screen, but I'm concerned that with the 5200 that is too many pixels for that card to push. I will be forever in your debt (or something like that) if you can supply info on how WoW would run on that machine (or on the 17" if that is what you have) at native resolution with a substantial amount of RAM -- I can go to 2 Gbs ($500 at Crucial) before I hit my wife's computer expense tolerance ceiling.

    Thanks in advance, and again, thanks for the great info.
     
  21. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #21
    ROFL @ 30" screen... my friend had that problem with playing UT, she got really sick to her stomach. After playing WoW for a while she was cured (game > sickness).

    I have a similar issue on my Powerbook... spanning the screen left and right is extremely choppy, whereas running forward is pretty smooth... I don't get it. That's with 1 GB Ram and 128 vram.

    Also, zaphoyd, in your opinion... would a WoW lover be satisfied, in any way shape or form, playing on the new 12"?

    How would it drive a 20" display? Or would that kill the 5200? The 12" is soooo nice for traveling...
     
  22. infect macrumors member

    infect

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #22
    So you wouldn't say that the extra VRAM has helped? I have a 1.5GHz powerbook and was contemplating getting the upgraded VRAM chip for my next powerbook, but I'm still not convinced it will help performance for things like WoW.
     
  23. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #23
    I'm not really sure what the deal is. Tests show it isn't a huge improvement, and with my own experience with G4 chips, you can increase the resolution/textures and it will have little effect on FPS. Even when I set everything to the lowest setting, there isn't a huge difference. Not sure what the bottleneck is here.

    I'm sure it helps... this choppy issue seems to affect even the fastest Macs right now.

    It would be great to have two side-by-side and make a direct comparison.
     
  24. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    Hell@HighAltitude
    #24
    If you got 128mb of vram in your next powerbook, it will likely help you play future games faster than the 64mb version. Since these are options that can't be upgraded furthur, then i would suggest getting the option at time of order. I don't know if WoW really cares past 64mb of vram though...

    It won't be long before there are games that use 128mb though. doom3 for instance.
     
  25. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #25
    Just to chime in on this... new 1.8ghz iMac G5 (17"), 786mb RAM, energy saver on highest... I have it set to the widescreen resoultion below 1440x900 and that seems to really help. Looks good still, can't really tell tell the difference between that res and the native screen res. I have the shader effects on, but not the full screen glow (i think it looks bad), and the distance options set to medium levels. Details are all on high. 32bit color. With these settings I am getting 20-30 consistantly outdoors, 40-70 indoors, and it will drop down to the teens (15-19 mostly) for a bit when I am first getting into a busy area, like ironforge.

    Overall, I cannot complain a bit about the performance. Seems like the real help was turning down the res... I dont think the 5200 can feed that many pixels at a time...

    Sadly, when I play my iMac sounds like my furnace, but that's a whole other issue...

    Rob
     

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