Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My world at 5 fps

This past weekend when I was loading some new interface mods, I added PerformanceFu, which monitors your frame rate, latency, and some other stats on how well the game is running. At first, having the frame rate immediately available was nice, because when I'd see the frames per second drop, I'd just calmly say, Ok, I'm lagging. I'd wait for the number to increase again, and then start moving. Whenever I saw oddities, like the fps shoot way high and then drop way low (usually while in the elevator in the Undercity), I'd calmly say, Ok, I guess I'll be disconnected in a second. Somehow, just seeing that fps number and knowing what the next few moments were going to be like made it a little less frustrating. At first.

Now, those regular dips in frame rate are just making me spend a lot of time at Dell.com, shopping for a new computer. My computer is about five years old, and although I haven't looked at the minimum specs for running WoW since I first installed the ten day free trial all those months ago, I'm pretty sure it's below what they have listed as required. (It's certainly far below what is recommended.)

When I first decided to play WoW, I did shop for video cards a bit, thinking that just upgrading that would be good enough. At the time that I got this computer, I was playing some games, but nothing so graphics intensive that I noticed a slowdown. The first game I noticed it choke on was Civ 4, so I usually played that on our laptop instead, which was newer and slightly beefier than my desktop. I couldn't imagine playing WoW on the laptop though. Civ 4 made the laptop run pretty hot, so I think WoW would probably cause a total meltdown. Anyway, WoW seemed to run well enough on my desktop, so I abandoned the idea of an upgrade pretty quickly.

I'm not sure what's happened since then. My lag problems seemed to get worse just after the last patch. I don't know if it's all the fancy effects they've added with the sunlight or what. I've changed some settings to reduce the video quality a bit, turned off the music, moved a bunch of extraneous non-WoW files to an external hard drive (because it was getting pretty full), and defragged the heck out of it. According to the PerformanceFu thing, my mods aren't adding that much of a strain, so I don't think that's it. With every patch, I guess the game gets a little bigger and more complicated, and it's just more than my little computer can take.

I found a mid range video card that I thought might be a good, sturdy upgrade, but then I noticed how cheap PCs are getting. For just twice the cost of the video card, I could get a whole new system. (I do have a nice monitor, so not replacing that already makes the whole venture cheaper.) But you know how things go. If you're going to spend $800, then what difference would a few more hundred bucks make? And then a few more, and ... well, this is a major source of entertainment for me, the last computer did last five years, so if I just beef it up a little more, this could last me another five, and ... yeah. I want a whole new computer, and not just a moderate upgrade. I want it to kick ass. I don't ever want to see Azeroth at 5 fps again.

So, I'm shopping seriously now. (And getting no work done.)

Edit: The new computer has been ordered! Est. shipping date is the 19th. Now, the agonizing wait...

6 comments:

loronar said...

Yay new computer!

I got my computer 2.5 years ago. It was the old Inspiron 700m model that Dell doesn't produce anymore. It had the 12.2" glossy screen and is quite lightweight. Up to this summer, I thought my computer was still all right compared to the ones they release now. I had the maxed 2.0 GHz on the processor, although I used 1 512MB ram card with the intention of adding a better one for the second slot. However, that never came to fruit because the 700m ran a PC2700 model that would soon become outdated. It got harder and harder to find a decently priced ram card for the model that I just gave up.

Currently, I run WoW in the mid-teens in terms of fps. Sometimes it goes to the single digits if the graphics gets too heavy like in Stormwind. Sometime in the future I hope to get a desktop and maybe retire my laptop from gaming, but I'm not sure how close that future is.

Matticus said...

Specs! Let's see it!

Ess said...

@loronar

Stormwind was always the worst for me when I was playing Alliance side. Now, the worst is Orgrimmar, right in front of the bank. All my transactions take place at 1 fps, and it completely sucks. (I'm told if my PC can't handle that area, I'll never see Shattrath.)

I'm lucky if my fps stays in the teens for long. It dips down below ten enough to drive me crazy. Sometimes when I walk into a cave, it goes all the way up to 60, and it is rather thrilling. I can't imagine seeing the gameplay with that kind of clarity all the time.

I'll bet if you start shopping, you'll have your credit card out in no time. Computers seem to be getting cheaper and cheaper...

@matticus

Hee... specs on the new baby:

XPS 720, Intel Core2 Duo processor E6750 (2.66GHz,1333FSB) w/DualCore Technology and 4MB cache

2GB DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz

512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

(And now the site tells me it might not deliver until the 26th!!! NoooooooooOO!)

Matticus said...

Specifications approved. No need to visit the AH on this one. The system is similar to the one I got a few weeks ago, but I spent about 1150 instead (To be fair, $250 of it was spent on a 22" widescreen).

You could always pay an extra $50 or something and get priority shipping =)

Ess said...

Yay! How do you like it so far?

I don't see a way to upgrade the shipping, so I'm just going to have to cross my fingers for the earlier ship date. I guess it will give me time to deal with stuff on the old computer's hard drive. (And maybe I'll actually do it this time, instead of shove the tower in the closet to deal with it "later." The closet in our office is starting to look like a mini Old Computer Museum.)

Matticus said...

I love it! All that real estate on my screen allows me to utilize extra addons which I would have discarded before as they weren't essential. Now I have threat meters, maps, raids, multiple chat windows and it's just absolutely brilliant.

In terms of power and performance, your ability to play WoW will increase guaranteed. There's so much more you can do now at your finger tips. You can react quicker because you don't have to wait for the screen to load.

I'll have to write this idea down... makes for a good blog post topic for the future, thanks for the idea ess =).