Budget Build Challenge - Max WoW Shadowlands @ 1080p 60 FPS Consistent

KABIG0N

n00b
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
2
I'm not really sure where to post this or if Intel is still the go-to anymore or if AMD has surpassed them at least on lower price point value so hopefully someone can help. I'm trying to build the cheapest PC possible before WoW Shadowlands releases partly out of curiosity to see how inexpensively I can do this but also because I'm moving so funds are limited and I can't afford to spend a lot of money on a PC.

I don't have a set budget but obviously on the low end as I'm trying to keep it as cheap as I can. I'm obviously going to be buying used parts for the build and I'm more than willing to use older gen components as WoW hasn't changed much in terms of how demanding it is and Blizzard games are more CPU dependent than GPU which certainly helps with the cost.

That being said, it's been several years since I've built a PC so I've been out of the loop for a while in terms of what has been released and what will still work well from previous gens of CPUs, GPUs, PSUs, etc. I do have a spare NZXT X61 Cooler, Monitor, WD Black 1TB HDD, Mouse, and Keyboard already but I am requiring an SSD bc once you've used one, you can't go back but I can use the HDD for storage.

What would you guys recommend? I'm not sure what older CPUs and GPUs are still readily available and well priced for the performance they can still bring. Everything else will basically fit in place depending on the CPU such as the Motherboard, RAM, PSU, Case, etc.

Thank You!
 

Denpepe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,695
I made this list with parts that should still be readily available you can obviously go lower on the price and while wow basically runs on a potato it did receive some upgrades over the years (e.g. it runs in DX 12 now and in the next expac you can use ray traced shadows) but you can look at this as a starting point

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/mnw7Dx
 

Ready4Dis

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
2,368
I made this list with parts that should still be readily available you can obviously go lower on the price and while wow basically runs on a potato it did receive some upgrades over the years (e.g. it runs in DX 12 now and in the next expac you can use ray traced shadows) but you can look at this as a starting point

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/mnw7Dx
Even something like a 9100f can run it at > 100fps with a 1650 ultra. While the 2600x is a very capable processors, buts it's very overkill if the only stipulation is >60fps @ 1080p WOW, where a $72 processor can exceed (obviously the 2600x would be better all around, but this isn't what he asked for). I would say something like the 3100 or 3300x would be a better fit for this game if you wanted to go AMD (although I think 3300x is still basically vaporware). Also, an RX 570 would be about the same (in most games, I'm having a hard time tracking down this particular game for benchmarks) as the 1650 if you are into AMD. The 5600xt is a bit more expensive, but it comes with Shadowlands as an included game, which offsets some of the cost if you have to purchase anyways, and it's a much more efficient/higher powered card ( I think the deal expires in early November). It's faster than the 1660ti. Unfortunetly, they didn't include the 5500xt in this deal for WoW. The 5600xt can be had at about $270 and comes with both Godfall and Shadowlands. Really so many options though, so it's really hard to just say how cheap you want to make it. You can buy second hand and go really cheap, rx 570's can be found $100 or less.
 

KABIG0N

n00b
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
2
Ready4Dis

Will your recommendations be able to consistently stay at least 60 but hopefully above just for smoothness under heavy load such as Raids. You seem to be understanding exactly what I'm looking for which is simply finding great deals that will be plenty good enough for what I'm looking to do as I'll upgrade to a stronger rig down the road but for now I'll just use it for work, school, and Blizz Games (primarily WoW SL of course) so as long as the system is smashing that and I can save a bunch of money, I'm extremely happy.

You listed quite a few things so what would be your recommendation for the most cost efficient and well performing rig at a low price point? It's not that I can't go a bit higher in budget, I just simply don't have a reason to b/c this is literally all I need it to do. Thank You!
 

Ready4Dis

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
2,368
Man, this is such a difficult one because I know nobody plays WoW without at least a few add-ons and overlays :). It also matters if you're talking like > 60fps @ max settings with 40 vs 40 or just 5 man raids.

Here is an example of like.. worst case for an RX 580 to give you an idea:

The CPU is not being taxed to hard (it's sitting near 25-30%, which shows it's a bit overkill in this game as I mentioned earlier). The GPU does drop quite a bit, but as you can see, there is a lot of things going on at once. If you want to maintain this @ > 60fps, you are looking at spending a bit more. Honestly, if you need to purchase the game, the 5600XT with the game is a pretty good deal; If you already own it, it's an ok deal. Are you ok with used cards or just looking for brand new or? Do you have a hard limit on where you don't want to spend? Just trying to collect as much info as I can so I can make a better real world recommendation for your situation. Anyways, as you can see, there is so much dependent that it's really hard to just give you a suggestion as everything is a compromise (either compromise on spending money for those last few frames, or compromise and running only med/high when running around with huge groups to keep budget reasonable). This is why I typically just give some broader overview so you can make an educated decision based on your specific needs. If you want specifics, I need to know what you value the most (your hard earned $$$ or money is no object I want to be > 60fps ALWAYS).
 

GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Messages
9,777
WoW has traditionally shown a preference for Nvidia cards in benchmarks. Take an AMD card and an Nvidia card that are equal in the vast majority of game benchmarks, and then benchmark using WoW. The Nvidia card will usually be about 10% faster in WoW despite being equal in other games. This advantage could change in Shadowlands, but it's basically held true for 10+ years at this point. It's clear that the WoW developers have a much closer relationship with Nvidia compared to AMD. There have been many situations where the game introduced features specific to or at least tailored toward Nvidia cards. Like back in WoD when they introduced support for Nvidia HBAO+, and now in Shadowlands where they are introducing support for Ray Tracing. I'm not saying to avoid AMD GPUs, but it's something to keep in mind if you are basing your considerations on non-WoW benchmarks.

Up until a few years ago WoW generally only made use of 1-1.5 CPU cores. They have made some progress toward making it more multi-threaded. Introducing DX12 helped a bit. Now WoW tends to use 1-3 cores. Still very dependent on single-core performance compared to almost any other game, but better than before at least. Hopefully the 9.0 Shadowlands pre-patch (when the new changes to the game engine take effect) will make things even more multi-threaded - but it's probably better to keep expectations low in that regard... Until that changes, there is really no advantage to anything past 4 cores in WoW unless you run a lot of other programs in the background. Something like a quad-core 3300X would be just about perfect for WoW. Personally though, I would not build any new computer with less than 6 cores at this point, regardless of how many WoW uses. I went with a 12-core 3900X despite WoW representing 90% of my game playing these days.

I've tried the Shadowlands beta and I have to say that I do like the look of the Ray Traced shadows. The performance hit from enabling Ray Tracing on the Shadowlands beta didn't seem too bad. I run the game at 4k on a 1440P monitor using 150% resolution scale using a 2080 RTX. The game is actually pretty demanding at max settings running at 4k. I use 150% resolution scale because it's better than any AA method included in the game. The built-in AA methods do a terrible job removing aliasing from transparent textures (particularly the names above people's heads). It bothers me that it can actually be difficult to read people's names at a distance because of all the aliasing. Brute-force AA methods (such as running at >100% resolution scale) is the only way I know of to actually fix the problem. So even if you are running on a 1080P monitor, I would consider trying to render the game at 1440P using 150% resolution scale instead of using something like MSAA.

You might keep an eye out for a good deal on a used 980Ti. I've seen many selling them for very cheap. It's an older card obviously, and you'll have to live without Ray Tracing, but it's as fast or faster than a GTX 1070 in WoW and the 6GB of VRAM on the 980Ti should be plenty at 1080P, or even 1440P. Otherwise grab a 20xx series card for Ray Tracing.

Don't skimp on the SSD. Go with NVMe if possible. WoW makes better use of an SSD than almost any other game. In many cases, to get to certain areas, you have to go through like 4 different portals in a row. That means 4 different loading screens in a row. Using a mechanical hard drive can be agonizing. Before the SSD era I used a pair of 15K RPM SCSI drives in Raid-0 just for WoW, to help with the loading. It was definitely faster than a single 7200rpm drive, but still slow. Getting an SSD was probably the best upgrade I ever did for WoW, and WoW is also probably the only game I've played where I actually noticed a difference in loading time when I upgraded from a SATA SSD to an NVMe SSD.
 
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