Ultra budget video card for WoW and Diablo III

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[H]ard|Gawd
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Hey guys.

I sold my last PC, and now I want something to play these games (WoW and D3).

What's the minimum GPU I should get to have reasonable FPS on these games? My setup will probably be an AMD X2 250 with 8GB of RAM. Nothing fancy, just the cheapest thing I can get around here... i3 and even X4 are too expensive for me at this time.

For comparison purposes, last GPU I had was a 9800GT. Anything reasonably better than that and I'm happy.

Also, I tend to prefer AMD Radeon, mainly because they're cheaper than nVidia around here.

Thanks.
 
A Radeon 5830 or 6870 would be more than enough.

Picked up my last ones of those for $100 range...
 
Hey guys.

I sold my last PC, and now I want something to play these games (WoW and D3).

What's the minimum GPU I should get to have reasonable FPS on these games? My setup will probably be an AMD X2 250 with 8GB of RAM. Nothing fancy, just the cheapest thing I can get around here... i3 and even X4 are too expensive for me at this time.

For comparison purposes, last GPU I had was a 9800GT. Anything reasonably better than that and I'm happy.

Also, I tend to prefer AMD Radeon, mainly because they're cheaper than nVidia around here.

Thanks.

For WoW you really need a good processor, and that Athlon X2 250 is even slower than a Sandy-Bridge based Celeron:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/celeron-g540-g440_6.html#sect0

You'd be better off getting something like that Sandy Bridge Celeron and just running the game on low settings with the Sandy Bridge integrated video for a month or however long until you can afford a videocard too.
 
SB Celeron... never found one around here, unfortunately.

Well, I could make an effort and get this:
Asus P8h61-m LE + Intel I3 2100 3.1 + 4 Gb Kingston 1333

Is that OK? With this setup, what's the really cheap GPU for decent performance?
 
SB Celeron... never found one around here, unfortunately.

Well, I could make an effort and get this:
Asus P8h61-m LE + Intel I3 2100 3.1 + 4 Gb Kingston 1333

Is that OK? With this setup, what's the really cheap GPU for decent performance?

That will do pretty well. I'd look for a used 5770 here.
 
I saw several recommend a 5770. I tried the open beta last weekend of Diablo 3, and my e8500 cpu with 4gb ddr2 and a 5770 512mb had a lot of lag, generally when transitioning between different sections. I thought this system should have been able to handle Diablo 3 fine. I even turned down settings and resolution, and still had issues. My other PC running an i3-2100 and GTX 260 had no problems at all.
 
Good choice. A 6870 will definitely eat up D3 with no problems. Depending on the resolution you play at, and the city that you're in while playing WoW you may see a little lag, but not much.
 
I saw several recommend a 5770. I tried the open beta last weekend of Diablo 3, and my e8500 cpu with 4gb ddr2 and a 5770 512mb had a lot of lag, generally when transitioning between different sections. I thought this system should have been able to handle Diablo 3 fine. I even turned down settings and resolution, and still had issues. My other PC running an i3-2100 and GTX 260 had no problems at all.

My rig plays it with no lag, Something else is wrong with that computer.
 
You can get a second Q6600 easily for around $60-80 (Im guessing, in the UK is £50)

For WOW you need a good CPU rather than GPU as having a poor CPU will mean you are bottlenecked and the GPU wont really mean anything or be of use.
 
Also, what's up with the pricing on 460's these days? I was able to get one for $100 almost two years ago from Microcenter.
That was probably a special deal or promotion. I rarely saw GTX 460s for that low when those were the top cards.
 
My rig plays it with no lag, Something else is wrong with that computer.

Your main rig has a much better CPU, and my 5770 is only 512mb.

If your guest rig can play it with no lag though, then something is definitely going on with my pc.
 
You can get a second Q6600 easily for around $60-80 (Im guessing, in the UK is £50)

For WOW you need a good CPU rather than GPU as having a poor CPU will mean you are bottlenecked and the GPU wont really mean anything or be of use.
Communication with servers and loading maps is matter of CPU, but if you want to have better FPS you need a faster GPU as well. But I'm not sure that 5770 would lag wow, because at the times I played wow with cards like 6600GT, 8800GT or HD5670(low power card) and it had no lagging at full details and AA enabled.
 
While it won't set the world on fire an X2 250 is fine for WoW. Pair it with an HD 6850 and you'll have a cheap, capable rig for that game. You may not be able to max every quality setting, but it'll play it well enough. Yes, the game is more demanding since Cataclysm, but its still pretty forgiving if you can forgo things like extreme shadow quality settings.
 

My 7850's been flawless with D3 beta. Then again, it sucks horribly for just about everything else, on the other hand.

For WoW you really need a good processor, and that Athlon X2 250 is even slower than a Sandy-Bridge based Celeron:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/celeron-g540-g440_6.html#sect0

You'd be better off getting something like that Sandy Bridge Celeron and just running the game on low settings with the Sandy Bridge integrated video for a month or however long until you can afford a videocard too.

Ivy Bridge IGP maybe, not Sandy. It's slow and very high input lag on my notebook. 540M still struggles to get 35fps without overclocking..
 
That'll play it pretty nicely. :) Did you get 2x2GB sticks so you can upgrade to 4x2GB later on if you need to?

I went full retard. Got 2x4GB of RAM also. :D

When it arrives I'll keep you guys informed about its performance.
 
Maybe you should have gotten a x2 or x3 and unlock the cores?
Cuz wow is able to use 4 cores as far as i know.
 
No he should not have. Intel CPUs are like twice as fast in WoW compared to AMD.
 
Intel cpu are a lot better for wow, but i dont think it helps having more then two cores.
 
I played the open beta at work with an amd 64 x2 4200+ and hd6450 on high settings and it ran smooth as a babies behind, except for occasional server overload lag, but you get the point.
 
Sounds like you need an AMD A8 based setup, if you want to play wow or d3 and spend as little as possible. Or wait a bit and get an A10/trinity setup
 
Last summer I had a core i5 2500k stock clocks and a gtx460.

WOW was able to keep the GPU at 80-90% usage at 90fps.

This was at 1920x1080 with ultra graphics turned on in dx11, 4x msaa

Also stick with NVIDIA, ATI just isnt that good on the wow engine.

While CPU is still king for wow, a lot of people underestimate the need for a mid range GPU. They use their knowledge from classic wow. The engine was revamped in Cataclysm with DX11 support and water tessellation. These things can eat a slow GPU.

I would say anything as good as a gtx460 or faster + a quad core will keep you humming along. ( a8 and a 460/560)

I currently use a gtx680, my first 2gb card. I do see vram usage hit 1.2gb regularly and sometimes up to 1.6vram. So if whatever card you pick has a 2gb version for a few bucks more, consider it.

Even with my gtx680 I can still hit 25fps in a 25 man raid during certain events. The GPU chugging at 30% usage. So yes CPU is still very important. I recently OC to 4.3ghz and I am now pushing 35fps in those 25man raids.

That is not 35fps all the time, its just during certain high graphic events like the ping pong boss. Just running around I am capped 120fps (my refresh rate) and usually about 80fps in a normal 25 man fight.
 
OP will be very happy with his selections.

And you people who still think it's 2004, WoW runs like horseshit with a poor video card. I agree with Shadohh--you need at least a mid-range video card to keep your framerate out of the cellar. They've updated the graphics engine with every expansion pack. It doesn't demand a high-end video card but it doesn't hurt.

E
 
Communication with servers and loading maps is matter of CPU, but if you want to have better FPS you need a faster GPU as well. But I'm not sure that 5770 would lag wow, because at the times I played wow with cards like 6600GT, 8800GT or HD5670(low power card) and it had no lagging at full details and AA enabled.

Wow's graphics engine has seem some nice changes since cataclysm. My old 7900GT ran it nicely with an Athlon 64x2 3800. When I upgraded to a C2Q Q6600 + 9600GT, I was in heaven. Ran it at a locked 60fps (vsync on), 16xAF, 16xCSAA, and that was even in 25-man raids and populated areas. Since Cata...not so much. I've upgraded to a GTX 560, but I am clearly CPU limited right now. A lot of the graphics settings will strain the CPU (calculations for dynamic shadows on EVERY player and EVERY object tends to murder the CPU). For more on this, see below...

Maybe you should have gotten a x2 or x3 and unlock the cores?
Cuz wow is able to use 4 cores as far as i know.

WoW is locked to 2 cores, max. I hope to god they change this soon. There is no reason they can't offload some of the new changes to a 3rd core (or more). I am constantly seeing 2 cores at or near max while the other two are handling system tasks only.
 
Your main rig has a much better CPU, and my 5770 is only 512mb.

If your guest rig can play it with no lag though, then something is definitely going on with my pc.

Oh I see, Its possible that the 1gb of vram helps, Im not going to bother with installing D3 on the guest rig.
 
Wow's graphics engine has seem some nice changes since cataclysm. My old 7900GT ran it nicely with an Athlon 64x2 3800. When I upgraded to a C2Q Q6600 + 9600GT, I was in heaven. Ran it at a locked 60fps (vsync on), 16xAF, 16xCSAA, and that was even in 25-man raids and populated areas. Since Cata...not so much. I've upgraded to a GTX 560, but I am clearly CPU limited right now. A lot of the graphics settings will strain the CPU (calculations for dynamic shadows on EVERY player and EVERY object tends to murder the CPU). For more on this, see below...



WoW is locked to 2 cores, max. I hope to god they change this soon. There is no reason they can't offload some of the new changes to a 3rd core (or more). I am constantly seeing 2 cores at or near max while the other two are handling system tasks only.

It can use 3 cores.

2 for graphics engine and 3rd for the sound engine.
 
Maybe you should have gotten a x2 or x3 and unlock the cores?
Cuz wow is able to use 4 cores as far as i know.

The i3-2100 is a fantastic CPU, and supports hyper-threading. I'd happily take it over pretty much any X2 or X3.
 
The i3-2100 is a fantastic CPU, and supports hyper-threading. I'd happily take it over pretty much any X2 or X3.

I would agree, core i3 is better. Add some over clocking to it an a antec sealed water cooler and it will be epic
 
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It can use 3 cores.

2 for graphics engine and 3rd for the sound engine.

This is semantics. Windows handles sound processing in Vista/7/8, so any requests for sound from WoW are send to Windows, which processes the sound using the best available resource (an idle core). WoW itself is limited to two cores no matter how much you tax those cores, and regardless of how many idle cores you have. Even on max audio settings, on a Core 2 Quad Q6600, sound processing takes up a negligible about of CPU cycles.
 
This is semantics. Windows handles sound processing in Vista/7/8, so any requests for sound from WoW are send to Windows, which processes the sound using the best available resource (an idle core). WoW itself is limited to two cores no matter how much you tax those cores, and regardless of how many idle cores you have. Even on max audio settings, on a Core 2 Quad Q6600, sound processing takes up a negligible about of CPU cycles.

Actually wow uses the FMOD for an audio engine. This supports headphone surround and 64 software channels and Mixing reverb.

FMOD can eat up a cpu core mixing 64 channels for headphone surround.
 
I can contest to a using a Q6600 (stock speed) with an 7950OC (256bit, 256mb) Videocard and running on High settings just as good as my initial setup i3-2100 with 5750 1GB at high settings, both running 4GB ram. the Q6600 was my friends running XP Pro 32bit and i was on WIN7 home 64bit. Ran perfectly fine

any Dual core around 2.6ghz+ and a 5700/6700 or the cheaper 6670 will run WOW with no issues. on Med-high settings. you can still get a GTX460 768mb for around $100 and the 550ti is dropping fast too.
 
Actually wow uses the FMOD for an audio engine. This supports headphone surround and 64 software channels and Mixing reverb.

FMOD can eat up a cpu core mixing 64 channels for headphone surround.

For shits and giggles I played with the sound settings. I toggled headphone mode on/off, moved the slider between low and high quality, and I changed the number of channels from 24 (low) to 64 (high). Here's what I noticed:

Core 1: No change in usage based on sound settings in game. Usage seemed to fluctuate based on background tasks. Generally stayed at or below 20%.
Core 2: No change based on sound settings in game. Usage seemed to fluctuate based on background tasks. Generally stayed at or below 10%.
Core 3: Big changes. At the lowest settings, the core stayed between 40-60%. At the highest settings, it was about 50-70%. So, from low to high settings, it consumed about 10% of one core, and that is a significant chunk for one core.
Core 4: No changes based on sound settings, and seemed to fluctuate between 60-100%. Seems that this core took the brunt of WoW's general usage.

This was on a Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ stock 2.4ghz. GPU used was a GeForce GTX 560, and the audio device was the Nvidia HD Audio from the 560 via HDMI. I'd be curious to see what your results are. From my unscientific testing, it seems that not only is WoW limited to two cores (as I've been asserting), but even the audio used for WoW stays within these same two cores (something I wasn't sure on). So, unless you can convince me otherwise, it seems that WoW is truly limited to two cores, and any benefit to a triple-/quad-core system is that those extra cores handle Windows background tasks so that WoW can be played unimpeded by the system.

I can contest to a using a Q6600 (stock speed) with an 7950OC (256bit, 256mb) Videocard and running on High settings just as good as my initial setup i3-2100 with 5750 1GB at high settings, both running 4GB ram. the Q6600 was my friends running XP Pro 32bit and i was on WIN7 home 64bit. Ran perfectly fine

any Dual core around 2.6ghz+ and a 5700/6700 or the cheaper 6670 will run WOW with no issues. on Med-high settings. you can still get a GTX460 768mb for around $100 and the 550ti is dropping fast too.

How recently did you play WoW on that 7950OC system? Since Cataclysm, the graphics engine has changed pretty drastically. Overall, the game has the same general appearance. However, many new settings not only tax the GPU, but severely tax the CPU. On my Atlon 64 x2 @ 2.0ghz + 7900GTO, I was running maxed with 4xAA and Transparency AA at playable framerates (1280x1024 back then). When I upgraded to my Q6600 + 9600GT, I was running maxed + 16xCSAA + Transparency AA (MS) +1680x1050 at playable framerates. I quit playing back around late 2008 or early 2009.

Flash forward to a few months ago and I resumed playing on that same system. Max settings? Maybe in a wet dream! Everything was on fair/medium, except for the features that I had to turn off! If I pushed everything to max, I'd get 20-30fps in low populated areas, and PowerPoint in high populated areas! Even on my GTX 560, with everything maxed, SW/ORG drops below 20fps in the bank/AH areas. Everything else fluctuates between 30-60fps. I generally drop shadows down from ultra to high (everything else maxed, FXAA). By not having dynamic shadows on EVERYTHING I can spare some CPU cycles.

So, again, I'd be curious to see how recently you played it on that rig. Since Cataclysm, WoW has become more demanding at max settings. Low/Medium (with new features turned off) today is equivalent to the old engine's "maxed" settings.
 
For shits and giggles I played with the sound settings. I toggled headphone mode on/off, moved the slider between low and high quality, and I changed the number of channels from 24 (low) to 64 (high). Here's what I noticed:

Core 1: No change in usage based on sound settings in game. Usage seemed to fluctuate based on background tasks. Generally stayed at or below 20%.
Core 2: No change based on sound settings in game. Usage seemed to fluctuate based on background tasks. Generally stayed at or below 10%.
Core 3: Big changes. At the lowest settings, the core stayed between 40-60%. At the highest settings, it was about 50-70%. So, from low to high settings, it consumed about 10% of one core, and that is a significant chunk for one core.
Core 4: No changes based on sound settings, and seemed to fluctuate between 60-100%. Seems that this core took the brunt of WoW's general usage.

This was on a Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ stock 2.4ghz. GPU used was a GeForce GTX 560, and the audio device was the Nvidia HD Audio from the 560 via HDMI. I'd be curious to see what your results are. From my unscientific testing, it seems that not only is WoW limited to two cores (as I've been asserting), but even the audio used for WoW stays within these same two cores (something I wasn't sure on). So, unless you can convince me otherwise, it seems that WoW is truly limited to two cores, and any benefit to a triple-/quad-core system is that those extra cores handle Windows background tasks so that WoW can be played unimpeded by the system.



How recently did you play WoW on that 7950OC system? Since Cataclysm, the graphics engine has changed pretty drastically. Overall, the game has the same general appearance. However, many new settings not only tax the GPU, but severely tax the CPU. On my Atlon 64 x2 @ 2.0ghz + 7900GTO, I was running maxed with 4xAA and Transparency AA at playable framerates (1280x1024 back then). When I upgraded to my Q6600 + 9600GT, I was running maxed + 16xCSAA + Transparency AA (MS) +1680x1050 at playable framerates. I quit playing back around late 2008 or early 2009.

Flash forward to a few months ago and I resumed playing on that same system. Max settings? Maybe in a wet dream! Everything was on fair/medium, except for the features that I had to turn off! If I pushed everything to max, I'd get 20-30fps in low populated areas, and PowerPoint in high populated areas! Even on my GTX 560, with everything maxed, SW/ORG drops below 20fps in the bank/AH areas. Everything else fluctuates between 30-60fps. I generally drop shadows down from ultra to high (everything else maxed, FXAA). By not having dynamic shadows on EVERYTHING I can spare some CPU cycles.

So, again, I'd be curious to see how recently you played it on that rig. Since Cataclysm, WoW has become more demanding at max settings. Low/Medium (with new features turned off) today is equivalent to the old engine's "maxed" settings.

It may be wow hasn't detected your cpu right. My 2500k is detected as 2 cores 4 threads. Which is not right. I also run the beta 64bit client maybe that is using 3 cores.

I have to change processor affinity to make it see more then 2 cores. But I think we are getting off topic.

In the end we both agree a mid range card and a high frequency dual core or higher should fit the bill nicely.
 
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