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Posts with tag cpu

Guest Post: Building an epic-level computer

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider. Today's post is the third of a three-part series on preparing your computer for Cataclysm. In our first post, we covered upgrading your current system; last week, we discussed how to assemble a hot gaming rig. Today, we'll look at building a high-end system that will last.

Today, I will cover building a high-end system for under $2,000 that will last you many expansions into the future. In this article, I will be listing specific parts as opposed to making general suggestions. Computer geek opinions vary drastically; this is just my two cents.

When you're considering a rig that will last you for years to come, you need to consider key components including the case, the power supply, the motherboard, a processor, heatsinks, hard drives the video card and more.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Guest Post: How to assemble a hot gaming rig for Cataclysm

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to our pages. Today's post is the second of a three-part series on preparing your computer for Cataclysm. Last week, we covered upgrading your current system. Today, we'll look at building a system that will play WoW at max settings without breaking the bank.

I like my cases how I like my women -- lightweight and protective. A computer case has three purposes in life: to house all the components, to protect them and to provide good airflow to them. Owning the most epic set of plate mail ever created does you no good if you cannot move or breathe in it. However, running around in your auction house tux is also a bad idea if you're the main tank. It's important to find a happy middle ground between the two.

When it comes to computer cases, first, pick out something you like. A case should be an expression of its owner! Pick out a few different cases you like and then narrow down the search by the number of fans the case supports. Modern systems will require at least one 120mm front intake fan and one 120mm rear exhaust fan. A top exhaust fan is a nice bonus, since (as everyone knows) heat rises. You should be able to find a decent enough case for around $50 with free shipping.

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Guest Post: Is your computer ready for Cataclysm?

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

The Lich King is dead, your GearScore is 6,000+, and you have enough alts to run your own 25-man ICC. You cannot wait for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion, but along with the new instances, gear and level cap, there are also significantly increased graphics to consider. You may be ready for Cataclysm -- but is your computer?

While we have yet to hear official system requirements from Blizzard, we do know from the Cataclysm FAQ that "there will be incremental tweaks and updates to the graphics engine in this expansion. For example, we've made improvements to the way that water is rendered. We'll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion's release."

This is the first part of a three-part series on getting your computer up to speed for Cataclysm. Today, we will cover how to cheaply upgrade your current system. Part 2 will look at how to build a cost-effective, brand new system that will still run WoW at full settings. Finally, part 3 will focus on building a future-proof monster computer capable of soloing the Blood Queen herself!

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Divining just what that "non-personal system information" might be

As Eliah noted the other day, Blizzard is running another hardware survey -- your WoW client will be sending them information about what kinds of hardware are in your computer. They've done this before, and as you may have realized, this type of information helps them determine system requirements for future games. A few people have already speculated that they're testing the waters for another WoW expansion, but I doubt any expansion is that far along in the process yet: my guess is that this latest round of hardware testing is actually being done for final calibration on Starcraft II, due out this fall. Blizzard doesn't share this hardware information with us, but Valve, another company that has a really wide install base with its Steam service, does release regular information about the kinds of computers its games are running on.

There is, of course, another question here: do we really want Blizzard jumping in and taking this information from us? There aren't any obvious reasons to protect this information (most computers will give it up to any Internet-connected application without issue), but you never know: do you really want Blizzard checking out what's on your hard drive or what accessories you've hooked up to your computer? We'd presume that they don't dive into software information (like checking your computer's HD for signs of competing MMO installs), but certainly they could. The list of what they check includes: "CPU, RAM, operating system, video, audio, HD/CD/DVD, and network connection," but we don't know if that's everything or not (the Terms of Use, under "XVIII Acknowledgements" says something similar). And as Blizzard's alert says, while we do get a momentary notification that this information is being sent, users who have merged their Battle.net accounts will no longer even see that flash of a message, even though their info is still being sent. The ToS says Blizzard doesn't have to notify us of the survey, but they have in the past anyway.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware, Account Security

The limits of Video Mode Ultra


I think I've found the limits of Video Mode Ultra -- when we first hard in the 3.1 patch notes that Blizzard was adding in a superspecial video mode for high-end computers to use, I was excited. I just recently "updated" my PC (read: "it broke and I had to spend a lot of time and money to fix it"), and it's been running like butter, so I was interested in putting it to the test. The day after the patch dropped, I flipped the switch to Ultra, and had no problems -- until this past Saturday. While wandering around Dalaran, I noticed my framerate had dropped quite a bit. I lowered a couple of the environmental settings just a bit and I was fine again, but apparently even with a 2.5 GHz quad core CPU, 4gb of RAM, and a GeForce 9600GT, Video Mode Ultra is still just a little too hardcore for me.

What's interesting is that I ran Wintergrasp a few times before having those slowdowns in Dalaran, and never had a problem. But then again, Blizzard did say that they had spent a lot of time making sure Wintergrasp was streamlined enough to run huge battles with minimal slowdown, so maybe Dalaran didn't get that same makeover. And I should say as well that I had no issues anywhere else in the world -- even my Naxx run the other evening looked perfect with Ultra flipped on.

Having a "future" graphics mode on PC games is nothing new -- for most games, the highest graphics setting is usually "experimental," so there's a little leeway in terms of release time (the game looks good with current hardware, but even better with next year's gear). And Video Mode Ultra is just that -- Blizzard trying to send a shot across the bow at those who are already saying the graphics look a little dated.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Hardware

System requirements posted for WotLK

Blizzard has been putting off posting system requirements for Wrath of the Lich King for a while, but they've finally made a commitment, posted on the official forums. As one might expect, they're fairly forgiving given modern hardware, but they are significantly bumped from the BC requirements (which were not updated from classic WoW, aside from nominally requiring a broadband connection). Here are the minimum and recommended requirements for Wrath:

  • PC:
    • Windows XP SP3 or Vista SP1 (Windows 2000 no longer supported)
    • Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1.5 GHz (up from 800 MHz Intel/AMD). Dual-core recommended.
    • RAM: 512 MB/1 GB for Vista, doubled from same as previous. 1 GB/2 GB recommended.
    • Video: GPU with hardware transform and lighting and 32 MB VRAM, same as before. Recommended 128 MB VRAM.
  • Mac:
    • Mac OS X 10.4.11 (10.3 no longer supported)
    • PowerPC G5 1.6 GHz or Intel Core Duo. Big change here: G4s are no longer supported. This one actually affects me, since I do have some G4 machines hanging around the house. Intel 1.8 GHz recommended.
    • RAM: 1 GB, up from 512 MB. 2 GB recommended.
    • Video: Hardware transform and lighting, 64 MB VRAM. On the face of it, this rules out the integrated graphics found on MacBooks and Mac Minis, but there's been no official word on it yet. 128 MB VRAM recommended.

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Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

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