World of Warcraft (WoW) is a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG develop by Blizzard Entertainment. Originally release in 2004, the game remains one of the most popular PC games of all time, still play by millions of people each month. Despite the fact that it is over a decade old, Blizzard regularly updates the game with new expansions packs, often improving the visuals to keep the game looking relatively modern. With the new Battle for Azeroth expansion, the game gets a fresh new coat of paint, and it looks better than ever! In this article we will help you to Building PC World Of Warcraft.
We will take a look at how well different PC tiers play World of Warcraft at various resolutions, then review the game’s settings and the impact that they have on the game. If you just want to know what to buy without all the in-depth analysis.
A Note About Frame Rate (FPS) Building PC World Of Warcraft
Frames per second (FPS) measures the number of images your computer can produce every second. Higher frame rates mean that your screen will show more images per second, which means that you will see a smoother animation. Lower frame rates cause a game to appear to stutter, which is generally not enjoyable for the player.
For the purposes of our PC build guides, we recommend computers that will achieve 60 FPS in your game of choice. Some gamers are satisfied with frame rates as low as 30, but that depends largely on the gamer and the game.
Higher Resolution for Better Gaming
Resolution refers to the number of pixels on a screen. High resolution means more pixels and generally more space and detail, while low resolution means fewer pixels, and often less space. If you are using a typical (not high-end) laptop or an old screen, you likely have a low resolution. When comparing screens with a similar aspect ratio, it is always better to get a higher resolution screen. Higher resolution will always looks better, as you have more real estate and a sharper picture. The image above shows the difference in real estate between common resolutions.
World of Warcraft Official Hardware Requirements and Specifications Building PC World Of Warcraft
World of Warcraft launched in 2004 and is based on the Warcraft III engine, which was released in 2002. On low settings, it is quite an easy game to run, even with modest hardware. However, maxing out WoW still requires a moderately respectable machine, especially at high resolutions. Starting with the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Blizzard has made the new areas much prettier, with more foliage, more detailed environments, and higher polygon character models, and this was turned up to 11 in the Legion expansion. This means that a computer that runs the game nicely in Azeroth and Outland may experience a serious performance dip once you head over to the Broken Isles.
If you are comparing your hardware to the benchmarks and wondering why you are getting less FPS, check the date the benchmarks were taken. WoW:Legion and WoW:BfA are quite different beasts from WoW: BC!
Minimum System Requirements:
- GPU: NVIDIA GTX 560 or AMD HD 7850
- CPU: Intel Core i5-760 or AMD FX-8100
- Memory: 4GB RAM
Recommended System Specifications Building PC World Of Warcraft:
- GPU: NVIDIA GTX 960 or AMD R9 280 (Modern equivalent: GTX 1050 Ti)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 or AMD FX-8310 (Modern equivalent: R3 2200G)
- Memory: 8GB RAM
You will notice that these requirements are a fair bit tougher to hit than the requirements for the base game, below. Battle for Azeroth will take power and hard drive room (at least 70GB according to their recommendations) to run. While meeting the minimum requirements to boot up the game and play at the lowest settings would only mean building at least the ‘Minimum’ tier of the primary build chart, meeting the recommended requirements would mean building at least the ‘Fair’ tier (two tiers above the recommended specs for the base game, and we recommend going somewhat above the recommended specs if you want to get 60+ FPS at max settings).
The first thing to note about the Minimum Requirements is that pretty much any functional modern PC will meet them. Even the extremely cheap $150 ‘Destitute’ tier will let you play WoW, but at the lowest resolution. Even then, do not expect to get more than 20-40 FPS, if your system only meets the minimum requirements.
The Recommended System Specifications set by Blizzard are somewhat misleading when it comes to the GPU. The recommended GPUs are good, but you can only expect to get up to 40-45 FPS, probably lower on average. We recommend a beefier graphics card for 60FPS, especially if you are doing most of your adventuring in the newer areas! For those who are playing on 1440p or 4K resolutions, you will need significantly more graphical power than an RX 460.
The following component recommendations are for the base game, so be sure to scale them up somewhat for WoW’s newest expansions like Battle for Azeroth.
Recommended CPUs for World of Warcraft Building PC World Of Warcraft
WoW’s performance depends a lot on your graphics card, but it is also quite CPU intensive, particularly with settings such as viewing distance, or when you are in a major city or raid. High single-threaded performance has the biggest impact on CPU performance in WoW, and Intel’s latest CPUs have much better single-threaded performance than their AMD counterparts. That said, decent AMD CPUs can still get 80+ FPS when paired with the right card.
The i5-8400 is a heftier purchase but offers much more performance. The next logical upgrade would be the Intel i5-9600K, which is also a great value CPU for gaming in general. Beyond that, it will be difficult to achieve additional performance from a more powerful CPU, even at 4K resolution. World of Warcraft does not use more than 4 cores, so even a 9600K will have more cores than WoW knows what to do with.
On the lower end, an R3 2200G would be a great choice.
In the upper midrange, we would recommend an R5 2600X.
But beyond that, AMD’s specialty is multi-core and multi-threaded performance, so again additional CPU power is unlikely to significantly change your performance in WoW.
Recommended GPUs for World of Warcraft
The graphics card you pick depends a lot on what resolution you are playing. The RX 460 would be fine for 900p, but you should consider a GTX 1050 TI or RX 470 for 1080p. If you are on the 1440p resolution, you will want the RX 480or GTX 1060 6GB. The glorious 4K resolution needs some serious power to drive it, and a pricey GTX 1070 is in order.
The above recommendations are for people playing WoW on very high (near max) settings. Reducing your graphical settings can have a major impact on FPS, allowing you to play at a higher resolution with weaker hardware. Likewise, turning up the settings from very high to full max will cripple your performance, even on good hardware. Read our recommendations for Choosing the Best Settings for World of Warcraft, discussed further below.
According to WoW’s official system requirements, the minimum amount of RAM for WoW is 2GB, while at least 4GB is recommended (Note: they list 4GB as the minimum for Battle for Azeroth). Since the minimum amount of RAM we recommend is 4GB anyway, RAM is not likely to be an issue on any tier. 4GB or 8GB makes no difference to WoW. Any speed of modern RAM will work.
WoW Graphical Settings Guide
Even though vanilla World of Warcraft was released in 2004, a lot of work has been done to improve its graphics and graphical options over time. The two latest expansions, Battle for Azeroth and Legion, look quite beautiful. In order to make WoW look good on good PCs, and still playable on low-end machines, the graphical settings options are quite wide in scope. There are more than 20 different settings to play around with, and that is not including the advanced stuff! We will not be looking at all of those settings, but will instead look at which settings affect looks and performance the most.
And that is all that there is to it. We hope that this article has been useful to you, helping you understand what good hardware to buy for World of Warcraft, how the settings affect the visuals, and which settings you can lower for the optimum balance of looks and performance.
If you have any suggestions, criticism, or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below.