Cataclysmic Overclocking

I wanted to take some time today to look at a secondary reason to get into overclocking sometime in the next six months or so. We all know by now that Cataclysm is on it’s way and getting closer by the week. It is also very apparent that WoW’s engine is starting to show serious signs of aging. One key point made at Blizzcon was that the game is getting a bit of a face lift. It has yet to be fully determined what exactly is changing but we do know a few things.

One of the first black and white updates to the game is the way in which water is rendered. Obviously this will put more of a load on the average computer, but it’s important to know how it will actually effect your system. This particular update to the graphics engine is going to put more stress on your video card(s) then anything else, assuming no other changes this would be the key component to keep in mind. CPU performance may also come into play depending on how balanced your system is in that regard but all in all there should at LEAST be a heftier graphics requirement come Cataclysm.

Another point to keep in mind is the reason why Vanilla content continues to run much better then anything we’ve seen from TBC and WotLK. Blizzard’s angle continues to be to keep WoW available to a very wide range of systems. Because we’ve only ever had a bird’s eye view of scripted parts of old Azeroth via flight paths Blizzard was able to employ a bit of a sneaky work around. Many buildings/mountains/etc that are normally out of view to this day remain texture-less, lowering the number of polygons and textures to be rendered. Once Cataclysm rolls around all this will change as we gain “old world flying” and you can more then likely expect to see TBC level performance drops across the board.

So what does all this mean? In as short a form as possible this means that WoW more then likely be running a bit slower come Cataclysm (specifically in old Azeroth) and its up to you to decide how you’re going to cope. It’s not uncommon to see many people buy new computers or upgrade their system around the time of a release like this, but there may be a cheaper solution. As opposed to spending hundreds of dollars on a new computer or less for an upgrade, why not put a (comparably) small amount of money into your CPU/video card cooling and consider overclocking?

The overclocking capabilities of your system can easily determine if this would be a lucrative move. CPU’s especially can often be overclocked to and above the levels of a faster model but again, different hardware combinations may show varying amounts of improvement in a game like WoW. I would strongly recommend people look into overclocking as an alternative way to prepare for Cataclysm. There can be a lot of research involved but the time and effort pays off when you see yourself saving money on upgrades. Never jump into overclocking head first, take the time to research and ask for help when necessary and ease into it…you’ll be glad you did.

– Cornelious

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