WoW: Wrath of the Lich King - Benchmarks with Ati and Nvidia graphics cards
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King is attracting millions of gamers. Therefore PC Games Hardware tests the performance of the MMORPG on several Radeon and Geforce graphics cards.
Since WoW is one of the most popular games at the moment and with Wrath of the Lich King interest in the MMORPG was boosted even more. So PC Games Hardware decided to create a new character who goes by the name "Benchsklave” (means benchmark slave in German) in order to test modern hardware for its capabilities. At this point we would like to thank our colleagues at buffed who gave us a generous donation of 500 gold for our air travels.
WoW Benchmarks: Test area
For our performance test we use the first of the Lich King zones: the Howling Fjord. The extensive area consequently uses the enhanced WotLK Engine: Enormous draw distance, soft shadows and nice particle effects used for fog and certain spells, don't just stress the processor but also the graphics card.
The visual quality options have been selected from a practical point of view (called PCGH settings below): We run our tests with maximal settings including the Ultra video Mode introduced with patch 3.1, but only at the second highest shadow detail level. The reason for this is that with Ultra shadows the performance drops by 30 to 50 percent while the player only gets unremarkable - dowdy - Self Shadows on the characters and NPCs.
The second option worth mentioning is "reduce input lag”. This option also cuts the framerate by at least 30 percent. Therefore we switched it off, too. All other options on the other hand are maximized - even the sound is set to highest quality with hardware acceleration.
WoW Benchmarks: Test sequence
Our benchmark sequence is the 80 seconds flight from Fort Wildervar to Westguard Keep. The tool Fraps records the framerate and delivers minimal and average results. We take the flight twice each time and take the average of both results.
WoW Benchmarks: Visual quality and gaming experience
Before we take a look at the fps results we want to bring up the matter of the Texture Filtering and lags on Radeon graphics cards: With A.I. default (default Catalyst driver settings) the Anisotropic Filter is inferior to Nvidia's "Quality” settings (Q) including Trilinear optimization (default Geforce settings). Especially textures in a greater distance tend to flicker a lot more on Radeon-AF than on a Geforce. This is caused by cutting Texture Samples for a better performance - at the expense of visual quality. On a Geforce the texture are a lot more "settled” even on "Q” since the optimizations aren't that aggressive. If "High Quality” is applied in the driver (HQ) without optimizations the AF is almost free of flickering. So please remember the slightly lower visual quality of the AMD cards when taking a look at the following benchmarks.
Furthermore all tested Radeon cards suffered from some kind of lag that really affected the gaming experience: Regardless of high framerates the individual frames weren't delivered smoothly - the fps counter was abruptly varying between high and low values. Since Fraps can protocol the framerate by the second, this phenomenon isn't even fully visible in the frame line chart or the minimal framerate. Up to now we weren't able to find a solution for the problem and even changing the test system or reinstalling the drivers didn't solve it.
On the following pages you can find benchmarks several graphics cards running World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King in several resolutions. Furthermore PC Games Hardware checked how much power the Ultra Shadows, introduced with version 3.1, need. Additionally we have run tests to find out what kind of difference there is in matter of performance between default Anisotropic Filtering optimizations of the graphics drivers.
- 1WoW: Wrath of the Lich King - Benchmarks with Ati and Nvidia graphics cards: Introduction
- 2WoW: Wrath of the Lich King - Benchmarks with Ati and Nvidia graphics cards: Performance results
- 3WoW: Wrath of the Lich King - Benchmarks with Ati and Nvidia graphics cards: Benchmarks with Ultra Shadows
- 4WoW: Wrath of the Lich King - Benchmarks with Ati and Nvidia graphics cards: Benchmarks with A.I. Off and HQ AF
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