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*Ultimate* Desktop PC Performance Guide

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
*Ultimate* Desktop PC Performance Guide

Sprigum's Avatar


Sprigum
12.13.2011 , 10:32 AM | #1
Instead of trying to create various pre-made builds and evaluate performance on a system by system basis I'm going to evaluate components based on individual performance basis. I will cite various benchmark tests to verify my findings and recommendations and I will of course be looking at price as a factor.

This will allow everyone to pick and choose various factors for their custom build, pre-built computer, or those who are looking to buy. It's very difficult to make the "best" choice for everyone, but I'm going to try to evaluate each and every case based on what questions I've found prevalent in Prophetik's thread.

I will also provide a textual analysis and include various findings that I've learned from Flem, Prophetikmusic, Colobulous, Amarinth, and various others that have been helping each other in a concertered effort to help each and every case that's posted. We've covered nearly 2000 posts at this point and I for one am starting to see patterns emerge. As such I have devised this *Ultimate* Guide to help everyone along. I take no credit for any of the below; I'm merely taking data that is already available and providing it into a more comprehensive easily understandable form.

Code:
Star Wars: The Old Republic Minimum System Requirements:

Processor:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better
Operating System:
Windows XP or later
RAM:
Windows XP: 1.5GB RAM
Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB RAM
Note: PCs using a built-in graphical chipset are recommended to have 2GB of RAM.
Video Card:
Star Wars: The Old Republic requires a video card that has a minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM as well as support for Shader 3.0 or better. Examples include:
ATI X1800 or better
nVidia 7800 or better
Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better

Note: These minimum specs do not indicate that a numerical value higher than listed it going to play. There is fairly simple video card numerical system associate with both ATI and Nvidia Cards. Like wise we'll discuss why two different CPU's at 2.2 Ghz can actually perform very differently!


The *Ultimate* Desktop PC Performance Guide


Central Processing Unit - CPU

To find out what CPU you have the easiest method is to download and install CPU-Z.

- If you have a Single Core CPU (unless you somehow have it clocked to 5 ghz or higher) there is very little to no chance at all that you're going to get anything resembling a playable frame rate in game. MMO's are traditionally CPU intensive based on the nature of calculations that need to be made client side and communicated to the server. Therefore we will NOT be assessing single core CPU's in this guide.

As you'll soon see its difficult to ascertain which 4000+ Bioware is recommending. CPU chips that will barely make minimum settings are labeled Yellow. Red is chips that won't run SW:TOR. Anyone in the Yellow category should consider Overclocking or Buying/Building a new PC. It's not viable to upgrade these CPU's anymore.

White CPU's denote CPU's that will all produce playable in game performance. We'll assess the current BEST CPU's to buy/own after we go over the insanely large number of viable CPU's.

HINT: Download CPU-Z and then Crtl+F and type in the name the numerical designation of your CPU. i.e. I have a Phenom II 965 Black Edition. So I type in "965"

AMD

Athlon 64 X2 CPU's
Manchester
- 3600+ - 2.0 Ghz
- 3800+ - 2.0 Ghz
- 4200+ - 2.2 Ghz

- 4600+ - 2.4 Ghz

Toledo
- 3800+ - 2.0 Ghz
- 4200+ - 2.2 Ghz
- 4400+ - 2.2 Ghz

- 4600+ - 2.4 Ghz
- 4800+ - 2.4 Ghz

Windsor
- 3600+ - 2.0 Ghz
- 4000+ - 2.0 Ghz
- 4200+ - 2.2 Ghz

- 4600+ - 2.4 Ghz
- 4800+ - 2.4 Ghz
- 5000+ - 2.6 Ghz
- 5200+ - 2.6 Ghz
- 5400+ - 2.8 Ghz
- 5600+ - 2.8 Ghz
- 6000+ - 3.0 Ghz
- 6400+ - 3.2 Ghz

Brisbane
- 3600+ - 1.9 Ghz
- 3800+ - 2.0 Ghz
- 4000+ - 2.1 Ghz
- 4200+ - 2.2 Ghz

- 4400+ - 2.3 Ghz
- 4600+ - 2.4 Ghz
- 4800+ - 2.5 Ghz
- 5000+ - 2.6 Ghz
- 5200+ - 2.7 Ghz
- 5400+ - 2.8 Ghz
- 5600+ - 2.9 Ghz
- 5800+ - 3.0 Ghz
- 6000+ - 3.1 Ghz

Athlon X2 - 65nm
Brisbane
- BE-2300 - 1.9 Ghz
- BE-2350 - 2.1 Ghz
- BE-2400 - 2.3 Ghz
- 4050e - 2.1 Ghz
- 4450e - 2.3 Ghz
- 4850e - 2.5 Ghz
- 5050e - 2.6 Ghz

Kuma
- 6500 - 2.3 Ghz
- 7450 - 2.4 Ghz
- 7550 - 2.5 Ghz
- 7750 - 2.7 Ghz
- 7850 - 2.8 Ghz

Phenom I/II X2
Regor/Deneb
- 5000+ - 2.2 Ghz
- 5000+ - 2.3 Ghz

Regor
- 215 - 2.7 Ghz
- 240 - 2.8 Ghz
- 245 - 2.9 Ghz
- 250 - 3.0 Ghz
- 255 - 3.1 Ghz
- 260 - 3.2 Ghz
- 265 - 3.3 Ghz
- 270 - 3.4 Ghz

Callistro
- 545 - 3.0 Ghz
- 550 - 3.1 Ghz
- 555 - 3.2 Ghz
- 560 - 3.3 Ghz
- 565 - 3.4 Ghz
- 570 - 3.5 Ghz


Tri/Quad Core CPUs

Athlon II X3
Rana
- 400e - 2.2 Ghz
- 405e - 2.3 Ghz
- 415e - 2.5 Ghz
- 420e - 2.6 Ghz
- 425e - 2.7 Ghz
- 425 - 2.7 Ghz
- 435 - 2.9 Ghz
- 440 - 3.0 Ghz
- 445 - 3.1 Ghz
- 450 - 3.2 Ghz
- 455 - 3.3 Ghz
- 460 - 3.4 Ghz

Heka
- 700e - 2.4 Ghz
- 705e - 2.5 Ghz
- 710 - 2.6 Ghz
- 715 - 2.8 Ghz
- 720 - 2.8 Ghz
- 740 - 3.0 Ghz

Phenom I X3
Toliman
- 8250e - 1.9 Ghz
- 8400 - 2.1 Ghz
- 8450 - 2.1 Ghz
- 8450e - 2.1 Ghz
- 8550 - 2.2 Ghz
- 8600 - 2.3 Ghz
- 8650 - 2.3 Ghz
- 8750 - 2.4 Ghz
- 8850 - 2.5 Ghz


Athlon II X4
Propus
- 600e - 2.2 Ghz
- 605e - 2.3 Ghz
- 610e - 2.4 Ghz
- 615e - 2.5 Ghz
- 620e - 2.6 Ghz
- 620 - 2.6 Ghz
- 630 - 2.6 Ghz
- 635 - 2.9 Ghz
- 640 - 3.0 Ghz
- 645 - 3.1 Ghz
- 650 - 3.2 Ghz

Phenom I X4
Agena
- 9100e - 1.8 Ghz
- 9150e - 1.8 Ghz
- 9350e - 2.0 Ghz
- 9450e - 2.1 Ghz
- 9500 - 2.2 Ghz
- 9550 - 2.2 Ghz
- 9600 - 2.3 Ghz
- 9650 - 2.3 Ghz
- 9750 - 2.4 Ghz
- 9850 - 2.5 Ghz
- 9950 - 2.6 Ghz

Phenom II X4
Deneb
- 805 - 2.5 Ghz
- 810 - 2.6 Ghz
- 820 - 2.8 Ghz
- 830 - 2.8 Ghz
- 910 - 2.6 Ghz
- 920 - 2.8 ghz
- 925 - 2.8 Ghz
- 940 - 3.0 Ghz
- 945 - 3.0 Ghz
- 955 - 3.2 Ghz
- 965 - 3.4 Ghz
- 970 - 3.5 Ghz
- 975 - 3.6 Ghz
- 980 - 3.7 Ghz

Thuban Series X4
Zosma
- 650T - 2.7 Ghz - 3.2 Ghz Turbo
- 840T - 2.9 Ghz - 3.2 Ghz Turbo
- 960T - 3.0 Ghz - 3.4 Ghz Turbo
- 970 - 3.5 Ghz

Thuban X6
Thuban
- 1035T - 2.6 Ghz - 3.1 Ghz Turbo
- 1045T - 2.7 Ghz - 3.2 Ghz Turbo
- 1055T - 2.8 Ghz - 3.3 Ghz Turbo
- 1065T - 2.9 Ghz - 3.4 Ghz Turbo
- 1075T - 3.0 Ghz - 3.5 Ghz Turbo
- 1090T - 3.2 Ghz - 3.6 Ghz Turbo
- 1100T - 3.3 Ghz - 3.7 Ghz Turbo

Bulldozer
- FX-6100 - 3.3 Ghz
- FX-8120 - 3.1 Ghz
- FX-8150 - 3.6 Ghz



Intel


Core 2 Duo
Allendale/Conroe
- E4300 - 1.8 Ghz
- E4400 - 2.0 Ghz
- E4500 - 2.2 Ghz
- E4600 - 2.4 Ghz
- E4700 - 2.6 Ghz
- E5200 - 2.5 Ghz
- E5300 - 2.6 Ghz
- E5400 - 2.7 Ghz
- E5500 - 2.8 Ghz
- E5700 - 3.0 Ghz
- E5800 - 3.2 Ghz
- E6300 - 1.9 Ghz
- E6320 - 1.9 Ghz
- E6400 - 2.1 Ghz
- E6420 - 2.1 Ghz
- E6540 - 2.3 Ghz
- E6550 - 2.3 Ghz
- E6600 - 2.4 Ghz
- E6700 - 2.7 Ghz
- E6850 - 3.0 Ghz

Wolfdale
- E7200 - 2.53 Ghz
- E7300 - 2.67 Ghz
- E7400 - 2.80 Ghz
- E7500 - 2.93 Ghz
- E7600 - 3.07 Ghz
- E8190 - 2.67 Ghz
- E8200 - 2.67 Ghz
- E8300 - 2.83 Ghz
- E8400 - 3.00 Ghz
- E8500 - 3.17 Ghz
- E8600 - 3.33 Ghz
- E8700 - 3.50 Ghz

Core 2 Extreme
Conroe XE
- X6800 - 2.93 Ghz


Core 2 Quad
Kentsfield
- Q6400 - 2.13 Ghz
- Q6600 - 2.40 Ghz
- Q6700 - 2.67 Ghz

Yorkfield
- Q8200 - 2.33 Ghz
- Q8300 - 2.50 Ghz
- Q8400 - 2.67 Ghz
- Q9300 - 2.50 Ghz
- Q9400 - 2.67 Ghz
- Q9450 - 2.67 Ghz
- Q9500 - 2.83 Ghz
- Q9505 - 2.83 Ghz
- Q9550 - 2.83 Ghz
- Q9650 - 3.00 Ghz

Core 2 Quad Extreme
- QX6700 - 2.67 Ghz
- QX6800 - 2.93 Ghz
- QX6850 - 3.00 Ghz
- QX9650 - 3.00 Ghz
- QX9770 - 3.20 Ghz
- QX9775 - 3.20 Ghz

Intel Core i3 Nehalem (Gen. 1)
Clarkdale
- i3-530 - 2.93 Ghz
- i3-540 - 3.07 Ghz
- i3-550 - 3.20 Ghz
- i3-560 - 3.33 Ghz

Intel Core i5 Nehalem (Gen. 1)
Lynnfield
- i5-750 - 2.67 Ghz
- i5-760 - 2.8 Ghz

Clarkdale (Dual Core i5 32nm)
- i5-650 - 3.20 Ghz
- i5-655k - 3.20 Ghz
- i5-660 - 3.33 Ghz
- i5-661 - 3.33 Ghz
- i5-670 - 3.47 Ghz
- i5-680 - 3.60 Ghz

Intel Core i7 Nehalem (Gen. 1)
Lynnfield
- i7-860 - 2.90 Ghz
- i7-870 - 2.93 Ghz
- i7-875K - 2.93 Ghz
- i7-880 - 3.07 Ghz

Bloomfield
- i7-920 - 2.67 Ghz
- i7-930 - 2.80 Ghz
- i7-940 - 2.93 Ghz
- i7-950 - 3.07 Ghz
- i7-960 - 3.20 Ghz
- i7-965 - 3.20 Ghz
- i7-975 - 3.33 Ghz

Gulftown (6 Cores)
- i7-970 - 3.20 Ghz
- i7-980 - 3.33 Ghz
- i7-980X - 3.33 Ghz
- i7-990X - 3.47 Ghz

Core Intel Series - Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation)

Pentium G Series SB
- G620 - 2.6 Ghz
- G840 - 2.8 Ghz
- G850 - 2.9 Ghz


Core i3 SB
- i3-2100 - 3.1 Ghz - ~$125
- i3-2102 - 3.1 Ghz
- i3-2105 - 3.1 Ghz
- i3-2120 - 3.3 Ghz
- i3-2125 - 3.3 Ghz
- i3-2130 - 3.4 Ghz

Core i5 SB
- i5-2300 - 2.8 Ghz
- i5-2310 - 2.9 Ghz
- i5-2320 - 3.0 Ghz
- i5-2400 - 3.1 Ghz
- i5-2500K - 3.3 Ghz - ~$225

Core i7 SB
- i7-2600 - 3.4 Ghz
- i7-2600K - 3.4 Ghz - ~$310

Magenta is for the Top 3 recommend CPU's, based on Price/Performance/Power Consumption/Platform/Overall quality. I'm an AMD fan. These are merely the facts.

Here's a good gaming performance comparison for the Sandy Bridge stand outs.

-They're insanely fast
-They're power efficient (compared to AMD)
-They have a very solid platform in the P67/Z68
-Sandy Bridge will have a nice healthy life span.

Now for a quick lesson in CPU architecture. AMD requires a 2.2 Ghz Dual core for SW:TOR while Intel requires a 2.0 Ghz Dual core for SW:TOR? Why you ask?

Intel tends to make faster processors on a Core to Core basis because of a superior architecture to what AMD is currently using. Their processors process information more efficiently so that it isn't necessary for them to have as high of a frequency to output similar data rates. Suffice it to say that looking at the relative frequency difference between various CPU's tells you VERY little unless they are the same brand and using the same architecture.

This doesn't mean AMD doesn't compete, you'll notice that AMD has pretty much universally higher frequencies than equivalent Intel chips.

Alternatively AMD's "Thuban" CPU's are really awesome for highly multi-threaded applications are a relatively low price point. If you do a lot of video encoding and things of that nature and play games as well these might be a good choice for you.

Tomshardware will agree with my findings. This is generally a great resource to use when you are looking to buy.

Want to know how your CPU stacks up? Tom's Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart

Any Phenom II X4/ Thuban Series (x4/x6)/Core Intel Series /Core 2 Quad series processor should provide enough muscle to handle SW:TOR at maximum settings.

I do not have an idea of linear progression on the CPU performance otherwise. I'd imagine most dual core, should be capable of medium quality settings, except for the slowest variants.


That concludes our CPU Discussion onto the infinitely more complicated GPU.



GPU - Graphical Processing Unit

Download and run GPU-Z to view your specific graphics processor.

If you play games then you already know that in most scenarios this is going to be the piece of hardware holding you back from playing the all important Crysis at Maximum settings. While the CPU is certainly integral and extremely important for gaming the GPU makes 3D gaming as we know it possible.

The main consideration with a GPU is of course its performance, but there are also other factors to consider namely:

- Power Consumption - Varies HUGELY across the spectrum
- RAM speed DDR2/DDR3/DDR5 and amount 1GB vs 2GB
- Memory Interface 256-bit vs 384-bit
- Stream Processors/Shaders
- Direct X capabilities


Integrated Graphics Solutions are not going to be effective at playing this game at any resolution but maybe 800x600, which is exceptionally low.

These should have nomenclature like:

- Radeon 3200/3300/4200/4300 Series
- Intel HD 2000/3000 Series



GPUs from 2008-2010

Green = Nvidia
Red = ATI/AMD

Ok, now let's start at the 7800 GT and go up the ladder. The 7800 is listed as minimum. I'm doing this the easy way, which is using 3DMark scores to judge performance. This isn't going to be the best way to gauge performance across games, but for ballparking GPU performance from nearly 4 years ago? yeah I think I will.

Increasing Performance is attempted here. Minimum Requirement cards are highlighted in Yellow.

- Geforce 7800 GT
- Radeon X1800 XL
- Geforce 7600 GS (SLI)
- Radeon 1800 XL
- Radeon HD 2600 Pro
- Geforce 7900 GS
- Geforce 7800 GTX
- Radeon X1600 XT (CF)
- Radeon X1950 GT
- Radeon 3650

- Geforce 7900 GT
- Radeon X1800 XT
- Radeon 2600 XT

- Geforce 8600 GT
- Radeon X1900 GT
- Radeon X1800 XT
- Radeon X1950 Pro
- Radeon 2600 XT

- Geforce 7950 GT
- Geforce 7800 GTX
- Geforce 7600 GT (SLI)

- Radeon X1900 XT
- Geforce 8600 GS
- Geforce 7900 GTO

- Radeon X1950 XT
- Radeon X1900 XT

- Geforce 7900 GTX
- Geforce 7800 GT (SLI)

- Radeon X1950 XTX
- Geforce 7900 GS (SLI)
- Radeon 2600 Pro (CF)
- Geforce 7800 GTX (SLI)
- Geforce 7900 GT (SLI)
- Geforce 7950 GX2

- Radeon HD 5550
- Radeon HD 5570
- Radeon HD 4670
- Radeon HD 3650 (CF)

- Geforce 8600 GT (SLI)
- Radeon HD 2600 XF (CF)
- Geforce 7950 GT (SLI)
- Geforce 8800 GTS

- Radeon HD 3850
- Geforce GT 240
- Geforce 8600 GTS (SLI)
- Geforce 9600 (SLI)


- Geforce 9600 GT - *MEDIUM PERFORMANCE MILESTONE* (1080p)

- Radeon X1900 XT (CF)
- Radeon HD 5670
- Radeon HD 3870
- Radeon HD 2900 XT
- Radeon HD 4830

- Geforce 6950 GX2 (SLI)
- Radeon X1950 XTX (CF)
- Geforce 8800 GT
- Geforce 8800 GTX

- Radeon HD 4850
- Radeon HD 4770

- Geforce 8800 GTS
- Geforce 8800 Ultra
- Geforce GTS 250
- Geforce 8800 GTS (SLI)
- Geforce 9800 GTX

- Radeon HD 5750
- Geforce 9600 GT (SLI)
- Geforce 9800 GTX+
- Geforce GTX 260
- Geforce 8800 GT (SLI)
- Geforce 8800 Ultra (SLI)
- Geforce 8800 GTS (SLI)
- Geforce 9800 GTX (SLI)
- Geforce GTX 260 (SLI)

- Radeon HD 5770
- Geforce GTX 280
- Geforce GTX 275


- Radeon HD 4870 - *HIGH PERFORMANCE MILESTONE* (1080p)

- Geforce GTX 280 (SLI)
- Geforce 9800 GX2


- Radeon 4850 (CF)
- Radeon 4870 X2
- Radeon 4870 (CF)
- Radeon HD 4890
- Radeon HD 5830

- Geforce GTX 460
- Geforce GTX 285
- Radeon HD 5850
- Geforce GTX 470
- Radeon HD 5870
- Geforce GTX 295
- Geforce GTX 480

- HD 5970


* This list isn't perfect, due to driver updates and various optimizations and various different benchmarking platforms over the years it's *very* difficult to order these cards accurately. I've done this to the best of my ability. Some of the budget GPU's have been omitted. They are going to get their own section.

That's most of them, now for the buying/current tech guide. The above is merely so you can gauge performance based on what you have (generally this is more of problem with older hardware). We're going to look at 2011+ GPU's with much more scrutiny instead of just throwing them on the list.


Some quick facts:

- Under the $200 market AMD is pretty dominant. This is a general statement and doesn't apply to "Look at THIS deal!" but the 6670/6770/6850 all represent insanely good performance/$.

- AMD's current lineup is much more efficient in terms of power than the 4XX/5XX series from Nvidia. This may seem insignificant, but over the long term this could be dozens or hundreds of dollars in your pocket.

- Crossfire (AMD) or SLI (Nvidia) is something you should only consider as an upgrade, unless in some rare cases where you're looking for very high performance i.e. 2560x1600 Resolution play. SLI/CF are good features, but a single GPU is ultimately less hassle and often will produce a much better sense of "smoothness" due to problems with micro stutter.

- Nvidia has the fastest single GPU in the 580 GTX. It is the undisputed champion.

- Dispel any myths you've been told about Drivers being better or worse depending on chip manufacturer. This is going to be something that occurs on a game to game, driver to driver basis.

- Just because Nvidia is advertised in the credits when you launch a video game does not mean that an AMD card cannot run the game at maximum settings. Yes, people have asked this question.

*Due to the fact that benchmarking applications have changed so drastically in 2011 and to provide more consistent information the 2011 list will be mostly (There will be some small crossover with 2010 GPU's) segregated from the 2008-2010 list

**Some lower end graphics cards, exclusively models under $100 in 2011 have opted to use GDDR3 in lieu of GDDR5. Always select the GDDR5 variant where available, the GDDR5 performance for these cards is listed below unless the card is only available in GDDR2/3/4.



Increasing Performance: 2011 GPU



- Geforce GT 520
- Radeon HD 6450
- AMD A8 3850
- AMD A6 3650

- Radeon HD 5550
- Geforce GT 430
- Radeon HD 5570
- Geforce GT 440
- Radeon HD 6570
- Radeon HD 6650


- Radeon HD 6670 - *MEDIUM @ 1080p*

- Radeon HD 6750
- Geforce GTS 250
- Geforce GTS 450

- Radeon HD 5750
- Radeon HD 5770

- Radeon HD 6770- *HIGH AT 1080p*

- Geforce GT 550 Ti
- Radeon HD 6790
- Radeon HD 5850
- Radeon HD 6850

- Geforce GTX 460 - 768MB
- Geforce GTX 460 - 1GB

- Geforce GTX 465 - 1GB

- Radeon HD 6870 - *MAXIMUM @ 1080p*

- Radeon HD 5870
- Geforce GTX 560
- Geforce GTX 560 Ti

- Radeon HD 6950
- Geforce GTX 480
- Geforce GTX 570

- Radeon HD 6970
- Geforce GTX 580
- Radeon HD 5970
- Geforce GTX 590
- Radeon HD 6990

Of course now you're saying things like, "What If I don't play at 1080p?" or "Should I get an Nvidia card or an AMD card?" or "What about my integrated graphics?" or "How much Video RAM do I need?"

A word on video RAM.

More is generally better. Faster is generally better, but you get diminishing returns. GDDR5 is the only thing I'd look at if you were buying today, older cards with GDDR3/4 will still do just fine in a lot of cases though.

In today's gaming environment 1GB of GDDR5 RAM is sufficient to play at 1920x1080 and below resolutions. This does not mean any card with GDDR5 can play at 1080p resolutions comfortably. There is still other factors, most importantly the GPU Core to consider and most of the time this is what you're paying most of the $$$ for.

Above 1080p this 1.5GB or 2GB is highly recommended.

Having 1.5GB isn't neccesarily better than having 1GB in all scenarios though. Only when the card's memory buffer gets completely full will there be a performance difference. If I strap 5GB of VRAM on a 460 and then 1GB of RAM on a 580 then the 580 will still be much much faster. The amount of video RAM available doesn't usually correlate directly to a card's performance.


Having more than 1GB of Video RAM will have no adverse effects and there are a few games that can handle extreme high resolution textures to each up all that extra VRAM. Crysis 2 and Witcher 2 and good examples.

Some cards have variants. The 6950 is a good example, coming in both a 2GB and 1GB variant. The 1GB variant is a lot cheaper and performs exactly the same as the 2GB variant as resolutions under 1080p. Above 1080p the texture resolutions become so high that an increase memory buffer is need so you don't flood the VRAM.

It's much like system RAM in the sense that if you have 4GB that's plenty and in most cases having 8GB will show no increase in performance over 4GB of RAM, unless of course more than 4GB of RAM is utilized, where then the 8GB of RAM will show a drastic performance increase over the 4GB variant.

As long as you have enough (Use the 1GB for 1080p rule) you won't have issues.


Video Card Selection based on Resolution.

High to Maximum Presets

2560x1600

- Radeon HD 6970
- Geforce GTX 480
- Geforce GTX 570
- Geforce GTX 580
- Radeon HD 5970
- Radeon HD 6990

1920x1080
- See Guide.
- Radeon HD 6950 1GB

1680x1050
- Radeon HD 6850 and faster

1440x900
- Radeon HD 6670 and faster

1280x1024
- Radeon HD 6570 and faster

800x600
- Radeon HD 5570 and faster

Here's Tom's 2011 Gaming Graphics Charts


If you're looking for something to play at your resolution on medium, simply take two steps down, for instance if I was at 1920x1080, but wanted medium instead of High quality then I'd look to the 6670 instead of the 6950. This just shows that if you are in-between this range then you'll probably be looking at Medium settings as opposed to High.

And to all you asking, "Why is he only using AMD cards?"

They are either as fast or faster and use less power than their Nvidia counter parts under $200. So unless you're looking at the 560 Ti / 570 GTX / 580 GTX then there is no reason to buy anything but an AMD card at the moment unless you find a good deal.


Memory - RAM (Random Access Memory)

We're on the downhill stretch now.

Memory today only comes in the single variant, which is DDR3 as its the next standard. A lot of users may still have DDR2, fear not though this isn't an issue.

Games don't typically require extremely fast RAM to run well, but do require you to have enough of said RAM.

Therefore if you're using Windows 7 or Vista you should have at least 4GB of RAM for playing games. Games don't benefit much from increasing RAM speed. You'll see less than a 5% gain from 1333Mhz RAM to 2000Mhz RAM, which constitutes a pretty major price difference.

Either DDR3-1333Mhz or DDR3-1600Mhz would be a good choice for someone building now.

Having DDR2 isn't a big problem, provided you have at least 4GB I anticipate the RAM will be a very small factor in your in game performance.

"Do I need 24GB of RAM?"

Hell no. Anything over 8GB for playing games and general use it just ludicrously overkill.

If you want to have more than enough RAM then stop at 8GB, you're already there.

What to do before purchasing RAM:

- Check Motherboard Compatibility. This can be done on the RAM's website and in some cases the Motherboard's website.

- Check the Price. DDR3 RAM is very cheap right now. Don't pay more than $45 for 4GB.

- Fewer sticks is better. So 2x4GB is 2 sticks of 4GB each for 8GB of RAM. You need at least two for current platforms so you're benefiting from dual channels.


Things to watch out for:

- I don't recommend mixing brands/speeds of RAM.

- RAM installation requires some tough love, the PCB of your motherboard will probably bend slightly at the force required to push in a stick of RAM. Make sure its firmly seated, otherwise the computer will not boot.

- Test the RAM when you get it installed! Make a bootable USB thumb drive of "Memtest86+" and let it complete at least a single pass without errors! If you have configured the BIOS properly for the RAM's specifications and are still receiving errors then you have received a bad stick of RAM and should RMA or return the RAM. If you don't you'll encounter BSODs and degraded performance down the road.

That's really all you "need" to know about RAM for playing games. Sure there is a lot more, but I feel that most wouldn't benefit from more information than this.


Various Other System Components, My Recommendations, and Closing Thoughts.


The Guide does not as you'll notice encompass things like Motherboards, Power Supplies, or Hard Drives. So, let's chat about them briefly.


Motherboards vary far too much for me to go through each and every one. This is something users are going to have to investigate on their own on a product to product basis. Branding is important here as well. A lot of people like ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, AsRock, EVGA.

Some quick facts:

- Only P67/Z68 1155 Intel Motherboards can overclock the CPU! This is very important for those looking at the i5/i7 "k" chips that are intended to be overclocked!

- If running crossfire or SLI (two video cards) you'll need a minimum of 2 PCI-E express slots running at least x8/x8. x16/x16 is preferable but expensive.

- Almost all modern motherboards come equipped with integrated sounds, Ethernet, and in some cases wireless capabilities.

- If looking at an AMD motherboard be sure to get an AM3+ with a 990FX chipset. These motherboards will be able to fully utilize the new Bulldozer architecture.


Power Supplies

System power can vary quite a lot. A good rule of thumb though is generally you'll want at least 450W for a gaming computer. 650W can power almost any graphics card short of the dual GPU solutions like the 6990 or 590.

For SLI/Crossfire a 850W name brand PSU should take care of anything dual GPU solution you throw at it.

I'll leave it to you guys though. Just remember if you have 1 GPU anything over 650W is going to be complete and utter overkill.

Brands I recommend:

- Seasonic
- Corsair
- XFX
- Antec
- Silverstone
- Enermax

AMD/Nvidia post specs on their cards as to the minimum power requirement, these are usually safe guidelines to follow, especially when paired with one of the name brand PSU's above.

Don't cut costs on a PSU. A bad PSU can take out an entire system when it fails. A good PSU may still die, but likely won't harm any other components when it does.

Hard Drives & SSD's

- If you're on a budget of $1000 or less you can pretty much throw SSD's out the windows as an option, they are still quite expensive.

- 120GB is the minimum size that I'd buy for an SSD. Otherwise you're going to encounter issues with space.

- SSD's offer 0 FPS difference in game versus at Physical hard drive. You'll only benefit in load times and menu responsiveness.

- Sandforce SATA III SSD's have known issues with Sandy Bridge Motherboards. Don't buy this combination.

- Marvel Controllers don't have these issues, go with a Crucial or Intel Drive.

- A 7200 RPM is a minimum for a desktop computer for a Primary drive in my opinion.

Brands I like:

- Western Digital
- Samsung
- Hitachi
- Seagate

Don't buy a Raptor HDD. It's a waste of money, you're much better off with an SSD if you're looking for fast loading.

Don't buy a 5900 RPM or 5400 RPM physical hard drive for a primary system drive, it'll make the system quite sluggish.




Note: This guide was created in an attempt to help people who already own computers and those who have recently built computers.

AMD's Bulldozer CPU's launch sometime in October, I recommend waiting until a least the end of the month if you are looking to purchase a computer. That way you'll have it for Skyrim in November and only miss a little bit of BF3.

For those on a tight budget waiting should allow prices to drop and Christmas sales to start.


**This guide is not 100% Perfect. I don't claim that it is. If you find an error post below or send me a message.

I have written this in an attempt to create a relatively simple resource for folks to use when asking questions are whether or not their PC can run SW:TOR.

This thread exists for discussion of relative performance values and not for computer questions in General, Prophetikmusic has already created questionnaire style threads.

Desktop Computer Questions

Laptop Computer Questions

Build your own PC Questions

Relative Performance Analysis Questions - HERE.

Gunko's Avatar


Gunko
12.14.2011 , 04:19 PM | #2
well im running 25 or lower FPS atm on low settings
i have 9500 quad core 2.2 ghz 4 gig ram 6770 gpu anything i can do make me run smoother?

zrinkill's Avatar


zrinkill
12.14.2011 , 04:21 PM | #3
This thread is full of Win

Grandtheftmotto's Avatar


Grandtheftmotto
12.14.2011 , 04:38 PM | #4
nice job

Ragnab's Avatar


Ragnab
12.14.2011 , 04:39 PM | #5
Oh sweet, you brought it back! Thanks for reposting this, its realy useful!
Jedi Consular - Sage, with Force Powers and s--t!
Jedi Knight - Sentinel, double the glowstick for double the rave!

Gunko's Avatar


Gunko
12.14.2011 , 05:04 PM | #6
anyone else i cant even pvp very low

Tumbal's Avatar


Tumbal
12.14.2011 , 05:07 PM | #7
thanks good info.

Verg's Avatar


Verg
12.14.2011 , 05:13 PM | #8
Great post, tons of useful here for people with questions.

For reference with anyone without a killer system, I ran the last 2 or so beta builds on my non gaming system (Athlon II @ 2.7ghz, AMD 5670, 6 gigd of DDR2) to see how it would run @ 1680 x 1050 @ medium settings and the verdict is pretty darn well; 30 fps consistently, with only dips being in major cities, world bosses and Ops, and only then down to 20-25.

Quote:
AMD's Bulldozer CPU's launch sometime in October, I recommend waiting until a least the end of the month if you are looking to purchase a computer.
From what I've seen, Bulldozer is a bust.... roughly equal or worse than a comparable Phenom II. Sandy Bridge for gaming builds, Phenom II 955's for budget builds. Or wait till Ivy Bridge hits in a couple months.
I am a Chiss Gunslinger. Your argument is invalid.

Lilitsu's Avatar


Lilitsu
12.14.2011 , 05:18 PM | #9
Wow this is awesome. Whats the main difference running two GPUs at x16 instead of both at x8? and can you run one at x16 and one at x8 (altough i doubt you can)
I7 2600k @ 4GHz (OC), ATI RADEON HD 6870 (OC) x2 CROSSFIRE, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 120GB SSD (OS), Logitech G19, Razer Mamba, Razer Carachias, Antec P193 V3 Case, Samsung 24 inch LCD x2.

TheReckless's Avatar


TheReckless
12.14.2011 , 05:21 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Gunko View Post
anyone else i cant even pvp very low
Shut down any background processes not needed to run windows or TOR. Also make sure no one is torrenting as that will definitely slow you down.

I have been hearing a lot about shadows in this game really suck a lot of performance out, so I would recommend turning them off together. If this doesn't help I can go a little further.
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