Warhammer Online Hardware Performance Guide

Warhammer Online requires a lot of computer performance--find out exactly what you need to do to get the most out of your experience.

Warhammer Online, the newest MMO entrant to challenge World of Warcraft, brings the old-school tabletop Games Workshop fantasy-classic universe to the massively multiplayer online community. MMORPGs like Warhammer are deceptive in their complexity. The graphics aren't as intense as a Crysis or BioShock, but that doesn't mean they don't tax your computer in other ways. With a heavy focus on player-versus-player combat and features that allow you to band together with loads of teammates, the game will need the right hardware to run smoothly with all the onscreen action.

To test Warhammer Online, we tried to create a consistent walk-through that was taxing on the system and long enough to ride out any inconsistencies that happen when you're testing on a live server with hundreds of other people who enjoy running in and out of your benchmarking path. We settled on a 100-second walking tour of the region in and around Grimmenhagen (conveniently nestled between the hamlets of Doomville and Despairburg). The high population counts, dense vegetation, and constant in-game action ensured that the systems would have plenty of work. We measured the frame rates using FRAPs.

Settings
When the action starts to pick up (and it will), you'll want to know what settings to ease off on and how the game will look as a result.

Video Cards
Newer video cards don't have too much of a problem running Warhammer Online. To figure out just how much power is enough, we went ahead and tested Warhammer on more than 20 different video cards from four graphics generations.

CPU
Warhammer can't get enough CPU power. Be it core count or straight GHz, the game wants it all. We tested out Intel Core 2s, AMD Phenoms, and the Pentium 4 to see just how little we can get away with.

Memory
Warhammer Online's minimum system requirements state that the game requires 1GB of RAM to run. It'll run, but not well. Our testing showed that adding more memory will yield a significant performance improvement.

Systems
As usual, minimum requirements don't really make for a great playing experience. We're inclined to say that the game wouldn't be playable at all on the minimum spec system if you actually wanted to go into battle with a group. Everything from the CPU to the GPU to the RAM screams "bottleneck." Our midrange system handled the game just fine, although a faster CPU would have come in handy. It goes almost without saying, our high-end rig could run Warhammer at full settings without a problem.

System Setup:

High-End System: Intel Core2 QX9650, eVGA 780i, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista 32-bit SP1. Graphics Card: GeForce 280 GTX, beta Nvidia ForceWare 177.92.

Mid-Range System: Intel Core2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz, eVGA 680i, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista 32-bit SP1. Graphics Card: GeForce 9600 GT, beta Nvidia ForceWare 177.92.

Minimum System: Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz, Asus P4C800, 1GB Corsair XMS Memory, Seagate 160GB 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 6800, Nvidia Forceware 177.92.

Settings

Like most other games, dropping the resolution is the easiest way to increase frame rates. However, we'd recommend getting rid of shadows first. You'll get back a decent amount of performance, and the image quality will suffer negligibly. Next up is draw distance. Even at half draw distance, you'll have a solid view of the world around you. Feel free to give grass the boot as well for a few extra frames. Outside of those settings, our test couldn't stress the other settings enough to make us recommend a path of action. We're guessing that effect and animation quality would come more into play when larger groups are duking it out.

We couldn't test the lighting and specular settings as the game does not allow them to be disabled. Later builds of the game might allow for the option. The graphics cache size setting seemed to destroy performance to the point of unplayability if changed. Don't touch it for the time being.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel Core 2 Duo X6800, eVGA 680i, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista SP1. Graphics Card: GeForce 7600 GT, Nvidia ForceWare 177.92.

Graphics Comparison

The last image set contains shots comparing the game with and without transparency antialiasing. If you have the spare horsepower, we highly recommend enabling it to clean up the look of the game. It may not look like much in the shots, but when you're moving around the world it does wonders. You can find transparency antialiasing in the 3D quality section of your video card drivers.

Quality Settings

High Medium Low


Shadows

High Medium Low


Draw Distance

Full Three-Quarters Half One-Quarter Zero


Transparency Antialiasing

Enabled Disabled


Video Cards

Warhammer will gladly accept faster GPUs in exchange for better performance and image quality. Luckily, you don't need all that much to power this game to absurd levels. Most of our newer video cards could easily run Warhammer at resolutions high enough to power a 30-inch LCD at native resolution. High-end video cards had enough spare power left over for us to enable 8x antialiasing and a whole slew of other image-enhancing features. In fact, excess video card power, such as that found in the Radeon 4870 X2, is put to waste, as the game quickly becomes CPU-limited in high-population areas or when the action starts to heat up. Older, weaker video cards have to give up some of the eye candy and resolution settings to run the game at acceptable frame rates.

Owners of newer video cards should look to upgrading their CPUs first. Owners of older-generation video cards might require both a new video card and CPU in order to run the game at higher resolutions and image quality. We detail how CPU affects gameplay on the following page.

System Setup: Intel Core2 X6800, eVGA 680i SLI, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista 32-bit SP1. Graphics Cards: GeForce 280 GTX, GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB, GeForce 9600 GT 256MB, GeForce 8800 GT 512MB, GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB, GeForce 7900 GS 256MB, GeForce 7600 GT 256MB, GeForce 6800 128MB, GeForce 6600 GT, Radeon HD 4870 X2, Radeon HD 4870, Radeon HD 4850, Radeon HD 4670, Radeon HD 3870 X2, Radeon HD 3870 512MB, Radeon HD 3850 512MB, Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB, Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256MB, Radeon HD 2400 Pro, Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB. Graphics Drivers: beta Nvidia ForceWare 177.92, ATI Catalyst 8.8

CPU

Warhammer Online loves a great CPU. In fact, that's about all it needs: higher clock speeds and more cores. Every bit of processing power counts when you have to deal with countless enemies, non-player characters, and a never-ending stream of adventurers. As can be seen in the graph, the game gets faster with every MHz bump. You could run out and buy a top-of-the-line quad-core CPU, but you can easily get away with a very quick dual-core.

System Setup: Intel Core2 Extreme QX6850, Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel Core 2 Duo 6600, Intel Core2 E6320, Intel Pentium 4 3.8GHz, AMD Phenom X4 9600, AMD Phenom X3 8750, eVGA 680I, Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista 32-bit SP1. Graphics Card: GeForce 280 GTX, Nvidia ForceWare 177.92.

Memory

Warhammer Online runs horribly with the minimum 1GB of RAM. Expect to have considerably longer load times, lower frame rates, and a constant hard drive churn. The game ran much better when we upgraded to 2GB of RAM; 3GB of RAM didn't do anything for performance or load times.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, eVGA 680i SLI, 3GB Corsair XMS Memory (2GBx2), 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 1GB Corsair XMS Memory (512MBx2), 750GB Seagate 7200.11 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista 32-bit. Graphics Card: GeForce 7600 GT, Nvidia ForceWare 177.92.

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Discussion

118 comments
dndslayer69
dndslayer69

For all of you that are not sure if your system can run a game like this, if you get a chance check out www.systemrequirementslab.com. This site will automatically test your system for you and tell you if you can run certain games or not.

Chronikas
Chronikas

Do yourselves all a favor...Don't take Gamespot's advice on hardware. They're not thorough, they're not impartial, and they don't really know what they are doing anyway. I recommend guru3d.com; those guys eat, sleep, and breath hardware.

BIGJAB
BIGJAB

Game Plays Excellent on acer amd athlon 64x2 1.9ghz laptop with integrated ati 1250 grahics and 4gb ram. Definitely dont need an expensive system to play this game.

Azurewrathhal
Azurewrathhal

I really don't understand why this game has such high demands on systems, the graphics are roughly comparable to ten year old single player games. WoW and LOTRO both have better graphics in my opinion, and are far more optimized. I'm not speaking out of preference for either of them, it's just that this game should NOT need all the resources it does. Running smoother on more systems only nets you more paying customers after all. Leave it to EA to rush something out the gate before it was finished.

Aleyp
Aleyp

Hey guys, i was wondering, my spec are fine, exept i don't know if my video card is up to standard, its a Nvidia GeForce 9400 gt, will it work with it?

Tsunami_pt
Tsunami_pt

I quited War because of the bugs and very annoying stuttering. Did everything I could, but it was too bad for me to enjoy the game. I'll be back later, after some patched may fix it. I have a 8800 GT, so I'm very disapointed with the game. And a tip if you wanna talk on Warhammer forums: do NOT mention WoW, unless u wanna bash it. War's fans are very sensitive about it. :P

andyp_m
andyp_m

"Is a 7300GS (laptop version) more powerful than a 6600GT (desktop version)?" No.. You can checkout Tom's Hardware video card rankings (Best video cards for the money monthly feature) to see how your card stack's up to others.

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

Is a 7300GS (laptop version) more powerful than a 6600GT (desktop version)?

Rakou
Rakou

OK... i got a capeble PC, but i don't know if my internet connection could handle such a cool game:P My connetcion is a 512k wdsl

Thefrogcatcher
Thefrogcatcher

4quarters said: "I'm running original WOW on an 8 year old computer that was only$500 then and only with 528memory!. It's a tad slow but very playable." Horrible, horrible lies. All of it.

bradleybradley
bradleybradley

You guys really should have included a higher Ghz AMD x2 processor and higher Ghz Core 2 duo like the 8400/8500/8600 and the Q6600. the graph gives the illusion that extreme processors offer substantially better performance when in reality all of the none extreme processors are budget processors(excluding the P4 which is just really really old). But I suppose that's the reason Intel only gives you guys the most expensive processors possible for review purposes knowing that you won't spend the money to offer a fair comparison.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

"I like the look of this game but I won;t be buying it as I don;t believe in paying over and over for one game when I could just buy another game for a one off price." /eyeroll

Antaeus1991
Antaeus1991

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Antaeus1991
Antaeus1991

I like the look of this game but I won;t be buying it as I don;t believe in paying over and over for one game when I could just buy another game for a one off price.

4quarters
4quarters

I'm running original WOW on an 8 year old computer that was only$500 then and only with 528memory!. It's a tad slow but very playable.

Azuki
Azuki

Mmo fees are for server maintenance costs, game stability costs, customer support costs and not to mention costs associated with the many many patches that often include new content. Mmos of war and wows caliber are the most expensive, time consuming type of game to produce. All you whiners going on about having to pay to play have no idea how stupid your logic is. If the games didn't have fees they couldn't exist.

supertank310
supertank310

Wow, didn't realise how outdated my system was. Then again I've had this hunk-a-junk for over 4 years so I guess it would be. Could do with upgrading.

GSgirl
GSgirl

Im not paying any more for this kind of game when there is a lots of MMO games that are free download and free to play on the net. Try 2moons or else

oritonio
oritonio

My system is similiar to the Mid-range specs and I do GREAT on my XP machine, but when i switch to my Vista HDD... literally 2 seperate HDD i plug from one to the Other when i feel like opening my case.... anyways when i switch to vista the game runs great full screen, but in windowed mode it runs like crap... I like to multitask and i do it just fine with EQ2 and AoC on medium to high setting... but multitasking with warhammer running is nearly impossible. Not a big deal.. it's not meant to run while doing 5 other things... i am just saying if i can do it with a game like AoC.... WAR should not be a problem.

KonZ3Nl34l3Y
KonZ3Nl34l3Y

WoW's not free either. And it's as the same format as the other mmo's that been before in the industry. Some WoW fanboy huh. lol

markt63
markt63

not paying £8 a month to play same format as wow , this is so boring and why the need for a subscription if the game is good enough the sales will increase based on that subscription means we are frightened that we wont sell many or they just gready either way the best online games are free c&c ,cod4, cs source ect ect

Rhipz
Rhipz

Well looks like Ill be maxing out this game. Intel Q6600 @ 2.4ghz HD 4850 PCS+ OC'd 2gb ram :) Very surprised at gtx 280 sli'd beat by single hd 4850. Very impressive!

eldargod
eldargod

this is a hardeware guide so surely i am with in reason to ask about how my rig would run the game

eldargod
eldargod

sithgamer i really dont care wht u think if u aint gonna help or answer my question dont say anything at me ok

Zennious
Zennious

yea saying that sithgamer is worse than saying what your system has.

sithgamer
sithgamer

i'm not saying my stats, even though they are awesome, i'm not gonna be like the losers who just repeat what's in their rig over and over.

Opalance
Opalance

eledargod, seriously, do your own homework and google some stuff yourself, stop being so lazy and demanding.

eldargod
eldargod

so wht u think about my specs and your opinion on how it would run

homegrownvandal
homegrownvandal

well i'm running a q6600 with 4gb ram and a 512 mb nvidia geforce 8800gt on windows xp x64, so i actually get all 4 gigs, highest settings with no lag in pvp battles so far.

eldargod
eldargod

my laptop specs are: intel core 2 duo 2.2ghz 2gb of ram and a nividia geforce go 7950gtx 512mb could some one give me a idea of wht settings i would be able to run the game on thanx

doctorj11111
doctorj11111

I have SLI, but for some reason Warhammer does not appear on my program list under nvidia control panal and it also does not appear in nhancer? Does anyone else have this problem?

Connor24
Connor24

i already run war on balanced setting with minimal frame rate issues. all i need now is a stronger cpu(got a 2.0ghz dual), and a newer video card(x1300 radeon is the current).

cointerm
cointerm

You set AA and AF from your video card control panels. Change advanced settings from "program controlled" to "override", and set it at the desired level. WAR looks 10 times better with AF on.

fash
fash

Well... I'm running a Core Duo e8400 with a 9800 gtx... and i can't see any sort of AA or AF settings.. What gives?

Danne9000
Danne9000

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

doctorj11111
doctorj11111

I don't agree with the comment below as warhammer feeling like an alpha version. I think the game is very polished. Yes, there are some features I am sure they will still add with patches overtime, but don't forget WOW did the same thing. The game is only going to get better, and the game is very good as it stands.

plazus
plazus

Where do you set AA and AF?, can't see it on the options. I'm running on a geforce 9600 GT.

xguild
xguild

While I'm a huge fan of Warhammer, Warhammer Online so far has been a complete disgrace to gaming. Not only is the release version barely BETA (plays more like AlPHA) version, they honestly believe people are going to stand by and accept their distancing themselves from public opinion and discussion by not having a forum and claiming that 'EA Games' is responsible for customer support. I mean Mythic developed it, they need to answer for it. This game is complete crap at the moment ladies and gentlemen, be weary of buying it with anything less then an absolute god (quad core) machine. The minimum requirements are a complete joke, in fact the 'suggested requirements' are only enough to run the game at minimum settings. Considering the graphics are 10 years old this whole thing just boils down to an inexperianced developer making a game. Total disapointment.

iceveiled
iceveiled

Where are you able to set AA and AF in the in-game graphics settings? Am I just blind or are they not even in there?

Rakou
Rakou

OK... i have a 2006 spec pc :\ but i can run wow with 60fps on mid settings. i dont mind on the graphics only gameplay. (weird me) i want to know if i could play this game on lowest settings and get bearable perfomance. by-the-way this is my specs (that i know about). System memory: 512mb CPU type: unknown, 3066mhz Processor: Intel Pentium 4 cpu 3.06mhz Graphics card: NVIDIA Geforce 6600 GT 128mb no $.$ to upgrade

neo_0318
neo_0318

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

luke2721
luke2721

ok this is a laptop like 4 years old someone who knows something please help me. i can play WoW so i wasn;t sure if i could run this. AMD Athlon 64 processor 3800+ 2.39GHz 2Gigs of ram

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

i have a P4 Core2 Duo (3.16ghz) 4gig DDR3 Ram (10k) a 500 gig Sata Gforce 8800 GT 512 PICe 2.0 and in heavy battles (60+ players) the frame rate is still bareable. I am still able to cast/heal players without any adverses effects from the mass maount of players on my screen. If i get 100+ people on my screen, it can get hairy.

jimmyhoyerocks
jimmyhoyerocks

i have 5 gigs of ram and nvidia 9300 GE can i play this? my real question is on the videocard can i play it with this card

Mehfuz
Mehfuz

i played the beta using x1600, 1 GB ram and sempron 1.8 GHz, 1074x768 - i got ok fps - not smooth but certainly playable - i even did rVr battle couple of times

kargion
kargion

If you do not have at least any type of Duel Core CPU and at least a nvidia 8 series or ati equiv, and 2 gb of ram your going to jug along with bad fps

buzzguy
buzzguy

I have a similar rig to you, Nenad. My video card is an x850, but everything else is pretty much the same. I'm still on the fence with this one.