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Help with budget PC build for GW2 playingness <3

Nayaru.4716Nayaru.4716 Member ✭✭
edited October 14, 2019 in Players Helping Players

Hello fellow lovely Guild Warsers!

So I'm going to get a PC specifically so I can play GW2 again. I don't care about best specs in the world or anything. All I am aiming for is to play GW2 with decent graphics settings on and I don't mind that things will get choppy in a zerg - I'm used to that and as I understand it from others, even the best machines struggle there.

So I want to ask people opinions on what kind of a machine and parts I can get that would play GW2 well enough that I'll be able to keep 30 FPS most of the time and on decent graphics settings? I'm thinking to get something secondhand with just like 4-8 GB of RAM and maybe a 'not-great' graphics card that I can replace with a 'will do the job' graphics card.

Also I was reading that GW2 was designed for single core cpu (or something) and that part of its struggle is because it's using more than one core on modern computers. I didn't really understand what this meant and couldn't find a better explanation. Could someone explain this to me if they know? And are there any settings changes I can make to help with this?


PS: I am confident with software stuff I'm just fairly clueless about hardware stuff. When it comes to settings and things you don't have to dumb it down for me but you might have to when it comes to machinary things


  • Well what are the specs on your current computer? How much are you willing to spend? Without knowing this, its difficult to gauge what you might need of you were to upgrade your current computer or getting a new one altogether.

    From what I can understand, GW2 is heavily bottlenecked with its primary process thread and thus results in pretty subpar performance in comparison to many of its peers. This results in better performance with high-clockrate CPUs with high IPC. If price is an issue, I'd imagine any from the 9th generation desktop i3 CPUs from Intel should probably suffice.

  • DeanBB.4268DeanBB.4268 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I too am relatively ignorant of current computer specs. I did the same a couple years ago when I decided I'd had enough of my old, slow computer. I also started the process about this time of year, and collected the components through the holiday season when things went on sale. That even changed my plans somewhat as I found a nice CPU+motherboard combo that was cheaper and better than what I thought I'd get. Then a good case on sale, then an SSD...took me several months to collect it all.

    I just googled "$500 gaming pc" and took note of the recommendations, then started swapping in affordable upgrades. That was a time before Ryzen cpu's and when SSD's were still relatively new and somewhat expensive. I even redirected money by not getting a video card, and just used the Intel built in video for a while until I found a video card at a price I liked.

    GW2 runs well on my machine, but I don't really pay attention to FPS. Of course, my stuff is all a couple years old so that wouldn't help anyway.

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  • SinisterSlay.6973SinisterSlay.6973 Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 14, 2019

    Any modern or semi modern Intel processor will do. But for AMD, make sure it has Ryzen on the box somewhere, even the cheapest one is good enough for this game. If you see the word bulldozer, kill it with fire.
    You need 8 gigs of RAM minimum. Anything less and the game will crash after a time when it runs out of memory. Usually after a few map changes.
    GPU is weird. If you want to max out, you need something around at nvidia 680 level of power. If you want to buy a cheap walmart PC and stick a nvidia 1650 in it (or a 1050 if you find one really cheap) that would be ok too. You can do a little better with an AMD video card but it costs extra to upgrade the power supply on the cheap prebuilt computer. If your willing to drop settings a bit, my laptops 560m still gets 30fps almost all the time using medium settings, and my old desktop with its 9600gt still gets 30fps at the lowest settings. So the game scales extremely well.

    As for the single thread bit. GW2 uses DirectX9, and like all DX9 games, only a single thread is allowed to access the directX instance and write/draw to the video memory. The game does an OK job of batching it's draw calls, except with characters. Every PC and NPC you see will cause a hit to framerate, a fairly significant one because that single thread is choking. GW2 does use other threads smartly enough and offloads asset loading, some logic, some connection handling so a multi core processor is a must. But honestly the game runs fine even on a dual core CPU. The dual core will notice a lot of model pop-in. Like you may literally walk half way across an invisible bridge before it appears :disappointed:

    GW2 benefits from an SSD. Make sure whatever you buy or build has one for the game.

  • I just recently upgraded the video card on my PC that I built Nov/Dec 2014.
    Original Specs:
    Windows 8/8.1
    8 GB RAM DDR3 1600 (2x4gb)
    Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB video card
    Asus Z97 PRO motherboard
    Intel Core i5-4460 LGA 1150 CPU

    That's what I used up until April of this year I bumped the RAM to 16GB from 8, and in July I replaced the video card due to dying fans on the R9 290. I was successfully running two GW2 sessions with one on each monitor with graphics settings set to medium to medium-high settings - including having both in the same Octovine meta in Auric Basin.

    A while back I purchased a MSI gaming laptop from NewEgg on sale for around $700 or so for when I am traveling. It runs GW2 perfectly fine on even high settings. In fact, my brother is using it right now since his desktop is dead.

  • i use a 750 ti 2 gb. it is a 4 year old card. But runs gw just fine. think you can get em for 30-40
    bucks now.

  • Hannelore.8153Hannelore.8153 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 18, 2019

    A bit of advice as a game developer:
    Go for a powerful CPU, not GPU. There are alot of reasons for this but basically most games end up bottlenecked against the CPU because of how the core game loops have be written very tightly and don't have alot of room for threading, usually only the input, audio, video, file loading etc. are threaded, which is only a part of the game. This is because threading adds latency which you can't have when processing 30,000 objects.

    There are some exceptions to this role, like high-end FPSes that focus primarily on graphics, but that's about it.

    As an MMO, Guild Wars 2 falls into this category even more severely than single-player games, as during battles there can be hundreds of players each with dozens of effects and the visual aspects of it are only a portion of the total processing power required. Underneath the hood every single element of the game world must be managed by both the client and the server simultaneously.

    The CPU you chose should be at least 4GHz and have at least four cores. GW2 itself uses about 250-300% load (2-3x cores) but you need some leftover for background processes like the web browser if you don't intend to close them every time you run the game.

    You'll also need at least 6GB of RAM just for the game on the 64-bit Windows client, so system RAM should be at least 8GB.

    Hannah | Daisuki[SUKI] Founder, Ehmry Bay | Mains Mariyuuna/Tempest(PvE), Terakura/Spellbreaker & Kitty Koume/Reaper(WvW) | ♀♥♀

  • up until last year I was using an nVidia 660Ti with an Intel Core i5 6600 and it was "fine" in most cases with things turned down a bit and at the resolution my old monitor had (1600x 1060). gave the card to a friend. Currently using same processor with an nVidia GTX 1080 and a newer 1080P monitor and things are much much better.