Forgive me if this question has been answer in this forum (or anywhere else on the internet) but I have not found a clear answer that pertains mainly to MMOs. The searching I've done beforehand focused on older games and FPS.
I purchased a pre-built gaming PC (ibuypower) in 2010 for the release of FFXIV. It played pretty well and there wasn't too much slow down. I figured, before TERA, FFXIV was the most graphically taxing MMO on the market. When I began raiding in Rift, boss fights were still quite laggy with medium settings. I always attributed this to the graphics card as I, like other mainly-console players, don't know enough about computer parts and function in regards to gaming.
Some Computer Specs:
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
Motherboard: Gigabyte H55M-S2
Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series (5750, I believe)
Processor: Intel Core i5 CPU 2.80 GHz 4 Core
I guess what made me sit down and think about the effect of my system on my gaming experience was the last BWE and the Flame Legion event with the Shaman and the massive frame rate drops and freezing that occurred when player number and spell effects increased. Slow down in Aion with low graphics settings made me arrive at this as well. Now I know (or read) that the game wasn't optimized during the beta, but I assume I'll still have a couple of problems when the game launches.
Okay.. I've drawn it out long enough. Do I need to add more RAM or upgrade my graphics card? Thank you, in advance, for a reply.
I can't be sure but I think you're using a 1st generation CPU which means you might have to upgrade your whole computer. Never buy pre-built you'll get screwed, ask a friend or even ask right here. Just be sure to post your budget.
Warning: Very over-generalised rule-of-thumb incoming!
If the game generally runs at a reasonably high frame-rate, but suffers from slow-downs that are occasional, but very severe, and are also accompanied by lots of HDD activity... then chances are you are in need of more RAM.
If the game generally runs at a moderately acceptable frame-rate, but gradually slows down - potentially to equally severe levels - when lots of effects and crazy things are happening on screen, then it's probably your graphics card.
Your set-up doesn't sound terrible. Better than my PC!
The simplest way to put it is you're only as strong as your weakest link..usually. You hinder yourself depending on certain things.
As for RAM usage, I mean...more is always better, but there is an overkill amount depending on what you're doing. If you're someone who likes to watch movies while playing games and talking to friends as you stream...you might want lots of everything. As for RAM, just get a program to track your usage, or watch the usage in task manager as you do stuff. If you're less than a gig away from maxing out, I'd reccommend more RAM. Also I may be spitting falacies here.
RAM is generally less important for any game. If you have 4GB, you are good to go. Most games are 32-bit processes anyway, and even if they were not, there is only so much stuff you need to store in the RAM for a game.
4GB RAM should be sufficient, GW2 wont benefit from more at the moment anyway. But right now its still a very unoptimized build that uses hardware in a very shitty way.
So do not, in any shape, base your computers ability to chew GW2 on the Beta. It taxes CPU, very heavily and especially with Shader and shadow options. Turning those down will increase performance. And at the same time it doesnt use your GPU all that much, no where near as much as it could and should.
I have framerate drops aswell, and my pc is better then yours. Altough the processor not all that much. So do not worry about that just yet. Your pc is fine and should play GW2 just fine with still decent looking graphics once it gets optimized. If that is all you're worried about its not something to start throwing your cash at.
Before you start the game up, fire up your task manager. Then when you have issues, alt-tab out and check your Physical Memory usage. If it's above 85%, you've got RAM issues. If not, it's probably not your RAM.
Your processor is fine, you've got a Nehalem-based i5 760 lynnfield. It's a quad-core and outperforms a lot of new dual-core processors on the market. It's clearly not a Sandy Bridge i7 or anything, but don't bother with a replacement yet. I have the same processor and had no problems with framerate during the BWE. If you're not having RAM issues, your GFX card is probably to blame.
Personally I prefer 8GB to 4GB of RAM, but I run a lot of background processes usually. If you don't have a lot of other things running when you game 4GB should be plenty.
I'm an Nvidia guy, but a quick google search shows me the 5750 is roughly equivalent to the 250 GTS, which is a pretty old card - and the 5750 was kind of bad even when it was new. Newegg has a Radeon 7770 card on sale right now for $150 and that will significantly improve your GFX card peformance. A similar-performing GPU from Nvidia would be a GeForce 560.
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I purchased a couple of 4GB sticks from Newegg last week (before this post) just to have them since I often have numerous webpages up in the background and Google Chrome would tell me of the lacking memory when 2 webpages containing video clips are up without there being a game active. I'll definitely look into getting a new card by the end of the summer. This PC was very much an impulse buy at the time and I wasn't getting enough guidance as to what it was I should've been looking for. I keep telling myself it's a beta (as I play it) since my game has been choppy during not-so-big events; I'm still "enjoying" it nonetheless. Again, thanks for the response.