Looks like the AMD optimizer did all the work for me, and I just had to put in the WoW settings. Not sure yet if the WoW settings have made much difference. I noticed the WTF settings disappeared after I ran the game, which makes me wonder if they were valid.
Yea I noticed the warning, but it was not about the hotfix patch - it was about the /usepmtimer boot.ini parameter which I figured I could easily remove if Wow had trouble with it. I also suspected that Wow wouldn't run into troubles anymore - the article dates back to June 2006 - even though it seems it has been updated, the Wow part may be an old comment. After that we have had processAffinityMask, timingMethod and multi-core support in general for Wow. This also looked like (as I said earlier) similar effect than running WMP in the background which worked for many.
Anyway, based on my 4 hour gaming experience last night - no I didn't have any problems. Wow was working fantastically after these tweaks.
Ah, good call - I didn't notice the article date. I recall that a recent WoW patch was supposed to include some dual-core optimizations, so maybe that removed the instability in the process.
I also read that turning off the sound hardware acceleration in-game can result in a performance increase for some multi-core users because WoW's software sound processing code apparently runs in a separate thread. I've tried running both ways even before reading this, though, and noticed little difference in terms of performance or sound quality (I have an on-board Realtek chip that works quite well for 5.1 sound in games).
The article is very simple to follow, there are screenshots for every step of the way. There are three things to be done:
1) Download and install a patch which doesn't show in Windows update
2) Add a registry entry
3) Add a directive to boot.ini
After reboot I added the following lines to config.wtf file - found in WTF folder under Wow main folder.
SET processAffinityMask "15"
SET timingmethod "2"
Results: All cores are enabled for Wow, furthermore Windows is forced to use "steady clock" instead of cpu frequency - in combination with SET timingmethod setting those should achieve what people have done with loading WMP or Srcdsfpsboost.exe (mentioned in thread: http://www.wowace.com/forums/index.php?topic=10304.0 on these forums).
Game experience: I did Cot Durnholde instance and occasionally took a peek at how core's were behaving (I had process explorer in the background). Initially when Wow launched cores 1 and 2 shared the bulk of the workload with cores 3 and 4 having some minor activity. At a later time cores 1, 2 and 3 were all doing 60-70 % work and at that time core 4 was almost idling. Low fps was about 55 in the instance, but during combat could have gone occasionally lower (didn't think of lookin then). High end fps was 70-85. Earlier in TB there were cases of over 100 fps but I can't really tell the difference.
Most importantly 55 is good enough for me in any case, there were no cases of stuttering or graphical errors. If you follow through the same procedure I did your experiences may of course be different from mine, I didn't see any ill effects and even OS felt more fluid than before after the patch/registry/boot.ini changes.
The article about the hotfix says the boot.ini parameter can cause instability in WoW. Have you noticed this to be the case?
I'm thinking of trying all of that stuff for my dual-core system. I already have the AMD drivers installed though.
Windows XP's built in Task Manager can show Threads. Go to the Processes tab. Select View/Select Columns and then check the "Thread Count" box. You'll also probably want to check "Show processes from all users" at the bottom to show the processes that aren't running under your account (especially the System level ones).
I think that's already enabled in the screenshots. What we're interested in is seeing a list of individual threads belonging to an app, and how much CPU usage each is consuming.
Since ram is cheap I suggest getting 4 gb of ram .. and therefor a 64bit operating system. I would suggest vista 64bit over xp 64bit since the xp-64 bit edition was a poor cousin of xp, based on a windows server 2003 kernel.. and getting drivers for it is harder then getting them for vista.
I thought Vista's gaming performance was abysmal compared to XP's for games that aren't optimized for Vista. If XP64 is that much worse than Vista64, then maybe XP32 and 2GB of RAM is a better choice for performance. I'm running a dual-core 64-bit AMD CPU system on XP32 with 2GB and I've never come close to using it all.
Also, I wonder if there is a way in XP/Vista to show the CPU usage of each individual thread in an application. It would be interesting to see how lopsided WoW's multithreading is.
WoW takes little advantage of both multiple CPU cores, and of multiple GPUs (SLI/crossfire/whatever). This is because its rendering engine was designed long before such technologies were widespread enough to optimize for. As a result, if you're building a new machine specifically for WoW, you want to focus on high speed per core and GPU rather than number of cores and GPUs. WoW just doesn't take advantage of multiple cores and GPUs the way modern 3D games do, because it wasn't designed from the beginning to be able to split up the workload in any significant way. This is really disappointing because I myself have a dual-core system with SLI video cards.
If you're really wanting to make a WoW-only machine, you may also want to consider a Mac. I don't use them myself, but my girlfriend does and it's shockingly obvious that Blizzard spends a highly disproportionate amount of time optimizing WoW for performance on Macs.