I’m sure you’ve read that virtually any laptop can “run” WoW. That may be true if you want a low detail torture gaming experience but not if you want the best gaming experience with World of Warcraft: a decent fps(~60FPS), the graphic settings you want and a high render distance.
All of that it’s possible with WoW even if you are on a budget but you are going to need to do a lil’ research before wasting your money on bottom of the barrel laptops found on craiglist.
If budget is not an issue, then you should also try to get the best bang for your buck as opposed to buying overpriced machines from sneaky goblin vendors online.
Those “any laptop can run WoW” comments are not too far from the truth though: to have fun with the game or even to have all settings maxed out with +100FPS, you don’t have to go for pricey 3000$ desktops either.
I’m also tired of these guys with their “desktop or nothing” “PC master race” thing going around and not just within the game(see the screenshot) but on Battle.net forums, reddit, etc. Heck, they always show up whenever someone asks for laptop advice. It’s just old school though, laptops are decent these days.
Why do I praise laptops so much?
I’ve used a laptop to play World of Warcraft from the glorious days of Vanilla (that’s the oldest achievement you can get by the way /flex ) all the way to the current expansion Battle For Azeroth/Classic and plan to do so in Shadowlands too.
And to be honest…
I rarely had issues with lag/FPS when raiding, BGing or doing arena as I long as I tweaked my settings accordingly: low settings when raiding/PVPing, high render distance when trying to catch stealthy rogues in orgrimmar but not much I could do in Tarren Mill, Tol Barad or any other area with +40 players fighting at once though; no settings or rig will save you from that.
Anyways to have a sweet gaming experience, satisfy the minimum requirements I will show you in this post and you’ll be okay.
Yeah yeah, I am aware there are people reading this stacking papers to the ceilings and don’t mind paying for beast machine to play WoW at “beast settings”.
Don’t worry I’ve got all of you…
In this post we’ll go through every type of laptop from the most budget friendly to the uggliest beast and tell you what settings you can expect to play at (low, medium, high or ultra settings ) etc and what FPS you’re going to get.
Recommended Specs for World Of Warcraft
Before that I’ll briefly go over a few tips/facts you need to know about WoW’s hardware usage and the kind of laptops you should look.
I’ve added more details at the end of the post if you’re interested in the technical jargon or don’t understand what I’m about to say.
Wow is one of the most, if not the most , CPU bound games on the market despite the nice graphics.
This means that your CPU is far more important than your GPU(Graphics card).
You need to get the highest clock frequency(measured in Hz) you can afford if you want to push framerates at high,ultra settings beyond 80FPS or if you just want to get the highest framerates at the settings you want.
Intel: Try to get an 9th or 10th generation CPU or an 8th generation if you are on a low budget. Core i5 and Core i7 for high and ultra settings. Core i3 for low-medium settings.Ex: Core i7-10750H best for Ultra, Core i3-81300 for low.
AMD: Nothing less than a Ryzen processor. High to ultra: Ryzen 5 or 7 with an “H” letter. Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 U for low to medium. Ex: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U AMD Ryzen 3 3300U for medium to low. AMD Ryzen 9 4800HS
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H for ultra/high.
WoW is pretty CPU constrained no matter how much you spend on a GPU if you’re CPU isn’t good enough you’re not going to get high framerates at high/ultra settings.
But if you want Azeroth to look pretty with high/ultra settings grab any non-blue GPU. The blue ones are for Medium Settings. The higher you go the more FPS you’re going to get. Limit yourself to 2060RTX & RX5550M.
AMD: Radeon Pro RX 555X, RX540, RX550, RX 560X, RX 580, RX5550M
Going for high end GPUs(2070,2080,1080,1070..) will not impact your FPS much if you’ve already got a high end processor.
*same color means they’re equivalanet, no color no equivalents (RX540,RX550 are weaker than 1050GTX though).
Windows 10 take 2GB. Wow Takes 2GB. Discord takes something…so 4GB is not enough.
You need at least 8GB-16GB to provide headroom for other stuff.
Wow takes ~100GB with Shadowlands. Win 10 takes 32GB. At least 256GB. Type doesn’t matter. SSDs are prefered due reduce loading screens(this includes switching between Worlds or entering a raid/PvP instance).
IPS+FHD displays are almost universal on all laptops above 500$.
Make sure you get at least 120Hz if you’re getting anything equal or higher than a 1660Ti. Some sneaky manufacturers try to give you 60Hz with a powerful GPU.
Top 5 Best Laptops for World of Warcrat
Blizzard targets the entire world as their market(China being a huge part of it) and most of them can’t shell out mid-range to high end rigs. So yes, we are aware that WoW can run on a souped toaster (we’ve actually tried that, MacBook Air says Hello).
However those laptops (usually with an integrated GPU + an older generation processor) can only output 15-20FPS in orgrimmar and 30 FPS when questing. We are only going to post one budget laptop for low settings and the rest of them will have a dedicated GPU to run the game at medium-ultra at +60-150FPS.
Also beware that manufacturers are like sneaky salemen goblins you see at Ratchet/BootyBay, they know consumers only look at GPU/CPU specs leaving design & heat control to draw and luck. This leads to “powerful” but poor quality control laptops that have to underclock their CPU/GPU speeds due to poor manufacturing and might even shorten their lifespan.
So although there may be a lot of other options online, we’re only listing laptops with “better quality control” and decent “cooling systems” from known brands. You’ll be surprised on how relatively cheap they are …you just need to know how to look for laptops!
Let’s get started.
1. Acer Nitro 5
Budget Laptop for Wow Shadowlands
Intel Core i5 9300H
GeForce GTX 1650
256 PCIe SSD
15” FHD 1080p IPS
This is the rising star laptop on Amazon.
If you know a thing or two about laptop prices, you’ll notice that this is actually one of the sweetest deals in the last few years.
It’s got the latest generation processor and a mid range gaming video card and it even has an IPS Display with a PCIe NVMe SSD all under 700$(although it used to be like 599$ but you know how the first law of economics right? supply and demand…well demand here made the price go up).
A 9300H Core i5 isn’t one of the best CPUs right now but it’s of the latest generation among “Core i5” processors on laptop so it’s clock speed is pretty high ~4GHz and in fact very close to the 8th and 9th generation Core i7 processors with the downside of having less cores but WoW doesn’t care about multi core performance so it’s a great option if you are on a budget.
Now paired up with a 1650GTX which isn’t by far an “entry level card” but actually the transition to “mid-range” territory. In fact, a 1650 is already high end for WoW because like I said the game it’s pretty CPU bound and more than likely it won’t be the lack of GPU power that will stop you from getting high framerates but the lack of “clock speed”.
Questing: +100FPS on average on Ultra.
Raiding/Orgrimmar/Stormwind: 100+FPS High settings.
It’s hard to believe you’re getting those numbers right? But yeah the CPU is all that matters here!
World of Warcraft Gaming Laptop Under 1000
AMD Ryzen 5 R5-3550H
GeForce GTX 1650
256GB PCIe SSD
15.6” 120Hz Full HD
I have to be brutally honest with this laptop, it might be in fact a better deal than the Acer Nitro(with the current price of 650$), yes this is 50$ bucks more expensive but there’s a huge difference between the two: the 120Hz display.
This isn’t Call of Duty or Counter Strike though, being able to actually see 120FPS on your screen won’t really step up your gaming when raiding or pvping . However ,it will make the game look twice as smooth especially when you are outside crowded areas like SW/Orgrimmar.
All specs stay pretty much the same but have no doubt that this Ryzen 5 processor has about the same performance as the Core i5 9300H even though it supposedly has -0.4GHz clock speed. When you measure performance of different processors brands (and sometimes even within the same brand) you can’t just rely on the specs they list, there are a lot of factors involved into the equation than just the numbers written on top of them: heat, space, architecture,etc.
Anyways the point is that the difference between the two isn’t abysmal , so whether you choose this laptop or the Acer Nitro 5 you should be getting about the same FPS at the same settings. Check out this video:
Best WoW Laptop Under 1000
15” full HD 120Hz IPS
This is my favorite 2060RTX laptop for three reasons: it’s the cheapest one , has a great cooling system (it’s from MSI) and it’s even got a 120Hz display all under 1000$.
If you compare it side by side with the Acer Nitro that sells for 650$, the differences are the 120Hz display, 16GB RAM and the RTX 2060. The extra RAM and 120Hz display doesn’t justify the price increase but the jump from 1650GTX to an RTX 2060 does especially for any game at Ultra Settings.
I think for World Of Warcraft the RTX 2060 is also the highest dedicated GPU you should go for, the higher end cards: 2070RTX and 2080RTX and the 3 generation RTX Cards coming up this year are cooler and more powerful but not only will they not increase your framerates but they’ll make your laptop more expensive.
They just don’t help with World of Warcraft as much as better CPU would.
+100FPS (Questing) At Ultra Settings 1080p
~70FPS(Cities) ~ At Ultra settings 1080p
Best Gaming Laptop For WoW
NVIDIA RTX 2060
512GB PCIe NVMe
15” full HD 120Hz IPS
If you go for higher GPUs what will actually bottleneck the performance is the CPU so after you get a 2060RTX(speaking of both desktops and laptops), you should focus on your CPU.
There isn’t much difference between a Core i5 9300H and other higher processor however there’s a big difference with 10th generation processors (~1GHz) and with the addition of two more cores. Yes, I said the game is not multithreaded but the extra 1GHz will give you a huge increase in FPS across all settings.
In ultra this would be about +50FPS. By the way, this is the laptop I have to play the game and I’m getting around ~150FPS when questing/raiding. As usual getting into any major city would bring it down to 60-80FPS.
Again note that this is the best deal with Core i7 10750H + 2060RTX on the market right, not only that but the Acer Predator series is pretty know among gamers for its cooling system and the fact that both CPU/GPU are kept at safe temperatures allowing them to hit their max clock speeds without issues.
Cheap Laptop For World of Warcraft
Core i3-8100U 3.4GHz
6GB RAM DDR4
15” IPS full HD 1080p
Lastly, the most budget friendly and weakest laptop on the list. I am not a big fan of laptops below 500$ but I know some of you just want to play Classic (ShadowLands/BFA is a bit more CPU/GPU intensive) and don’t mind playing at low settings(which was originally how we used to play Classic) even with Shadowlands.
This one has without doubt the best specs/money ratio among all Core i3/Ryzen 3 laptops on Amazon as you can see by the “best seller” tag.
You can find the same laptop with the same specs for 350$ ( that would’ve been the best laptop for WoW under 400…but) But careful! It doesn’t have Windows 10 on it and you’ll be limited to apps from the Windows store. If you got a copy of Windows 10 though, you can save yourself 100 bucks!
Now let’s get to the hardware, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U is not a weak processor at all. It’s even faster than the 10th generation Core i3 processor and it’s actually much cheaper which has brought down the price of this laptop significantly.
The cool thing about this laptop is that it’s got the RAM already upgraded to 8GB and you even get a nice SSD in it.
The GPU however is integrated and you won’t find dedicated GPUs under 600 bucks. Although, it is an AMD integrated GPU, it’s almost as powerful as any recently released mobile Integrated GPU from Intel.
40FPS Orgrimmar/SW/Big Cities
60 FPS Questing
All at low settings.
How To Buy The Best Laptop For WoW
If you’ve come across a laptop you like this short guide will make sure you are making the right purchase and tell you what you can expect from your laptop and perhaps might convince you to opt for another one.
In order of priority here’s what you should be looking out for when buying a laptop.
World of Warcraft Gaming Computer Recommendations
Like most games WoW is CPU bound, that is, it relies heavily on the processor’s clock speed.
However, WoW is even more special, it actually relies far more on the CPU than the GPU(video card). So it doesn’t really matter how much money you spend on GPU/RAM if you can’t get a decent CPU.
This is kind of expected though: the game was written at the beginning of the millennia and back then programmers did not have acces to the awesome video cards we have today so the engine was written with that in mind and it’s not something that’s about to change unless they dig deep into the code and do extensive changes to the entire game engine.
|i7 9750H||2.6 GHz||4.5 GHz||6|
|i9 8950K||2.9 GHz||4.8 GHz||6|
|i5 9600K||3.7 GHz||4.6 GHz||6|
|i7 9700K||3.6 GHz||4.9 GHz||8|
|i9 9900K||3.6 GHz||5.1 GHz||8|
|AMD Ryzen 9 4800HS||2.2||4.4GHz||8|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3750H||2.3||4.0||4|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3700U||2.3||4.0||4|
|AMD Ryzen 5 3550H||2.1||3.7||4|
|AMD Ryzen 5 3500U||2.1||3.7||4|
|AMD Ryzen 3 3300U||2.1||3.5||4|
1.1Low settings (Blue)
Anyways, for the game to be playable at the lowest settings you just need a processor from the Intel Core Series or its AMD equivalent clocking at ~2.5GHz as the minimum.
Intel Core i3 or Core i5 will do. Just make sure it’s from the 7th generation onwards. You can easily tell the generation by checking the first number. Ex: an i5-6200 is from the 6th generation.
Older generations will heat up pretty fast plus they will also have outdated integrated graphics card which may put you into the teens for FPS even when questing in the middle of nowhere.
Although 10-20FPS maybe okay some, raiding as a healer while following game mechanics is going to be a nightmare
That FPS may only be good to login, chat and check the AH (2008-2010 systems).If you want to do anything more than that be sure to follow my advice.
AMD processors are a whole different story, they usually have better integrated graphics cards and are more budget friendly and that’s even more true for the new Ryzen series. However, it’s really hard to given a general advice based on their name, it’s all over the place.
One way to make it easy is to just go for any AMD processor with the word “Ryzen”. Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 processors on the table will be able to pull off low to medium settings.
1.2 Medium to Ultra Settings (Green-Purple)
Whether it’s intel or AMD you’re going to need at least 3GHz.
A late generation processor 7th or 8th with ~3.5GHz for clock speed. Although we are in the 10th generation now 8th generation CPUs are pretty close in power to the ones from the 10th generation and make sure it’s a core i5 or core i7.
The story changes again for AMD processors. Ryzen processors, the latest, are vastly different from older generations. Any of the Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processors.
How about the number of cores, isn’t that important?
Multicore processors don’t make a big difference, WoW, like most games are single threaded (they only use one core). So you’re not going to run the game any faster if you opt for a processor witih more cores, in fact, it might hurt you if you they all have lower clock speeds than a lower core processor.
Processors with more cores(especially on laptops) also have more clock frequency.
You should still double check how much more “clock frequency” you are getting compared to other processors and see if it’s worth paying the price difference.
|2060 Super||2,176||8GB||1650 MHz|
|2080 Super||3072||8GB||1815 MHz|
|Radeon 610||320||2GB||1030||Intel UHD 620|
|Pro RX 555X||768||2GB||855||MX150/MX250|
|Radeon RX 550||640||4GB||1287 – 1476||+950M|
|Radeon RX 560X||1024||4GB||1172 – 1275||1050GTX|
|RX5500M||1408||8GB||1327 – 1645||~1660Ti|
*Current dedicated GPUs found on laptops as of 2020.
WoW can run on some positively ancient hardware as long as you are comfortable with playing at the lowest settings.
But if you want to play at the highest settings or even at medium (and get +60fps at orgrimmar/stormwind) you’re gonna need a dedicated graphics card.
You can run WoW on an integrated GPU but you’ll have to drop the settings to 2 or 3 and halve the resolution and in some cases go to the lowest settings just to get 30fps which isn’t too bad if you’re not having a clusters of +20 players around you.
To get a decent integrated GPU that can consistently give you +30 fps at low settings, just get yourself any of the low-end modern generation processors and you’ll automatically get a recent integrated GPU.
Those on the CPU table will have Radeon Vega X graphics(3,5,7) or 6th generation Intel HD cards (Intel HD 620, Intel UHD 620, etc).
Medium to High Settings
To push your laptop beyond the lowest settings and still get +60fps, you need any dedicated GPU.
I recommend you to a 9th or 10th generation NVIDIA GPU or any of the AMD GPUs listed on the table (with the exception of the AMD 610 which is dedicated bu acts like an integrated GPU).
Green GPUs: These are entry level gaming GPUs like the MX250 and Radeon 555RX(found on MacBook Pros only), these can get you +40 fps on medium settings(Ogrimmar), questing ~60FPS.
Blue CPUs: Radeon RX 540 and entry level 10th generation GPUs : 1050,1650 can get you 80-100fps at ultra settings(Questing) as long as you have a purple CPU, see table above.
Purple GPUs: The NVIDIA 1660Ti,2060RTX and the Radeon RX580 will get you anything from 100-130FPS questing and at ULTRA settings.
GPU performance (Approximate)
|GTX940M||60fps||~40 fps (Medium)|
- Keep in mind, a dedicated graphics card on a laptop can be costly, staying under $500 is pretty much skipping a dedicated card. You won’t find any below that price.
- MX150 is equivalent to the 940MX. Although some say there is a+30% increase in performance, this is not noticeable for games like WoW.
On WoW is pretty unlike your GPU will “bottleneck” and by that I mean that it will be “too weak” for your CPU. That’s because again the game depends heavily on your CPU and a lot less on your GPU.
It is more likely that you will suffer a “CPU bottleneck” in other words your CPU might be too weak or you just won’t get higher framerates if you go for more powerful GPUs.
Check this video to see what I mean:
The guy here was getting the same framerates despite using a 1660Ti,1060 and RX2060 for the benchmarks but he was using the same CPU. What would have gotten him much higher framerates would have been an upgrade to the CPU. If he had done that, the 2060RTX would have clearly bested the 1660Ti, in fact it seems to do the oppossite here.
Yes CPU Usage is 30% but imo the 2060RTX would show better numbers with a higher processor.
Vram, the memory on dGPU, is what allows you to play the game at higher resolutions.
However you don’t need more than 2GB vRAM and pretty much all dGPUs have =+2GB vRAM so don’t sweat too much about it unless you’re into video editing/animation/3D modeling.
What about Other “Older” generation CPUs like 740M,630M?
It’s not a bad idea to go for older generation or GPUs if you are on a budget but it’s kind of risky.
They might not be supported by Shadowlands and therefore will not be able to render images correctly.
This isn’t really an issue for gaming laptops because all of them come with at least 8GBRAM. If you’re buying a laptop below 500$, chances are you’re not going to get 8GB RAM, possibly 4GB.
Past versions of the game would have been OK with 4GB (WOW used to take less than 2GB, now it’s pretty close to 2GB if not more ) but being on the bridge to full capacity is never a good thing and it is very likely you’ll be using other programs simultanously: to surf the net, discord and so on.
Windows itself takes 2GB so you’ll need more than 4GB.
Ideally you want x2 4GB Sticks to make it 8GB. If your laptop is cheap and came with 4GB you can upgrade it later on if you are not satisfied with its performance.
I use 16GB myself though.
You can always get a boost in performance if your RAM is dual channeled. It basically means installing two sticks of the same size, same type and same model for RAM.
WoW can take up to 84.5GB with all its expansions, the new Expansion Shadowlands might take as much as Battle of Azeroth ~20GB. So you’ll need to set aside at least 100GB for WoW.
A 128GB laptop may not be okay because Windows can take up to 20GB leaving you with 6GB.
So you should at least get at least 256GB and ideally 512GB just in case you want to play other AAA games.
HDD(Hard Drive) vs SSD(Solid State Drive) for WoW
I’m using an HDD to run WoW and have never saw the need of an SSD, the game loading isn’t painfully long. Sure sometimes the game will take a long time to load after an update, but that’s only time it will make me impatient. If you have the cash it doesn’t hurt to invest on an SSD after you’ve maxed out on CPU,GPU and RAM, of course.
Running WoW on a SSD won’t make your FPS go any higher but it’ll make game load up pretty quickly including those times where you step out of a continent or move to another instance(BG,dungeon).
IPS + FHD resolution
If you’re paying 500$+ for a laptop, chances are you’re going to get an IPS display (better viewing angles more accurate colors) and FHD resolution(1920×1080). If you’re paying more than 600$ it’s pretty much a given.
If you’re paying less than 500$ , it’s not so certain. You might get both in some instances and not in others. The game can be played at HD HD+ and FHD resolution though and if your laptop costs around 350$ chances are it can only handle the game at HD+ resolution.
Refresh rates won’t really affect your gameplay or a 1vs1 dual. As long as you’re getting 60FPS and you have 60Hz you’ll be okay. (All laptops have 60Hz refresh rates).
However…if you realy want to see every framerate (outside of the FPS counter) AND you’re paying +1000$ for a laptop (getting a GPU like the 1660Ti), then you’re going to have to make sure your display is at least 120Hz.
That way when your rig can output +100FPs you will actually see them on your screen which is the case for any rig with a 1660Ti (that GPU can get you +100FPS on Ultra).
That may not be an issue with laptops because manufacturers usually throw a +144Hz display when a powerful GPU is installed in a laptop, but some manufacturers try to cut down on prices by giving you a 60-120Hz display with a monster like GPU like a 1660Ti or the 2070RTX, which doesn’t make sense.
Heat is a big issue with games like WoW. The chances of your laptop dying because of heat death (your CPU/GPU melting) are pretty high. You and I know both know you’ll be using this laptop for hours on end without pausing and this is exactly what makes it more likely to happen.
This doesn’t realy happen with dekstops unless you overclock the CPU/GPU but it does happen with laptop and the reason most of them die (and it is much more likely if you overclock them).
There are two ways you can minimize this before you get a laptop:
- If you’re planning ok playing at high settings for several hours. Get laptops from good brands like ASUS, MSI and Acer in that order. I haven’t had experience with other brands but you should make sure all reviews online about that particular model do not have any negative things to say about temperatures. If you read something about the system not handling high temperatures well, run.
- Get yourself a cooling pad even if your laptop has a great cooling system.
- Non-gaming laptops($<600) will overheat massively if you try to play for too long. Reduce all settings as much as possible here.
After you buy a laptop:
- Don’t overclock your laptop.
- Reduce settings to minimum if you’re going to play for hours.
- Install a software to check CPU/GPU and temperatures and stop when they go past 85C.
There will be lag regardless of how powerful your machine is depending on where you are in the game.
If you are at orgrimmar, you’ll get your FPS cut in half approximate. If you’re PVPing or Raiding with 20-40 players in a 2m radius, your FPS will go down to 20-30FPS and this is a matter of internet connectivity, not just yours, but of the entire raid.
Also having a low end laptop ($500) and low settings doesn’t guarantee you won’t lag, you will especially in the situations I mentioned above and even at orgrimmar. However, low end laptops will have no lag in the middle of nowhere or when solo questing.
If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or recommendations. Please let me know in the comments below, I’ll try to answer as soon as I can.