Small, Cheap, Plays WoW
January 9, 2009 4:03 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy my ~10 year old nephew a laptop to play World of Warcraft on. Smaller is better, cheaper is better.

I'm hoping that a netbook will work as it's just the right size for him but I can't find anything newer than a few years that gives a comprehensive answer.

I don't want him to be playing a slideshow but at the same time he doesn't need an alienware. I'm a sysadmin by trade so I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty to e.g. top up the ram if it saves some cash.
posted by Skorgu to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
WoW may not be all that demanding of a game, but nothing currently being dubbed a "netbook" has anything close to the video horsepower he'll need. (Also, sizewise, he'll probably be a good bit bigger over the next 3-4 years, so why limit yourself to undersized keyboards?)
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:09 PM on January 9, 2009

We bought a Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop off Craigslist for our second WoW machine. Mr. Blandings had to tweak it (because it's a Vista machine) but it works just fine running WoW.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:20 PM on January 9, 2009

A quick Google search suggests that it may be playable on the recent crop of netbooks.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:50 PM on January 9, 2009

The current crop of cheap netbooks (Asus EEPC, Aspire One, etc) all use roughly the same processor and video configuration. On my Aspire One, I get around 15FPS in World of Warcraft in Orgimmar. It's fast enough to do Auction House stuff, but I wouldn't consider it a "playable" framerate and certainly wouldn't want to raid with it.

Anything older in that form factor likely won't have enough horsepower to run even that fast.

Also, playing WoW on a 10" screen is an exercise in futility and probably a quick road to needing glasses.

I'd second the opinions on buying a used larger laptop.
posted by StickyC at 4:57 PM on January 9, 2009

I'd second the opinions on buying a used larger laptop.

Why buy used? Dell and HP both have laptops in the same price range as the netbooks, around $500.
posted by Netzapper at 5:35 PM on January 9, 2009

I'm seconding the idea that anything with a small screen is not going to be feasible for playing WoW. Text will be too small. A standard size laptop screen should be fine, but anything smaller than that is just going to cause eye problems.

And please, do not even attempt to play WoW on an eee PC or anything like that. Being able to run the game is a lot different than being able to actually play it, as StickyC pointed out.
posted by Nattie at 9:41 PM on January 9, 2009

The 13" Dell Vostro runs about 650. Pay the extra 75 for the Nvidia 8400 video option. Do not get default the intel video option! Thats a nice little laptop. It sometimes goes on sale, so check the deal sites for dell specials.

That said, 13" might be too cramped for gaming. The 15" model is actually $150 cheaper. For gaming Id recommend 15", or ideally the 17" but its a bigger and heavier laptop.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:15 PM on January 9, 2009

I have seen it running on my brother in laws reformatted with XP generation 1 asus EEEPC.

So I can only imagine the newer generation will only be better. Plus, if you wait a couple months, you can pick up one of the shiney touchscreen ones.

Hell, if you didn't want to pay to put windows on it, I believe WOW is also a Gold Level supported Wine App.
posted by JonnyRotten at 10:44 PM on January 9, 2009

The Asus N10 has a discrete nVidia graphics chipset which makes it better for games than other netbooks.
posted by JonB at 2:27 AM on January 10, 2009

WoW is almost 5 years old, and it was written then to be played on old machines. It can practically run on a good digital watch at this point.

I recommend a used laptop, maybe something that was higher-end 2 or 3 years back. The things to look for are: dual core (even as low as cheapy mobile 1.6GHz types will be better gor WoW than a single core), separate video card and as much ram as you can cram into it.
posted by cCranium at 4:59 AM on January 10, 2009

Its also worth considering that if you get him a beater machine, what happens in 6 months when he's sick of wow? Invensting in a modern machine like the one I suggested will allow him to continue to play new games.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:07 AM on January 10, 2009

Like JonB says, maybe the N10? It costs around $700.
posted by PueExMachina at 11:41 AM on January 10, 2009

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