World of Warcraft on a five-year-old laptop

I did not have the best of weeks last week.

It all started Sunday, when I came home from work and my wife told me that she was having a hard time accessing World of Warcraft, as it would just hang a lot. I noticed that my hard drive kept spinning up to 100% and staying there, especially when programs were open, and so began a multi-day investigation into the situation.

I tried out a few things, but nothing seemed to help. Meanwhile, the situation got worse, as various programs stopped working and I got a message from the system kindly informing me that a hard drive failure was imminent. That sent me to the local computer store, where they confirmed that my HD was shot. While they were able to recover my data and transfer it to a new hard drive, it put me out of operation for a few days and racked up a healthy bill.

This all meant that my gaming time last week was quite low and infrequent, obviously. Whenever my main computer goes out of operation, I have to resort to my five-year-old laptop. Now, let me sing praises for this laptop — it really has been one of the best machines I’ve ever owned. I spent no more than $600 on it back before my third child was born, and it’s functioned as my travel and work computer ever since. I chose it because it had a nice big 17″ screen and an AMD chip for gaming. Nothing super fancy, but you’d be amazed how many games I’ve gotten to work on this over the years.

But as it has been aging and my spare gaming time shrinking, I really haven’t used it for gaming much at all. At least, until last week. I booted up World of Warcraft on it for the first time in many years, and even though these specs are far below the current recommended, it worked fine. Worked even better, in fact, when I lowered all the settings. Had something like a decent 30 FPS going on, more than enough to do my dailies and mess around with the auction house.

Now that I’ve gotten both of my class mounts (DK and Hunter) and am on the verge of finishing up the last rep grind for the Void Elves, I’m really starting to turn my attention over to my Warlock. She’s got more than enough to do to fill two months between now and the pre-expansion patch, but the question is how much is really necessary. Probably not much. Technically, I could take her into BFA right now if it launched and not have to worry about progression, as long as there was a way to leapfrog the rest of the Legion storyline and start into the next expansion.

But I’d like to spend some time with her, get reacquainted, and maybe do a final tour of the Broken Isles before it becomes truly obsolete.

I find that on slower and older computers, ranged and pet classes are a godsend. You don’t have to fret so much with positioning and precise timing of attacks, just send your meatshield out and jam on a few keys. Warlock lifestyle was always somewhat relaxed to me.

And even though it was a bummer about my computer, I try to take such breaks with good cheer. Always a good excuse to get in some more reading and writing, not to mention family time. And better than the hard drive break now than in a couple of months when I’ll really need it.

Probably the best part of this mess is that I’m upgrading to a SDD for my OS and gaming, and relying on the 3TB mechanical hard drive for media storage and other programs.

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