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After downloading the latest WoW update, we got the unpleasant surprise that our Nvidia Quadro FX 1700 card is apparently no longer supported. (Everything worked fine until the day before)

3d accelerator card not supported

I tried downloading the original driver from the company, still no go.

I went to a shop looking to buy a newer card, but they told me that most likely my old computer's motherboard would not support the current generation of graphics cards.

After further research, I found that the Nvidia Quadro that I have uses PCI-express 1.0 x16, while modern cards that were for sale in the shop use e.g. PCIe 3.0

Can anyone advise, please?

  1. Does anyone know if it's possible to tweak the system so that WoW can still run with the old Nvidia Quadro FX 1700? (I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the list of old cards still supported by WoW includes models that aren't much better than Quadro FX 1700)

https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/76459

  1. If our almost 10 years old motherboard supports PCIe 1.0 x16, will it support new (PCIe 3.0) graphics cards too? Or is there probably going to be some compatibility issue?

(I don't have the computer with me, I am advising a non-technical friend, and so right now I can't look inside the computer to see what motherboard it has. But perhaps for some of you experts, the above info contains enough clues for giving some educated advice.)

Another option would be to to look for used but more recent cards than the Quadro, which although old would still be supported by WoW. Any advice in that regard?

  • This question could be improved by providing the details about the computer hardware and software, when possible. The OS, motherboard model, and power supply model would be very helpful in determining viable solutions. Finally, I don't play WoW, but I don't suppose uninstalling the WoW update is a solution? – TylerH Oct 21 at 20:13
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    @TylerH WoW enforces updates, you can only use the latest version or nothing. I'll update the question when I get access to the computer, and hopefully after I find a fix that works. – MMazzon Oct 21 at 20:42
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    Be careful when purchasing a new graphics card to go with a much older motherboard. Newer graphics cards require a UEFI-based system, while older graphics cards used the then-standard BIOS. My experience with a likely-similar graphics card and motherboard is that the motherboard refused to even see the new card, leaving the system without any graphics output. When I regained access via Remote Desktop, the drivers failed to install because they couldn't see the new card either, forcing me to switch back to the old one. – camerondm9 Oct 22 at 6:11
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    Also, support for Windows 7 ended in Janurary 2020. For security reasons, you should consider upgrading to Windows 10. – camerondm9 Oct 22 at 6:16
  • I agree with @camerondm9. You shouldn't be using Windows 7 anymore unless your machine never gets on the internet again (which this machine probably will if it's meant to play an MMORPG). You can still upgrade your Windows 7 machine to Windows 10 for free: zdnet.com/article/… shows a report of someone who was able to upgrade their Windows 7 machine to Windows 10 for free less than a month ago. – Nzall Oct 22 at 7:35
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Blizzard is aware that some older DirectX 11 cards without Shader Model 5 support are no longer compatible after the updates. They are working on a fix that will allow players to continue to play on older cards, but it will take a couple weeks for them to implement this.

https://eu.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/issues-with-older-gpus/193865

For the last few expansions, World of Warcraft minimum specs have required a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that is shader-model-5 compatible (DirectX 11.0 or higher). With the newer graphical features included in the Shadowlands Pre-patch, the game has ceased supporting all GPUs that are not compatible with shader-model-5.

We’ve discovered that a very small number of players are attempting to run World of Warcraft on older hardware that cannot play the game after patching.

At this time, we’re working on a solution that could allow the game to operate on some older hardware, at the lowest graphical settings, with some graphic features unavailable. We expect this solution to take at least a couple of weeks to develop and test.

We will let you know when this workaround is available. Thank you.

However, according to https://stackoverflow.com/questions/10467072/can-i-put-a-pci-e-3-0-x16-gpu-in-a-pci-e-1-0-x16-slot, PCIE 3.0 is backwards compatible with 1.0, so you should be able to put a modern PCIE 3.0 card in your older motherboard. Whether that's a good idea, considering your CPU would most likely be heavily bottlenecked by your CPU and the lower bandwidth of PCI-E 1.0, is up for debate, but it is an option.

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  • Thank you for the answer! It looks like my card only supports shader 4.0 :( ... but if new cards are somehow compatible with the motherboard, and allow playing, that would be great. We'll get a new PC eventually, and the card can then be used there. So the question now is: putting a new card in the old motherboard, will it work and allow playing, even if with reduced performance? – MMazzon Oct 21 at 9:51
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    @MMazzon it should allow it in theory. I can't easily test it, but PCIe is a backwards compatible standard. – Nzall Oct 21 at 11:39
  • Thank you @Nzall, another source also told me that it should work, I think I'll go for it. – MMazzon Oct 21 at 11:55
  • @MMazzon if everything in the computer is ~10 years old, I might recommend getting a new power supply at the same time if it's in budget. There's some possibility that the old one catastrophically fails in such a way that it fries the new card, or that it just doesn't have the capacity to run a newer card – llama Oct 21 at 17:12
  • @Nzall, PCIe is almost backwards-compatible. There was a change between 2.0 and and 2.1 that increased the amount of power that a card can draw from the slot, with a side effect that some 2.1-or-later cards aren't compatible with some 1.0 boards. – Mark Oct 21 at 20:09
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I went to a shop looking to buy a newer card, but they told me that most likely my old computer's motherboard would not support the current generation of graphics cards.

That's a half-truth and possibly an attempt to upsell you.

FIRST OF ALL: figure out what motherboard you have. PCIe 2.0 was introduced in 2007 so there is a very high chance that you have at least 2.0. Running WoW should be plenty possible on PCIe 2.0 in regards to bandwidth. PCIe 3.0 even came out late in 2010 so if you're really lucky then you'll have that version.

Secondly, all PCIe versions are backward and forward compatible.

Thirdly, you seem to be using Windows 7 so if you are buying a new graphics card then just make sure it's the latest one supported on your operating system. I don't know for sure but a RTX 3080 might not work on Windows 7 so find something a little older. Note, if anyone seriously puts a 3080 inside a 10 year old computer then they should serve jail time. If you're a YouTuber that wants to show off bottle-necking, fine but that's the only exception.

Lastly, check how powerful your power supply is and buy a GPU sufficient for the power limits or upgrade the PSU and GPU together. If the PSU is 10 years old then it's probably worth it to just upgrade it anyways.

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