[Oblivion] FPS plummets when lights are involved

Alrighty, first things first:


CPU - AMD Phenom II x4 965 BE @ Stock @ 3.4GHz
GPU - AMD Radeon HD 6670 DDR3 - 13.2 Beta Drivers
RAM - 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
Mobo - Asrock M3N78D

For the problem:

The problem, quite simply, is that when there are lights, my FPS plummets. Say I'm in the starting dungeon. Soon as I go down those steps and find the hole in the ceiling, my FPS goes from 60+. to 42 (Yes, I've accurately measured this. RadeonPro.). Throw in a torch, and it goes down to 28 FPS.

For another example: Fighters Guild in Bruma. I position myself at the wall opposite the door and move my camera to the round table where there are 3 lights. My fps hovers between 23-27, depending on the angle.
Should I go in the console and type 'tlb', which means 'ToggleLightBright', my fps shoots up from the 23-27 in the Fighters Guild, to 130-140 fps. That is just...Sheesh. The problem with that, is I get ugly LOD over the landscape, so my character's waist and below is more-or-less covered by the LOD of the terrain. Mountainous places aren't bad, but Bruma? That town is half-submerged under a big LOD plane.

Outdoors, I get a solid 55+ FPS. I experienced NO framerate dips, no matter what was going on (Unless I pulled out a torch, then it would go to around 37 fps).

In the imperial city, I get an average of 37 fps, with the fps going to around 45-48 when viewing to the left/right.

It's not a shadow setting; lowering the resolution of shadows causes my FPS to drop by 3-4 fps, in actuality.

I've not installed any mods, so that possibility is ruled out...Sadly. Changing the shadermodel doesn't do a thing, editing Oblivion.ini to have "bUseHighQualityLighting=1" GAINS me 3-4 fps (Included in the FPS reports mentioned above), which is odd.

Am I doomed to forever be throttled by the lighting of Oblivion, or is there something that I can do? Gave Oblivion a final try before throwing away the disc, and this time, I'm strangely enthralled by it. So I would indeed like to get this working.

Thanks in advance!
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  1. Well its been a while but from what I can remember the best thing to do is to use Bloom lighting instead of HDR lighting
    Have you read this http://www.tweakguides.com/Oblivion_7.html

    Your GPU is pretty weak for Oblivion if I'm honest, the game is very graphically challenging.
    Things like reflections and shadow settings as well as draw distance settings make a big differance.

    Let me know how you go I can fire it up again if you need more help.

    Mactronix :)
  2. The settings don't make any difference. I actually get lower FPS when I get rid of shadows entirely.

    I also experience no difference with bloom/hdr enabled/disabled, nor do I get any difference when I change my resolution. I get the exact same framerates with 640x480 as I do with 1152x864.

    Changing the settings (draw distance, texture detail, etc.) make no difference on framerates.

    I mean, with everything aside from AA maxed out, I'm getting a minimum of 54fps out in the 'exterior'. In the interiors/towns, I'm getting severe fps drops, which I have found to be due to the lighting.

    I've also found that typing 'slp 1' in the console changes the lighting system to no longer draw shadows. Using that command nets me 3-4 fps.
  3. I'll just add: Skyrim/Fallout 3/Fallout NV play fine, a steady 40fps throughout with similar/higher settings.
  4. I must admit this is very strange as your symptoms suggest a hardware restriction yet when you turn effects down you get no gain or very little. Your GPU is the weakest thing in your system yet it should be dropping FPS harder than you are suggesting if it is actually the reason for the issue.
    So that leads me to V-Sync. Do you have it on ? If you do it is possible that it is what is causing the issue. V-sync will restrict FPS to integers of the actual refresh rate if the hardware can not maintain the same FPS as the refresh rate.
    So if you have your refresh rate at 60 and V-sync on it will cause drops sometimes large ones if the hardware cant maintain 60FPS.

    Mactronix :)
  5. VSync is off. Otherwise, I'd be getting 60/30/15 fps, not 52, 43, etc, and I'd have no screen-tearing.

    Yeah, Oblivion has never run well on my computer, XP or 7. It's just THIS time, I'm getting framerates above 30 when outside, so I'd like to get this problem 'fixed'.
  6. MajinCry said:
    VSync is off. Otherwise, I'd be getting 60/30/15 fps, not 52, 43, etc, and I'd have no screen-tearing.

    Yeah, Oblivion has never run well on my computer, XP or 7. It's just THIS time, I'm getting frame rates above 30 when outside, so I'd like to get this problem 'fixed'.

    I take your point but V-sync is not that nice and neat which is why I asked.

    Oblivion is an older game and I now find myself wondering if it may just be down to the card and driver set up. It is possible that the card and drivers are just not geared towards getting decent performance out of the game.

    I will fire my game up as I am on AMD hardware as well and see if I get the same thing with light effects.

    Could just be that AMD hardware does not handle the lighting in the game well any more.

    Mactronix :)
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