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help with oblivion and an x1800 XT

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April 7, 2006 5:15:55 AM

well i posted this on the home built forum but I think I could get some help here....

well I've got this system:

3.2 gig Pentium 4
1 gig DDR2 533
1 x1800 XT
480W Energmax PSU 2.0 atx
windows xp pro sp2
2 optical drives
2 hard drives ATA 5400x

so people keep saying crystal smooth oblivion plays on a system similiar to this in threads even on this forum... even in fact perfect... which i don't buy.

*here comes spoilers* during the fight outside Bruma with the three gates I lose my ass when all the guys come through the gates. It's not unplayable but frames start dropping and I'm thinking how much this sucks... I need help!!!!

my settings are on Ultra High 1024... I get a lot of time where everything is liquid but right after every load screen I get hit with some frame drops!

please, give me some input!

More about : oblivion x1800

April 7, 2006 5:55:03 AM

well... im not sure... but you did say how it would all of a sudden drop in framerates when alot of guys are on the screen, or right after loading screens occur... so it leads me to believe your system is choking on low memory in those situations, even though you do have a gig of it... high detailed textures and such are eating up your memory alot too... so that might be it... i havent played it myself, but in another thread someone mentioned that they lowered the grass detail some i think it was, and the game ran quite abit smoother... but, i would guess your problem is due to an inadequate memory buffer... someone might know otherwise though
April 7, 2006 7:52:38 AM

i'm going to turn down the grass detail... is that the grass draw distance? but it might not be enough ram although i'm pissed because it's ddr2 and I was hoping that would be enough for a few more years...

it was a stupid idea but a defrag did get a bit of better performance but I still want to tackle the tearing and frame drops.

thanks for the reply
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April 7, 2006 7:54:14 AM

Drop your detail level.

Ultra High is too high. :p 

The X1800 only has 1/4 the number of shader units (compared to the Radeon X1900 XT/XTX) as far as the software is concerned.

UPDATE: My trick is, play on medium, regardless of hardware, and then turn each setting up, or 'optional graphics extra' on and see if the impact on performance is worth having the extra eyet candy. Yes, this is still recommended even with the highest end hardware.
April 7, 2006 11:37:07 AM

hm ...just something weird to my eyes..your drives r at 5400 rpm? damn that sooooo slowww

and something else your mem being ddr2 means nothing (actually its worst than ddr1 because of the worst timings, and to make matters worst its slow also being 533...)

my guess is that the slow mem and drives just criple your cpu and vga when you need sudden increase of data...

p.s. the 1 gb mem is not high end spec for the oblivion...
April 7, 2006 12:17:30 PM

yeah, DDR2 might have large latency, but don't blame them everytime, remember, These Prescotts ruined DDR2 so, us consumers really think that DDR2 sucks but it was Intel's fault why we have this impression about DDR2 memory modules. BTW, it's my opinion, if AMD implements this AM2 based CPUs, if we can't see real performance leap, then DDR2 is not that much efficient though even AMD uses DDR controllers on its CPUs.
April 7, 2006 1:08:09 PM

my bad didnt meant to critisize the ddr2 as type of mem but more its combination with the p4 as we know it until now...
s478 p4 with good 400 ddr mem where much better...

but my guess is that is just a typical dim ..so no great latencies and slow speed (533)

and oh my god...slow hdd...dude do something about that
April 7, 2006 1:25:50 PM

Dude... its just a combination of things. First of all, the X1800XT, though a good card, suffers from not having as many pixel shader processors as its successor, the X1900XT, thus in shader-heavy games like Oblivion, it loses it edge. However, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Two, you have an Intel processor, a Prescott to be precise... not very good with games (Better with encoding stuff and the likes), but again, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. thirdly, the DDR2 memory shouldn't be too much of a problem, having a higher bandwidth should make up for the loss in latency a little. So why is everything slowing down? Most likely because with only a gig of RAM and having it on ultra-high detail, the RAM gets filled up and memory has to be paged onto slow, slow hard-drives, crippling your gfx card and cpu. Turn off HDR, and reduce the texture sizes, and generally tweak around with the settings until performance improves.
April 7, 2006 1:49:58 PM

i agree with everyone else here. I have an x1800xl and am running the game at 1280x708 i think (i need the widescreen res) with ultra high quality, hdr, and grass and tree distance maxed out with object and character distance at medium. I am running an x-2 3800+ and 2 gig of ram, with the game on a fast 250 gb WD. The game only drops below 30 FPS when i am in a room with a large amount (7+) of people. I also turned off all the internal and extranal shadows, they just didnt look natural to me. Im guessing with everyone else that 1 gig isnt enough and it pages to the HD.

I also have a problem that creeps out sometimes. There are a few ocasions when i am enter another area (shop, town) and then return to the original area there is a major slowdown. I just quicksave and quickload and the game speeds back up again.
April 7, 2006 2:04:57 PM

I also have an X1800XL, and I'm running at max settings. I also did some (but not ALL) of the ini tweaks. I recently started running at 1600 and still get 15-30 fps in most settings, and up to 40-50 indoors.

Grassy areas kill my fps, but I also noticed that certain characters on my screen will kill fps (maybe some npc have more polygons or something).

Then there's rainfall and snow that seem to clip the framerate.

At 1600 resolution, I try to fast travel as much as possible, and if I need to spend any great amount of time outdoors, I may optionally drop back down to 1280 resolution.

If you haven't done the ini tweaks, check them out. Many of them modify detail and WORSEN performance, but there is one that can add 10-15 frames. I have a dual opteron, and in my case at least, it rocks.

Happy Hunting
April 7, 2006 2:06:46 PM

Quote:
Drop your detail level.

Ultra High is too high. :p 

The X1800 only has 1/4 the number of shader units as far as the software is concerned.

UPDATE: My trick is, play on medium, regardless of hardware, and then turn each setting up, or 'optional graphics extra' on and see if the impact on performance is worth having the extra eyet candy. Yes, this is still recommended even with the highest end hardware.
]

I dont get it.

I have this game, and I cannot find a setting for TEXTURES anywhere? Especially ULTRA HIGH, or MEDIUM?

CAN someone show me where this setting is???
April 7, 2006 2:30:49 PM

The X1800XT 512MB card nearly equals the performance of the X1900XT even with its greater number of shaders. Look at the benchmark article on firingsquad. I think its because the current ATI drivers haven't been completely rewritten to take advantage of the power the new card has yet.

Two X1800XT 512MB cards in Crossfire were just a few frames below two X1900XTXs in Oblivion as well in every test. I think when ATI gets some new drivers out that more efficiently use the X1900 architecture theres going to be some serious performance increases.
April 7, 2006 2:47:30 PM

No card can run oblivion at ultra detail with smooth framerates 100% of the time. It's that simple.

Lower your detail...
April 7, 2006 2:57:19 PM

Then again cleeve, thats quite resolution dependant. 1280x1024 Ultra detail outdoor areas I havent droped below 32FPS yet (thats what FRAPS is telling me at least) I do have double the RAM, obviously quite nice.

I agree drop the detail and a notch in your resolution, the only way your playing Oblivion 1600x1200 max detail is with a multi-GPU setup.
April 7, 2006 3:25:49 PM

Change this in the .ini.

My Games/Oblivion/Oblivion.ini

iMinGrassSize=120 or 200 (default is 80)

What this does is decreases the density of the grass. Thus making it not bog down your computer. Higher the number the less dense.

Also you might want to try the Shorter Grass Mod thats out. It also saves Frames. So you can keep your Ultra High Settings.
April 7, 2006 3:53:22 PM

Double the ram helps of course, but are you running with all detail maxed out? At 1280 res not dropping below 30 fps is pretty impressive.

You haven't ever had a sub-30 stutter in a town with lots of NPCs, or in heavy foliage areas? What's CPU are you running?
April 7, 2006 3:56:43 PM

He has P4 3.2 GHz
April 7, 2006 5:29:43 PM

well so far so good, the grass change in the ini helps out of town but I still get some drops like I did with more npcs.... Would a move to 2 gig of ram really make a difference?

how are some ways that I can check my performance to find a bottleneck? I've never used benchmarking programs so I'm lost on the subject but I'd like to figure if it is my chip, card, or ram...

could my psu have anything to do with this??? it only has an 18 for the 12v rail... and I do have 2 hard drives and 2 optical drives. how can i check the performance of my psu? I just bought it 3 months ago and it was like a 80 dollar model so I thought I was getting something that would cover all my needs.

thanks for all the input so far, it's helped! the more the merrier
April 7, 2006 5:42:51 PM

I believe npc's are using your CPU not video card. So if im correct your P4 is killing you there.
April 7, 2006 6:34:42 PM

@ Cleeve

I've played the game around 10 hours now, right now in the Halls of Collosus, I've entered towns of carries many NPC's and entities, I've NEVER gone below 31FPS (I stated 32 becuase that was my previous low)

As for my CPU ----in the sig...cheers
April 7, 2006 6:46:27 PM

Quote:

As for my CPU ----in the sig...cheers


Ah... missed it. Nice OC!
April 7, 2006 7:02:45 PM

how are the npcs using my cpu and not my video card? i don't get it... and why is a 3.2 p4 bad? i just got it, it has an 2mb cache and hyperthreading (which i can say i don't know if it figures into oblivion) but I the reviews on it didn't seem like crap to me...
April 7, 2006 7:33:14 PM

Quote:
how are the npcs using my cpu and not my video card?


AI. Obviously your graphics card has to render it. But the CPU has to calculate what they're going to do first.
April 7, 2006 11:54:32 PM

Quote:

As for my CPU ----in the sig...cheers


Ah... missed it. Nice OC!


Yeah, its going higher (hoping for 3ghz :twisted: :twisted: )
Right now Prime95 stable 7hours straight, no errors(blended tests)
never breaking 46C load...I love this new Typhoon, by
far one of the better if not best Air cooled units I've used
in my time. I'm very excited about this thing, my last good
CPU to make a high stable OC was my 2500M+ (RIP) but
this is looking to put that too shame. I really dont want
to drop another multi, but if I make 300HTT on air cooling,
I"m going to be giddy. 8O 8O

GPU is getting the same treatment. That overclock was done with 3 hours of ATI tool and 3Dmark05. No voltage increases, but my fan speed is 100% and the GPU idles around 49C. 50C idle is a little warm by my standards, so when I get the time I'll invest some coin into a nice heatpipe solution or that X2 I saw on newegg. I have a feeling I really hit the jackpot with these new components in terms of overclocking.
I just need to find the time to exploit the preformance now.
April 8, 2006 8:38:23 AM

Quote:
well so far so good, the grass change in the ini helps out of town but I still get some drops like I did with more npcs.... Would a move to 2 gig of ram really make a difference?

how are some ways that I can check my performance to find a bottleneck? I've never used benchmarking programs so I'm lost on the subject but I'd like to figure if it is my chip, card, or ram...


Tabris - Finding Bottlenecks 101:

MEMORY:

Beofre the game is run:
- Screenshot Task Manager / Performance tab

After the game has run for 2 hours:
- Screenshot Task Manager / Performance tab

Check the Peak Commit Charge, if it is over the amount of physical memory you have (eg: over 1 GB, but under 2 GB) then moving to 2 GB of RAM will help. (As there will be ample memory left over for caching).

CPU:

Run the game in an area where you can recreate similar heavy levels of NPCs wondering around.

Test performance at current clock speed.

Underclock to 80% of stock speed.

Run the game (again) in an area where you can recreate similar heavy levels of NPCs wondering around (while underclocked).

If performance lowers in a linear manner (ie: to 80% of what it was) then the bottleneck is CPU related. (This assumes the CPU is not throttling at current clock, or 80% of current clock, use ThrottleWatch.exe to check).

If it doesn't it is GPU / Video-Cards related.

If Video-Card related, consider lowering the Level of Detail, before buying a newer video card.
April 8, 2006 5:58:02 PM

this is some great input to find if I have a bottleneck! I have a few questions (pretty basic)... screenshot task manager? is this a windows ap or should I be finding this in my ccc or something? where do I check peak commit charge?

right now when I hit cntrl-alt-dlt the task manager is bogus and has lost all the tabs except programs open... I'm not sure how to fix this.

thanks!
April 8, 2006 7:12:14 PM

Are you running Windows XP ?

Do you have a Limited or Administrator user account ?
(Most user accounts on home PCs are Admin level).
April 8, 2006 8:17:03 PM

Not enough memory. It slows the entire components down.
April 8, 2006 8:32:22 PM

yeah i'm the admin, I think the task manager thing is either a bug or a glitch... i used to have all the tabs like normal but now it lost even the title bar like every window should have.
April 8, 2006 8:44:55 PM

you're awesome

i'm retarded.
!