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Low framerates, don't know why. Help?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 16, 2008 12:28:07 AM

So yeah, this is my first post on the site and I'm kind of a hardware noob. I've run into a little issue but it is bugging the crap out of me and nobody seems to be able to tell me what is wrong.
I recently upgraded my system and subsequently bought Oblivion from a friend. I had waited for like a month to get it and was really stoked when I finally installed it. So I started playing it, and everything was going good, that is until I got outside. I noticed the framerate was a little slow. It got even worse when I got on horseback. The framerate wasn't consistent though, it was cycling between 30 fps and about 14 fps, so it looked kind of glitchy or laggy. The framerate got even worse when an NPC was nearby, at one point dropping to 4 fps.
Considering my current system, I don't see how this is possible. I spent a decent amount of money to be able to run games like this, and yet I'm having a framerate issue? I should note that it seems exclusive to Oblivion, as I can run COD4 and CSS with no problem on high settings.
That's another weird thing: I can change the video settings in Oblivion from lowest possible to highest possible and back again, but the framerate issue persists. I tweaked every possible setting, even some of the values in the ini file, but nothing helps.
So here's my system:
AMD Athlon X2 64 3800+ @ 2GHz
Geforce 9600GT 512MB
2 GB RAM
I installed the latest drivers for the graphics card.
I honestly don't know what the problem could be. I anyone could tell me anything, even just a guess, as to what might fix this, I would be very grateful. I want to know why I'm only getting around 20 fps on a system that seems capable (to me) of at least 3 times that.
Ideas?

-------Update-----------
Yeah well it turns out that the whole problem was the integrated sound card. I suppose it simply wasn't good enough to run well with the game. I turned off integrated sound and installed a Sound Blaster Live card and now everything works like a dream. Thanks to everybody for their help!

More about : low framerates

August 16, 2008 12:29:04 AM

If you want more information about my PC, just ask what you need to know and I'll post it.
August 16, 2008 12:50:33 AM

you're most likely cpu limited. an athlon x2 isn't all that fast, and 2Ghz is quite slow. try overclocking it some more.
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August 16, 2008 12:59:23 AM

I dunno... I saw yesterday somewhere that this CPU is 2 GHz, but is "rated" for 5.7 GHz, which didn't make any sense to me. I didn't think that this CPU was so slow though.
a b U Graphics card
August 16, 2008 1:00:28 AM

First, whats your screen size/resolution? Second, youll only get 60 fps indoors/in cities, not outdoors in this game with that card, no matter how fast your cpu is. Heres a link for tweaking Oblivion http://www.tweakguides.com/Oblivion_1.html Read it, itll help. Theres other things on that site to help you adjust your entire rig
August 16, 2008 1:04:42 AM

I was running on lowest possible settings and still had this problem. I was at a ridiculously low resolution, under 800x 600, and the game essentially looked like an N64 game. That isn't an exaggeration. I originally did suspect that my CPU was to blame, but I've heard of other people using a CPU similar to mine and not having such a problem.
August 16, 2008 1:07:57 AM

Checklist :

Press CTRL-ALT-Delete while inside Windows, then click on the "Performance" tab, if you only see one graph in the CPU Usage History (Should be two) then you may need to reinstall Windows.

And lastly... Remove "grass" in Oblivion, it's a nasty FPS killer. ;) 
August 16, 2008 1:11:17 AM

...there are 2, which I'm assuming means that Windows is utilizing both cores.
*Sigh* I guess I'll have to try some other tweaks.
August 16, 2008 1:19:25 AM

you need to run the game at the monitor's native resolution, lower resolutions of load on the cpu, and higher get off loaded on to the gpu
August 16, 2008 1:35:47 AM

BlackGuitar said:
...there are 2, which I'm assuming means that Windows is utilizing both cores.
*Sigh* I guess I'll have to try some other tweaks.


if you see two graphs, that doesn't mean that windows is using them. check the % usage. if there's more than about 5-10%, then you have background apps that are sucking up performance.
August 16, 2008 1:42:58 AM

did you install the amd dual core optimizer and the microsoft dual core hotfix?
August 16, 2008 2:35:14 AM

colonelblake said:
did you install the amd dual core optimizer and the microsoft dual core hotfix?

I haven't done that yet, so I'll give it a try. Dual core optimization seems to be a good solution, because if this is indeed a cpu problem, as it appears to be, than focusing on utilizing both cores seems like a good idea.
August 16, 2008 3:04:50 AM

Well, both optimizers were installed, with no noticeable difference. Perhaps it's just time to buy a new CPU... though I still have a few more tweaks to try.
August 16, 2008 4:11:30 PM

I did the 3DMark06 test and got a CPU Score of 1518 and an overall score of 7318.
a b U Graphics card
August 16, 2008 4:25:58 PM

Thats not too bad, considering your cpu and card. Ive got a better cpu, a lil less gpu, and I get over 9000 in it. Hows the gaming experience going? Thats really what counts anyways
August 16, 2008 5:16:37 PM

It's really only Oblivion that shows any problems. It's just so cpu intensive. I don't really know of any tweaks to fix that and help the frame rate unfortunately, though maybe somebody else here does. I'm considering just upgrading to an Intel Core2 Duo E8400, because I'll probably need the extra processing power in the future anyway.
a b U Graphics card
August 16, 2008 5:39:53 PM

I used to have a 3700+, single core, 1900xt 512mb, and it ran Oblivion fine, except in some instances, where I had to turn down settings in game. Shadows demand a lot in this game. Id tweak ingame as much as is acceptable first
August 16, 2008 9:50:56 PM

That's what I'm concerned about... it just seems like my CPU shouldn't be having any problems running this. I'm just lost as to what to do now.
!