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Fallout +Oblivion +lots of texture mods - Which card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 23, 2009 12:20:20 PM

Hi hoping someone can advise me on getting a new graphics card.

I play fallout3 and Oblivion with a number of texture replacers, architectural mods and other enhancers. Which is great but it kills my fps. In some areas im getting 10-15fps ! and its laggy as hell.
Using rivatuner showed that sometimes my video memory usage in game is over 1gig ! (average is between 500 - 800mb)

My current system is a dell 720 (so im limited by the btx form factor)
Specs are Q6600 2.4 ghx
motherboard - some dell type based on nvidia nforce 680i
Ram - 3gb $667mhz
Graphics Card - 8800 gtx 768mb
Sound Card - SB Xfi extreme music
750 watt PSU
Win xp
Playing at 1680 X 1050 with a 22inch monitor.

Please advise recommendations considering the dell system limitations.

thanks

(next time il build my own)


a b U Graphics card
June 23, 2009 1:47:39 PM

this game loves the HD4000s.

a marginal return of investment would be a hd4890.
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June 23, 2009 2:20:46 PM

im only running 2 aa. that is with HDR lighting.

if i go down to no aa the game suffers a very noticeable quality loss and only really improves the fps by 5 or so.

If i was running the default game id be fine. Its just with the mods that my fps plummets. Im talking 20-30 fps loss here.

And i cant lose the mods either, ive already downgraded the texture replacers but im pretty much at the minimum for my standards now.

Im prepared to invest cause i love this game. I just wish the Bethesda softworks developers would learn to optimize their games better. I run cyrsis with dx9 very high settings with a good framerate but oblivion is such a resource hog.

Im thinking i may need to invest in the latest and greatest eg the gtx 295. but i read somewhere that it doesnt have the vram for heavy texture games ?

or am i better off waiting until around September to see what the next gen will bring ?

My way of thinking is that unless im guaranteed to go back to 30-40 fps then im better off waiting for a card that will do that.
June 23, 2009 2:31:17 PM

the cards that you guys are recommending.

4870 , gtx 260, hd4890 etc

do they have double the performance of the 8800 gtx ? cause if im to go from 10-20 fps to 30-40 thats kind of what i need.

a b U Graphics card
June 23, 2009 2:57:48 PM

With your CPU none of those mentioned are going to have a great effect on a heavily modded Oblivion. Many of the mods out are not only texture related, but also script intensive. You give the game tons of new instructions and the CPU is going to be so busy its going to kill your FPS regardless what GPU you run.

Basically, if your 8800 GTX is having problems look at your individual mods, see what you can live without or check to see if optimized versions have been introduced. I have an 8800 GTX with an Athlon X2 6400+. Been playing the game since release. I have just one texture mod now (Qarl's Texture Pack 3 Redimized) and get anywhere from 25 to 55 FPS outdoors (with 4XAA and 8XAF) on a 22 inch monitor. As for non-texture mods I keep the load list pretty light. The biggest benefit to the game's performance was getting a hardware based sound card to lift the sound processing off the CPU. FPS jumped anywhere from 5-15 depending on if was outdoors or in cities.

Basically, if you really load up your games with texture and script intensive mods be prepared for low FPS. ATI cards are a little more friendly towards the game, but again, that's in stock configuration. Load the game with mods and it will choke regardless.
June 23, 2009 3:03:53 PM

my 4850 @ 750mhz plays it great with no sluggishness so either get a 4850 and OC as far as possible or get a 4870.

but then again my i7 might have had something to do with the no sluggishness.
June 23, 2009 3:20:57 PM

jeffredo said:
With your CPU none of those mentioned are going to have a great effect on a heavily modded Oblivion. Many of the mods out are not only texture related, but also script intensive. You give the game tons of new instructions and the CPU is going to be so busy its going to kill your FPS regardless what GPU you run.

Basically, if your 8800 GTX is having problems look at your individual mods, see what you can live without or check to see if optimized versions have been introduced. I have an 8800 GTX with an Athlon X2 6400+. Been playing the game since release. I have just one texture mod now (Qarl's Texture Pack 3 Redimized) and get anywhere from 25 to 55 FPS outdoors (with 4XAA and 8XAF) on a 22 inch monitor. As for non-texture mods I keep the load list pretty light. The biggest benefit to the game's performance was getting a hardware based sound card to lift the sound processing off the CPU. FPS jumped anywhere from 5-15 depending on if was outdoors or in cities.

Basically, if you really load up your games with texture and script intensive mods be prepared for low FPS. ATI cards are a little more friendly towards the game, but again, that's in stock configuration. Load the game with mods and it will choke regardless.


my big fps killers are QTP 3 - im running redimized reduced, better cities (better cities is the big killer), tie4 mods (which adds npcs) and some clothes and weapons replacers. Its really just in the cities that im dropping to 10-15. but i really dont want to get rid of better cities.

do you really think its my cpu ? anyway i can measure to see if thats a major contributor to the poor framerate ? (i know my graphics card is hurting me as well)

ps - forgot to mention i actually do have a sound card - SB sfi xtreme music.
June 23, 2009 3:28:13 PM

^ fallout 3 is a fairly CPU intensive game, not extremely intensive but a quad core does help.

also how are you measuring fps? fraps or guessing? because fraps will lower your fps by 5-15fps.
June 23, 2009 3:35:47 PM

im using rivatuner to measure the fps.


by the way thanks for all the help guys. Keep the advice coming.

anyone know how to measure if your cpu is bottlenecking your game ? from what ive read i would have thought a quad core hard would not cause a bottleneck with todays games? or am i way off ?
a b U Graphics card
June 23, 2009 8:52:14 PM

Oblivion can't, and doesn't, make use of more than two cores. Crazy, its Better Cities I bet. That one is a killer (but looks so very good!). Good thing you have that hardware sound card to get that little bit more processing power!

Also, a better GPU certainly wouldn't hurt. Just don't expect a huge jump in FPS. It'll probably be a slight to moderate improvement in your modded cities and better outdoors. I tried a friend's GTX 260 (to see if it was worth the purchase). I think my FPS outdoors in a place like the West Weald jumped about 5-10 FPS (made it a little smoother) and no improvement in the Market District at mid-day with lots of NPCs. Your CPU is better than mine, but I think you might have a similar result.
June 24, 2009 12:52:02 AM

good advice. thanks.

It looks like im going to have to save up for a new system to get the perfomance IM after.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 1:19:23 AM

4870 + a high overclocked q6600 can pretty much get 60fps solid out of fallout 3 on max.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:52:31 AM

Crazy, for any of Qarl's mods, you also want VRAM (not that the GTX doesn't have lots).

They are based on 4x4+K textures they can get slowed by lack or VRAM so if you do upgrade be sure to keep that in mind too and not get a 512MB version, despite most people just focusing on your resolution.

I'm not sure what effect QARL's mods have on the shader versus texture balance of the competing architectures, I haven't seen a look at them in a long time (been a while since I focused on Oblivion).

I would check with the ElderScrolls forum, and see if NottheKing can help you, he sometimes hands out here and there and may be more current.
July 19, 2009 1:21:52 AM

a stock q6600 + 4850 @ 700Mhz runs fallout 3 at a smooth 45 FPS at 3840x1080 4xAA modded to hell, although VATS drags me down to like 8 FPS. your biggest issue would be your ram not running in dual channel, i presume its 3x 1GB if so try removing a chip.(so that you run true dual channel) if 2x 1GB + 2x 512MB then nevermind.

seriously save the cash and get a 4850, and maybe overclock your ram

p.s. for fallout 3 go through the .ini file and set anything with "thread" in the name to a 1, massive FPS boost on a quad
!