Oblivion fan with a problem

I love Oblivion and I want to be able to play it at its maximum settings and from what I have read, with my system specs I should be able to do that. I'm trying to run at max settings at 1920x1080 but frame rates vary from high teens to medium 20's constantly which is just too lagy to fully enjoy. However turning down the resolution to 1680x1050 (the resolution of my secondary monitor) frame rates remain fairly stable in the 30-40 range. This is great but I would still rather play the game to its potential at 1080p. My question to the community is, is this a problem that can easily be solved by a new, fairly priced graphics card, or is the problem in the processor. Also if anyone knows any settings which I can turn down that can help improve fps without sacrificing visuals please let me know (Maximum settings, for what I'm concerned, are all settings such as grass and tree canopy shadows at max, Bloom and at least 2x AA). All graphics card, cpu, and setting suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Here are my system specs...

Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 (2.2Ghz)
Nvidia 8800 GT
Dual Monitors (1920x1080 and 1680x1050)
500W PSU
Windows 7
Stock Dell Inspiron 530 motherboard
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  1. your video card is more then enough for oblivion, bethesda games are rarely graphic demanding but they do like fast dual core CPUs. at 2.2ghz your CPU does not fall into that category. Frankly I would just play it at 1680x1050 but if you want to increase FPS, draw distance and shadows tend to be the most taxing.
  2. I tend to disagree with the above.

    Oblivion has been around for awhile, but can still bring an old system down, especially at 19x10.

    A new cpu will only provide marginal improvement IMHO. As i recall, Oblivion was NOT perfect on my 3.0Ghz quad with an 8800GTS 320 at ~14x10.

    A new GFX card should provide substantial improvement.

    Its been a long time since i ran dual monitors, but disabling the 2nd mon may free up resources?
  3. you may "tend to disagree" but you are wrong.
    i maxed out oblivion with an athlon x 4400 and Over Clocked 8600GT @ 1440x900

    how could you not run it at your settings maxed? yougamers states it only needs a P4 3.4ghz and 7800GT / 8600GTS to max out.

  4. Definitely need a faster processor, 2xAA may not actually be necessary at higher resolutions and you will probably have to give up some shadows and distance for smooth game-play.

    It is probably time for a new graphics card as well

    I believe that disabling a monitor will not yield measurable improvement since it is the 3d processing/rendering that is taxing resources, the 2d image on the second monitor is likely taking very little from the system.

    Unfortunately you may be looking at a whole new system depending on the motherboard model and socket type. I play on a 720p projector so I never had to do much tweaking to the settings for oblivion, hopefully someone else will have more specific advise to help make it run smoother while still looking good.

    On a budget core 2's are pretty cheap these days as are 4870's(my personal setup but again I only game at 720p, you're mileage may vary) Not the best value since it's dated hardware but cheapest. If you can afford it definitely get a 5000 series, assuming you're not married to Nvidia, they provide the best value on the market today.
  5. It's fairly obvious that it's the graphics card holding him back. His system is performing fine at the lower resolution. Generally speaking, the only difference when you move to higher resolutions, is how much work your graphics card has to do.

    Oblivion, even on my monster system, will not run perfectly at max settings and I have an i7 920 @ 3.5Ghz and 5870's in CF at 1900x1200. Especially if you have many of the mods to increase visuals.

    A lot of people on these forums have a habit of calling their settings "maxed out" when in reality, they have "most settings maxed out, except for ..." (usually shadows, or distance). The truth is, completely maxing out Oblivion, even today, can cause your frames to dip fairly low.
  6. Hmm... I think your card s holding you down a bit. Its not a bad card but maybe a bit outdated. Turning down your resolution and receiving a decent framerate boost is a pretty good indicator of being bottlenecked by gpu. 1920x1080 is a pretty high resolution. Do you run any mods/graphic packs?

    From my experience I get the lowest frames when HDD loads stuff. Other than that, I run maxed out (with Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul and Quarl's Texture Pack) with 4x edge detect AA forced through control panel and HDR on HD 4850 and Athlon x4 630 and 1680x1050 resolution. Framerates are not very high but acceptable for me.
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