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Hardware Upgrades for Modded Oblivion

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 2, 2010 4:33:33 PM

Hi,
Looking for some advice regarding improving the performance of Oblivion.
My specs are
Q6600 2.6Ghz
ATI 4870 1024 Mbytes
4 gig DDR2 6400 RAM
Gigabyte 775 Intel P45 MBoard
On board sound
Windows 7 64

I have Oblivion running with about 100 mods including Quarls Textures, AEWVD, better cities, FCOM and various other graphical and gameplay mods.

I assumed that my current spec would be able to handle the game but have been disappointed... Framerates are as follows
Indoors- 30-80fps
Outdoors- 10-15fps
Walking around town- 5-10fps

Given that I've spent uncountable hours modding the game I want to be able to play it properly! Was wondering what in my system was the bottleneck and how to resolve it. My options are:
1.) Graphics- I am assuming that the bottleneck is my gpu. If so would it be better to crossfire my 4870 with another or purchase a new 470 or 6870?
2.) Processor- due to the large number of scripts that the mods run could the bottleneck be my cpu? However framerate is fine indoors so I doubt that this is it. My options in this case are to overclock or upgrade my whole machine to an i7 which I'd rather avoid.
3.) RAM- would more RAM help?
4.) Sound card- I've heard that getting a hardware based sound card improves fps as it will take the load off the cpu (only if the cpu is the bottleneck obviously).

Thanks for the help in advance!! :) 
a c 376 U Graphics card
November 2, 2010 4:38:30 PM

Overclock that processor, it is likely the biggest issue.

November 2, 2010 5:02:00 PM

But if it is scripts maxing out the cpu shouldn't the framerates be slow across the board rather than being fine inside (less graphics) and terrible outside (more graphics)... Is there a decent app I can use to monitor pc performance whilst in game?
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November 2, 2010 6:31:29 PM

Thanks for the info.
I've already gone through all the performance guides and updated the ini file accordingly, also using streamline etc, have overclocked my 4870 using the ATI control center all to no avail.

Just tried setting the actor fade distance to 0% as some guides suggest that this causes large drops in fps (due to scripts again) and although the game now feels a little smoother the fps only increases by about 3.

Just need to work out whether my problem is cpu or gpu related so that I don't spend £200 on hardware which has no effect!
Thanks for all your help!
a c 376 U Graphics card
November 2, 2010 7:41:13 PM

Well, an overclock is free and a Q6600 does so well. Put it up to something like 3.3ghz which is pretty modest for that processor and should be very easy to accomplish. Even the stock fan/heatsink should handle it fine.
Have you tried lowering your resolution and if so how did the frame rate respond?
November 2, 2010 8:06:32 PM

Hmm, changing the resolution in any way causes it to crash... Oh the joys of lots of mods!
I'll overclock and see if that improves things.......
Ta!
a b U Graphics card
November 2, 2010 8:42:05 PM

I played Oblivion again a couple weeks ago just for fun. Installed a huge, huge texture pack mod. It was several hundred megabytes in size. Anyhow, with all the settings maxed out @ 1920x1080 I would notice some visual slowdown in very grassy areas with my GTX 470 (i5-750 @ 4Ghz).

So it is possible with some of the texture mods to actually stress even a good card like the ATI 4870. :) 

I still agree with jyjjy's sentiments in trying to OC your Q6600. Most of them would at least hit 3.2Ghz, depending on your motherboard chipset. (680i boards sucked though)
a c 173 U Graphics card
November 2, 2010 8:49:56 PM

One thing about oblivion like most games don't install it on a slow hard drive and when the drive is under load due to high random 4k read write due to paging then it is going to suck no matter what unless you move the pagefile onto either a much faster hard drive or a ssd. Also check your mods in case one is broken and see how the game responds to overclocking both cpu and gpu.
a c 171 U Graphics card
November 3, 2010 12:16:40 AM

I think its the texture size. Im sure there is a utility to see how much graphics memory is being used while in game. Chances are you may need a gfx card with more ram, or lower the AA setting, which chews up ram. Also there is a quad core fix for oblivion running slow - setting affinity to 2-3 cpu's only can actually speed things up. Google it. There is also some windows 7 64 bit paramater you need to change to get 32 bit games to use more than 2 gigs of memory, which may help with the large textures.
a c 173 U Graphics card
November 3, 2010 12:31:00 PM

For ATI cards that feature has been broken for a long time but run dxdiag and see how much texture ram that you have. Program related data thanks to the nature of windows and other operating systems gets dumped into page file when present. 1GB is typically enough even for oblivion but if that is the case that you are one of the very very few that are hitting that wall like my self then try for a 2GB GTX 460 or a standard GTX480 due to the available vram.
November 17, 2010 12:11:29 AM

Right I've run rivatuner to get some stats in order to work out where the bottleneck is...

And I am confused- if you look at the image below it doesn't look like either the cpu or gpu are maxing out and yet my framerate only gets above about 5-15 when inside a building when it rises to 40-60 (see spikes on graph).

I've not been able to get vram usage due to the fact that I am running windows 7.

Not sure now whether to overclock or upgrade!

Help appreciated :) 

a c 171 U Graphics card
November 17, 2010 12:57:13 AM

you need to find out how much video memory is being used. try this link http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=170579

Also read this http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=...
this http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/107326-13-oblivion-sk...
and this http://www.techenclave.com/guides-and-tutorials/cpu-aff...

Also if you have not read through any oblivion tweak guides, i suggest you do that. They can help quite a bit. http://www.tweakguides.com/Oblivion_13.html
!