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Update Drivers = More FPS?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 17, 2011 4:42:15 AM

Trying to play a modded TES4-Oblivion (picked it up during the Steam sale) with a Radeon 4670, 4gb ddr3, and an i5. My FPS often drops into the low 20s... which for me is unbearably choppy.

So, since I've never bothered to update my ATI/AMD drivers (I've never had any stability issues, or non-mod related fps problems) I'd like to know if it's worth it in terms of Frames Per Second. Will updating my drivers give Oblivion another couple fps? Or would the difference be too low to be worth the hassle and potential risk?

On a side note for the future, should RAM, the GPU, or the CPU be the upgrade focus for running older games (like Oblivion) with a lot of mods?


(And for those who are interested, so far I'm running:
Natural Vegetation&Habitat
Enhanced Weather&Water
RAEVWD at max
Better Cities at max
QTP3 Redimized
Unofficial patches
AWLS
Bomret's Texture Pack
Improved Trees, Flora, Vegetables, and Meat
... and the appropriate optimization/compatibility patches... at least the ones I'm aware of.
Also running Streamline, OSR, and Purge Cell Buffers.
FPS dips primarily in the Imperial Docks to ~19, it's 25-40 everywhere else.
I'd like to run Crowded Cities & UL, but I can't tolerate lower than 20 fps... and UL takes it down to 15 in some places.)


Thanks for your time.

More about : update drivers fps

August 17, 2011 5:06:56 AM

You should always download the newest drivers. It gives you improved performance.. for AMD there's like better catalyst control centers... crossfire support... basically display drivers.. I think your games will be smoother :p 
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August 17, 2011 5:22:50 AM

^ Actually, new drivers don't always offer improved performance. Sometimes they introduce a whole new batch of bugs, glitches, and reduce a card's performance.

Oblivion's old and so is the 4670. I can't recall a single AMD Catalyst package since 10.7 that's contained any optimizations for the 4000-series cards, and I'd probably have to go back to 2009's Catalyst 9.x (or earlier) releases to find any package that contained optimizations specific to Oblivion.

I run 3 systems with 4000-series cards in them (4670, 4850, 4890). Only the 4890 system has been updated since last year, and I had to update it to Catalyst 11.1 because that package had a game-specific fix for a brand new game I was playing. The other systems are running 10.4 and 10.5 without any performance issues.

The real problem may simply be the fact that you're running multiple high-res mods while using a low-to-mid range video card. Try removing the high-res mods and comparing the performance.
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August 17, 2011 8:09:17 PM

Since I'm using Catlayst's 10.11 package, I suppose upgrading wouldn't improve anything.
(I looked through the newer drivers and didn't see any Oblivion or 4xxx specific notes, so it looks like RazberyBandit is right.)

I was hoping there might be some "hidden" improvement that I'd missed, but apparently not.

As for the mods, I can easily get 50+ fps without them... but I was really hoping to get that basic package running at a smooth framerate, since Oblivion without QTP3 Redimized, Improved Trees&Flora, Enhanced Water, and Better Cities is just... dull.

I could cut out RAEVWD and Bomret's pack, but since I'm rarely in the Shivering Isles, I doubt the latter would do anything... and RAEVWD adds so much to the wilderness (Climbing hills to see fog isn't very compelling), where my framerate is decent, that it's almost worth the in-city hit.

I didn't think Enhanced Weather hit fps that much. I'll try Oblivion without it.
(I've already cut out Harvest Flora/Containers and Unique Locations. UL sends the framerate down another 5-7 fps... even with the appropriate patches installed and me being nowhere near them.)

Well... guess I'll have to try a couple more combinations until I find an unpleasant compromise.

Thanks for the help, guys.

Ah, but before I pick the best answer, could someone give a quick reply to my question about resources? For running mods, which provides the biggest bang for the buck, RAM, GPU, or CPU? (In other words, would buying another 2GB DDR3, or so, add anything... or should I save for my usual upgrades?)
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August 18, 2011 12:02:28 AM

More physical RAM wouldn't help -- the video card itself is holding back your performance. It's essentially an entry-level gaming card, not a high-end performer, which is why you get much better performance without all the high-res texture packs and mods installed.

If you could do without the texture packs alone, you'd probably see a solid performance increase. But, as you said, the world of Oblivion would look dull yet again. I ran into the same issue with Dragon Age: Origins on my brother's PC. His old 8800GT 512MB card handled the stock game very well. As soon as we added a high-res texture pack, it would crawl within the cities. My HD4890 handled the same texture pack with ease, as did a 3rd system with an HD4850.
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August 18, 2011 4:08:13 AM

I see.

Many thanks for the help. You've definitely deserved a "Best Answer."
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August 18, 2011 4:08:28 AM

Best answer selected by ti1706.
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