thanks for the replies.
i installed FRAPS just to make sure how bad the frame rates were, i was getting 11-15 rating consistently which is of course very low. i solved this by using the "ntcore" 4GB thingy. seemed to work like magic! apparently, since oblivion is quite an old game, it uses a maximum of 2gb ram which is what is corrected by the ntcore 'patch'. upon googling a bit i found that these low fps problems were quite common with oblivion and i would highly recommend using the 4gb patch from ntore. i also had to uninstall nero syncup which was one of the preinstalled softwares on my dell laptop and was actually consuming upwards of 1GB of ram! talk about bloatware :P needless to say the fps now hovers around 60.
about crysis. i'm using a resolution of 1366x768, 720p that is, max res of my 15" laptop. i used to play on "High" settings, until the time I installed all the patches. now of course everything runs fine even on very high settings. the frame rates though i just checked, were a bit low. very high runs at around 20 and high around 40.