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Budget upgrade to improve framerates in modded games

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 26, 2012 9:30:35 PM

I'm looking to start the new year by getting back to a game I've always enjoyed, TESIV: Oblivion (yea, I prefer it to Skyrim). Unfortunately, the last time I tried to revamp it via heavy, heavy modding... my framerate started getting shot to hell. This time, though, I wanna dive back in prepared... and with holiday sales everywhere, I figure there's no better time to toss in a new GPU or something and pray for perfection.

Problem is, my rig is 3 years old.... and I haven't really been following the parts market the way I should be. To be sure, I've read the articles Tom's has available (i.e. the December Bang for the Buck GPU list)... but, honestly, when it comes to running 150-odd mods and several major visual overhauls, I'm just not quite sure whether I should focus on improving the GPU, memory, or CPU/Motherboard. Even if my guess (GPU) is right, I still have no idea whether I need a recent GPU+Less VRAM or an older GPU+More VRAM. So, I've come to the right place for help.

Summing up, I need a way to massively improve my framerate in older, heavily modded games like Oblivion. I'm aiming for a ~$100 upgrade, but if that isn't feasible I'm willing to entertain pricier options (just so I know what I need to budget for).

Here's my PC's relevant specs:

i5-750@2.66ghz
700W CoolerMaster (so power shouldn't be an issue)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <-link to GPU, I get anywhere from 12-30 fps with this (in TESIV, modded).
2x2gb DDR3 1600 (low, I know... that's why I'm considering a memory upgrade instead of a new GPU)
1280x1024 Monitor (Yup, I love that ratio and I refuse to leave it)

EDIT: Just thought I should add that I don't have a GPU brand preference... I grabbed AMD for the Bang/Buck, but I've heard Nvdia does better with Oblivion.

Thanks for your time, and I'd appreciate any help.
December 29, 2012 3:56:29 AM

Well, $160 is a stretch.. but it's not out of the question.

Do I really need a 7000 series, though? I don't play any gfx-intensive modern games... and I was hoping that (given Oblivion's age) I could grab a deal on a solid GPU from one of the not-quite-new series.
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December 29, 2012 6:16:44 AM

Get hd 7750 at $99 at newegg.
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December 29, 2012 7:00:25 AM

I tried to find better options at newegg, but the older cards are mostly out of stock so I still think that card I gave you as an option is the one to go for.
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December 30, 2012 5:33:53 PM

Alriighty, then. I guess I'll just have to put a few more pennies aside.

Also, thanks for the replies, guys. I appreciate you taking the time out during the holidays to help me.
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December 30, 2012 6:47:49 PM

No problem at all ;)  have fun!
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