Oblivion offers a wide range of user configurable image quality options. The bad news is that many will do serious damage to your frame rates if set to maximum. Fortunately, it's a hugely flexible game engine that can be configured to run on most systems, albeit at the price of visual quality.
For our video processor comparisons, we created a configuration that delivers a reasonable balance between doing justice to the game's awesome graphical capabilities and avoiding a headache-inducing slide show. That said, those used to treating an average of 60 fps as the minimum for seriously smooth gameplay will need to adjust their expectations for Oblivion.
Even with the most powerful hardware, consistently smooth rendering in the most demanding areas of the game is nearly impossible at high-quality settings. We also created a reduced quality profile for testing the entry level video processors in the test, Nvidia's Geforce 6600 GT and the Radeon X1600 XT from ATI. Last but not least, each graphics processor and multi-GPU platform was tested running all three of Oblivion lighting modes: HDR, Bloom and Standard.
As for screen resolution settings, we matched graphics solutions with the most popular LCD native resolutions (running at non-native on any LCD is a serious bummer in terms of clarity and sharpness) ranging from 1280x1024 all the way up to the enormous 2560x1600 native of Dell's latest über-panel, the 3007WFP. The exceptions are the low-end graphics products, which were tested at 1024x768 in the interests of producing something approaching playable frame rates.
|Oblivion Image Quality Options||High Quality||Reduced Quality|
|Shadows on grass||On||Off|
|Tree canopy shadows||On||Off|
- Elder Scrolls IV: Computer Oblivion
- Testing Oblivion: Not Quite A Straightforward Matter
- The Settings
- Entry-Level Performance: Radeon X1600 XT And GeForce 6600 GT
- Entry-Level Performance, Continued
- Mid-Range Performance: Radeon X1800 GTO And GeForce 7600 GT
- Mid-Range Performance, Continued
- High-End Performance: Radeon X1900 XTX And GeForce 7900 GTX
- High-End Performance, Continued
- Image Quality Options In Detail: The Great Forest
- Memory Buffer Comparison: 256 MB Vs 512 MB
- Golden Oldies: ATI Radeon X850 XT PE And Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra
- Oblivion Multi-Threading: Single Versus Dual-Core Performance
- Pixel Shading Performance: ATI's R520 Vs R580
- Wrapping Things Up: What Have We Learnt?