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Mid-Range Performance: Radeon X1800 GTO And GeForce 7600 GT

Can Your Rig Run Oblivion?
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Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT 256 MB - MSI NX7600GT

Here we find 12 pixel pipes, 500+ MHz core clock speeds, 256 MB of fast GDDR3 video memory and the latest Shader Model 3.0 technology. Both of these mid-range performance 3D solutions offer all of that and more. So, it's nothing less than shocking to see that even at a screen resolution as low as 1024x768, neither can produce a genuinely smooth rendering performance at High Quality settings in all three of our benchmark locations. As ever, it's the punishing Great Forest test that does the damage.

Still, it's not all bad news. Both cards cope pretty well at 1280x1024 in the other two tests with HDR enabled. The Radeon X1800 GTO even manages to just squeak through at 1680x1050 with an average of 28 FPS in the Imperial City HDR benchmark and clearly has an edge on the GeForce 7600 GT in the Great Forest benchmark, too.

What's more, crank down the grass draw distance a notch or two in the video options and both of these cards are capable of dishing out plenty of top notch native resolution Oblivion adventuring on mid-sized LCD panels - just so long as you can live with the sight of grass and foliage popping up a few yards in front of your character.

If you already own one of these cards, of course, the idea of adding another identical board for multi-GPU action seems like the obvious solution. But is it? Unfortunately, we can't comment on how well the Radeon X1800 GTO scales in a Crossfire configuration as the beta driver provided by ATI failed to support Oblivion in Crossfire mode.

As for the GeForce 7600 GT in SLI mode, the results were typically impressive, with a near doubling of minimum frame rates in all tests at 1680x1050. With GeForce 7900 GTs offering similar performance for the cost of less than two 7600 GTs, however, we can hardly recommend gamers fork out for a pair of SLI'ed 7600s. But if you currently have a lonely GeForce 7600 humming away inside an SLI-capable box, dropping another one in will very nearly double your Oblivion performance.

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