AGP Platform Analysis, Part 2: New Cards, Single-Core System

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Finally, let's look at how the Athlon 64 3400+ dealt with Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, one of the toughest 3D engines on the planet:

Even at the low resolution of 1024x768, the X1950 PROs really pull ahead. This is a 3D engine that will use whatever video card power it can. Let's see how the story played out on the older Athlon XP 2500+:

Much slower, the Oblivion engine likes to gobble up CPU power as well as GPU power. Now let's have a look at what happens when we increase resolution to 1280x1024 on the Athlon64 3400+:

On the newer platform, the resulting frame rates barely budge from the levels they were at 1024x768. On the Athlon XP 2500+, the results of the same resolution and settings are intriguing:

Things begin to point strongly at a video card bottleneck when the two platforms perform so similarly. The newer Athlon64 can only offer a 5 fps advantage over its older 2500+ cousin.

Now let's see how the newer 3400+ platform handles the same resolution, but with the GPU-taxing high dynamic range lighting feature enabled:

The HDR feature hardly even phases the 3400+. Once again, the older 2500+'s results are similar, pointing very strongly to a video card bottleneck: