Oblivion: Systems Specs

By Shamus
on Jul 8, 2006
Filed under:
Game Reviews

Wonderduck asks:

What are you using to run Oblivion? I’m just aboot to upgrade my PC so’s I can actually put a graphics card into it (darn those cheap 300w PSUs), so I’m comparing systems right now…

The game has a minimum spec of 2Ghz with 512Mb RAM, and a recommended spec of 3Ghz and 1GB of RAM. I have the latter, and I’m sure all of my problems stem from the weak Gfx card I’m using.

I’m using a GeForce FX 5500, and Oblivion does not like it. From surfing around trying to solve my various issues with Oblivion, I gather that the whole FX chipset is pretty much a lost cause as far as this game is concerned. It can run Doom fine. It can run other taxing games and still look good, but Oblivion malfunctions badly without the user-made patch in place.

Current graphics cards fall into two broad categories for me: Far too dated and way too expensive. Anything that won’t be obsolete by the end of the year is going to set you back more than $100, and I have a hard time putting down that much cash for a single component. The way PC prices have been falling, the price of the card is now a really big portion of the cost of the system, and it will be the first part to be obsolete. A year from now that card will probably still have enough memory and raw power, but new chipsets with new functionality will have come out and games will be targeted at those chipsets.

I’ve seen the game looking good on the NVIDIA 6800 series, so if I do upgrade that’s probably what I’ll get.

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1414 comments. (Fourteen is the sum of the first three squares.)

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  1. Wonderduck says:

    I wound up picking up a 430w PSU and a GeForce 7600 GT, just so you know. Put that with my 3800+ Athlon 64 X2 and I should be able to run Oblivion…

    You can prolly find a 7600 GT online for ~$150 or so, and by all reports it outperforms the 6800, hands down. YMMV, of course.

    Still, if Oblivion runs okay on a 5500, then… gold, baby, gold!

  2. foobario says:

    A good card will set you back closer to $500, and it will still be obsolete in a year. The 7950GX2 is what I’d like to upgrade to, but it’s still sitting at about $550.

    I’m running Oblivion with a 6800 Ultra 256MB PCI-e, and it’s beautiful. There have been times I’ve stopped playing the game just to stand on the shore and watch the sun go down. Even older (1-3 years old) games look better… they had optional support for advanced shaders and I didn’t know what I was missing.

    I have a 5500FX in the same machine, to run the third monitor. It won’t let OpenGL screensavers span across it, but I have been able to configure it to not blank when I am playing a game on the center monitor so I can keep an eye on email or IRC. My dream is to be able to span all three monitors while gaming. (I can span two with the 6800, but that puts the center of the FOV in the crack between two monitors.)

    I think the recommended minimum specs listed by software makers are a joke. I wouldn’t try running XP on the minimum spec system Vista will supposedly run on. And for games the divide is even bigger. I just assume that the real minimum spec (for the level of play that I desire) is CPU * 2 and RAM * 4 plus the biggest video card you can afford. The only problem with running games this way is that when hardware is no longer the bottleneck, any deficiencies that remain are baked into the software and there is often little that can be done about it.

  3. bkw says:

    RE: the 7950GX2 : while SLi is enabled, you can’t do multiple monitors (which is a deal breaker for me). This is true for any SLi configuration, from what I understand; with the latest nVidia drivers, if SLi is enabled, you can’t do multiple monitors. So you have to turn it on and off whenever you want to play … which is stupid, imo.

    I recently ordered an Alienware machine with dual 7900s in it (about $2.5k) — the FPS improvement over the 6600 GT PCIe in my old system were pretty minimal in WoW (which is probably the fault of the game, not the cards), so I’m returning the machine.

    I bought a BFG 7900 GT OC this morning and spent the better part of the day playing WoW with everything ratcheted all the way up. Very pretty. And at a tenth the price of a new system …

    But yes, a good video card will cost you a significant percentage of a new “cheapy” system. But if your computer supports PCIe, I’ll sell you my old 6600GT card for $20 :)

  4. Mark says:

    We should start a “Let’s get Shamus a good gfx card” paypal donation thingy :-D

  5. Shamus says:

    Five hundred? That’s the price of an entire computer, including the OS. My machine only cost a little more than that. Sheesh.

    We should start a “Let’s get Shamus a good gfx card” paypal donation thingy

    What a nice thought, although buying graphics cards is an expensive and quickly consumed sort of gift. I have the sniffles right now, so a big ‘ol box of $5 bills for me to blow my nose on might be a more sensible and enduring investment.

  6. foobario says:

    “Five hundred? That’s the price of an entire computer”

    … an entire computer that needs Oldblivion to run Oblivion, anyway.

  7. Shamus says:

    To clarify:

    Price of Hard drive + Memory + CPU + Motherboard + Operating system + Mouse + Keyboard + Speakers = Price of GFX card to go with it all.

    And the GFX card will be obsolete first.

    This is rotten, and I don’t see any good news on the horizon. Chipsets are still evolving quickly, and prices aren’t dropping.

    Sigh.

  8. equinoxxx says:

    Hi all my sys specs are 3500+ AMD64 @ 2.7ghz – 2ghz Team Extreem Ram and a 7800gtx ….Oblivion runs pretty good but only at 1024-768 with everything turned up im thinking about getting another 7800gtx and running them in sli or possibly selling the 7800gtx and investing in a 7950gs2 not sure yet but oblivion is to damn good to not run it at full quality..!!

    Meh…doice

  9. David says:

    Hey my specs:

    Intel P4 1.8 GHz
    Nvidia GeForce2 MX/MX 400
    256 meg RAM

    :P needless to say i’m not running oblivion but intend to when I get my new PC

  10. Katy says:

    Hmm… I’m wondering if an ATI Radeon X1300 Pro graphics card is good enough for Oblivion. (At least with a desktop, I can replace the graphics card in the future — stupid friggin’ laptop).

  11. preston says:

    i just bought new system. specs are p4 641 3.2ghz, 1.5 gb ram, geforce 7300 256 mb, and 350w psu. oblivion doesnt run very well. if anyone could help i would appreciate it.

  12. Dovyenda says:

    I am running an AMD 3200+ with the 64, 2gig of 400mhz ddr corsair ram, and using the ATI Radion x1300 pro graphics card. It has 512mgs of graphics ram and it runs oblivion just fine so far. Just got the game so will have to see.

  13. Cheesemaster says:

    “Current graphics cards fall into two broad categories for me: Far too dated and way too expensive.”

    Aargh. You have just described the problem which has plagued me since I started gaming.

  14. Steve says:

    Sometimes people under minimum have no problems. But other people at minimum encounter the gremlins :(.

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