Will this computer run Oblivion?
June 27, 2006 8:23 PM   Subscribe

Will this computer run Oblivion?

I found a system on craigslist that might be sufficient to run Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Here are the relevant specs:

K8T800 MSI board
8XAGP X800XL 256MB video card
1GB 3200 DRAM
80GB Hard Drive
AMD 3700+ Processor
52X CD Burner

Will that system run Oblivion acceptably well? (I know, a difficult question -- I guess I mean "at least a little better than minimally okay".) If not, are there boxen under $500 that can? That's about all I have to spend.

Other concerns: I'd also like to be able to play Civ IV, and I will probably do 3D CGI on whatever system I get (via Lightwave 3D).

Alternately, I could try to upgrade my current system, but I suspect that's nearly impossible. It's a Pentium 1.8 GHz with 1 GB of RAM and a GeForce 3 video card. I suspect my MB won't allow upgrading to a decent CPU or video card.

Other options: keep playing Morrowind and never upgrade to Oblivion; or wait a year until a cheaper computer can play Oblivion. Neither is ideal; I'd like to actually play Oblivion, and before Bethesda puts out Elder Scrolls V and makes me start drooling over that.

I saw a similar Ask MeFi post but it wasn't quite what I needed. Some of the responses were very helpful, though, especially the link to this Anandtech article. I'm still kind of in the dark about the suitability of the whole package, though.
posted by jiawen to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Uhh, yeah. Definitely.

I say this because I played it for 120 hours on a P4 2.4 with a Radeon 9600, and had a good time doing it.
posted by Hildago at 8:27 PM on June 27, 2006


I was able to run the game well on medium settings at 1280x1024 with the following:

AMD64 3700+
2gb pc3200
Nvidia 6800GT

The processors are identical and the video cards are directly comparable. The extra ram certainly helps but I'd say you can run solid at medium-high settings, perhaps at a lower resoution than myself. I run at 1280x1024 because it is the native resolution of my monitor.
posted by utsutsu at 8:36 PM on June 27, 2006

Yes, though you will want to through in another gig of RAM. Though you can turn it down, Oblivion's yon-plane-free approach is an absolute memory HOG and you'll want all the RAM you can lay your hands on if you want the stunning vistas you see in the screenshots.
posted by ChasFile at 9:29 PM on June 27, 2006

I've got 2GB of memory, and I've never seen Oblivion use more than ~750MB, even when I maxed the view distance and used tweaks that were supposed to use significantly more RAM. 1GB should be plenty in case you are running a bunch of crud in the background.

The biggest shortcoming of that GPU is that you won't be able to use the HDR (high dynamic range) lighting effect (of course, I'm not totally sold on HDR anyway). Also, resolutions above 1024x768 might result in unacceptable framerates in dense foliage. Same goes for using anti-aliasing. Of course, that's also true of my 7800gt.

You'll still be able to fully enjoy the gameplay, and appreciate most of the eyecandy.

One thing though, the game is distributed on DVD.
posted by Good Brain at 9:44 PM on June 27, 2006

Yes you can run this game just fine on a system like this. Load it up and take a look around. Play until you make it outside (past the sewers). Then start tweaking the hell out of your graphics options. There is a lot of stuff that is turned up that doesn't need to be, and also some things that are turned down that should be up. Not only is there an extensive in-game configurator, but there is also a massive text based config file. The things that made the biggest difference for me were turning off VSync, turning off Anit-Aliasing, turning up all my distances a bit (Actors all the way, Trees medium, Grass lowest depending on system), and loading up the alternate Landscape LOD replacements.

TweakGuides Oblivion Guide
AtomicPC Oblivion Tweak Guide

PS: I beat Oblivion (main story) on my old dog: AMD2000, 1Gig Ram, ATI Radeon 9600 128mb. It can be done. I had it configured to a point where it looked a bit better than Morrowind and ran @ 25+fps consistantly.
posted by sophist at 1:39 AM on June 28, 2006

I wouldn't try to upgrade your current system.

You can get a lot of computer for $500 -- a lot better than that Craigslist box. Don't rule out buying new. Check out current deals.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:40 AM on June 28, 2006

It's good for me on a P4 2.8ghz, 1gig RAM, geforce 6800 - runs reasonably well at 1024x768, HDR, no AA.

Playing it through for the second time now, with the overhaul mod - even better than before. :)
posted by dickasso at 6:40 AM on June 28, 2006

Response by poster: All very good answers -- it's hard to pick just one! Thanks.
posted by jiawen at 11:33 PM on June 28, 2006

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