AMD Athlon 64 FX-57
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
AMD Athlon 64 3800+
AMD Athlon 64 3500+
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe (CrossFire Xpress 3200)
2GB OCZ DDR400 SDRAM
ATI Radeon X1900 XTX
250GB Maxtor Hard Drive Maxline III SATA Hard Drive w/16MB Cache
Windows XP Professional SP1
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Testing CPUs for their performance is entirely different than testing video cards. Lower resolutions with less visual detail (settings) are required in order to stress the CPU’s performance as much as possible – this directly contrasts the way most people game nowadays: with the highest screen resolution and graphics settings as possible, often mixed in with a little bit of anti-aliasing and/or anisotropic filtering. By cranking up these eye candy settings, the burden shifts from the processor to the graphics card, thus making it less of an ideal CPU test.
Because of this we faced an interesting dilemma, since this article is focused on CPU performance, should we just test at low resolutions like 640x480 and 800x600 with the Oblivion’s graphics settings turned down to their minimums? Or should we test in a way that’s similar to how people will actually play the game?
We decided to settle on a compromise, running one test at 800x600 (no AA/AF or HDR lighting) with the same graphics settings we used in Part 2 of our Oblivion performance articles, while also testing at 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 with HDR and much higher quality graphics settings, but not quite the maximum settings we used in Part 1. We’ve provided a copy of our Oblivion.ini file here.