Knowing Your Computer's Hardware
It is essential to know what your hardware is before you can use this page. On Windows systems, the easiest way to identify your video hardware is to run DxDiag, which is short for DirectX diagnostic. To do this on Windows XP, click start on the lower left-hand side of the screen, select the 'Run' option and type in 'dxdiag' without the quote. For Windows Vista and 7, the operation is the same except the 'Run' option is now simply the search box at the bottom of the start menu. Once you're in DxDiag, on the first screen (System) there will be a box called System Information. Within this box will be your processor and memory information. Under the tab 'Display' will be the information about your video card, in the Device box.
You can also download a tiny program for free which will analyze your computer. Just go to this website and click on "Download Latest Version" in the top-left corner of the page. Also on the website it will tell you how to find the information you are after.
Officially Recognized Specifications
The following represents what Bethesda's officially released Specifications for Oblivion are. They are based on technology available at the time of Oblivion's release, and they have not been updated since that time. It is also important to note that even if a system meets these, it may still have very low performance. This information was taken from the Official FAQ page.
- Windows XP or Windows 7
- Due to severe bugs and design flaws that severely affect performance in Windows Vista, it's highly recommended to use either Windows XP or Windows 7; Windows 7 is almost identical to Windows Vista in terms of its interface, though many performance issues have been resolved.
- 3 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
- Multicore processors should have an advertised clock speed of 3GHz, as this is the speed each core runs at. Oblivion will not benefit very much from extra cores, so having a high speed per core is important.
- 2 GB System RAM or more
- Oblivion will not benefit much past 3GB of RAM, as Oblivion has no 64-bit executable nor is it large address aware, meaning it cannot address more than 2 GB of memory. Adding extra RAM will allow the Operating System to use the excess, providing Oblivion the maximum amount of RAM it is able to access.
- ATI X800 series, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series, or higher video card
Minimum System Requirements
- Windows XP 64-bit, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
- 2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
- 512 MB System RAM
- 4.6 GB free hard disk space
- 128 MB Direct3D compatible video card and DirectX 9.0 compatible driver;
- 8x DVD-ROM drive
- DirectX 9.0c (included)
- DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
- Keyboard, Mouse
Please note, this table is not totally complete, and it most likely never will be, due to product updates and the odd way companies have named their products. Much of the information is based on speculation. It does not account for possible over clocking. At its release Oblivion was considered to be fairly processor intensive, but any modern CPU (Intel Core i3/AMD Athlon X4 or higher) will be able to run the game without issue. Mods that add CPU intensive scripts may still cause minor slow downs though. For older Processors, it should be noted that due to Oblivion's poor use of multiple cores, a faster-per-core single core processor will outperform a slower-per-core multiple core processor at a lower clock speed.
|Processor Line||Minimum Requirement||Recommended Requirement|
|AMD Athlon641||Any||Athlon 64 3000+ (1.8GHz)|
|AMD Athlon64 FX||Any||Any|
|AMD Athlon XP||Athlon XP 2000+ (1.66GHz)||Athlon XP 3000+ (2.10GHz)|
|AMD Phenom/Phenom 2||Any||Any|
|AMD SempronA||Any||Sempron 3000+ (2.00GHz)|
|AMD Turion2||All||Turion 64 MK-36|
|Intel Celeron||Celeron (2.40GHz)||Celeron 420|
|Intel Celeron D||Celeron D 320||Celeron D 360|
|Intel Celeron M||Any*||Celeron M 430|
|Intel Core i3||Any||Any|
|Intel Core i5||Any||Any|
|Intel Core i7||Any||Any|
|Intel Core Xeon||Any||Any|
|Intel Core 2 Duo3||Any||Any|
|Intel Core Solo||Any||Core Solo T1350|
|Intel Core Duo||Any||Any|
|Intel Pentium 4||Pentium 4 2.0GHz||Pentium 4 3.0GHz|
|Intel Pentium D||Any||Pentium D 820|
|Intel Pentium M||Any*||Pentium M 740 (1.73GHz)|
*Except Low Voltage Variants
1 This includes both Athlon64 and Athlon64 X2
2 This includes both Turion64 and Turion64 X2
3 This includes the Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme, and Pentium Dual Core
The video card market is flooded with cards with various clock speeds and architectures, so making a totally accurate list of all available cards is simply impractical. In order to make this list, several generalizations have been made, and several cards (most notably laptop graphics cards, and some integrated graphics cards) have been totally omitted, since reliable benchmarks for these are hard to find. Also, it is important to note that this list makes generalizations in the playability category. This was done to keep the list down to a manageable size.
One option for players with lower quality video cards is to install Oldblivion. Oldblivion is a utility that removes some video features from the game (specifically, changes pixel shaders to 1.1 instead of 2.0). The video cards which will support Oldblivion are listed in yellow in the following table. If you have tried running Oblivion and get a white screen, then Oldblivion is likely to work. Oldblivion has never been upgraded to fully support Shivering Isles or the Oblivion 1.2 patch, but it can still be used. There will be some glitches associated with this method, such as water turning purple and some Shivering Isles items will be transparent.
|Chipset||Officially Supported||Unofficially Supported||Oldblivion Officially Supported||Oldblivion Unofficially Supported||Unsupported||Playability*|
|AMD1 HD 6870||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|AMD1 HD 6850||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 5970||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 5870||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 5850||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 4870||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 4670||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 4650||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Very High|
|ATI HD 3870||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|ATI HD 3850||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Very High|
|ATI HD 3200||No||Yes||No||No?||No||High-Medium|
|ATI HD 2900||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Very High|
|ATI HD 2600||No||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|ATI HD 2400||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|ATI X1900 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|ATI X1800 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|ATI X1600 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium|
|ATI X1300 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Low|
|ATI X850 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|ATI x800 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium|
|ATI x700 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium|
|ATI x600 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Low|
|ATI x300 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Very Low|
|ATI Radeon 9800 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|ATI Radeon 9700 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|ATI Radeon 9600 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Low|
|ATI Radeon 9500 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Very Low|
|ATI Radeon 9550||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Low|
|ATI Radeon 9200 series||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|ATI Radeon 9000 series||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|ATI Radeon 8500 series||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|ATI Radeon 7x00 series||No||No||No||No||Yes||Unplayable|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 9800 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 9600 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 8800 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Extremely High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 8600 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 8500 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium|
|NVIDIA GeForce 8400 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|NVIDIA GeForce 8300 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|NVIDIA GeForce 7900 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||High|
|NVIDIA GeForce 7600 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium|
|NVIDIA GeForce 7300 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium|
|NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Medium-Low|
|NVIDIA GeForce 6200 series||Yes||Yes||No||No?||No||Low|
|NVIDIA GeForce 6100 series||No||Yes||No||No?||No||Very Low|
|NVIDIA GeForce FX series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Extremely Low (without Oldblivion)|
|NVIDIA GeForce FX 5100 GO||No||No||No||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|NVIDIA GeForce PCX 5300||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|NVIDIA GeForce 4 TI series||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|NVIDIA GeForce 4 Go 4xxx series||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|NVIDIA Geforce 4 MX||No||No||No||No||Yes||Unplayable|
|NVIDIA GeForce 3 series||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|NVIDIA Geforce 2 series||No||No||No||No||Yes||Unplayable|
|Intel 9xxGM Express||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Oldblivion|
|Intel GMA X3100||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Low|
|Intel 845 or lower (Extreme Graphics)||No||No||No||No||Yes||Unplayable|
These are generalizations based on the entire series of cards, single cards can be quite different from the rest of the series. The Video Card Rankings List on the Official Forums is a far more in depth list, and it forms the basis for this list.
1The ATI sub-brand of AMD was decommissioned at the time of the release of the 6800 series AMD video cards. No company change occurred, simply a brand name change, for marketing purposes.
Oblivion will run on either Windows XP (Home or Professional), Windows 2000, or Windows XP 64-bit without a problem (though see below about installing Downloadable Content on some platforms). Windows Vista and Windows 7 both run Oblivion without too much trouble, although older graphics cards sometimes experience performance problems due to poor driver support, and may lack drivers altogether. Users of Windows Vista may also experience reduced performance in comparison to Windows XP or Windows 7, due to performance and crashing issues inherent in Windows Vista (these issues are caused by many bugs and design flaws in Windows Vista's various components). It is recommended that users with Vista that wish to play Oblivion either upgrade to Windows 7 or downgrade to Windows XP. If you have a copy of Windows XP but don't wish to give up Vista's UI, you can partition your hard drive and install Windows XP on the other partition, and then boot to XP whenever you wish to play Oblivion. Older versions of Windows, such as 95, 98, and ME will not run Oblivion according to the specifications, but there is no testing to confirm this.
Linux is able to run Oblivion through Wine, a program that emulates DirectX. For more information on running Oblivion using Linux, please see the Oblivion:Linux page, which contains instructions for getting Oblivion to run in Wine on the Ubuntu distribution. Please note that although running Oblivion is quite possible, the wine program itself is not a perfect emulation, and it is sensitive to some driver issues that affect AMD/ATI cards. Users have also reported performance issues when running Oblivion under Wine, though this is to be expected as Oblivion already has bugs that are exacerbated by Wine.
Oblivion can run on Mac OS X and can be played on any Mac equipped with a graphics card that meets or exceeds Oblivion system requirements by utilizing Apple's Boot Camp software. Boot Camp is a software solution from Apple consisting of an EFI extension loader, a partition editor, and drivers that allow multiple x86 compatible operating systems to be installed on Intel Macs including all versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista, and most popular Linux distros. Boot Camp users must provide their own operating system (complete with license in the case of any Windows OS). Boot Camp was previously available as a beta to users of Mac OS X Tiger v10.4.6 and up but the beta release is now discontinued in favor of the final released version. As of October 26th 2007, Mac OS X Leopard v10.5 includes a complete copy of Boot Camp. Users who created Windows partitions under the beta will not have their Windows installs affected but will be unable to erase, re-size, or create new partitions until they install Mac OS X Leopard. Note that Boot Camp requires an Intel processor. Command line Wine, WineBottler, Wineskin, CrossOver or PlayOnMac can be used to run Oblivion on OS X.
If you have a PowerPC-based Mac, you are simply out of luck. PowerPC is a completely different architecture from x86, and the only known emulator is so slow that even a Power Mac G5 can't run Word 95 at a usable speed, let alone a modern game.
An alternative to Boot Camp is a program called VMware Fusion which will allow you to run windows in a Virtual Machine (VM) on top of Mac OS X. This allows you to play Oblivion in Windows and a simple command tab will bring you right back to the Mac OS desktop. A second alternative is PlayOnMac.
Downloadable Content Installer Support on Vista and 64-bit Windows
A note on the official obliviondownloads.com site originally read:
- The secured installers for downloadable Oblivion content (currently ALL add-ons) are not compatible with 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows or any version of Windows Vista.
There are several ways to get the official add-ons and expansions working on Windows Vista and 64-bit editions of Windows. Notably, the Knights of the Nine retail disk and the installers originally available from Direct2Drive are installable and playable on Vista and 64-bit Windows. There are other options described on the Official Add-Ons page. Note that not all installers downloaded from obliviondownloads.com suffer from this problem on 64-bit machines.
The official add-ons are no longer commercially available for individual purchase on PC. The Steam Deluxe Edition contains all downloadable content and doesn't suffer from this issue.