After researching hardware upgrades so I could run a decent graphics card (again many thanks for your very helpful posts earlier in this thread), I mulled over the situation & eventually decided to buy the best AGP card I could find. My 64bit AMD machine has everything it needs except a great graphics card, (since the 6800GT died many months ago) so I bought an nVidia GeForce 7950 GT with 512 mb DDR3 ram made by XFX. I put it in today, & now I can see much more beauty in the Oblivion world, I will also actually be able to finish the major quest. The game kept crashing with my old card in the very last section of the quest, there is just too much action going on for the 128Mb 6600GT to handle. I tried about 15 times but it would crash every time.
So, thus far I am very happy with the new graphics card, it is more expensive buying AGP than buying PCI-X, but I saved over a fourteen hundred dollars on what I would have spent on a major upgrade, including an nVidia 8800GTS with 768mb on it.
I'll clean out all the Oblivion gates in the game before I finish the final quest, I'll post a comparison of using this card & the 6600GT, after I finish the major quest. I do actually expect to be able to finish the game now!
Ex Arch user (4.5 years), on the run from the Systemd Virus. Feeling relatively safe here for the time being...