Morrowind's Hardware Needs
Morrowind is now an older game, but it can still cause problems on very low end computers. In general, any computer produced during or later than 2006 should be capable of running Morrowind out of the box, and any discrete graphics card (basically any accelerated graphics not provided by Intel, in particular the older "Extreme" line) produced during that timeframe should get playable, even impressive, frame rates. Even some of the more recent integrated Intel graphics processors (such as those of the GMA series) are powerful enough to run Morrowind relatively comfortably.
On the processor side, any computer produced during or later than 2003 should have little trouble reaching the 'Recommended System' requirements in terms of CPU speed (though your video card may or may not be able to run Morrowind as well, especially if it is an older model).
Keep in mind that this page exists more for history's sake rather than an active attempt to keep track of the performance of newer hardware in regards to Morrowind. As such, information about running Morrowind with modern/future operating systems or hardware may not be as complete as it could be, by design.
Official Hardware Requirements
- Win ME/98 (128 MB RAM), Win XP/2000 (256 MB RAM)
- 500 MHz Intel Pentium III, Celeron, or AMD Athlon processor
- 8x CD/DVD-ROM Drive
- 1 GB free hard disk space
- Windows swapfile, DirectX 8.1 (included)
- 32MB Direct3D Compatible video card and DirectX 8.1 compatible driver
- DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
Supported Video Card Chipsets:
- NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti and MX
- NVIDIA GeForce 3
- NVIDIA GeForce 2
- NVIDIA GeForce 256
- NVIDIA TNT2
- ATI Radeon 9550
- ATI Radeon 8500
- ATI Radeon 7500
- ATI Radeon 7200
- ATI Radeon
- 800 MHz or faster Intel Pentium III or AMD Athlon processor
- 256 MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS, or ATI Radeon 7500 or faster video card.
Morrowind will run on Windows 98 or later, including Windows Vista and Windows 7. For Windows Vista problems, please see the Win7/Vista thread on the official forums. For users of non-Microsoft Operating Systems, getting Morrowind to run can be a bit more complex. Linux users need to use Wine to emulate DirectX. Mac owners will be able to run Morrowind through Boot Camp, which requires an Intel based Mac and a copy of Windows, or through Wine installed with Homebrew. Intel-based Macs can also run Morrowind Via Cider, downloadable as a torrent, though this route requires higher hardware specs than the original game. As a third option, installing Linux on an Intel based Macintosh computer will allow it to run Morrowind through Wine without a copy of Windows.
Resolution and Aspect Ratio
Morrowind's maximum natively-supported resolution is 1600 × 1200, and does not support any aspect ratios other than 4:3. This can be a problem for players using high-end PCs, where a poorly-cooled processor may overheat during extended play at 240 frames-per-second (Morrowind's default maximum), and players who use widescreen monitors. The FPS Optimizer allows the exact resolution to be tweaked, as well as several other factors, such as allowing view distance and AI distance to be increased beyond the default limit. Most widescreen monitors are in a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio. If your view looks streched at a given resolution, try searching for your monitor online or looking through the paperwork which came with it.
The Morrowind FPS Optimizer can also be used to improve performance on PCs which have difficulty running Morrowind even at low settings.
Morrowind Graphics Extender and MGE XE are also excellent utilities for higher-level PCs that allow one to change the screen resolution easily, as well as optionally implementing shader on textures, and making the water more like oblivion's. They are most notable for distant land features. Both MGE versions require a fairly fast computer to take advantage of most of these features.
You can also set any custom resolution by hand: (Note that Morrowind must be fully launched at least one time for these registry settings to be viewable)
Press Windows+R on keyboard, then type regedit in the box that opens. Locate the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind (for 64-bit Windows system, locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind). On the right pane, you will see several numerical values. Double-click on "Screen Height" and "Screen Width" and set them to values you wish to use (e.g. 900 and 1440, respectively).
In Windows 7 64-bit, these same registry values can be found at HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind.
Morrowind is a bit picky about system configurations, and it is known to have frequent Crash-To-Desktop (CTD). These are the results of a memory leak in the game that has never been closed according to rumors, though Bethesda has never confirmed this. There's a thread on the official forums that deals with many common ways to minimize the number of crashes: Step-by-Step CTD (crash) Troubleshooting.