Skyrim noobs - seeking Elder advice...

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Hardware' started by talk2troy, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    First of all - props to an old thread @ http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1651648

    BUTT: I bought this game for $5 last year w/ all DLC during the Steam 2014 Holiday sale.
    I finally started playing it in June / July 2015 & already have a whopping 24 hours into it.
    I somehow started playing the Dragonborn quest (is it a quest, DLC or default?) & I am Level 9.

    Obviously, I am not an RPG guy (mostly moto & auto racing + shooters).
    Eventually, I will make a new character & buy a horse & try some hunting mod.

    Anyway, I really, really like the scenery... it's almost like living in Alaska again - except - Dragons!

    I expect the Steam 2015 Holiday sales will bring more players like me around...

    Sooooooooooooooooo......

    How do I get more frames per second & then test the changes I make?


    I am locked @ 60 FPS while running around Riverwood & Windhelm w/ this rig:
    ~ maxing everything in AMD CCC & drops me to 25~35 FPS

    SCREENSHOTS = settings & mods list:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uthOABTMTjkugNdKUkwtsVd6NWRB4q_LdvvPZQ4eWIw/pub

    2015-2020 GAME BOX:
    NZXT Source 210 Elite case / EVGA 1300W SuperNOVA G2 PSU
    MSI Z97A Gaming7 mobo / i7-4790K cpu + stock cooler
    16GB RAM DDR3xPC3-12800 GSKIL RipJawsX
    (2) HIS R9 280 IceQ OC 3GB (my 1st SLI rig)
    HGST 4TB 7.2K RPM HD / WIN7-64 PRO
    47" Philips LCD TV 120hz (1920x1080) & M-Audio MV40 speakers

    Any advice from the Elders?

    ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  2. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Markarth is the town that killed my system the hardest. Make sure you download the HD texture mods. Right now, with Crossfire 280s, my goal would be to crank up the details.

    Nvidia actually made a pretty comprehensive guide for 'soft modding' the game via .INI tweaks.

    The big one that REALLY helps me appreciate the game:

    iWaterReflectHeight=1024
    iWaterReflectWidth=2048

    will REALLY help the look of the game's water, among other tweaks,.
     
  3. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Further / follow-up / miscellaneous thoughts...

    I really have to be in a certain "mood" to play this game + I need at least 2-3 hours free & to be in a mood to wander around & be willing to watch an hour of "expository theater" vs. the short cut scenes that drive the action in shooters (all require beer).

    Other "moods" I would describe are - scenery tourist & the hunter again...

    I don't always want to chase Dragons & I really don't want to talk to random people very often.

    Finally, I do have a certain affection for Lydia, but IDK exactly what to call it.

    :D

    PS: I just found this!

    can u have more than one character?
    http://steamcommunity.com/app/72850/discussions/0/864949719253922490/

    HELL YEAH! I was afraid to create a new guy to be a Hunter & a new girl to be a Tourist.

    It sounds like I can play 3 saved games & it works as long as I manually save at the end of each session w/ each character - right?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  4. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    I have not been to Markarth yet... I will look for it...

    The link I posted shows 3 HD texture mods as stock items I got with the Skyrim "package" that I bought on Steam with all DLC included... are these the same?

    That Nvidia link looks to be from 2012 & v1.4 specific... :(

    I have the W.A.T.E.R. mod, so IDK how the settings you posted will change that?
    Here's the mod I am using: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=17603
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  5. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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  6. waderunner

    waderunner [H]ard|Gawd

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    Timely thread... I bought Skyrim during a sale this year as well, and want to give it a try over the holidays. Will it be "good enough" without trying to mod it? Or are there one or two essential mods I should install, that don't take hours to configure? (I've got plenty of CPU / GPU horsepower.)
     
  7. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    SkyUI.

    Besides that, it's all window dressing etc.

    Seriously, download:

    SKSE (SkyUI requires it)
    http://skse.silverlock.org/

    SkyUI
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863/?

    After that, it's up to you.... Word to the wise, play the game A LOT before you start modding it.

    EDIT: This is also crazy useful:

    Quality World Map
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4929/?
    (install the "all roads" version, it'll save you so much time in-game)
     
  8. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    First off, to optimise for the best FPS: Set the Anti Aliasing to 2 samples. (don't argue!)

    Turn ON FXAA in Skyrim's settings (don't argue!)

    Turn OFF Morphological filtering in AMD CC

    Change Texture Filtering Quality to 'Performance'.

    This should give you a little boost.
     
  9. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    Looks at the specs in his sig. That is just poor advice....
     
  10. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    280s in CFX? Thats not a heavy-hitting graphics setup, 3 GB of VRAM does not go very far with tons of HD texture mods and 8x anti-aliasing. Something needs to give, and 8x anti-aliasing is nearly useless in this game with its heavy use of masked textures. 2x with FXAA will give you nearly identical visuals and run a significant amount faster. FXAA runs faster than driver-forced MLAA anyway.

    Why would you say this is poor advice?
     
  11. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    I tore Skyrim a new one with a 6950 2GB at 4aa, 16af and it was a great experience. (with SkyrimHD and a grip of other mods)

    Just saying, suggesting someone with Crossfire 280's to turn down their AA to 2x, is just.... well, it makes zero sense.
     
  12. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well, He said he wanted moar frames. That, and I HIGHLY suspect that only one of the 280s is doing most of the work with the FPS he is getting, which tells me the game is (still) buggy in CFX.

    I ran Skyrim on my 7970 on eyefinity 900p monitors (about the same amount of pixels as 1200p) With no mods, tons of .INI tweaks and HD textures and I could not get it steady with high-levels of AA. Dropping the AA down to 2X hit the threshold. Using FXAA further smooths out edges. The 3GB framebuffer is a seriously limiting factor once you throw in all of the crazy ultra-high-def textures and unoptimised user-mods. Even IF his 280s were pulling equal weight, their 3GB Vram limits would be tapped pretty quickly when you're rendering a 15,000 pixel wide floating-point depth buffer.
     
  13. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    *squints

    No. Just, no.

    You're embarrassing yourself.
     
  14. Cerulean

    Cerulean [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Be sure to take extra caution around enemy archers lest you take an arrow to the knee
     
  15. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    So... How is that incorrect?
     
  16. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well said.
     
  17. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Super embarrassing! I was 100% correct.
     
  18. horrorshow

    horrorshow [H]ardness Supreme

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    You did not once mention Super-Sampling and you're quoting outside the forums with no reference.

    It's no wonder the rest of the heads don't give you the time of day.

    Do everyone a favor and don't poison [H] with your gibberish.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  19. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Interesting link, thx. I will try this for sure!

    Agreed, install SkyUI right away & then play 12-16 hours with the stock / vanilla game.
    ~ the i key opens items, sort by weight, search items & lot's more useful stuff.

    That map looks like a GREAT addition too... THX!


    Performance wise, I am locked @ 60 FPS using default ULTRA settings & that games looks very nice, but not as amazing as many of the youtube videos I see.

    I made most decisions on mods from surfing youtube & reading nexusmods: skyrim graphic mods 2015

    That is why I installed the W.A.T.E.R. mod & very few others after reading & youtubing. (screenshots link)


    I tried various Application Overrides in the AMD control panel & it definitely improved my visuals but knocked me down to 25-35 FPS.

    *That is my main interest - to learn what gives the best visual improvement with settings in the AMD CCC with the least performance hit.

    :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  20. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  21. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

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    ENBs don't tend to work well performance wise with AMD. The creator is infatuated with Nvidia.

    As far as performance, seems you should be getting better than me for the most part. I have 155 active mods, a great portion 4k tetxures, and I cap at 75 fps. I see as low as 50 when first entering a town but after the area and scripts are loaded I go right back to 75. All this on a 8350 AMD processor and your 4790 is better so you shouldn't have too much problem.

    Maybe tonight if I remember I will post my settings.

    AND A MODDED SKYRIM IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GAME THAN VANILLA!!! This is why it still ranks top 10 on steam any given day. Because of modding this game could virtually go on forever.
     
  22. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Play style & initial "goals"...

    I really need some advice on "how to RPG" because I am clueless.

    I am a NORD & my skill focus was combat (of course).

    I have not learned any magic in 24 hours of playing.

    I am picking stuff up everywhere & have a ton of books (I never read them) but then I get over burdened / over weight & it slows me down & I have to stop & drop a bunch of stuff, etc. I know that I need to find certain places to sell certain valuable stuff (have not done that yet) & I can find those places in a wiki, but this seems like this should be my focus after my first or second Dragon kill (since i am doing Dragon born).

    Should I focus on collecting & selling stuff to buy other stuff?

    What is the point of getting / having a house - just to stash the stuff you collect?

    Should I first focus on getting a Horse to travel faster?

    Can horses go with you when you fast travel?

    How do I get a wolf or sabertooth as a follower & multiple followers?

    I know I can hit the wiki & youtube for most of this, but I hope you guys clue me in since you likely had similar questions & learned from experience or multiple play throughs, etc.

    Any basic, big-picture tips you can offer (like the stuff above) would help this noob a lot!

    PS: this guy has some crazy mod videos: skyrim mods weekly
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  23. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thanks for the note on ENB's.

    There seems to be a 60 FPS cap but I have vsync off in both game & AMD CCC.
    ~ my TV / monitors marketing double speak says 120hz & some old games run 120+ FPS
    http://www.usa.philips.com/c-p/47PFL7403D_F7/119-cm-47-inch-full-hd-1080p/specifications

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uthOABTMTjkugNdKUkwtsVd6NWRB4q_LdvvPZQ4eWIw/pub

    EDIT: did some digging - Skyrim amd catalyst settings
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11/?
    http://wiki.step-project.com/Guide:AMD_Catalyst_Control_Center
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/11/28/skyrim_amd_crossfirex_performance_iq_review/
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1672840
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  24. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

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    Skyrims game engine doesn't like high frame rates so 60 is best although I found 75 works better for my setup (60hz monitor). Above that weird stuff happens even possibly breaking quests and saves.
     
  25. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Man, I've been playing with options in AMD CCC & the mountains, the moon, the northern lights & clouds at night are just amazing + the snowstorms, dragon battles and wilderness rides (since I just bought a horse) are freaking amazing...

    I think the Skyrim Performance Monitor definitely shows that I am hitting the limit of my 3GB vid card... so it might be time for a 290X or 390X + leave one 280 in SLI... but I can see micro stuttering and blah blah blah.... too many options is a good problem.
     
  26. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    So, let's clear some things up. We are talking about traditional Multi-Sampling Anti-Aliasing, often shortened to MSAA. This is the AA method MOST forward rendering engines use as default. This is also the AA method Skyrim uses. MSAA supersamples the depth buffer and the stencil buffer, these buffers define geometric edges and their distance from the viewport. The stencil buffer is a pure Boolean bitmap, so it does not use much VRAM even when supersampled through MSAA. The Depth buffer, however, uses a 16 or 32 bit-per-pixel grayscale map to compare geometric distances for depth-testing. This is a huge amount of data, an when you supersample a 1920 pixel wide viewport by 8x, you get over 15,000 pixels. Each one of these pixels will contain either 16 or 32 bits depending on the engine.


    Also, I quoted the OpenGL specifications linked to Wikipedia. I can give you the direct link if needed?

    Personal attacks? Any legitamate mind in the area of rendering and graphics would back me up. If I am wrong, a legitimate authority on the subject might offer me a reason I was mistaken, backing it up with data.

    But hey, I'm sure personal attacks are just as legitimate.

    On to the subject at hand:



    Yes, with the user mods and heavy AA, you will reach the limit of the 3GB card quickly. Many people saw an issue with Skyrim's VRAM-hunger back when the GTX 680 first hit shelves: people with 680s found that modded Skyrim would easily destroy their 2GB buffer, and the 7970 owners would barrack their gameplay smoothness with the same configuration, often attributing their smoothness to the 50% extra VRAM the 7970 had over the 680. Now, years later, the mods and the patches have their ram footprint ballooned out, 3GB could easily be tapped.

    If you are happy buying a new card, that will solve your issues, but if you want to keep your current setup, try the suggestions I mentioned earlier: it will give your 3GB card a bit of fresh air. Word of warning: you can't run a 280 or 280x in Crossfire with a 290 or 290x. The cards must be an identical chip. A 290 and 290x are fine, but the 280 and 290 series use different silicon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  27. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

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    First before too much tweaking and trying different settings try this: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/12801/?

    Called Ordenador, it recompresses the textures used in your Skyrim folder, either by changing them to a different or more efficient compression type or simply by changing the size. At default settings it will optimize your textures, not changing sizes (like 8K to 2K) but definitely reducing the space the textures use (mine went from 20gb to 13gb total texture size). You can select to reduce size like capping all textures to be no larger than 4k or 2k. This is important for those with low Vrams like 2gb or 1gb.

    This makes a huge difference in performance and is a must for any modder or modded game. You will run this after installing mods and everytime you add new mods.
     
  28. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

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    this is my Skyrim.ini file sorry for the length

    [General]
    sLanguage=ENGLISH
    uExterior Cell Buffer=36
    bUseThreadedTempEffects=1
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    SGeneralMasterMismatchWarning=One or more plugins could not find the correct versions of the master files they depend on. Errors may occur during load or game play. Check the "Warnings.txt" file for more information.
    [Archive]
    sResourceArchiveList=Skyrim - Misc.bsa, Skyrim - Shaders.bsa, Skyrim - Textures.bsa, Skyrim - Interface.bsa, Skyrim - Animations.bsa, Skyrim - Meshes.bsa, Skyrim - Sounds.bsa
    sResourceArchiveList2=Skyrim - Voices.bsa, Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa
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  29. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

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    Again sorry for the length but this is my Skyrimprefs file

    [General]
    fBrightLightColorB=1.0000
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    bLoadBackgroundFaceGen=1
    bUseMultiThreadedFaceGen=1
    bBackgroundCellLoads=1
    bLoadHelmetsInBackground=1
    bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1
    [Water]
    bForceHighDetailReflections=1
    iWaterReflectHeight=1024
    iWaterReflectWidth=1024
    bUseWaterDisplacements=1
    bUseWaterRefractions=1
    bUseWaterReflections=1
    bUseWaterDepth=1
     
  30. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Seriously I feel a bit bad about that but I am used to using spoilers like on other sites, but don't see that here.

    Anyway you should be able to have similar as we both have roughly the same ram amount. You have a better CPU and I have a better GPU (290).

    Also ENBs are frame rate killers but a positive is enbboost. It helps a lot with Vram limitations and the games limitations with being 32bit.

    http://enbdev.com/download_mod_tesskyrim.htm this is where you dl the enb (hard to find sometimes).

    Enbboost is part on Enb. When you set it up you can choose to just use the enbbosst function and not the graphical modifications. It is a great tool and great for helping prevent issues.
     
  31. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
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    [~spoiler=Custom Spoiler Title]Spoiled Text.[~/spoiler]

    Remove the 2 ~tildes in my example above.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  32. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    I played the stock "vanilla" game for a couple of weekends.
    Then I started watching videos & very carefully selecting mods.

    This is a VERY good playlist, but some is a little old now...
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7DlYarj-DdhDG41roBVJfNCqvO5MmKP

    I started with stuff from the Steam Workshop for auto updates.
    Later, I used Nexus because some mods were not found on Steam.

    *I recommend using the Nexus Mod Manager now & STEAM only if needed!
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/modmanager/?

    SkyUI
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863/?
    REQUIRES SKSE - http://skse.silverlock.org/

    GRAPHICS & VISUALS:

    Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux - AKA: W.A.T.E.R. (STEAM ONLY?)
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=17603
    COMPARE WATER MODS VIDEO: https://youtu.be/KYTRAdKcSsw

    Vurt Flora Overhaul (Redux) (STEAM ONLY?)
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=135898463

    Static Mesh Improvement Mod
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/8655/?


    IMMERSION & UTILITY:

    Convenient Horses
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/14950/?

    Splash of Rain
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/37873

    Footprints
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/22745

    Wet and Cold
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/27563

    Cloaks of Skyrim
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/12092

    Winter Is Coming - Cloaks
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/13486

    A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4929

    Skyrim Performance Monitor
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/6491

    Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/71214/?

    Unofficial High Resolution Patch
    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31255/?



    My goal was to maintain 60FPS minimum & not go mod crazy.

    Obviously, this never ends...

    :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  33. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

    Messages:
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    Nope never does. lol! Once you start modding you will log more hours modding than playing.
     
  34. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
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    I know this may seem silly, but vanilla Skyrim does not allow you to craft arrows, and if you are an archer, there is a mod that allows you to craft arrows using feathers plucked from chickens! It's even got a hillarious sound effect for plucking the feathers.

    Also, if you're running Skyrim from an SSD, you can turn your UGrids to 9 and have much better long-distance scenery.
     
  35. JustReason

    JustReason razor1 is my Lover

    Messages:
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    I left ugrids at standard 5. Got plenty of mods to help with the distance viewing.
     
  36. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
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  37. Converge

    Converge [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
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    Mar 4, 2005
    Just started again and I'm at 1080 with everything on high but shadows, 4xAA 4xAF, 2k/4k/8k HD texture mod, runs just fine on my MSI laptop specs in sig. Feels like it's 50-70fps usually. Not sure if I have fxaa on or not. Water reflections on medium too, can't remember other settings.
     
  38. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004