Skyrim, Post mod requirements

Discussion in 'Video Cards' started by Trepidati0n, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I know Kyle and crew did a great job of heping me understanding "vanilla" Skyrim in terms of HW. But, I think it is hard to deny what the modders have been up to in terms of improving the game. My guess is that within another 2 months Skyrim will have full 2k or 4k texture patches for the game. I'm not quite sure what this means to the HW.

    So, to put it simply, what will I need to run the game in the 30-60FPS area @ 1920x1200, Ultra (8xAA, 16xAF), FXAA, TR SSAA..AND the improved textures? I know the 560Ti will need that requirement pre texture..but not sure post.

    Will I need to move up to a $400 video card or will a 6950 (or equivalent) be enough? Furthermore, how much VRAM wil be needed with the larger texture packs? I know IV really wanted 1GB..will I need to go to 2GB?
     
  2. Mr. K6

    Mr. K6 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm already close to maxing out my 6950 2GB and I don't even have half the texture packs installed that I want (waiting for some to be finished). For IQ, you need a beefy GPU to push 4xAA or 8xAA + Transparency. FXAA is crap and destroys image quality, don't use it. Therefore, I'd say a 7970 is really what you want, but it'll cost a pretty penny, obviously. Also, don't downplay the importance of CPU. SkyBoost R3 helps a lot, but even then, I noticed a good performance increase going from an i5 750 @ 4.1GHz to an i5-2500K @ 5.0GHz.
     
  3. beklemmung

    beklemmung [H]Lite

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    Mr. K6, I assume you play at 2560x1600?
     
  4. boxleitnerb

    boxleitnerb Limp Gawd

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    In my experience, better textures cost no performance at all as long as they fit into the video memory. If you're looking at general tweaks and ENB (with SSAO), then I would say you need up to double the graphics performance compared to vanilla.
     
  5. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I will probably do some of the general tweaks + texture packs. However, I don't think i'm gonna go nuts (I don't sit and stare at the screen looking for subtle flaws). Could you elaborate more on some of bigger hitters (performance wise) and your observations on the benefits?

    Again, I'll be playing @ 1920x1200. However, I have been playing @ 1680x1050 windowed due to my current (see sig) card; it isn't unpleasant.

    Quality is in the eye of the beholder. I like what it does therefore I will be using it. Could you explain why you think it destorys image quality. That is a pretty bold statement.
     
  6. Mr. K6

    Mr. K6 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yep. And while I realize 1920x1200 will use significantly less vRAM, a 1GB card is in no way going to cut it. I'm actually looking at vRAM usage in my upcoming user review of the 7970, in which I compare it to my overclocked 6950 2GB. In my testing so far, Skyrim has been an excellent example of the benefits of vRAM.
    Texture packs don't cause slow downs unless you're lacking vRAM. Image quality enhancers like AA levels and modifiers, SSAO, ini tweaks that increase the amount of the world being rendered, etc. will all have substantially greater impact.
    Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but quality is a little easier to assess. FXAA can be considered a "poor man's AA." It removes aliasing by applying a post-process filter that simply blurs the entire image, removing the jagged edges but also blurring textures and other image parts. This technique was originally implemented in console games, because frankly, the graphics already suck and games are usually upscaled, which blurs them anyway. However, it's extremely detracting from the image quality in sharpness we come to expect when playing a game on the PC. The easiest comparison is to just look for yourself. Here are two screen shots, compare them at native resolution (if you look at them as thumbnails, it's going to blur them anyway in the downsizing).

    FXAA Enabled
    FXAA Disabled

    In both images, the AA quality is kept the same at 4x MSAA + Transparency to remain consistent, only FXAA is enabled or disabled. Even without comparing the two, one can notice how blurred the FXAA image is, how all the textures are muddied and the image loses its overall sharpness. Flipping back and forth between the two only accentuates this further.
     
  7. beklemmung

    beklemmung [H]Lite

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    I hope I'm not derailing the thread too much, but I prefer the image with FXAA enabled in some ways. I think it comes down to how good your hardware is and how much jagged-ness you have to accept due to its limitations. Ie, if you had a beast that can handle 16x AA then FXAA would be unnecessary/degrading, but at lesser AA settings then FXAA can help disguise the shortcomings.
     
  8. Mr. K6

    Mr. K6 [H]ardness Supreme

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    To each his own. The other thing I should have added is that at the sharpness a 2560x1600 resolution gives, that blurring might be more readily apparent.
     
  9. boxleitnerb

    boxleitnerb Limp Gawd

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    SSAO costs big time but also adds depth to the scene which can be very atmospheric. I think the ENB SSAO is more expensive in terms of performance than the Nvidia version. I have not compared it yet, I may do it on the weekend.
    Oh, get the Skyboost R3 CPU patch, it improves performance by up to 40% in CPU bound areas. And the game is very CPU bound if you don't go crazy on graphic settings like SSAA and such.
     
  10. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I think you are right there. I'm never going to be at that resolution or sit and just stare at the screen. Thus, I think a little less AA and FXAA will probalby go a long ways to making the game look very good without having to go to somewhat crazy $ levels.

    Planned on getting skyboost after I get the new card. As for SSAO I noticed that for nVidia it is just a line change in the ini but AMD requies a secondary app to be running. So a secondary quesiton would be, if I plan on running SSAO, would not nViida be a better bang for the buck?

    So what i'm hearing is that @ 1920 x 1200 w/ mods (and visual improvments)

    • A 560Ti might not be enough
    • A 580 is probably overkill
    • A 6950/6970 is a limiting factor if SSAO is on (nViida appears to do it better)
    • A 570 or a 560Ti w/ 448 is probalby a better balance
    • Also, 2 GB of VRAM
     
  11. x3sphere

    x3sphere 2[H]4U

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    ENB mod + various tweaks brings my 50 FPS at 2560x1600 to 17-25 FPS with a 6970. No AA either.

    Gonna get a 7970 soon I think...
     
  12. GoldenTiger

    GoldenTiger [H]ard as it Gets

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    Same and I do and have run at 2560x1600 for years now. FXAA is awesome. As far as texture packs, they actually would degrade performance even if you have the VRAM.
     
  13. Wolfkin

    Wolfkin [H]ard|Gawd

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  14. Pyroja

    Pyroja Gawd

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  15. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yes and no. I read on this quite a bit. What you need is a fast enough CPU to where you start becoming GPU bound. Also, the benching done by Tom's doesn't have any of the CPU mods (sky) with it which GREATLY reduces that need. I still believe if you are a Q6600 or better, you should be fine.

    Considering I have a 4850..I still think a GPU will be the biggest boost you can get. However, I do agree that a better CPU will offer the next largest chunk of improvement.
     
  16. -PK-

    -PK- [H]ard|Gawd

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    Texture packs with enough VRAM can be negligible if they include generated mipmaps and are packed uncompressed. Although I prefer a balanced approach, optimizing texture packs based on quality of improvement, using only higher resolution textures where it's needed the most and high-mid res for the rest.

    Skyboost is a must, the only downside is the amount of time it's going to take to recreate the mod for each update.