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GTX 650 Ti for Skyrim

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 29, 2013 4:18:20 AM

I'm currently running:
GeForce GTX 460
4GB RAM
AMD Phenom II X4 955
Windows 7

I'm modding Skyrim and it's certainly playable with higher res textures but it lags unless I lower some graphics settings and even then in combat it continues to lag every now and then.

My question is would a newer graphics card (GeForce GTX 650 Ti) be the most efficient way to make the game run more smoothly or would I also need to upgrade something else? If I do upgrade the card would any of the other hardware limit its capability?

More about : gtx 650 skyrim

May 29, 2013 4:45:58 AM

You would probably see an increase but it's not sure it would be the increase that you wanted. Modding Skyrim takes alot of resources from your video card. Especially make sure that you will have at least 2 GB VRAM.
I'm not sure but I would guess your overall system is borderline close to be somewhere around minimum requirement to be able to mod Skyrim without lag. Especially in heavy modding.
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May 29, 2013 5:17:34 AM

Mahisse said:
You would probably see an increase but it's not sure it would be the increase that you wanted. Modding Skyrim takes alot of resources from your video card. Especially make sure that you will have at least 2 GB VRAM.
I'm not sure but I would guess your overall system is borderline close to be somewhere around minimum requirement to be able to mod Skyrim without lag. Especially in heavy modding.


So what would you recommend that wouldn't cost too much more than the GTX 650 Ti? And would I also need to upgrade the CPU or will a GPU upgrade suffice?

Edit: Maybe a GTX 660 would get me what I want?
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May 29, 2013 5:33:27 AM

Well actually I would probably go with the video card first. See how well that goes and consider upgrading your CPU if it's not enough. You should be able to feel a significant difference. Just don't expect it to be able to max everything out when using a bunch of mods.

But I would rather someone with good experience in Skyrim modding would comment on system requirements.
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May 29, 2013 5:36:56 AM

Hi JerkyGunner,

Well for a heavily modded Skyrim on v-high to ultra settings I would always recommend at least a GTX 670 or a 7950, but they are quite a bit more than a 650Ti. You could go for a Radeon 7870 which with recent driver updates will certainly be a lot more capable than a 650Ti, and it's not much more expensive. Or if you budget could stretch a little more a 660Ti would be a decent improvement but it's more expensive than a 7870 and it's only marginally better in some games.
Personally, I would go with the 7870 as it's a big improvement over a 650Ti, but costs only a few pennies more. Plus they overclock quite nicely as well.

As for your CPU, no it's fine. Upgrading it won't give you a massive improvement, a few frames at best, whereas a GPU upgrade will be a much more noticeable.
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May 29, 2013 5:42:34 AM

Mahisse said:
Well actually I would probably go with the video card first. See how well that goes and consider upgrading your CPU if it's not enough. You should be able to feel a significant difference. Just don't expect it to be able to max everything out when using a bunch of mods.

But I would rather someone with good experience in Skyrim modding would comment on system requirements.


Well it depends on how modded it is. If it's "HEAVILY" modded as in realistic lighting, water, shadows, grass, trees, dust, snow, skins... e.t.c.... then an OC'ed i5 and GTX 680 would struggle to maintain 60fps on ultra in a lot of areas.
Personally I think on high settings with a few decent texture packs, and a good hand full of mods a 7870 would do pretty nicely.
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May 29, 2013 5:45:56 AM

euphoria4949 said:
Hi JerkyGunner,

Well for a heavily modded Skyrim on v-high to ultra settings I would always recommend at least a GTX 670 or a 7950, but they are quite a bit more than a 650Ti. You could go for a Radeon 7870 which with recent driver updates will certainly be a lot more capable than a 650Ti, and it's not much more expensive. Or if you budget could stretch a little more a 660Ti would be a decent improvement but it's more expensive than a 7870 and it's only marginally better in some games.
Personally, I would go with the 7870 as it's a big improvement over a 650Ti, but costs only a few pennies more. Plus they overclock quite nicely as well.

As for your CPU, no it's fine. Upgrading it won't give you a massive improvement, a few frames at best, whereas a GPU upgrade will be a much more noticeable.


Thanks a lot for the info, euphoria. You suggest the Radeon HD 7870 and it seems fairly reasonably priced. What do you think of the GeForce GTX 660, though? It seems to be a little cheaper and I've heard it can trade blows with the 7870 quite well. How does it hold up for Skyrim?

Edit: I don't need to play the game on Ultra settings at all, and I tend to tone down the Shadow Quality to at least Medium which I'm happy with. That tends to be the big FPS killer.

Edit edit: But I do mod it a lot with updated textures. Nothing exaggerated, especially as for the most part I go for the performance-considerate versions of them rather than the ultra-realistic high res versions. I probably wouldn't need much more than I have now as for the most part it runs quite nicely at the moment barring those occasional laggy moments I mentioned above.
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May 29, 2013 6:00:19 AM

Well now AMD have got the act together with driver updates, the 7870 should surpass a 660, and be nearly equal to a 660Ti. The 660 will be better in some games that use PhysX and some games that are just bias to Nvidia cards, but Skyrim isn't one of them, so the 7870 would be slightly better for Skyrim. But, without making the decision harder for you, you can't really go wrong with either the 660 or 7870. If where you are in the world the 660 is a fair bit cheaper, then go for that. But if it's just 10-20 dollars/pounds/euros then I would go for the 7870 as they OC nicely. Just download MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision (Both Free) and OC it.
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May 29, 2013 6:11:59 AM

Just read your edited post.

If you are happy with it as it is, using a 460, then a 650Ti will be a slight improvement so you should be able to erase those laggy moments. But, it isn't a big upgrade, maybe 10% at best. Whereas for a 7870 will be somewhere around 60%-80% improvement, and a 660 maybe around 50%-65%.

Check these comparisons out between the cards, they ain't perfect representation as AMD have boosted their performance by a large amount since these results so you can add on at least an extra 10% to the 7870, but they give you an idea.

460 vs 650Ti:
460 vs 7870:
650Ti vs 7870:

Hope this helps =)
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May 29, 2013 6:36:28 AM

euphoria4949 said:
Just read your edited post.

If you are happy with it as it is, using a 460, then a 650Ti will be a slight improvement so you should be able to erase those laggy moments. But, it isn't a big upgrade, maybe 10% at best. Whereas for a 7870 will be somewhere around 60%-80% improvement, and a 660 maybe around 50%-65%.

Check these comparisons out between the cards, they ain't perfect representation as AMD have boosted their performance by a large amount since these results so you can add on at least an extra 10% to the 7870, but they give you an idea.

460 vs 650Ti:
460 vs 7870:
650Ti vs 7870:

Hope this helps =)


It certainly does, euphoria, thanks :) 

One last question: I'm using a GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard and it 2x PCIe 2.0 slots. The cards we've been talking about are listed as PCIe 3.0; now does that mean they simply won't fit on the motherboard or will there be a performance loss or anything that should make me rethink the upgrade?
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May 29, 2013 6:40:40 AM

No, video cards are backwards compatible. Meaning 3.0 cards will fit into 2.0 slots just fine.
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May 29, 2013 8:05:41 AM

^^^ This =) ^^^

Yeah PCI 2.0 and 3.0 are the same slot in terms of fitting. The only difference is bandwidth capabilities, but 99% of 3.0 cards would run just fine on 2.0, it realistically only applies to really high end cards like a Titan or 690.
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