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Need a new graphics card for Skyrim

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 4, 2014 11:28:11 AM

Allow me to explain my situation:

I've modded the hell out of Skyrim with over 100 mods, and got it running stable without glitches or anything of that nature, but my current card simply doesn't have enough VRAM to support playing Skyrim with a decent framerate.

So I figure it's about time to buy a new card, as my current one is about 4 years old now. So, my main goal with this card is:

Playing skyrim with a completely remodeled game (2-4k HD textures for everything) with ENB and modded cities and such, all of that extremely VRAM intensive stuff, at 40+ FPS minimum.

I'm actually pretty damn pleased with the Radeon 5850 I have now. I've been able to play the Witcher 2, and Kingdoms of Amalur both on near-max settings above 30 FPS, and both of those games were released LONG after I bought the card. But at this point it's definitely time for an upgrade, and I'm itching to re-play Skyrim fully modded.

I'm currently running a single monitor at 1920x1080, and will never run a dual monitor setup, so that's not a concern at all. I'd also like to make sure the card I choose is as future ready as possible, but regardless, the two I'm looking at right now are:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The reason I've chosen these two is specifically for the 4GB of VRAM, which I know is useless for 99% of games, but for a modded Skyrim I understand that it's essential, as Skyrim will (supposedly) easily cap out that 4GB when modded. (this may be false however, and the 3GB of some radeon cards may be sufficient.)

I also want to stay below $300, but if there's a FAR better card out there and I only need to spend $50 more, I'd be okay with that, and of course if there's a far cheaper card that will run Skyrim the way I want with the FPS I want, I'm open to that too, even if it'll suffer on other games.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

More about : graphics card skyrim

a b U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 11:33:20 AM

Normally both of the cards you mentioned should run a stock skyrim flawlessly, however with your degree of modding, I can't say for sure. I think either will work well though.
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a c 1385 U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 11:33:28 AM

Both will do well with the GTX760 the stronger card but more expensive.
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a b U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 11:59:31 AM

Both are good, but my preference would be for a third one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The 770 is a supercharged 680 or 680 on steroids if you like. I am playing Skyrim on a 680 with some mods, but probably nowhere near what you have and it does fine. 2 Gb of VRAM has been plenty up to this point.
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Best solution

April 4, 2014 12:05:43 PM

Skyrim cannot physically use more than ~3.1 GB of RAM or VRAM. It's a known hard cap that has been the bane of modders for a long time.
If you use more than that the game crashes and there are no current reliable fixes and probably never will be.
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April 4, 2014 12:15:43 PM

TyrOd said:
Skyrim cannot physically use more than ~3.1 GB of RAM or VRAM. It's a known hard cap that has been the bane of modders for a long time.
If you use more than that the game crashes and there are no current reliable fixes and probably never will be.


Thank you for this! I had no idea that skyrim had a 3.1GB limit for VRAM.

This definitely changes things a bit, as I'm now considering going for a 280x for the 3GB of VRAM so I don't waste money on 4GB.. but it seems a bit overpriced atm?


coastie65 said:
Both are good, but my preference would be for a third one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The 770 is a supercharged 680 or 680 on steroids if you like. I am playing Skyrim on a 680 with some mods, but probably nowhere near what you have and it does fine. 2 Gb of VRAM has been plenty up to this point.


I know the 770 is a great card, but it's REALLY difficult for me to justify paying the extra $50, especially since it only has 2GB of VRAM and I am 100% sure that I will need the full 3GB. To me the 280x seems like a much more attractive option for my specific needs.
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April 4, 2014 12:35:08 PM

sunder25 said:
Here is a review for it.
You should make up your own mind about it, you are buying afterall.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2014/02/16/xfx_double_di...


Of course, in the end I'm I'm aware that it's my choice, but I very much like deferring to others for their input to improve my chances of making the best choice.
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a b U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 12:37:42 PM

I've got a GTX 770, so i am biased about it.
The xfx's radeon 280x is a good card and should not disappoint.
Your performance will jump. Quite a bit.
Also, at that pricepoint, 3gb ram will help in high texture/aa situations.
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April 4, 2014 12:38:08 PM

Sorry for the double post, but I just realized that the 280x uses quite a lot of power. I'm currently using a 750watt power supply. I'm feeling kind of iffy about the 280x after seeing how much power it uses.

Anyone's thoughts on using a Corsair 750TX PSU to run that card?
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a b U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 12:39:32 PM

Yes it will be quite plenty.
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a b U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 12:43:10 PM

Yep. You should have plenty with that PSU and that is a nice card you linked to. Under most circumstances, you should be very happy with it and hopefully it wil handle the Mods fine. That is the only unknown and something you wil not know until you have run it.
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April 4, 2014 12:45:20 PM

Well I guess it's decided then, I'll go for the XFX 280X

Thanks a lot to everyone for the advice! Tyr0d gets the best answer for bringing to my attention the RAM issue with Skyrim, but thanks so much to everyone else as well!
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a b U Graphics card
April 4, 2014 12:50:09 PM

Live long and prosper.
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April 23, 2014 9:04:39 AM

You should definitely check out this video by Gopher about the Skyrim 3.1gb Crash Limit & Skyrim Performance Monitor - AND a great tool that could help end that limit!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyTDCCCYuZk
Good luck

Sunjo said:
Allow me to explain my situation:

I've modded the hell out of Skyrim with over 100 mods, and got it running stable without glitches or anything of that nature, but my current card simply doesn't have enough VRAM to support playing Skyrim with a decent framerate.

So I figure it's about time to buy a new card, as my current one is about 4 years old now. So, my main goal with this card is:

Playing skyrim with a completely remodeled game (2-4k HD textures for everything) with ENB and modded cities and such, all of that extremely VRAM intensive stuff, at 40+ FPS minimum.

I'm actually pretty damn pleased with the Radeon 5850 I have now. I've been able to play the Witcher 2, and Kingdoms of Amalur both on near-max settings above 30 FPS, and both of those games were released LONG after I bought the card. But at this point it's definitely time for an upgrade, and I'm itching to re-play Skyrim fully modded.

I'm currently running a single monitor at 1920x1080, and will never run a dual monitor setup, so that's not a concern at all. I'd also like to make sure the card I choose is as future ready as possible, but regardless, the two I'm looking at right now are:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The reason I've chosen these two is specifically for the 4GB of VRAM, which I know is useless for 99% of games, but for a modded Skyrim I understand that it's essential, as Skyrim will (supposedly) easily cap out that 4GB when modded. (this may be false however, and the 3GB of some radeon cards may be sufficient.)

I also want to stay below $300, but if there's a FAR better card out there and I only need to spend $50 more, I'd be okay with that, and of course if there's a far cheaper card that will run Skyrim the way I want with the FPS I want, I'm open to that too, even if it'll suffer on other games.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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