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Ways to improve Skyrim performance?

Last response: in Video Games
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November 21, 2011 12:05:53 AM

Hey! First, my build:

Intel Core i3 2100 processor
HD Radeon 6850 GPU, asus stock
4 GB DDR3 Ram
650W PSU, etc


Anyway, I bought Skyrim and while playing it have become quite disappointed with my PC's performance. I'm getting choppy gameplay on the lowest settings 1920x1080, though it is not even close to unplayable. Even still, I want a smooth experience. From what I've read around here and other people's experiences with the game, my system is underperforming, and I don't know why.

This isn't the only game that has this issue; TF2 doesn't even run smoothly. Makes me wonder if I'm missing a driver or something. I just updated my GPU drivers today, but perhaps something else is the problem?

Or is the processor just a bottleneck? I can't see the GPU really being the issue... I planned to upgrade to a 2500k anyway, should I just do that now? Or is there something else I can try first to get a little bit more out of my current rig?

If you need any more information, please ask. Thanks guys and gals!
November 21, 2011 3:46:00 AM

That is rather strange. Your system specs are perfectly fine for either game.. What OS are you running?
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November 21, 2011 6:09:31 AM

Windows 7 64 bit.
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November 21, 2011 6:28:27 AM

Ah, sigh - I keep saying this to folks but nobody is listening, 18th time lucky?

AMD has not released the driver for Skyrim. Skyrim is underperforming with ALL AMD cards. We are still waiting for them to get there asses into gear. They have released 11.11 of catalyst but it does not deal with the Skyrim issues. We will have to wait until they do.

As a contrast : Nvidia released a new performance driver for Skyrim, 1 day BEFORE it was released.

OP : You do not need to replace anything to play this game. You machine is fine. My machine should be raping this game yet at times I will get 20fps. BF3 gets me more than double that, on average, with everything on Ultra at 1080p.

So yeah, driver problem. :-(
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November 21, 2011 12:05:53 PM

I have no idea what is wrong with this game, but on a single 5770, no AA, no AF, all details to high, I am getting between 50-80 FPS, with the FPS frame unlocker from Skyrim Nexus website. It's only in the middle of really crowded cities that I am going down to 40 FPS. And I am using the 11.9 drivers. I really don't believe in waiting for the new drivers from either ATI or Nvidia, the newest isn't always the best.
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November 21, 2011 7:35:47 PM

Gumption said:
Ah, sigh - I keep saying this to folks but nobody is listening, 18th time lucky?

AMD has not released the driver for Skyrim. Skyrim is underperforming with ALL AMD cards. We are still waiting for them to get there asses into gear. They have released 11.11 of catalyst but it does not deal with the Skyrim issues. We will have to wait until they do.

As a contrast : Nvidia released a new performance driver for Skyrim, 1 day BEFORE it was released.

OP : You do not need to replace anything to play this game. You machine is fine. My machine should be raping this game yet at times I will get 20fps. BF3 gets me more than double that, on average, with everything on Ultra at 1080p.

So yeah, driver problem. :-(


That makes sense. Good news, too!

However, since I've experienced underperformance in other games, I'd still like suggestions on things to try to improve performance in the interim between now and an AMD skyrim update.'

I do have the ENB mod installed and Large Address Aware, which did improve FPS/choppiness, but it's still not where it should be. What's left to do?
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November 21, 2011 7:58:22 PM

Here goes my experience with Skyrim so far:

I started up Skyrim, and in the first scene where you're on the prisoner cart, something broke and we never were able to get out. The horse just continued to walk towards the wall.
- restarted the game, and it worked.

By the time I got out to get a good look at the forest, I was like: "holy wow, that looks ugly!"... and couldn't bring myself to continue playing, because the game looked like something was wrong. Low settings? Nope. Ultra Settings... Then what the hell's this business of no shaders on environmental objects like trees? Friggen hell. Closed the game out.
- Proceeded to search for why it looked like crap on "Ultra" settings. Found some INI tweaks to shaders, applied those, went back in.

I figure it still looks like crap, but I'll get mods later. It clearly NEEDS them, sense the texture quality is pretty darn bad. I have fun playing for about a half hour before my first crash happens.

Play another 10 minutes, CRASH. Hour, CRASH.

OK, FINE, I'll close the game out again. I do a little research and discover that a mod fixed the issue, but it was apparently promptly ruined by a patch. Oh, goodie.

The crash issue isn't bad enough I can't play, so whatever. I get in another half hour before I enter a room, and half the textures don't load. Some NPCs are floating heads, and there's no floor. WTF?

GOD DAMNIT! *closes game again*

This game needs patches, and graphics driver updates. Currently it's a buggy, ugly mess.

Edit: Sorry, this wasn't that helpful on "improving performance", I guess I just needed to vent. The INI file tweaks I mentioned are pretty simple, and are right here:
http://www.gamefront.com/how-to-improve-skyrim-with-ini...
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November 21, 2011 9:53:16 PM

fulle said:
Here goes my experience with Skyrim so far:

I started up Skyrim, and in the first scene where you're on the prisoner cart, something broke and we never were able to get out. The horse just continued to walk towards the wall.
- restarted the game, and it worked.

By the time I got out to get a good look at the forest, I was like: "holy wow, that looks ugly!"... and couldn't bring myself to continue playing, because the game looked like something was wrong. Low settings? Nope. Ultra Settings... Then what the hell's this business of no shaders on environmental objects like trees? Friggen hell. Closed the game out.
- Proceeded to search for why it looked like crap on "Ultra" settings. Found some INI tweaks to shaders, applied those, went back in.

I figure it still looks like crap, but I'll get mods later. It clearly NEEDS them, sense the texture quality is pretty darn bad. I have fun playing for about a half hour before my first crash happens.

Play another 10 minutes, CRASH. Hour, CRASH.

OK, FINE, I'll close the game out again. I do a little research and discover that a mod fixed the issue, but it was apparently promptly ruined by a patch. Oh, goodie.

The crash issue isn't bad enough I can't play, so whatever. I get in another half hour before I enter a room, and half the textures don't load. Some NPCs are floating heads, and there's no floor. WTF?

GOD DAMNIT! *closes game again*

This game needs patches, and graphics driver updates. Currently it's a buggy, ugly mess.

Edit: Sorry, this wasn't that helpful on "improving performance", I guess I just needed to vent. The INI file tweaks I mentioned are pretty simple, and are right here:
http://www.gamefront.com/how-to-improve-skyrim-with-ini...


It's always good to vent. You actually seem to be having the sound issue. Did you set your sound to 44.1 khz 24 bit? Also what kind of system are you running?
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November 21, 2011 9:56:09 PM

Also what kind of system are you running? I would highly recommend not tweaking the .ini files at this point. It can cause more issues then resolve them. Anyhow , you might want to try the sound fix I just mentioned and this: http://www.skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=91
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November 22, 2011 5:17:59 AM

Okay, so I turned on the FPS counter. It stays between 40-60 (looks to b capped at 60), but the game doesn't look smooth a lot of the time. Turning is especially prone to stuttering, with very little to none of the movement being fluid. There are hints of really smooth play underneath all of this, though. Especially in secluded areas, on top of mountains during blizzards, etc. Keep in mind, this is with everything on low... predictably, it gets worse on higher settings.

I don't know that this has to do with anything an AMD patch would fix; isn't that for crossfire users anyway? Would upgrading my CPU really do nothing?

I'm just getting awfully frustrated, since I built this system to play games it SHOULD perform well on, and yet I'm unable to tease it out of the CPU. I know other people with weaker rigs that are enjoying a much better experience. :( 
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November 22, 2011 5:52:46 AM

nwkegan said:
Okay, so I turned on the FPS counter. It stays between 40-60 (looks to b capped at 60), but the game doesn't look smooth a lot of the time. Turning is especially prone to stuttering, with very little to none of the movement being fluid. There are hints of really smooth play underneath all of this, though. Especially in secluded areas, on top of mountains during blizzards, etc. Keep in mind, this is with everything on low... predictably, it gets worse on higher settings.

I don't know that this has to do with anything an AMD patch would fix; isn't that for crossfire users anyway? Would upgrading my CPU really do nothing?

I'm just getting awfully frustrated, since I built this system to play games it SHOULD perform well on, and yet I'm unable to tease it out of the CPU. I know other people with weaker rigs that are enjoying a much better experience. :( 


I'm not sure why you would be getting any stuttering at all but you could give this a try. It's really meant more for systems like mine that are above the minimum but barely hits the recommended range or less but it wouldn't hurt to try at this point for you.

Try this because I really like the image quality it gives the game, as well as my performance being solid.
http://www.skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=131 Use preset 1 or 2.

or

http://www.skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=953

You should be able to play the game on high/ultra settings at 1920x1080. Keep the AA at 2x initially and AF at 8x to see how i t performs. If it works smoothly, adjust incrementally until you hit the happy medium between performance and appearance.
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November 22, 2011 10:40:56 PM

Yeah, thanks tekmage. I did read through your thread in my search of this forum, and I have the ENB patch installed - it makes a difference, but unfortunately doesn't quite get it to where I want it. The post-process injector did not help, and neither did changing the process' priority in the task manager. I've also installed the latest AMD beta driver to no avail.

Should I even bother hoping for a patch from Bethesda? I'm tempted to format and reinstall to see if that would help my games play better. Maybe run a benchmark and compare my scores to similar builds, first. Or just buy that 2500k and hope for the best. : P Bleh...
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November 22, 2011 10:46:10 PM

nwkegan said:
Yeah, thanks tekmage. I did read through your thread in my search of this forum, and I have the ENB patch installed. The post-process injector did not help, and neither did changing the process' priority in the task manager. I've also installed the latest AMD beta driver to no avail.

Should I even bother hoping for a patch from Bethesda? I'm tempted to format and reinstall to see if that would help my games play better. Maybe run a benchmark and compare my scores to similar builds, first. Or just buy that 2500k and hope for the best. : P Bleh...



Sorry that nothing helped. They are putting a patch out for PC next week. Hopefully they will resolve some issues with that.
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November 22, 2011 11:11:24 PM

Have you tried the 11.11a driver that AMD released to address the skyrim issue , well as a few other things? I just installed it for my gf's computer and it made a fairly substantial difference in fps. I would say at least 5-10 fps higher then previous.
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November 23, 2011 1:36:10 AM

It's not your fault! : P

Yes, I have tried the AMD drivers. Just now I turned off hyperthreading in the BIOS, but it didn't change anything. Still plenty of lag.

So is it certain its a matter of optimization/software? Or is there still a chance that my processor is capping the performance or something?

In other words... if I throw hardware at this, will it get better? I'll wait for the patch before I decide to buy anything, but beyond that, without any eminent news on the subject, I'd rather not sit around and wait for a solution to fall from the sky. No, in that case I think I'd rather try upgrading something. : )
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November 23, 2011 1:57:23 AM

nwkegan said:
It's not your fault! : P

Yes, I have tried the AMD drivers. Just now I turned off hyperthreading in the BIOS, but it didn't change anything. Still plenty of lag.

So is it certain its a matter of optimization/software? Or is there still a chance that my processor is capping the performance or something?

In other words... if I throw hardware at this, will it get better? I'll wait for the patch before I decide to buy anything, but beyond that, without any eminent news on the subject, I'd rather not sit around and wait for a solution to fall from the sky. No, in that case I think I'd rather try upgrading something. : )


I think you need to wait for the patch. :(  Your hardware is perfectly well suited for gaming. You've seen what I've been running so it just can't be hardware. There has to be a software kink somewhere.
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November 27, 2011 10:46:37 PM

nwkegan said:
Hey! First, my build:

Intel Core i3 2100 processor
HD Radeon 6850 GPU, asus stock
4 GB DDR3 Ram
650W PSU, etc


Anyway, I bought Skyrim and while playing it have become quite disappointed with my PC's performance. I'm getting choppy gameplay on the lowest settings 1920x1080, though it is not even close to unplayable. Even still, I want a smooth experience. From what I've read around here and other people's experiences with the game, my system is underperforming, and I don't know why.

This isn't the only game that has this issue; TF2 doesn't even run smoothly. Makes me wonder if I'm missing a driver or something. I just updated my GPU drivers today, but perhaps something else is the problem?

Or is the processor just a bottleneck? I can't see the GPU really being the issue... I planned to upgrade to a 2500k anyway, should I just do that now? Or is there something else I can try first to get a little bit more out of my current rig?

If you need any more information, please ask. Thanks guys and gals!


Yeah just a tidbit, Intel's i processor series is the first processor tech that removes the bottlenecking issue all processors have faced in the past. so strike that one! The user community has done great work in helping fix issues through changing a wee bit of code in the ini file. look up disabling v-sync, as that seemed to have helped me with the same prob. (im runnning an i7-860, 8gb ram, amd radeon 4890) and had the same issues. the didabling v-sync modification seemed to work for me. There will be patches arriving any day now, so make sure you copy the original .ini file, and replace any modded file with the original before applying any updates
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November 28, 2011 3:35:25 AM

I just did a fresh install of Windows 7 on this machine. Skyrim performance improved substantially, but I am still having a somewhat choppy experience, even with the above mentioned vSync fix. Interestingly enough, now the ENB 92 patch decreases performance instead of conferring some benefit.

I am waiting for the patch, of course, but does it matter at all that my GPU usage doesn't seem to reach 100% very often?
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December 2, 2011 6:03:29 AM

The patch did SOMETHING. It definitely smoothed the game out in some areas, but I'm still getting choppy gameplay despite high FPS. At least that shows that they're working on it.

I'm being told it has nothing to do with my hardware, but I've done everything I can to pinpoint a software issue. Additionally, some people say that the Core i3 just can't handle it. So confused. Also, I still don't understand why Minecraft won't run well.

Paid $60 and I can't really even play it :fou:  I'm grasping for straws at this point; is there anything else left to try?
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December 2, 2011 6:40:30 AM

nwkegan said:
The patch did SOMETHING. It definitely smoothed the game out in some areas, but I'm still getting choppy gameplay despite high FPS. At least that shows that they're working on it.

I'm being told it has nothing to do with my hardware, but I've done everything I can to pinpoint a software issue. Additionally, some people say that the Core i3 just can't handle it. So confused. Also, I still don't understand why Minecraft won't run well.

Paid $60 and I can't really even play it :fou:  I'm grasping for straws at this point; is there anything else left to try?


I'm not sure where else we could look. I doubt that it's your Core i3 not being able to handle it. According to Nvidia, I'm not close to meeting the recommended requirements but it runs pretty smooth for me so far with mods, and performance patches installed. The official 1.2 patch however does not work for me so I reverted back to 1.1. I think I have a mod that may be incompatible with it but I'm unwilling to uninstall any of the mods as I like how it all comes together, at least for me. It is odd too that Minecraft is not running well for you. Maybe some of the others can pitch in and help.
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December 2, 2011 7:31:44 PM

nwkegan, its clear you are new in gaming and those who are trying to help you, will never in a hundred years be able to help you get the results you need.
i'm in a good mood today, so i will help you.
follow this steps alright, and dont be a pussy.
create a new user account, delete old account but keep files.
1) download 'skyrim performance mod 1.1a' (or newer).
2) download 'tuneup utilities 2012'
and if you are a generous fellow, buy it or else ahem ahem, you know what to do.
just follow the tuneup recommendations to maximise performance regardless of visual appearace.
3) next download 'Iobit Game Booster 3' (or a newer version)
(it is advisable to download Advanced system care 5 or newer as well)--> run a deep care
4) and download mydefrag.
use mydefrag to defragment and optimise your entire system drive (usually its C:\)
5) now, turn on boost on both tuneup utilities and run skyrim from game booster.
6) make sure that your audio quality is set to 16bit, 44100 Hz, even if you have the sound fix.
7) dont install any updates older then 1.3
8) disconnect from the internet before launching the game and make sure windows is in classic mode with all the fancy components disabled including the desktop gadgets.
9) best monitor size is 17-19 inch, anything bigger will burden your graphics card

it will give you the maximum performance and you can set your detail to ultra
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December 2, 2011 7:31:58 PM

nwkegan, its clear you are new in gaming and those who are trying to help you, will never in a hundred years be able to help you get the results you need.
i'm in a good mood today, so i will help you.
follow this steps alright, and dont be a pussy.
create a new user account, delete old account but keep files.
1) download 'skyrim performance mod 1.1a' (or newer).
2) download 'tuneup utilities 2012'
and if you are a generous fellow, buy it or else ahem ahem, you know what to do.
just follow the tuneup recommendations to maximise performance regardless of visual appearace.
3) next download 'Iobit Game Booster 3' (or a newer version)
(it is advisable to download Advanced system care 5 or newer as well)--> run a deep care
4) and download mydefrag.
use mydefrag to defragment and optimise your entire system drive (usually its C:\)
5) now, turn on boost on both tuneup utilities and run skyrim from game booster.
6) make sure that your audio quality is set to 16bit, 44100 Hz, even if you have the sound fix.
7) dont install any updates older then 1.3
8) disconnect from the internet before launching the game and make sure windows is in classic mode with all the fancy components disabled including the desktop gadgets.
9) best monitor size is 17-19 inch, anything bigger will burden your graphics card

it will give you the maximum performance and you can set your detail to ultra
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February 27, 2012 3:11:30 AM

Bad third party patching/hotfixing/and finally dun dun dun
compiling
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February 27, 2012 4:29:24 AM

not sure if this has been said, but I have a gtx580 and Whiterun and markarth would drop me down to 58fps. buuut it was super choppy when I turned. I had a phenom II 955. I just got my 8150fx and that choppiness is greatly reduced and framerate was restored to a solid 60 :D  My friend is using an i7 and it runs much better. I believe that skyrim isnt set up to utilize threading and such, so maybe your best bet is to get some aftermarket cooling going on and overclock that cpu.
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February 27, 2012 2:20:33 PM

1. necropostage
2. most performance issues have been fixed with 1.4 patch and drivers from respective manufacturers
3. skyrim isn't set up to use multi threading because it was made for consoles, have you seen many consoles running hexacore cpus? I know I haven't.
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!