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How much better is Skyrim on GTX 690 than a 670?

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September 19, 2012 7:37:36 PM

recently got a 670. so glad i got the 4gb version as i already am using over 2gb vram w/ hires texture packs and don't even have all mods i want yet. but i still notice things that bug me. like most ENBs drop me from 60fps to 40. i see noticeable pause when entering new zones, or when say Monster Mod spawns critters. i turn and look at Riverwood and drop from 60fps to 38 (i'm told the 3D ropes in Static Mesh mod might do that).

i'm fairly new to these open world games, so maybe this kinda thing would happen no matter what gpu i had. but was wondering...would a 690 run Skyrim a whole lot better than a 670? i know i'll get a lot better FPS (around 30-40?). but would it help those zone pauses and fast drops in fps? here are my specs now...

NZXT Crafted Series Phantom ATX Full Tower Gaming
Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz LGA 1155 Processor
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherb
Corsair 850TXV2
Cooler Master TPC-812 CPU Cooler
EVGA 04G-P4-2673-KR GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked 4GB
Corsair Vengeance Series 16GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800)
Crucial m4 CT256M4SSD2 256GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Int
Seagate 2TB 7200rpm SATA

More about : skyrim gtx 690 670

September 20, 2012 4:08:57 AM

First of all the 690 is about twice as powerful as the 670 because it has 2 GPUs.

BUT there is absolutely no reason you should ever dip below 60fps in Skyrim with a 670 EVER. One of my 7970s runs that game at constant 60 (literally, even with mods) at no more than 60% usage 1080p and they are roughly equal in power. So don't get a new graphics card I think there is something wrong there. Do you have latest drivers and exactly what mods and settings do you have?

EDIT: also ur using more than 2gb VRAM?? Wow. I run two 7970s usually and the most I have ever seen in that game with all the highres texture pack and hd mods and W.A.T.E.R. and all that is 3200mb, but that is the combined VRAM that is mirrored across both cards, so its really only using 1.6gb
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September 20, 2012 8:06:33 PM

hi. my 670 is at 99% usuage according to GPU-Z. i have a FPS capper somewhere (i think it's built into an ENB mod), but w/ the capper off and vsync off i still only get around 70-74fps. hell an ENB alone usually drops me about 20 fps. i've tried about 12 ENBs and 2 only drop me 10fps, the rest 20.
i play on Ultra. i've got some big ini tweaks too tho. ugrids at 9. shadow res 4096. tree & shadow LOD have been raised waaay up there to alleviate pop in. about 70+ mods. about every HIRES mod i can find (tho some i've used medium "performance" textures). everything from the STEP guide. Project Parallax, HD2K textures, ect.

granted, if i remove some of those my FPS won't drop below 55- 60 no matter what it seems. but even then i can still notice the lil stutters when something loads. like when i get close to a town, cross into a new zone, or when Monster Mod spawns stuff around me.
this talks about vram usage and lotsa huge mods...
http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1407295-whats-your-vra...

seems it's easy to go over 2gb lol
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September 20, 2012 9:24:25 PM

The amount of vram and FPS loss depends on the mods, obviously. It is also clear by your different experiences, you aren't using the same mods. You also may find that different levels of AF/AA and view distances can change your experiences. You may need to see what mods create the most drain on your system, and not use them.
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September 20, 2012 10:15:06 PM

well my gripe isn't really fps. it runs smooth and i get between 50-60fps even in big fights w/ lots going on. i guess my big gripe are those little stutters when something loads. i could even see it when i ran just the vanilla game on this rig. do these happen REGARDLESS of the gpu and cpu? am i just acutely aware of them, like some folks don't notice screen tearing and others do?
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September 20, 2012 11:57:52 PM

Mookeylama said:
well my gripe isn't really fps. it runs smooth and i get between 50-60fps even in big fights w/ lots going on. i guess my big gripe are those little stutters when something loads. i could even see it when i ran just the vanilla game on this rig. do these happen REGARDLESS of the gpu and cpu? am i just acutely aware of them, like some folks don't notice screen tearing and others do?


Oh you mean like when a new cell loads? Yeah occasionally across most rigs there is some stutter for a split second but no more and is certainly not every time you load a new scene or cell.
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September 21, 2012 4:09:28 AM

the difference is none exisrtant other than microstutter and higher fps... both cards can max out the game well beyond 60 fps if you have a good cpu...
the 690 is overkill for every current game out atm. it wont struggle on any game for at least 3 years and even then it will be running on ultra settings just not at 60 fps minimum.
dont waste your money on 1 just get a 670 and enjoy it. half the price and all the perfomance you will ever need. for now.
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October 12, 2012 10:06:48 PM

Well, let me tell You that the GTX 690 won't do any better for more than twice the price. Was gonna buy a GTX 670 but didn't like any of the stock or aftermarket coolers which is why I went with the gtx 690 which has great acoustics and cooling. But seriously the GTX 690 is not necessary for Skyrim even with mods. Check out this dudes Youtube channel who has a 670 and runs all mods even smoother than I do, which is pathetic. http://www.youtube.com/user/MMOxReview

My EVGA GTX 690 4GB utilizes ALL of my Vram and the game usually runs around 60 fps but it slows down to 30 fps with noticeable stutter in some dungeons and places. This is strange to me because even with my MSI GTX 560 Ti previously, I wouldn't experience any stutter above 30 fps on any game.
The graphics mods I'm using is the TexturePackCombiner with combines 3 major ones, Skyrim HD, Serious HD and Skyrim Major Overhaul as well as 40 other minor texture mods. Also Sharpshooters Extreme Graphics ENB settings with ENB series 0.119. and like 80 other quest, armor, spell mods etc.
Also, I use Skyrim Config and have MSAA OFF, TXAA, Ugrids at 7, as well as all the other settings maxed out. I've also increased some of the general and shadows draw distance by about %25.
Don't get me wrong the game looks awesome and runs great most of the time but there is noticeable stutter every once in a while and I've had several CTD happen as well.
If any of You have any suggestions for MookeyLama or me, we would appreciate it. BTW, the VRAM was being used fully even before I installed the Sharpshooter ENB series or textures. Weird?

It would also be nice if all those Skyrim Mod reviewers, video makers would post their exact graphics mod settings, we could achieve similar results.

Here's my specs
Cooler Master Storm Stryker Full Tower ATX case
Thermaltake 850w fully modular power supply
ASUS Rampage III Formula 1366
i7 920 DO @ 4GHZ (i know right, need to get a better processor)
Corsair H100 CPU Cooler with Cougar Vortex PWM 12v Fans @ 1500RPM
12GB Triple Channel Corsair Dominator GT 2000mhz running @1707mhz
Intel 510 250 GB SSD (Boot, Programs, Kaspersky : )
WD 2TB Caviar Black (Steam, Games)
Seagate 1TB (Backup)
EVGA GTX 690 4GB OC'd @ 1185MHZ clock 135% power and 200mhz memory offset using EVGA Precision X.

BTW if You don't believe me then watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYVgbgLvtGc
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October 15, 2012 5:07:42 PM

AlmirPreldzic said:
Well, let me tell You that the GTX 690 won't do any better for more than twice the price. Was gonna buy a GTX 670 but didn't like any of the stock or aftermarket coolers which is why I went with the gtx 690 which has great acoustics and cooling. But seriously the GTX 690 is not necessary for Skyrim even with mods. Check out this dudes Youtube channel who has a 670 and runs all mods even smoother than I do, which is pathetic. http://www.youtube.com/user/MMOxReview

My EVGA GTX 690 4GB utilizes ALL of my Vram and the game usually runs around 60 fps but it slows down to 30 fps with noticeable stutter in some dungeons and places. This is strange to me because even with my MSI GTX 560 Ti previously, I wouldn't experience any stutter above 30 fps on any game.
The graphics mods I'm using is the TexturePackCombiner with combines 3 major ones, Skyrim HD, Serious HD and Skyrim Major Overhaul as well as 40 other minor texture mods. Also Sharpshooters Extreme Graphics ENB settings with ENB series 0.119. and like 80 other quest, armor, spell mods etc.
Also, I use Skyrim Config and have MSAA OFF, TXAA, Ugrids at 7, as well as all the other settings maxed out. I've also increased some of the general and shadows draw distance by about %25.
Don't get me wrong the game looks awesome and runs great most of the time but there is noticeable stutter every once in a while and I've had several CTD happen as well.
If any of You have any suggestions for MookeyLama or me, we would appreciate it. BTW, the VRAM was being used fully even before I installed the Sharpshooter ENB series or textures. Weird?

It would also be nice if all those Skyrim Mod reviewers, video makers would post their exact graphics mod settings, we could achieve similar results.


I can concur with Almir's assesstment. I too play skyrim with tons of mods that upgrade graphics and I will tell you what limits the 690 GTX. Its the memory, not the speed. I had two 580's 3GB models in SLI, giving me 6 GB memory and Skyrim ran a bit better than with my 690 GTX. Skyrim eats memory because of all the textures getting pushed through the card. I also get CTD's every once in a while, and I also use the same ENB that Almir uses.
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October 15, 2012 5:53:24 PM

Skyrim doesn't really use a lot of vram, it's the mods. You are using a lot of mods, and that is what is causing you to exceed the vram capacity of the card you chose. Just so you are away, a 690 4GB card, behaves as a 2GB card, as each GPU on the card has its own 2GB of ram and needs the same information as the 2nd GPU.

I have heard that some of the mods on Skyrim will use ridiculous amounts of vram, and it seems you have run into that. It isn't required to use all those mods. You may find that you can find a better balance of mods and not have an issue. I'm sure not all the mods are so hard on vram usage.

No game unmodded has an issue with 2GB or vram, but with mods, you can find some with issues. You'd be better off going with a 2nd 670 4GB than getting a 690, which will run like 2GB cards in SLI. If your motherboard won't support SLI, you can buy a motherboard and 670 for less than a 690, even if you sold the 670 you currently have.
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October 16, 2012 6:59:35 PM

I am slightly skeptical this is a VRAM issue at all. I think the issue might just be that you have 2 GPUs. Given, I have AMD cards, but nonetheless Syrim runs like crap when I have my two 7970s with crossfire enabled. If I disable crossfire, perfect gameplay. 100% smooth 60fps. And that's @ 1080p with tons of mods and it never goes above 1.7 gigs VRAM usage. BUT the 7970s do have 3 gigs VRAM vs the 2gb in its NVIDIA opposites but like I said with cf enabled it never goes over 3600mb (3600/2=1800) so 1.8gb on each card.
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January 11, 2013 4:44:22 AM

Two(2), Three(3) GB video cards in xfire or SLi will behave as though you have a TOTAL of THREE(3) GB of vRAM NOT SIX(6). For each card to render a single frame in tandem or 1 card to render the top half of the screen while the other redners the bottom both cards must have the same data stored in there vRAM. You have 4GB of memory on a GTX 690, 2GB for each core. Meaning a 690 has an effective 2GB vRAM maximum. Again it's the same if you have 2 x 2GB 680 (2x2GB=4GB total = effective 2GB max).
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January 11, 2013 6:50:02 AM

just be aware that skyrim is a more cpu bound game than a gpu bound game.
gfx wise you can max it on pretty meager hardware but if you have a weak cpu you will struggle to maintain 60 fps anywhere on the map never mind in the cities.
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