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Skyrim overkill build?

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February 10, 2012 4:45:09 AM

I have a single goal:

To run Skyrim, at 1920x1080, with every graphics slider, bell, and whistle maxed out --- all the antialiasing, all the anisotropic filtering, FXAA, HD textures, everything --- at 60 FPS, minimum.

By that I mean that the game never, ever, even briefly, drops below 60 FPS. For any reason. Loading a new scene, two dozen enemies running around, snow/shadows/waterfalls/whatever. I want the WORST CASE performance to be comfortably OVER 60 FPS.

I do not know if this is possible. But my budget is unlimited, and my determination is unwavering. If I need to do quad SLI, or burn up a dozen CPUs until I find one that can overclock to 5+GHz, or get four SSD drives in a RAID 0 configuration... I will do it. As long as the game never, ever, for any reason, drops below 60 FPS.

Let's please not discuss the fact that my goal is ridiculous and unnecessary. I acknowledge that. And let's please not discuss whether a lesser goal is "good enough". If you get well over 60 FPS in all places, except that one waterfall, etc, etc, and the human eye isn't even good enough to tell without FRAPS that the framerate dropped to 56 HPS, and the game is still beautiful, etc, etc... that is failure in the present context. Enjoy your build, but for me it will be inadequate.

My question here is simply: Is my goal even possible?

And if so: What hardware will do it?

My sincere thanks for your thoughts and advice.

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February 10, 2012 5:29:37 AM

From that it looks like crossfire should do it, assuming it scales well in that game/drivers are optimized.
February 10, 2012 5:41:00 AM

That was my thought as well, until some Googling quickly turned up that Skyrim has serious problems with crossfired 7970s. In fact, until a recent driver, the framerate was actually much worse than using a single 7970. But the other problems persist. So right now, crossfired 7970s is not a working solution.
February 10, 2012 5:42:43 AM

Until a recent driver? So how is it with the most recent driver?
February 10, 2012 5:49:03 AM

Apparently the most recent driver fixes the framerate problem, but now there are lots of visual artifacts like shadow flickering, etc. Google for

[skyrim 7970 crossfire problems]

to see recent (as in, the last few days) discussions on this.
February 10, 2012 5:54:20 AM

Right, too bad. From this it seems like it actually doesn't support any multicard system:

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1372/pg6/powercol...

Which kind of ruins your plan. It seems neither camp has yet got Skyrim running as well as it could. However, if your budget is unlimited I'd say go for the 7970 as it's the best single GPU card and upgrade to crossfire once/if the drivers are fixed.
February 10, 2012 6:07:20 AM

With the recent patches and driver updates Skyrim runs a lot smoother then it did at launch.Actually im getting pretty stable 60 fps avarage with around 40 minimum on full hd with my, say pretty avarage pc (Athlon II X4 620, HD5770 ,4GB 1066mhz CL7 ram) I think you dont need anything more then a Core I5 2500K and an HD6950 along with an SSD.But of course if you plan on using texture mods exceeding 2048x2048 you might need something more.Then again im sure your budget covers an HD7970.
February 10, 2012 6:46:02 AM

you can max out skyrim with a single 7970!
February 10, 2012 11:14:21 AM

The article was published on Jan 31st. Do you think he collected all the data and ran all the tests that same day? :lol:  No, it's probably pre-launch drivers that he used.
February 10, 2012 11:52:59 AM

You can max out skyrim on a single 560Ti, maybe not at a fixed 60FPS, but it runs at a solid 40+.
February 10, 2012 12:08:43 PM

CrossFire is scaling absolutely terribly in Skyrim for me, I would go with a single 7970 and a 3930k with a custom water loop and overclock the crap out of everything. Best results are probably going to come around April 12th (hopefully) with the GTX 680.

Edit: Since you're willing to shoot that much money, you could go with a 3960X, put it under a Swiftech Apogee HD with the best thermal compound ever, which I am too lazy to remember right now.
February 10, 2012 12:16:46 PM

With my build, when i was running only one 560 ti. i got a average 39-45 fps. when i SLI'd i get 60 fps (ALL steam games has Vsync defaulted for some reason) . The only time i dip is when i load a new cell/Location as in spawn in a city or just enter a building. When i am roaming The Land of Skyrim i am constant 60fs. Also even with the performance Patches. it is IMPOSSIBLE. to get a constant 60 fps from time to loading game to playing game and until done playing game. No matter what your system is your never gonna get 24/7 60 fps. I know people with the latest Core I7's and quad SLI 580's or even 590 and still not even 60 everywhere they go
February 10, 2012 12:34:18 PM

Rockdpm said:
With my build, when i was running only one 560 ti. i got a average 39-45 fps. when i SLI'd i get 60 fps (ALL steam games has Vsync defaulted for some reason) . The only time i dip is when i load a new cell/Location as in spawn in a city or just enter a building. When i am roaming The Land of Skyrim i am constant 60fs. Also even with the performance Patches. it is IMPOSSIBLE. to get a constant 60 fps from time to loading game to playing game and until done playing game. No matter what your system is your never gonna get 24/7 60 fps. I know people with the latest Core I7's and quad SLI 580's or even 590 and still not even 60 everywhere they go

He asked for 60 fps minimun, not average. The link I found shows not even 580 SLI does that, much less SLI 560 Ti.
February 10, 2012 12:48:44 PM

The problem lies with today's CPUs. (Minimum fps is always tied to the CPU; it's why I can't play 2008's Prince of Persia without my framerate dropping below 40 at some points.) There just isn't one strong enough to handle Skyrim without dipping below 60fps. Even an overclocked i7-3960X cannot run it with that minimum fps requirement, with any GPU configuration. And it looks like that CPU isn't going to be replaced with a stronger one this year or next, even. Unfortunately you'll be waiting a while.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7950-over...
February 10, 2012 1:00:15 PM

This thread is now called "The persuit of the perfect 60", unlike happiness it is not attainable at least not economically feasible.

We can all wait on the Nvidia Kepler series cards, and hope that the projected differential for the GTX680 is infact 70% faster than the GTX590, until then multicard systems and persuit of perfection is nigh on impossible. If you want smooth frame rates....buy a console.
February 10, 2012 1:08:10 PM

Yeah, we will have to wait and see what their cards are like, and if their claims are even true.
February 10, 2012 1:14:49 PM

The only saving grace here is that with the Kepler series they have Nvidia attached to the front rather than AMD, there experience in logical processor architecture will stand them in good stead, rather than going the AMD route of ramming up clock speeds and RAM, increasing the profile of cards to ridiculous levels, not impressed with anything AMD these days.......except for maybe the Llano but I digress.
February 10, 2012 1:22:14 PM

jessterman21 said:
The problem lies with today's CPUs. (Minimum fps is always tied to the CPU; it's why I can't play 2008's Prince of Persia without my framerate dropping below 40 at some points.) There just isn't one strong enough to handle Skyrim without dipping below 60fps. Even an overclocked i7-3960X cannot run it with that minimum fps requirement, with any GPU configuration. And it looks like that CPU isn't going to be replaced with a stronger one this year or next, even. Unfortunately you'll be waiting a while.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7950-over...


+1.

Skyrim is heavily CPU depended. Even after the 5th update which was an optimization patch (my Q6600 had +80% performance after that) but this doesnt change the fact that shadows are still depending on cpu. You will notice the heavy cpu depended areas mostly at major cities (like whiterun/markath).
February 10, 2012 6:31:58 PM

Memnarchon said:
+1.

Skyrim is heavily CPU depended. Even after the 5th update which was an optimization patch (my Q6600 had +80% performance after that) but this doesnt change the fact that shadows are still depending on cpu. You will notice the heavy cpu depended areas mostly at major cities (like whiterun/markath).

Shadows, draw distance, AI, physics...

It can't be done, at least until Intel ticks their next tock. Even then I doubt it.
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