Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

How much VRAM will I need for Skyrim mods?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
May 7, 2012 1:03:04 AM

I'm making preparations to build a new rig, and one of the things I'm very excited to try is experimenting with mods on Skyrim. From reading the forums on Skyrim modding sites, I've heard that as one begins to stack up mod after mod, it begins to use an extreme amount of VRAM, common reports being anywhere from 1.5GB - 2GB+ frequently in use. People with decent gaming cards are experiencing VRAM related crashes. I hadn't originally put much thought into the amount of VRAM I'll need for the card I purchase, but now I've realized that if modding Skyrim is going to be one of my goals with this new system I'm going to have to get as much as possible.

So, for any of you who have experience in the matter, how much VRAM am I going to need on a card to be able to heavily mod Skyrim without any worries? And, in this specific case, since I'm on a budget, is it worth it to look for a less powerful card with more VRAM?

More about : vram skyrim mods

a b U Graphics card
May 7, 2012 3:50:27 AM

Whats your budget?
m
0
l
May 7, 2012 2:21:33 PM

carlosb said:
Whats your budget?

About $300 to $500. Aiming for nVidia unless there's a FAR better ATI choice for the price.
m
0
l
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
May 7, 2012 7:36:45 PM

I wouldn't recommend a lower performing card in exchange of VRAM, it's just not worth it. For your budget, a gtx 680 should be enough to mod skyrim heavily. It has enough VRAM that, unless it's a very high resolution, should perform better than say a 7970.
However, your current CPU might bottleneck your performance due to the tons of memory being used.
m
0
l
May 7, 2012 7:43:30 PM

carlosb said:
I wouldn't recommend a lower performing card in exchange of VRAM, it's just not worth it. For your budget, a gtx 680 should be enough to mod skyrim heavily. It has enough VRAM that, unless it's a very high resolution, should perform better than say a 7970.
However, your current CPU might bottleneck your performance due to the tons of memory being used.


I'm building an entire new system to go along with the card, that budget is just the amount I'm looking to put into a graphics card. For the CPU I'm going for either an i5 2500k or an i5 3750k and overclocking to 4.0GHz+ or as high as my aftermarket air cooling will allow. Also, due to the low availability of GTX 680s, and the fact that it only has 2GB of VRAM, I was considering going for something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130751 GTX 580 3GB. I know it's a bit above my budget but if it's a worthwhile purchase I'll wait until I can afford it. Would it be better to just go with a slightly cheaper GTX 680 2GB than this card? Or are they about equal in terms of performance? I'm also concerned about the power usage on this card, someone in the reviews recommended an 850w+ PSU.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
May 7, 2012 8:22:35 PM

The 7970 actually has 3gb of vram and performs better than the gtx 580 for around the same price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Alternatively you could wait and see if they release a 4gb version of the gtx 680 which should be worth your while. Also the gtx 680 has the best performance per watt there is out there, it needs a minimum of 550 watts. I recommend this PSU which gives you more breathing room and more than enough for overclocking.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
m
0
l
May 8, 2012 3:09:04 PM

carlosb said:
The 7970 actually has 3gb of vram and performs better than the gtx 580 for around the same price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Alternatively you could wait and see if they release a 4gb version of the gtx 680 which should be worth your while. Also the gtx 680 has the best performance per watt there is out there, it needs a minimum of 550 watts. I recommend this PSU which gives you more breathing room and more than enough for overclocking.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I see, thanks. I was trying to steer away from ATI due to all the driver issues I keep hearing about, and the fact that nVidia seems to supposedly perform better in the majority of the games I'm interested in playing, but if the 7970 ends up being a better deal I'd certainly consider it.

As far as a 4GB GTX680 goes, how much more expensive do you estimate they'll be than the 2GB version? Hopefully not too much, as they're already pushing the upper limits of my budget.

That PSU looks excellent and I'll keep it in mind for when I purchase my rig. So 750w would be quite safe for about anything I'd throw together in terms of a single graphics card system and CPU overclocking? (Not sure about GPU overclocking yet, seems a bit complicated.)
m
0
l

Best solution

a c 592 U Graphics card
May 8, 2012 4:23:02 PM

Skyrim favors Nvidia cards significantly. You also get to enable Ambient Occlusion, Transparency Supersampling, and Adaptive VSync with Nvidia drivers, which you can't on the 7970. There will be a 4GB GTX 680 coming out very soon. A review is posted below. The other possibility is a 4GB GTX 670, which will still be faster than a 7970 in Skyrim, but still within your budget range.

Palit GTX 680 4GB Jetstream review:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/palit-geforce-gtx-680-4gb...
Quote:
"The 4GB -- Realistically there was not one game that we tested that could benefit from the two extra GB's of graphics memory. Even at 2560x1600 (which is a massive 4 Mpixels resolution) there was just no measurable difference. Now the setup could benefit from triple monitor setups at 5760x1080 (which is a 6 Mpixels resolution), but even there I doubt if 4 GB is really something you'd need to spend money on. It might make a difference at 16xAA and the most stringent games, or if you game in 3D Stereo and triple monitor gaming -- I mean sure -- at any point graphics memory can and will run out. There's one exception to the rule, and that's Skyrim all beefed, tweaked and modded upwards. But the universal question remains, is it worth it investing in that extra memory? This card is 90 EUR more expensive. Well that answer depends on pricing versus your demands and requriements really, the extra memory certainly won't hurt that's for sure, but sure -- the benefits remains small."

Skyrim Performance Comparison:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/03/22/nvidia_kepler...

Adaptive VSync Review:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/04/16/nvidia_adapti...
Share
a b U Graphics card
May 8, 2012 7:54:23 PM

The 4gb version should be around a $100 (US) more. In the end the gtx 680 will be your best choice becasue it fits the budget you're willing to spend and also it performs better than all the other cards. Also you're an nvidia fan so it makes sense to lean towards the 680 (I know I would ;)  ).

Quote:
That PSU looks excellent and I'll keep it in mind for when I purchase my rig. So 750w would be quite safe for about anything I'd throw together in terms of a single graphics card system and CPU overclocking? (Not sure about GPU overclocking yet, seems a bit complicated.)

Yes you should have plenty of room to overclock and actually GPU overclocking should be easier than CPU. If you want a nice Intro and How-to of how to overclock I'll leave you this link.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/340404-33-wolfram-ove...
m
0
l
May 8, 2012 8:16:18 PM

For modded skyrim, get a 4GB 680 if you want Nvidia.

With STEP 2.0 mods on, vanilla ultra settings, and a mod to optimize texture vram use, I sit constantly capped at 3GB vram use at 1080p, and you can tell that there's some stutter from texture load ins (not area load ins).

Heavily modded skyrim will chew up however much vram you can throw at it, even at 1080p. I do not recommend a 2GB 680 for modded skyrim at all.

:edit: Should note that I do not use crossfire in Skyrim, as a single card puts out 60fps pretty much constantly and CF currently has negative scaling at 1080p in Skyrim, so stuttering is not from my CF setup.
m
0
l
May 9, 2012 2:08:38 AM

17seconds said:
Skyrim favors Nvidia cards significantly. You also get to enable Ambient Occlusion, Transparency Supersampling, and Adaptive VSync with Nvidia drivers, which you can't on the 7970. There will be a 4GB GTX 680 coming out very soon. A review is posted below. The other possibility is a 4GB GTX 670, which will still be faster than a 7970 in Skyrim, but still within your budget range.

Palit GTX 680 4GB Jetstream review:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/palit-geforce-gtx-680-4gb...
Quote:
"The 4GB -- Realistically there was not one game that we tested that could benefit from the two extra GB's of graphics memory. Even at 2560x1600 (which is a massive 4 Mpixels resolution) there was just no measurable difference. Now the setup could benefit from triple monitor setups at 5760x1080 (which is a 6 Mpixels resolution), but even there I doubt if 4 GB is really something you'd need to spend money on. It might make a difference at 16xAA and the most stringent games, or if you game in 3D Stereo and triple monitor gaming -- I mean sure -- at any point graphics memory can and will run out. There's one exception to the rule, and that's Skyrim all beefed, tweaked and modded upwards. But the universal question remains, is it worth it investing in that extra memory? This card is 90 EUR more expensive. Well that answer depends on pricing versus your demands and requriements really, the extra memory certainly won't hurt that's for sure, but sure -- the benefits remains small."

Skyrim Performance Comparison:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/03/22/nvidia_kepler...

Adaptive VSync Review:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/04/16/nvidia_adapti...


Those are great links, read through them and have a much better idea of what I'm looking for. I don't think AMD is going to be an option for me, as every game I want to play seems to favor Nvidia. The 680 4GB seems like a great card, here's hoping that the price is right and I can actually get my hands on one by the time I'm ready to build. Since the 680 2GB came out, and it's taking a month for the 4GB to hit shelves, is that the same thing that's going to be happening with the 670? Because I've heard the 670 is also offering a 4GB model which I might like to look into, but I don't want to be waiting forever for it.
m
0
l
May 9, 2012 2:14:05 AM

carlosb said:
The 4gb version should be around a $100 (US) more. In the end the gtx 680 will be your best choice becasue it fits the budget you're willing to spend and also it performs better than all the other cards. Also you're an nvidia fan so it makes sense to lean towards the 680 (I know I would ;)  ).

Quote:
That PSU looks excellent and I'll keep it in mind for when I purchase my rig. So 750w would be quite safe for about anything I'd throw together in terms of a single graphics card system and CPU overclocking? (Not sure about GPU overclocking yet, seems a bit complicated.)

Yes you should have plenty of room to overclock and actually GPU overclocking should be easier than CPU. If you want a nice Intro and How-to of how to overclock I'll leave you this link.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/340404-33-wolfram-ove...


Bookmarked that link, thank you. When I've finally chosen a card, I'll attempt it. Hopefully it's as easy as you suggest, but I know I can always come here if I have any trouble. :) 

BigMack70 said:
For modded skyrim, get a 4GB 680 if you want Nvidia.

With STEP 2.0 mods on, vanilla ultra settings, and a mod to optimize texture vram use, I sit constantly capped at 3GB vram use at 1080p, and you can tell that there's some stutter from texture load ins (not area load ins).

Heavily modded skyrim will chew up however much vram you can throw at it, even at 1080p. I do not recommend a 2GB 680 for modded skyrim at all.

:edit: Should note that I do not use crossfire in Skyrim, as a single card puts out 60fps pretty much constantly and CF currently has negative scaling at 1080p in Skyrim, so stuttering is not from my CF setup.


So you'd say that with mods even 4GB of VRAM probably won't be too difficult to max out? I also play at 1080, fyi, so I'd say everything you've mentioned will apply to me as well.
m
0
l
May 9, 2012 2:20:32 AM

I think 4GB would definitely max out on my rig if I had it. Granted, it takes a lot of mods to get there, but I actually wish that I had 6 GB cards so that I could run at ugrids=7 more stably. With all the mods, the vram use is too much and causes crashes above the default ugrids=5 (no guarantee that it would be stable even with enough vram, since custom ugrids values are notorious for causing problems, but I'm curious).

I do not know how much, if at all, the smaller memory bus on the 680 affects modded skyrim. Nobody benchmarks the game with 150+ mods installed, so I dunno. Might have no affect, might make it choppier - I have no idea.
m
0
l
May 9, 2012 2:48:57 PM

Best answer selected by AntaresX.
m
0
l
September 4, 2012 9:19:10 AM

I play an heavily modded version of the game (talking about graphics mods) with an HD6990, and yes 2Gb is not enough. The vram is often maxed out. I don't think you can go beyond 4Gb though. If I barely reduce a couple of setting vram doesn't max out anymore, so I think with 4Gb you're safe. I'm about to buy a 680 with 4Gb myself.

Moreover, the 6Gb version of the 7970 is very, very hard to find. I can't find a single website in continental Europe with an immediately available card right now. I don't know about uk.
m
0
l
!