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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: PC Performance, Benchmarked

Test System And Benchmarks

We’re testing a wide range of graphics cards, from the low-end Radeon HD 6450 and GeForce GT 420 to the powerful Radeon HD 6970 and GeForce GTX 570, along with a GeForce GTX 460 SLI setup. Note that Crossfire does not yet work with Skyrim, so we couldn’t test Radeon HD 6850s in tandem. However, AMD assures us that it's working on a driver update that should be available soon.

Skyrim employs a 60 FPS frame rate cap, but we turned it off by adding the line “iPresentinterval=0” to the Skyrim.ini file.

The lowest frame rates in Skyrim are usually encountered outdoors when trees and plants are present. We found the small town of Riverwood to represent some of the most demanding scenery, and so we tested there using Fraps.

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)Overclocked to 4 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings enabled, Turbo Boost disabled.
MotherboardMSI P67A-GD65, Intel P67 Chipset
MemoryOCZ DDR3-2000, 2 x 2 GB, at 1338 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-20-1T
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/sSamsung 470 Series SSD 256 GB, SATA 3Gb/s
Graphics CardsGeForce GT 430 DDR3GeForce GT 240 GDDR5GeForce GTX 550 Ti GDDR5GeForce GTX 460 1 GB GDDR5GeForce GTX 570 GDDR52 x GeForce GTX 460 1 GB GDDR5 in SLIRadeon HD 6450 GDDR5Radeon HD 5570 DDR3Radeon HD 5770 GDDR5Radeon HD 6850Radeon HD 6970 GDDR5
Power SupplySeasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper TX 2
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
RendererOpenGL
Graphics DriverGeForce: 285.62 (285.79 Beta for GeForce GTX 460 SLI)
AMD Catalyst 11.10
Games
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimVersion 1.1.21.0, Riverwood area, Fraps
  • xx12amanxx
    Ive been a fan of the Elderscroll series for years i look forward to playing this!
    Reply
  • Jarmo
    A bit disappointing to see the 2 threads thing, no doubt the console versions are much better optimized.
    Looks like I'm both CPU and GPU limited with Phenom x4 and ATI 4870.
    Reply
  • lunyone
    A bit disappointing to see the 2 threads thing, no doubt the console versions are much better optimized.
    Looks like I'm both CPU and GPU limited with Phenom x4 and ATI 4870.
    Well with a Athlon II x3 450 and an AMD 4850 512mb GPU w/6 gb's of DDR2 it seems to work fine. The game has picked "Ultra" settings when launching the game the first time. I haven't seen all of the settings that the game has selected, but the game looks pretty good and is running quite well. I haven't run any FRAPS on it, but it seems to be about 30-40 FPS, from what I can tell, which is good enough for me :)
    Reply
  • lunyone
    Oh and forgot to mention that the game is running at 1920 x 1080 resolution (unless the game adjusted to something different). I'm trying to play and post, so I'm a bit distracted to say the least. I'll post back if something changes :)
    Reply
  • computadoro
    O well, was hoping to see the 560ti and 6950 tested as those are the two cards I was going to choose between.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    9522636 said:
    O well, was hoping to see the 560ti and 6950 tested as those are the two cards I was going to choose between.

    Just look at 6850/GTX460 and 6970/GTX 570. The 560 Ti and 6950 will be in the middle of those, closer to the higher end though.
    Reply
  • Swolern
    Bethesda disappoints PC gamers again! It's very sad that Bethesda chooses to optimize the consoles and leaves PC with a basic port with a little extra detail. I'm not saying it's not a great game because it is, but the thought of what it could have been if Bethesda put a little extra effort into the PC makes me sick!
    Reply
  • Swolern
    Bethesda=Activision. Dice blows em both away!
    Reply
  • koogco
    I havent played this yet, due to a pending CPU upgrade (somehow i doubt my athlon x2 5600+ (2,8ghz) is enough for much.
    But even if this game doesn't quite push the top cards, you gotta commend them for the great scaling! Some of the worst console ports doesn't even HAVE graphics settings, in other games the settings make little difference in the hardware needed, and based on these screenshots (if rather small, larger ones please!) the game looks almost as good if you turn the settings down some.
    Reply
  • Man looks really castrated so it can work on xbox/ps3. Too bad, 5 year old graphics are lame.
    Reply