Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remains a popular title thanks to the modding community and numerous downloadable expansion packs. While it’s not necessarily a demanding title, it remains a very relevant benchmark. I'll often pick a fight within the City of Markarth to take a worst-case look at playability, but the Tom’s Hardware’s standard 25-second run through Riverwood is almost as demanding and far easier to repeat amongst editors.
Despite an official quad-core CPU recommendation, Skyrim doesn’t effectively utilize more than two cores. Both Athlon processors are out-classed by the Phenom II and FX, although the Athlon X4 750K recovers once it's overclocked.
Clear scaling is apparent in our testing, but all of these processors deliver playable performance.
Although it's still playable using the Ultra detail setting, AMD's Athlon II X4 640 looks weak, and I don’t doubt that there are user-created mods that'd bring it to its knees. In fact, the 640 is the only CPU in our two-part series that drops under 40 FPS. Worse, the chip even falls under that mark when we overclock it. This has to be attributable to L3 cache, since the Propus architecture is completely outclassed by Deneb. When we chart out frame rate over time, we see that the 3.6 GHz Athlon II only peaks above the Phenom II's minimum at the very end of our test sequence.