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Choosing between two graphics cards for Skyrim.

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#1
VioletVirago

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Alright so, I'm in the process of ordering parts for my new computer, and was going to ask some fairly simple questions about people's thoughts on what I need to buy.

I've been playing on a POS (I'll assume you can guess the abbrievations) system for as long as I could play games, but now I'm making an upgrade (a huge one). This being important in that it better defines my idea of a good, playable performance.
My idea of stable FPS has always been rooted at around 25-30FPS, which I would normally need to put my system on medium to low settings to achieve, no mods. Now I know there are those who consider anything less than 60FPS unplayable, but for me, I am sure to be impressed by anything that is even above 30FPS. My reason for saying this is that I would be perfectly satisfied to play Skyrim with a whole bunch of mods at around 40FPS if that were to be the case, and probably wouldn't need much more than that.

Some of the mods I wish to use:
Sharpshooter's ENB
Skyrim HD 2K Textures
WATER

 

So the computer that I'm building will have an AMD FX-6100 3.30GHz Processor (with Max Turbo up to 3.90) and 8GB of RAM, I have been told that these are easily all that's needed for Skyrim + mods, at least in those departments. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The two graphics cards I've been looking at are:
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 4GB
This is the much more expensive card, but with 4GB, video ram which some say I will need to even get a reliable 40FPS with ENB and mods.
or
Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 GC 2GB
Others still yet preach that 4GB is absolutely unneeded for a single-monitor display, even with ENB and mods, and that the normal 2GB version of the 670 will do me just fine.

So what is the answer? What kind of FPS can I expect from either card, is it lower or higher than the estimations I've gathered? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

TL;DR
Do I need a 4GB video card for ENB + mods? (please at least skim that up there)

 



#2
Argrista

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I will give you a more comprehensive answer when I get back from work. But just a heads up. When it comes to graphics cards go  for GDDR5. It is superior in every way on gfx cards then DDR3 or DDR2 Ram. But because of the price difference (GDDR being the more expensive) a common marketing strategy for these companies is to advertise a card with better processing power and lower price point but at the cost of switching the RAM from GDDR to DDR. 


Edited by Argrista, 01 July 2013 - 07:19 AM.


#3
prod80

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You wont use 4GB in skyrim - unless you run multi monitor with AA - but you run with ENB (=no AA), you might need it in later/other games....

So for future proof -> 4GB version

 

Overclocked cards are just markting, you can overclock the 4GB version easily to the same speeds, probably higher... it's a conservative clock anyway.

 

FPS wise VRAM doesnt matter a thing.

 

For your reference; I run a heavy modded game with ENB on uGrids=5 with Skyrim HD Lite textures (2K) (and a million other texture mods ofc) and my VRAM usage is about ~3GB on a GTX680/4GB and I pull about 40-45 FPS outside, 35 FPS in a major city and >60 FPS in dungeons... No AA. There are hardly any (sometimes I meet one :biggrin:, then I say "hi" ) original textures left in my game. All is overhauled by 1K (small objects), 2K (world), 4K/8K (large objects: Trees, Dragons, etc). I cannot push it higher because the game will crash due to limitations of a 32bit application & running on DX9. It looks stunning though.

 

It will take some time to figure out how far you can push the engine. At one point you start to walk borderline engine limits causing you a headache... I had to hand pick textures to get the most of it without crashing the game... But that's me :P

 

 

 

I will give you a more comprehensive answer when I get back from work. But just a heads up. When it comes to graphics cards go for GDDR5. It is superior in every way on gfx cards then DDR3 or DDR2 Ram.

 

Dude, there are no others ... DDR2/3 on graphics cards are like, stone age :smile:



#4
Argrista

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You wont use 4GB in skyrim - unless you run multi monitor with AA - but you run with ENB (=no AA), you might need it in later/other games....

So for future proof -> 4GB version

 

Overclocked cards are just markting, you can overclock the 4GB version easily to the same speeds, probably higher... it's a conservative clock anyway.

 

FPS wise VRAM doesnt matter a thing.

 

For your reference; I run a heavy modded game with ENB on uGrids=5 with Skyrim HD Lite textures (2K) (and a million other texture mods ofc) and my VRAM usage is about ~3GB on a GTX680/4GB and I pull about 40-45 FPS outside, 35 FPS in a major city and >60 FPS in dungeons... No AA. There are hardly any (sometimes I meet one :biggrin:, then I say "hi" ) original textures left in my game. All is overhauled by 1K (small objects), 2K (world), 4K/8K (large objects: Trees, Dragons, etc). I cannot push it higher because the game will crash due to limitations of a 32bit application & running on DX9. It looks stunning though.

 

It will take some time to figure out how far you can push the engine. At one point you start to walk borderline engine limits causing you a headache... I had to hand pick textures to get the most of it without crashing the game... But that's me :P

 

 

 

I will give you a more comprehensive answer when I get back from work. But just a heads up. When it comes to graphics cards go for GDDR5. It is superior in every way on gfx cards then DDR3 or DDR2 Ram.

 

Dude, there are no others ... DDR2/3 on graphics cards are like, stone age :smile:

Stone age not quite. But I still see it on graphics cards all the time. Its no longer the standard but it is still being done :P. Or they do the sneaky LOOK ITS SO MUCH CHEAPER... but its GDDR3 *cough* LOL



#5
VioletVirago

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Just an update, I ended up going with an EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB because it was on sale for the Fourth of July on Newegg, and I hear there's only about a 5% performance difference between those and the GTX 680. In addition, I upped the processor to an AMD FX-6350 Vishera 3.9GHz (4.2GHz Turbo). Hopefully this set-up will be enough to give me around 40fps for Skyrim with mods and ENB.
 



#6
Pevey

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Good choice, IMO.



#7
LilBudyWizer

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If you didn't get an SSD then get one before you build your system. It will do more than a CPU upgrade to improve your gaming. Get a 120GB and just be selective as to what you put on it. Don't put all your games on it, just the ones you're currently playing and the ones where load time is significant. Skyrim  would be one such game. Civ 5 would not be.







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