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mortimer

Selecting mods for an older/less robust system

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Hello everyone,

I am quite new to modding (there's a pandemic, I got bored) and while I haven't yet decided whether to attempt the full STEP LE install, I've found the instructions and other resources to be incredibly helpful in figuring out which end is up, so thanks to everyone who worked on them.  There are a lot of guides and articles out there but not all of them are as clear and easy to follow.

I have both a specific and a general question related to achieving acceptable performance on an older PC.  Mine is at least younger than Skyrim itself, so I've got that going for me.  It runs unmodded Vanilla absolutely fine.

I was confused by the system requirements listed in the guide since if you look at the Tom's Hardware CPU hierarchy, there are i3s and i5s all up and down the list.

This is what I've got:

 

AMD A8-5500 3.2GHz

12 GB RAM

GTX 780

So, I'm fine on RAM and the graphics card but I can't figure out how my processor stacks up against what the guide is asking for.  Can anyone help with that question?

My second, more general question is -- how can I make an educated guess whether a mod or a particular combination of mods will work on my system?  Obviously, I won't want to try anything extremely graphics intensive but is there a way to sort of figure out where the line is other than trying things one by one?

I welcome suggestions for general reading on this topic too.

Thanks and I hope everyone is keeping safe and well!

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Unfortunately, that CPU isn't going to be the best for modding. You meet the game's minimum requirements, however, you fall short of the game's recommended requirements, which is what we base most modding performance off of. You can still mod, but you're going to have to find the balance between your CPU and GPU performance. Your CPU is definitely the bottleneck in your system, but sounds like you're aware of that.

In general, your GPU is going to be handling most of your graphics and you're pretty good there. Your VRAM will make a difference as will the screen resolution you're playing at. Personally, I would stick to 2K textures max and opt for 1K for any smaller objects, when available. You could probably do some 4K for some things here and there, but I'd limit as much as possible. Avoiding making your setup script intensive, which is all CPU processed will help and ENB is likely out of the question until you can get a better CPU. Also avoid mods that add a lot of NPCs...basically avoid anything that adds a lot of stuff that the game is going to have to continually process. Things like textures can be processed once and stored, however, things like NPCs navigating around areas require constant processing.

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Thank you for the reply, @TechAngel85 - this is helpful.  I was already planning on taking it easy with the graphics -- pretty things are nice, but the mods I am most interested in are the ones which add new content such as additional areas and quests, or ones that improve the UI.  It sounds like from what you are saying the new-content mods may not be a good idea which is too bad.  Anyway, thanks for the advice!

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New content is fine. New lands, quests, and UI would all be fine. It's content that will be running constantly to be on the lookout for. Ultimately, you're going to be the only one that will know if any particular mod is too much for your system. Test occasionally when adding mods and be sure to do so in some of the areas affected by the mods you're adding. Things like combat will be more CPU intensive than just running along roads. However, running around the Rift/Froze Marsh/Pine Forests is a good way to test new landscape/environmental textures since those areas are usually the most intensive on the graphics side.

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