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Frequent CTD with less than 3Gb RAM



I would appreciate some help tracking the likely source of frequent CTDs that I am getting since applying STEP to my preferred Immersion mods. Firstly some info...


This has been a completely clean Skyrim install, as advised by the STEP guide.

All drivers are up to date.

I am using ModOrganizer.

I have followed the large majority of the STEP Baseline mods, only omitting those in which I had no interest.

I have strictly applied the mods in the order specified in the STEP 2.2.4 (and now 2.2.5) guide.

I have applied my Immersion mods in a group at the end of the load order, following author-specified load order recommendations (such as RLO and COT).

I have not used WB to create a Bash Patch yet as I am unsure of the merits of doing so and am unfamiliar with the tool.


I have unpacked and cleaned the .bsa files as instructed.

I have resized all textures down to 2048 and normals to 1024.


RAM used peaks at 2.36Gb.

VRAM peaks at 1.8Gb


Hardware : 2010 Mac Pro, 6x3.33, 12Gb ECC RAM, 7950 3Gb, 2560x1440, 240Mb SSD with Win7-64 Home


Skyrim : Ultra but high shadows, 0xAA 16xAF (in an attempt to reduce VRAM)


Before all the optimisation I used 2.80Gb RAM and 2.45Gb VRAM at 4xMSAA, 16xAF.




# This file was automatically generated by Mod Organizer.

+Balbor and Steelsouls SkyRe ReProccer Project


+Dual Sheath Redux - SkyRe

+Dual Sheath Redux - aMidianBorn Wolf Armor

+Dual Sheath Redux - de-LARP-ification

+Dual Sheath Redux - Frostfall

+Dual Sheath Redux - Elemental Staffs

+Dual Sheath Redux

+XP32 Maximum Skeleton - shield patch

+XP32 Maximum Skeleton

+Realistic Lighting Overhaul

+Project Reality - Climates Of Tamriel - DB

+Project Reality - Climates Of Tamriel - DG

+Project Reality - Climates Of Tamriel

+Winter Is Coming - CoS Patch

+Winter Is Coming - Cloaks

+Wet and Cold - Ashes

+Wet and Cold

+Unread Books Glow

+Better Stealth AI for Followers

+UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul - HF

+UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul - DG

+UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul

+TTYM - Think To Yourself Messages

+Tales of Lycanthropy - Werewolf Overhaul

+Stones of Barenziah Quest Markers

+Realistic Needs and Diseases

+Predator Vision

+Harvest Overhaul

+Glowing Ore Veins 300 Less Glow

+Glowing Ore Veins 300

+Frostfall - Hypothermia Camping Survival

+Deadly Dragons

+BGM Glass Armour and Weapons

+Cloaks of Skyrim - DG

+Cloaks of Skyrim

+When Vampires Attack

+Wearable Lanterns - Guards

+Wearable Lanterns - Caravans

+Wearable Lanterns

+Traps Make Noise - Follower Safety

+Traps Make Noise

+The Choice is Yours - Fewer Forced Quests - DG

+The Choice is Yours - Fewer Forced Quests

+Skyrim -Community- Uncapper - Daniel

+Skyrim -Community- Uncapper

+Skyrim Coin Replacer

+Run For Your Lives

+Realistic Crime Radius

+The Paarthurnax Dilemma

+Non-Essential Children with Inventory Tweaks

+No NPC Greetings

+Move it Dammit for Followers

+More Salt Please - DG

+More Salt Please

+Lock Overhaul

+Guard Dialogue Overhaul - SkyRe

+Guard Dialogue Overhaul

+Gildergreen Regrown

+Follower Trap Safety - Brawl plugin

+Thieves Guild Requirements - No Auto Quest Start Brynjolf

+Death Cam Duration Options

+Dark Brotherhood Forever moved to misc

+Convenient Horses

+Clams Drop Pearls

+Candle Lanterns of the North - Wearable Lanterns Add-On

+Bring Out Your Dead

+Auto Unequip Ammo

+Ars Metallica - Smithing Enhancement

+Achieve That

+Recurve Longbows

+T3nd0s Skyrim Redone

+Waterbreathing Breathless Emerge

+Thundering shouts

+Smooth blade draw and Sheathe

+No Sneak Attack Sound

+Roosters At Dawn

+Ultra Realistic Crossbow Shoot Sounds

+Ultra Realistic Bow Shoot Sounds

+Realistic wolf howls

+Improved Horse Step Sounds

+Improved Combat Sounds

+Immersive Skyrim Thunder

+Heart of the Beast - Omega Werewolf Texture

+Heart of the Beast - Speed Upgrade

+Heart of the Beast - High Aggression

+Clanking Armor

+Better Weapon Swing Sounds

+Better Horse Pain Sounds

+FSS - Better Bards

+Better Animal Footsteps

+Ambient Seagulls

+Activate Fail Noise Removal

+Sweet Mother - the Night Mother Improvement

+Super Realistic Ore Textures

+Soul Gems Differ - Full and Empty

+Skyrim Redesigned

+Silly Level of Detail - Wine Cellar - Labels

+Silly Level of Detail - Wine Cellar

+Silly Level of Detail - Potions

+Silly Level of Detail - Poisons

+Mystery Modders Shrines HD

+Septim HD

+Realistic Paper

+Realistic Instruments - Flute Lute and Drum HQ

+Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons HD

+Pilgrims Delight - High Hrothgar Shrine Retextures

+Not Really HD Keys

+N-R HD Display Case

+New Thinner Torch

+Intricate Spider Webs

+HQ Skyrim map V2

+HD Sacks Retexture - Small

+HD Sacks Retexture - Large

+HD Ore And Ingots

+HD Linens

+HD Baskets Retex

+Enhanced HD Dragon Bones

+Detailed Rugs

+Designs of the Nords

+Dark Brotherhood Tenets Restored

+Better Shadowmarks

+Better Bones

+The 418th Step

+Ultimate HD Fire Effects - SMIM

+Ultimate HD Fire Effects

+Skyrim Sunglare V4

+Skyrim Performance PLUS - Rain

+Skyrim Performance PLUS - Snow

+Skyrim Performance PLUS - Aspen

+Skyrim Performance PLUS - Pine

+Running with a bow 3rd person

+Realistic Smoke and Embers

+Dawnguard Rune Weapons FXS Replacer


+No Twitching Dragon Death Animation

+No Spinning Death Animation

+Lightning during Thunder Storms

+Improved Weapon Impact EFFECTS Correct Metal

+Finer Dust

+Enhanced Projectile Soul Trap

+Enhanced Blood Textures - DG+DB

+Blurry Screen Blood

+Enhanced Blood Textures

+Enchantment Effect Replacer

+Deadly Spell Impacts

+Burn Freeze Shock Effects - DGDB

+Burn Freeze Shock Effects

+Better Turn Animation only One pose - fix

+Better Turn Animation only One pose

+Animated Weapon Enchants

+Ultimate HD Torch - Less Cloth Variant

+Ultimate HD Torch


+Not Really HD Mask of Clavicus Vile

+Nightingale Prime HD

+Jewels of the Nord - HD rings and necklaces

+Improved closefaced helmets - Imperial No Cloth

+Improved closefaced helmets - DG

+Improved closefaced helmets

+Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards with Thinner Blades - DB

+Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards with Thinner Blades - DG

+Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards with Thinner Blades

+Skyrim Weapon De-LARP-ification Project - DB

+Skyrim Weapon De-LARP-ification Project - DG

+Skyrim Weapon De-LARP-ification Project

+Elven Weapons for Silence

+Elemental Staffs - Update

+Elemental Staffs

+Closer Quivers and Longer Arrows

+Dawnguard Crossbow Explosive Bolts Visualized - HD Texture

+Dawnguard Crossbow Explosive Bolts Visualized

+Daedric Armor and weapon Improvement

+aMidianBorn Nordic Carved

+aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Uniques

+aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Weapons

+aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Armors

+Better Circlets HQ 1024x512

+Accingite Vos - Shields HQ Retextures

+Natural Eyes

+Better Male Feet - DG

+Better Male Feet

+XCE - Dawnguard

+XCE - Xenius Character Enhancement

+HD Rabbits Plus

+Pond Fish Retexture

+New Children models

+More Village Animals - Rorikstead

+More Village Animals - Ivarstead

+More Village Animals

+Improved Foot Wraps for females

+Ice Wraith Retexture 2k

+Frost Atronach HD Retex

+Female Vampires Have Fangs



+NoMaaM Breathing Idles - nonBBB

+Birds and Flocks - HF

+Birds and Flocks

+Better Freckles

+Better Beast Races

+Bellyaches HD Dragon Replacer Pack


+AOF Believable Hair

+More Realistic Hair

+AIMP - Antz in my Pantz

+83Willows 101Bugs HD

+Bellyaches Animal and Creature Pack

+Windmills resized

+Whiterun Trellis Redesigned

+WATER - Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux - DB

+WATER - Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux

+Visible Windows

+Vibrant Auroras


+Re-Defined Dungeons WIP

+HD tundra moss - Yellow

+Realistic Mushrooms - Stew

+Realistic Mushrooms

+Real Ice ALL-IN-ONE

+Point The Way

+Moss Rocks

+Moon Size Tweaks

+Legible Road Signs

+Lanterns of Skyrim - CoT Preset

+Lanterns of Skyrim

+Hybrids HD Plants and Herbs Retexture

+High Quality LODs

+HD Enhanced Terrain

+Footprints - DB


+Enhanced Night Skyrim - Medium Stars

+Enhanced Night Skyrim - Color Galaxy

+Dragon Glyphs HD - Fixed

+Skyrim Distant Detail - HF

+Skyrim Distant Detail

+Chimneys for Skyrim

+Bumpy Inn and Shop Signs v3

+Skyrim Flora Overhaul

+AOF Farmhouses

+AOF Detailed Mountains

+Snow and Rocks TEXTURES HD

+High Quality Food and Ingredients

+Tobes Highres Textures - SMIM

+Tobes Highres Textures

+HD Misc Items

+Serious HD Retexture Skyrim - Riften

+Serious HD Retexture Skyrim

+Skyrim HD Lite - Towns

+Skyrim HD Lite - Misc

+Skyrim HD Lite - Dungeons

+Skyrim HD Lite - Landscape

+Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIM

+Better Rocks and Mountains - UV Tweak

+Ruins Clutter Improved

+No stretching - Roads and Rocks

+Detailed Chests - Rich and Dirty

+Better Dynamic Snow

+Unique Region Names


+Skill Interface ReTexture - DG

+Skill Interface Retexture


+A Quality World Map - With Roads

+No Boring Sleep-Wait Menu

+Main Font Replacement - Fertigo Pro

+Lore-Based Loading Screens

+Lockpicking interface retex

+Interface Hard Coded Key Tweaks

+Immersive HUD - iHUD

+High Quality 3D Map - 1k Normals

+High Quality 3D Map - HQ Mesh

+Dungeon Quest Awareness

+Disease Descriptions for the Immersive Adventurer

+Categorized Favorites Menu - Daniel

+Categorized Favorites Menu

+Better MessageBox Controls

+Better Dialogue Controls

+Better Skill and Quest Books Names

+BLESSINGS - Altar Descriptions

+Realistic Ragdolls and Force

+Even Better Quest Objectives - DG

+Even Better Quest Objectives - HF

+Even Better Quest Objectives

+Distant Decal Fix

+Acquisitive Soul Gems

+Skyrim Project Optimization


+Fuz Ro Doh

+Fast travel timescale fix

+Dead Body Collision Fix

+Consistent Older People

+Brawl Bugs Patch

+Bowlegged jump animation Fix

+Argonian Sneak Tail Twist Fix

+Argonian Decapitation Fix

+Appropriately Attired Jarls

+Unofficial High Resolution Patch

+Unofficial Dragonborn Patch

+Unofficial Hearthfire Patch

+Unofficial Dawnguard Patch

+Unofficial Skyrim Patch

+HighResTexturePack03 (OPTIMISED)

+HighResTexturePack02 (OPTIMISED)

+HighResTexturePack01 (OPTIMISED)

+Skyrim - Textures (OPTIMISED)





# This file was automatically generated by Mod Organizer.






Skyrim Project Optimization - Full Version.esm


Lanterns Of Skyrim - All In One - Main.esm


Unofficial Skyrim Patch.esp

Unofficial Dawnguard Patch.esp

Unofficial Hearthfire Patch.esp

Unofficial Dragonborn Patch.esp

Appropriately Attired Jarls Redux.esp

Dead Body Collision.esp



Acquisitive Soul Gems.esp




BLESSINGS - Altar Descriptions.esp


Better Skill and Quest Books Names.esp






Unique Region Names.esp

Better Dynamic Snow.esp

SFO - Expanded Diversity.esp

Skyrim Flora Overhaul.esp


Distant Detail.esp

Distant DetailHF.esp


Footprints - Ash.esp

masser Size x0.5.esp

secunda Size x0.5.esp

Moss Rocks.esp

Point The Way.esp


WATER Plants.esp

WATER DB Waves.esp


AIMP - Antz in my Pantz.esp











Elemental Staves.esp






dD-Dragonborn-Dawnguard-EBT Patch.esp

Animated Weapon Enchants.esp

Enhanced Soul Trap.esp


dD - Enhanced Blood Main.esp


dD-No Spinning Death Animation.esp

dD-No Twitching Dragon Death Animation.esp





Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons v2.0 non glow.esp

Soul Gems Differ - NW - E.esp

Clanking Armor.esp



Improved Combat Sounds v2.2.esp


Realistic werewolf speed.esp

Rooster At Dawn v1.0.esp

Waterbreathing Breathless Emerge.esp











Ars Metallica.esp

Ars Metallica - Hearthfire.esp

Ars Metallica - Dawnguard.esp

Ars Metallica - Dragonborn.esp

Auto Unequip Ammo.esp

Bring Out Your Dead.esp



Convenient Horses.esp


Death Cam Duration Options.esp

Thieves Guild Requirements.esp

Gildergreen Regrown.esp

Guard Dialogue Overhaul.esp


Lock Overhaul.esp

More Salt Please.esp

More Salt Please - Dragonborn addon.esp


Slightly Reduced Distance NPC Greetings.esp


The Paarthurnax Dilemma.esp

Realistic crime report radius.esp

dD - Realistic Ragdoll Force - Realistic.esp

Run For Your Lives.esp




Traps Make Noise.esp




When Vampires Attack.esp

Cloaks - Dawnguard.esp







Predator Vision.esp

Disease Descriptions_RND Compatibile.esp









TTYM - Think to Yourself Messages.esp

UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul.esp

UFO - Dawnguard AddOn.esp

UFO - Heartfire AddOn.esp

Better Stealth AI for Followers.esp



WetandCold - Ashes.esp



Realistic Lighting Overhaul - Dungeons.esp

Realistic Lighting Overhaul - Dawnguard Interiors.esp

Realistic Lighting Overhaul - Minor Cities and Town Interiors.esp

Realistic Lighting Overhaul - Major City Exteriors.esp

Realistic Lighting Overhaul - Major City Interiors.esp

Lanterns Of Skyrim - All In One - Climates of Tamriel - lvl-3.esp








Dual Sheath Redux.esp

DD_Dawnguard Additions.esp

DD_Dragonborn Additions.esp


Dual Sheath Redux Patch.esp



The crashes are frequent and appear to be random. I have had some hard lockups on zoning, a few lockups on initiation of combat, quite a few sudden CTD with no warning when moving and a few CTD when interacting with harvestables. The longest I have gone without a crash is 45 minutes. Most occur every 15 to 20 minutes and are centred around Riverwood and Helgen (and even in the Escape from under Helgen).


Here is a sample RAM/VRAM usage graph from the latest 45 minutes.


Posted Image


The graph starts as you get off the cart at Helgen, move into the keep, emerge outside (the GPU% jump is that point), head to the stones then go into Embershard Mine (the drop), clear the mine and head outside (the jump in GPU%), clear the wolves, cross the river and pick up the hidden treasure then turn to face Riverwood. The game locked up with audio looping when I used Flames on a bunny. Divine payback I assume.


I would really like to know how to tackle these CTDs as it is getting highly irritating. I have dealt with the textures which shaved about 350Mb off the VRAM usage and dropped off the AA which reduced it even more but there seems to be something apart from RAM usage which is causing this instability.


Thanks in advance for advice and help,



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Im getting these issues to mate....




If you find anything let me know....i`ll do the same.....


Some days i can play for 2-3 hours without CTD, but others i cant go 10 mins. Nothing seems to be the culprit....but i have noticed 1 thign in these forums.....alot of people wiht our issue are using SKYre, but i just simply REFUSE to remove that awesome mod

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I think that a lot of people who report CTDs use SkyRe because it is good. I believe that it isn't SkyRe causing the CTDs itself, merely that it is on so many installations when CTDs are reported.


I am approaching 600 hours on Skyrim and I reckon about 400 hours were with SkyRe (but not STEP). I very rarely had CTDs but was only using around 50 mods. Since upgrading my graphics card from a 5870 1Gb to the 7950 3Gb I applied the STEP list of mods and the CTDs started.

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I am going to turn on Papyrus logging to see if any mod leaps out as suspicious but in the absence of any suggestions I will take a shotgun to the mods directory and delete a chunk of mainly script-related mods and see if stability returns.


Already done - unpack BSA, optimise textures, reduce normals, turn off AA, check RAM/VRAM used.


To do - Papyrus check, bash patch, remove mods.

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Its hard to say what causes instability, b/c the mod list is rather large.  Off the top of my head, i'd worry about UFO and various incompatibilities between large mods (skyRe, the performance ones etc) as well as making sure the animation mods all play nice (you are using FNIS?).  UFO doesn't necessarily play nice with huge mod lists.  Also there are a number of files there that have esp conflicts, which will require Tes5editing.  If you check out Neovalens guide, you'll see a number of examples where he resolves mod incompatibilies (this has the side effect of teaching people to fix a lot of things for yourself).


The first thing i'd do is disable all script mods and play around in the high traffic load areas (Riverrun, Bleak Fall Barrows a few standing circles etc, as well as going in and out of Whiterun houses) until you are absolutely positive your computer can handle the modlists texture load.


Once that is ruled out, start enabling them piecemeal, playing through etc.  After that you can try Papyrus (it often tells you zip)

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I was not using FNIS as it was not in STEP but I see an association with the Maximum Skeleton mod which is (because of the Dual Sheathe Redux). I will have a look at it.


I will review UFO. I like what it brings to the table (specifically the "Train some, you are weak" and the increased number of followers permitted (I rarely go out with more than two followers at most) but it is nice to know it can handle that. I remember when followers did not auto-level with you and you had to disable/enable them to get it to work as well as struggle with hidden weapons they refused to relinquish. Do they still do that? Do you recommend anything else instead of from UFO?


I will certainly have a look at the guide because I know that a Bash Patch or merged Patch is the next thing I should look at. Thanks for all the advice.


EDIT : I had to look up the location of the Guide and here it is for those who are reading this and haven't found it yet... https://wiki.step-project.com/User:Neovalen/Skyrim_Revisited

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Well colour me amazed! Smooth, stable and no crashes in a whole hour! Chalk another one up to NeoValen.


I have adhered faithfully to NeoValen's guide, installing it to the letter over several days with no deviations from the mods listed. I have run the textures through one pass of DDSopt bringing all textures down to 2048.


Straight out of the box, so to speak, RAM around Helgen peaked at 2520Mb and VRAM at 2280Mb. After DDSopt sizing to 2048 (with 2048 normals) RAM was down to 2340Mb and VRAM at 2030Mb.


I am running 0xAF to keep a steady frame rate but on a 2560x1440 monitor I find it fairly hard to tell if AA is on or not. With 4xMSAA I was finding that outdoors in Helgen was making the card hit 100% GPU fairly often but 0xMSAA it was able to self-overclock to keep from hitting the ceiling. Indoors of course it was working less hard.


I must say that after working through the Guide I have learned enough to check simple mods for wild edits, omissions and basic conflicts. There are only a couple of mods I want to add and I will re-read the Suggested Mods thread for discussions of Perk or Spell overhauls.

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When you can run the game from the start in Helgen all the way though to the first dragon kill in one go... with only 0-1 CTD.. then you can be more or less certain that you do not have any memory related issues at all. Also no fast travel obviously.


What you describe is not really super random when you look into it. The area around Riverwood is one of the most detailed in the game texture wise. The area outside of Whiterun as well. Helgen is really intensive as well when you look at how many unique actors there are there and how many things are happening...


Also if you follow Neo´s guide and you get contiuous issues... then reduce the quality of the AV packages... after SRO then it is the single largest memory consumer due to the way it works. Think of all the small animals that are running around.. if you have it on each can be different and will require another 10Mb (give or take if its a 2k one) of RAM a piece.

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Thanks for the tip about AV. I did have one crash approaching the watchtower before Bleak Falls Barrow. Fortunately I was still running Skyrim Performance Monitor and it showed RAM usage had peaked at 2931Mb briefly in that area so I am not surprised it flipped out at that point.


I suppose I have two choices - cut back on AV a bit or go down to 1024 normal maps.


While I was having all my previous crashing issues under the STEP guide I had dropped to 1024 Normals in an attempt to reduce RAM usage and I did notice the difference in some textures - mainly clothing and chain mail. Lokir's simple cloth tunic and the guard's chainmail were immediately obvious as looking less "real" with 1024 normals.


I will have a look at the AV models and textures in use first.


EDIT : selecting the AV textures in the MO Override folder and dropping the normals to 1024 knocked a fairly decent chunk off the file sizes. I will see how that affects the RAM usage around Bleak Falls later.

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Sounds like you have all the same crash sites that I do/did on that route hehe :)


Never halve the normals on armor and character textures ... they will degrade too much imo. They are after all designed to be looked at up close.

Unless you are using an ungodly amount of armor mods and something like ASIS to produce loads of extra actors then the total memory use due to armor is limited to less then 100Mb of the total at any given time. You do not really have anywhere (I have never heard of any in vanilla) in the game where you have all sets of armor at any given point.


Also for all the animals in AV you can reduce normals to 1k without any real issues... for some of the dragur etc it might be an issue, but in general you just need to optimize the compression for the textures since there is alot to be gained without much loss in quality.


If you only need to alter compression in a single texture I can recommend getting gimp and the .dds plugin. Then you can use its export feature to resize and recompress any texture... it is faster then using ddsopt! :)

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