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uGridsToLoad Limit: maximum allocated RAM on 64bit < 3GB?

Question

Preface:

 

Hello there, i've got a tricky question (i think) about HW + modding, probably aimed only to people with high-end rigs (8GB or more of RAM + 3GB or more VRAM [non-splitted] + SDD + Windows 7 64bit) that have tried to push Skyrim to the limit.. (for reference i've got a i7-2600K 16GB DDR3 + GTX580 3GB slightly OC + windows n game installed on 128GB SDD).

 

I'm using UGRIDS=9 and about 60+ mods (mostly texture mods from STEP), including a combination of Skyrim HD, Realistic Overhaul and Serious HD, all of them at the maximum quality available. Still running on Skyrim 1.4.27 since NVidia Ambient Occlusion for me is a must and apparently is still not solved.

 

 

Short version:

 

As i understand since v1.3 Skyrim should be able to use up to 4GB of RAM memory (the maximum for a 32bit application on a 64bit OS).. has anyone actually managed to have it working with anything above 3GB?? for instance TESV.exe using something like 3.5GB according to windows task manager? if so did you do anything special to archive that??

 

 

Long version:

 

As we all know there are lots of myths and theories regarding the value ugrids and that can lead to "instability", same thing about using lots of high-res texture mods.. Well i've got the theory that the only real problem when increasing this value or the size of the textures is either lack of VRAM or lack of RAM.. I've got a very stable game using UGRIDS=9 and only recently i found a few specific outside locations where the game would CTD after walking from another outside location (would not CTD if i load a savegame already on the location)..

 

I'm pretty sure VRAM is not a problem (using always less than 2GB - 65%). Total amount of memory is obviously not a problem either (16GB).. However checking my main memory usage i realized CTDs always happens when the game tries to use more than 3GB of RAM. I think that happens when "usable" RAM is already almost filled and when you move to a new area with lots of new resources that have to be loaded there's just no space to put them.

 

I have spend quite some time googling and checking both HW and Skyrim forums with no luck.. have tried using Game Booster 3, changing boot options from the command line "bcdedit /set increaseuserva 4096", changing Skyrim.ini iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes=4294967295 (4GB) and still the same problem.

 

So is it really an issue of software-limited maximum allocated RAM per process? If so is there a way to use more than 3GB? Or am I totally wrong and it's just a problem of the GPU/CPU not being able to cope with so much information?

 

 

I'm a bit annoyed because i have the feeling that if i could really use the whole 4GB as advertised then all my CTD's would be gone and I could even possibly run with all textures mods + UGRIDS=11.

 

I know there are other ways i could go about this like optimizing the textures, reducing settings to use less memory, etc but that's not the point of the question for now..

 

 

Any ideas?? Thanks in advance!

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after some time testing I came to this stability for skyrim with full STEP 2.2.2. Its all 2K even shadows uGrids=5, and i rarely i mean rarely freez its not even crash, skyrim just freezes, i dunno if its to much OC or its just Skyrim, i dunno it just freezes very rarely lol.

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Edit:

also those drops in FPS are due to riding horse running freely, when fps are stable @ 58 im in a fight most likely.

My little example has more than 4000 samples ingame riding freely in skyrim from riften to whiterun, with fights all the way and it did not crash nor freezed.

 

Re Edit:

yet another long time play no crashes no freezes.

IMHO best skyrim is a Skyrim that doesnt crash, its not about grids, cells or the highest textures available, IMO its about playing it with out problems.

Im getting close to a stable Skyrim.

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Over 6000 samples.

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6GB VRAM is not likely to be any use for Skyrim.  It seems that the textures in VRAM must be copied into RAM.  Skyrim cannot use more than 4GB RAM, and seems to become unstable even at 3GB. 

 

I have experimented with ugrids quite a bit, though it is not recommended.  My experience suggests that the two key factors in ugrids stability are RAM usage and shadows.  I can run stable with ugrids at 9, so long as I reduce my mod load to keep RAM usage comfortably below 3GB, reduce shadow settings, and avoid mods that are likely to increase the number of shadows processed. 

 

The question of shadows is just my theory from my own testing, and should be considered anecdotal, but the memory concerns are widely reported.

 

really? RAM yeah and i dunno about shadows, but my biggest problem was mods that added spawns. it's like the engine can't handle the extra AI and pathing

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Which is because the CPU handles, shadows, AI and pathing etc. If you have too many things loading then I guess it is possible that the game is just not threaded enough to actually cope with the amount of information it needs to process. Which in turn causes scripts to get delayed which causes CTD´s.

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