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STEP-recommended performance-friendly non-ENB lighting mod option?

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Can anyone recommend any non-ENB lighting enhancement that is performance friendly (no FPS drops)?  My FPS average about 50, dropping down to 45 at times and often running at 60.  I really don't want to suffer any more drops in performance due to an ENB lighting mod.  I have STEP Extended installed.  Currently, STEP has a guide that gives a handful of ENB recommendations but the guide does not list any non-ENB options.  I remember a while back when there were non-ENB lighting mods recommended as part of STEP.  I personally feel that vanilla Skyrim looks pretty bad lighting-wise.  I cringe to walk through a cave and go into stealth mode when I have zero stealth skill and be right next to some moron who can't see me when I'm in plain sight.  Clearly I'm meant to be in a dark spot, but it doesn't appear that way on the computer screen.  Caves appear way too bright.  Quite frankly, it makes me not even want to play it looks so bad...  A couple years ago I had Skyrim installed with STEP and a performance-friendly lighting mod...


Another question - if I have a 2GB VRAM graphics card, do I get any performance benefit from using 1024 textures instead of 2048, even if my card can handle 2048 textures?  I'm wondering if it makes sense to drop my textures down to 1024 and then use an ENB mod and suffer a similar FPS drop to my current settings.  That would be a lot of work though (to redo my mod options and use lower textures...).


I have a decent computer system:


Intel i7 950 3.07 GHz

8 GB DDR3 1600 RAM

Windows 7 64-bit

AMD Radeon HD 6950 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM

AMD Catalyst Control Center 14.1

Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB SSD (w/ RAPID)

Game Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p)

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Only ENB can hook into the lighting and alter it directly. SweetFX type mods can only alter the color, contrast, brightness etc. Essentially do what image space mods already do.


If you want lighting altering without ENB then you need to use either ELFX, RLO, or Relighting skyrim or a mix of them if you are tes5edit savy.

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ELFX looks the best to me and very complete. I notice a portion of the mod is stated to be incompatible with Lanterns of Skyrim though (a STEP Extended mod). It would be great if someone could put together a non-ENB lighting pack that explains in detail how to modify both STEP Core and STEP Extended installations to properly configure an enhanced lighting mod (such as ELFX) and re-configure other STEP mods to all be compatible. I'd be willing to bet that at least one or two mods I installed already in Core or Extended STEP had lighting patches for them that make them work better with lighting mods (I think I remember seeing such options a few times.). Unfortunately, it's a TON of work to go back and try to determine which mods those are... Then there's also load order questions, TES5Edit questions, and so forth.


Do you, or anyone else have any tips or pointers on how to do this efficiently? Please post links to forum discussions if you know of them. Thank you. :)


EDIT: OK, there is a pack on lighting (Weather and Lighting), but it's pretty general in trying to give advice for a number of different lighting mods. The problem is that it doesn't focus on one, so it doesn't give a thorough explanation of what needs to be altered correctly to make everything work properly. Case in point - it says nothing about Lanterns of Skyrim not being compatible with the ELFX Exteriors mod, yet recommends both STEP Extended and ELFX. And what about the SMIM mesh patch? I see it talks about the SoS + ELFX patch at least.

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