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m3dicat3d

Is it worth upgrading a GTX 670 for Heavy Modded SKYRIM?

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Hope this is the right place to ask this, I asked some hardware questions about a year ago over here and received some excellent advice. I thought I'd ask again as this is a data driven and very well informed community.

 

To get right to it, I have a GTX 670 4GB FTW surrently, with a modest OC on it. I may have some disposable income before long to upgrade that card so I can push my game even further with adding an ENB, the high res textures mods, etc. Been trying to do some searching, and I'm having quite a hard time finding any info on how much better something like a 770 or 780 3 GB card compares to a 670 when it comes to actual performance gains in a heavily modded Skyrim.

 

I've run ENB's and the high res texture mods before, but ultimately opted for performance versus eye candy and went with med res texture packs and immersive saturation boost instead of an ENB to keep my frames between 45-60 fps. I would love to have the best of performance AND the eye candy, but I also don't want to spend money on an upgrade that might not show any real performance boost.

 

Since the question of current hardware is relevant, here are my specs (thanks for the suggestions a year ago btw :) )

 

i5 3570K OC to 4.2

Z77 MSI MPOWER MB

8 GB DDR 3-SDRAM Dual Channel Corsair

Win 7 Home Prem 64

Samsung 840 PRO SSD (for my Skyrim install)

WD 1TB Black HDD

750W Corsair PSU

 

It may not even be a new GPU I need to updrade to , but perhaps something else? Any thoughts are welcome, and thanks! 

 

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You will be able to get more performance out of a bigger card. The 670 is not the largest GPU on the market.. So depending on how disposable your money is then it can be worthwhile. 

 

The GTX 660 is about 50% behind a 780ti... and the 670 is the same model GPU as I recall. 

 

However at this time I would probably just wait for the next generation from Nvidia... should not be far into the future as I recall. 

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The 770 is a renamed and slightly updated 680 so it probably would not be a massive upgrade coming from what you have. With a 780 you would definitely see a big improvement but it would also be a downgrade V-Ram wise since they're only available in 3 gb versions. But to be honest I don't see why you're not running an ENB already, if you use a relatively lightweight preset with no DOF (you can use Dynavision) and SSAO disabled, I assume you would probably be close to the framerates you're shooting for... If that's still too taxing there's always all the SweetFX based presets like I Can't Believe It's Not ENB 2 which seems to look really good for the small performance impact it has.

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Oh, I wouldn't wait, its still a bit of a wait and the new cards will be more expensive in the beginning anyhow.  If you can afford it get the 780Ti, I got a Titan but its not really as much bang for the bucks especially for Skyrim.  Great for other games, like flight sims though.

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Afaik the gtx 760 is a rebranded 670, maybe with slightly higher clocks. The 780ti is at ~700$ on newegg, I don't think it's worth spending that much money on hardware but that's kind of a personal decision. I think a 780 or r9 290 have a more reasonable price tag, the sapphire r9 290 vapor-x (450$) is probably the best bang for your buck in the high end segment.

 

I get 30 fps around very intensive areas with STEP+Slightly tweaked NLA+Some mods for parallax @1440p with my overclocked 290. The 780 seems to perform slightly worse from what I've seen in Gopher's vids (my 290 can hold 60 fps @ 1080p without DoF and SSAO in more demanding scenes while Gopher drops below 60 in some places), but I don't have a direct comparison so this is partly speculative.

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that makes sense since enb is being developed on a nvidia gpu (also skyrim seems to perform better on nvidia gpus by itself)

as already stated the 770 is basically a oc 680... imo its only worth upgrading to a 780 or a 780 ti... 

while you dont have as much vram as a 670 4gb, 3gb is more then enough and you will get more bandwidth (the 670 cant even use 4gb due to low bandwidth)

on the other components your good for a few years since updating your cpu to a last gen i5 will only give you 2 to 3 more fps..

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(also skyrim seems to perform better on nvidia gpus by itself)

That's resolution dependant. For example: https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_780_Ti/22.html

Techpowerup.com is a very good site but I do not fully trust that review as average fps go up with resolution for the r9 290, which is very weired and not the case with my card.

 

 

that makes sense since enb is being developed on a nvidia gpu

On the other hand ATI cards have much more shader power, and that's what ENB is mostly about.

 

 

Nvidias are supposed to perform quite a bit better than the equivalent AMDs with ENB. For instance here is a post on nexus from someone that went from a R9 290X to a 780 and got better framerates :

https://forums.nexusmods.com/index.php?/topic/905060-realvision-enb/page-2431&do=findComment&comment=12875373

This was before the "miracle" drivers as well.

 

Well this surprises me, maybe my performance breaks in if using 2k textures because of some texture filtering performance issues or ini file issues. Maybe it's something entirely different. But I get much better fps on my system, that is with NLA though.

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there's some sort of bottleneck in that benchmark also it not normal a 780 ti having the same frame rate or even lag behind a 780

imo this one gives more accurate frame rates :https://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2013/11/07/nvidia-gtx-780-ti-3gb-review/8

is benchmarked already with HD DLC and uses AA x8 instead of x4 unfortunately it doesnt have the result of nvidia's "wonder driver"

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Awesome, thanks for all the replies! That's why when I've questions about hardware for Skyrim and modding, this is my default stop when I can't find the answer myself.

 

I'll give the I can't believe it's ENB 2 a try on my current hardware and see what happens (looks like that page linked Hidalgo (sp?) and ENB Boost to help with performance on that, never tried either of those though I've heard about them, so I may see what happens there.

 

I VERY much appreciate the hardware input. The last thing I want to do is spend the money on an upgrade that really isn't much of an upgrade, and from everything I've heard, a more powerful single GPU is better than say, taking another 670 GTX and putting in SLI (correct if I'm wrong about this).

 

The 3GB did catch my eye, but seeing as the VRAM cap seems to be at 3.1 (I believe it hasn't been surpass-"able" yet) and I believe the BUS is still larger than the 256 on my current card (assuming that should help some).

 

Again, great and thoughtful replies, I thank you again :)

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Yes, that bench seems more reasonable. But the problem is that refence 290(x) cards perform quite differently and have very insufficient cooling. Comparing card A with a bad cooler to card B with a good cooler while there are better cooled versions of card A on the marked is kind of unfair imho. Benches of the r9 290 vapor-x suggest it is on par with the 780ti in many games, with the 290 having quite some OC headroom. But those reviews lack Skyrim benches.

Those benches are of limited use for modded Skyrim anyway since things change a lot if you add a lot of shaders. ENB is NVidia optimized, I dunno how much of a difference that really makes though since AMD comes with more shader power anyway. Boris supports AMD cards well enough imho. NVidia is probably faster for textures and geometry while AMD will gain with high resolutions and lots of shaders.

Vram should also be considered. According to MadWizard 4 gb Vram is a good idea when going for 2k textures and 1k normals in a heavily modded game. Nvidia cards with 780 performance or better and more then 3gb vram come with a price tag. On the other hand r9 290s will cost a more on your electricity bill, depending on the country you live in.

 

Bottom line: I strongly disagree with people saying NVidia is better for Skyrim. It really depends on what kind of visuals you want to add, what resolution you are playing on, what texture resolution you want to go for and how much money you want to spend. Currently the r9 290 series is cheaper then the Nvidia equivalent, costs more power though and you have a little more of a gamble in the silicon lottery.

 

[edit] Ninja'ed:

Like I said, according to MadWizard 4 gb Vram is advisable if going for a heavily modded game and 2k textures with 1k normals. The 3.1 gb cap is pretty much removed by ENBoost and the Skyrim memory patch. Skyrim still has the 4 gb cap (which results in the 3.1 gb cap as ~900 mb are used by the kernel), but that's nearly impossible to hit if textures are managed by ENBoost.

SLI can cause problems with ENB. I'm not really into dual GPU solutions but I would advise to search the ENB forums for it.

45-60 fps seems fine, but this again is a subjective point. I'm playing with vsync and a setup geared towards holding 30 fps, but 1440p puts a lot of strain on the card so I cannot expect to maintain 60 fps anyway.

I wouldn't expect huge gains in minimum fps (most important for gaming experience) unless you spend a "lot" of money. But how much is a lot of money and what it's worth is totally up to you of course.

Edited by Spock

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It would be great to have a serious hardware review site make a comparison of the latest GPUs with a common ENB like say, Kountervibe. I actually kind of wonder why they don't do it since Skyrim is still a lot more popular than some of the games that are used in such reviews...

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As I performed basically the same upgrade (670 FTW to a 780 Ti), I say it's worth it if you have the cash. However I did build a whole new machine so YMMV if you're just dropping at 780 Ti in the same machine the 670 was in...

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whoops... YMMV? unfamiliar with that one, and also, and crime_syndicate, thanks for the heads up on the SweetFX preset, it's not ENB (like it says) but boy does it look great after I configured it!

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