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Breems

Opinions on PC Built for Skyrim

Question

(Hoping this is the right place for this. I couldn't find another fitting forum category).

 

https://pcpartpicker.com/p/v9DkHx

I have a friend that will be donating a PSU.

I've been dying to build a PC for the first time now that I finally have the money. I mostly took parts from a prebuilt Newegg special a few months ago as I wasn't sure where to start, but this rig would fit my budget and seems like it would be capable for what I'm trying to get. Skyrim has become such a big part of my life that I've planned an entire build around it. My end goal is to run Skyrim on *mostly* ultra settings (shadows and AA turned down) at 50-60 FPS.

I basically want to know 2 things:

  • Are all of these parts compatible? I know enough about parts to choose the specs I want, but I'm unsure of how to choose parts that will work in perfect harmony. Again, this was mostly built from a Newegg preset, so I'm guessing it will be fine.
  • Is this ALL I'll need to put the PC together? I'd like to know any possible extra things I'll need to buy to assemble it. I know I'll need thermal paste, but I'd like to know of anything else.

I'd also love general suggestions. I've debated 7850 vs. a GTX 750Ti for a long time, but it seems the 7850 would be a better deal for the money. I've seen several Skyrim benchmarks for the 7850 out there, and they all seem to indicate that it can run Skyrim on Ultra (we're talking 8x AA and Ultra Shadows which KILL performance) with no trouble.

Edited by Breems

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Umm, well just bear in mind that those so called benchmarks are without a doubt, scoring vanilla skyrim and not modded skyrim. That system, running a modded skyrim, 50-60 fps ultra settings, I don't see it. For starters, you need to go ssd for modded skyrim, that hdd, as with all hdd, is the bottleneck. If ya want to know if there will be any conflicts with that setup (I didn't notice any), go to pcpartpicker.com, I use it and used it to build the rig I'm on now. It will tell you if there is a conflict, and it will also help you find the best price on the market for any part you are considering. And do you plan on running with the stock cooler? If so, I wouldn't plan on doing any OC'ing. And as long as you are buying those parts new, not used, you should have everything you need to assemble it, cables and what not, the mobo will /should supply most of what you need. But as long as you acquire a good psu, you got what you need to set it up (think it's safe to assume you will be using mice, keyboard, and monitor from your current rig, and have a copy of sorts for your OS of choice). And what psu you plan on acquiring from your friend? You won't need much for that get up, as far as wattage, I'd say a good 400 is fine, with just what I am seeing anyway, and no overclocking. You mostly need to pay attention to the amps being supplied on the voltage rails, +12v, +5v and +3.3v, listed in priority respectively. I would say somewhere around 26 amps on the 12v, 10 amps for the 5v and and 6 amps for the 3.3v. Any good modern psu will inform you of it's amperage capability. That is the most important piece of information about what psu to get, that most home brew don't know, cause they follow advice of wattage and are told nothing about amperage. If your rig needs more amps than the psu can supply and hoping that the psu has some sort of mosfet protection, it will just shutdown. But if it doesn't, then more likely you are going to fry the psu along with some hardware component's.

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An HDD is fine for Skyrim. I've running Skyrim on an HDD and it only results in longer loading times. That's it. In fact, if you're not used to the speed of an SSD then you're not going to miss it. You can buy one later with you can afford it as I'm planning to.

 

Covert is right about overclocking with the stock cooler though; however, that not an unlocked processor so overclocking would be limited anyway. I don't suspect you'll be doing overclocking if you're asking about compatibility anyway.

 

My only recommendation is, if you have the cash, is to spend more money and get a GTX 760 or equivalent (as long as your friend's PSU can support it). I have a GTX 760 card and it chews up most games like candy. You'll also be able to run most ENBs with the GTX 760 without issues as long as you're realistic with the ENB settings. I run Vividian Vanilla ENB (normal version) and stay around 50 FPS on average. This will cost you anywhere between $80-$100 more depending if you get a 2GB or 4GB model (I have a 4GB).

 

All in all, that system will run a modded Skyrim, just don't expect what you see on benchmarks since those would be against an unmoded game. You might even be able to pull off some ENBs with this setup, if you use the performance versions which turn off a lot of the ENB settings.

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That makes understandable sense about the storage thing. I am not familiar with ssd speeds...yet. But it was my understanding that Skyrim does alot I/O on the disk, more so than most games, and especially when modded. So it was my belief that, a ssd would in-turn, show case a performance increase, how much, I am not certain. Maybe, I am just hoping that a ssd would offer more potential than what I would "really" see, more of "buying into the gimmick", however gimmick isn't quite the right word, but you know what I mean.

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Get a 4GB or 3GB card... I have a 2GB card and it just isn't enough today. People seem to do better with Nvidia but the price is higher. As for ram ditch two sticks just get one 8 GB. Easier to upgrade down the road. Look at the 300-400 range.

 

The card you're looking at is pretty equal to one of my 6970s and it just doesn't have the grunt anymore. I bought another just to keep up(this was 2+ years ago).

 

Skyrim and most other games don't give a care about processor. I'd also recommend a WD black but that is just me. I chose WD over other any day. If you can afford it go with SSD but a spin drive is okay. There's only load times.

 

Don't do AMD processors there terrible, I have two pretty high end ones and the feel isn't what I like. 

 

As for a benchmark on graphics my 6970 with 1k textues, REGS and SRLE... I max out VRAM in cities Riverwood, Falkreath, Windhelm and fps wise I get low 20s to 40s... 

Thats why I have two but then Skyrim is horribly in efficient with CF most of the time.

So dump more into graphics or wait so you can get a high end card. It'll save you regret, headache, if you really want 2k textures a full ENB or have that 'I need more mods' thing

Edited by hishutup

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Definitely  get a 3gb or preferably 4gb card you will not regret it. 2gb will seriously limit your skyrim modding options.

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2Gb will not "Seriously limit you modding abilities" that is just putting it a bit extremely! In fact it is just plenty unless you absolutely must do 4k screenarcher stuff. Or have 1000x new models with new 2k textures on them on top of what is already in the game. I would always say it is better to get 16Gb of RAM then 1 extra GB of VRAM.. and probably cheaper as well depending on location. Since skyrim + enbhost can easily chew up 8Gb of active RAM use. If you only have 8Gb RAM and 4Gb VRAM then you will still get stuttering issues just like if you had 16 and 2 and did the same load.. the only difference is that one setup is cheaper then the other. 

 

That said then more is always better... if you can afford it. But it should not be the most critical part. 

 

Also the CPU is still vital for just about any game.. if you get a discount low model then you will suffer compared to a good i5/i7. You do not need to go OC it into super mode since then you have rather diminishing returns, but it will still matter a great deal. And if not for games then for just about any other application you are going to run! 

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It's not extreme when it is fact :P In my experience even a full STEP Core nowadays @ 1080p is constantly nearing the max vram on my gpu... You don't need 4k textures to fill up 2gb vram. Using a mixture of 2k and 1k will do just that already....

 

While I realize that when vram readings says it is near the max it does not mean that all is actually used, I do know that default SRLE requires more than 2gb (even though the vram reading in SPM is same as with STEP Core) due to stuttering originating from constant offloading vram to ram. This is with ENB graphics off but ENbBoost on, of course. After DDSopting and general optimization and I can get it to run without stutter, even though the vram reading is still virtually the same as it, obviously, cannot read higher than the max 2gb. Hell, the #1 limitation I have encountered since I started modding Skyrim (was a latecomer, about a year ago) is VRAM. I have found it to be an incredible annoyance to work around, so in that sense I consider it a serious limitation.

 

 

@Breems: This is a good place to get an indication of what a modded Skyrim needs, but for building your case as a whole there is a pretty helpful group of people at reddit which can give you lots of good advise. https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc .

 

Furthermore I agree with Techangel85, a gtx 760 is a good choice. Take the 4GB version imho

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It is not a matter of filling up the VRAM.. as you know then the readings are essentially not useful for anything, since even if it says it is full does not mean it is actively used (When STEP core can report using 2Gb of VRAM you just know to take the value with a grain of salt.). The only real way to see if you got VRAM limitation is when you start to get excessive stuttering while panning and loading new assets etc. with a current load, but it goes away if you reduce said load. 

 

When you say something require something.. it implies that you NEED to have that in order for it to run.. which in the case of VRAM is just not true. 

You do not require it.. you recommend it. SRLE does not require that much VRAM to run.. even run smoothly.

If you got bad stuttering etc. then it is because you lack elsewhere in your system. I do essentially not have any memory related stutter with 2GB and only SRLE texture load...and on top of that I run at 1440p! Heck if I go down to 1080p I have virtually no issues... other then the fact that it looks bad on my monitor due to stretching. 

 

If the user plans on using REGS on top of SRLE + even more asset adding mods then you might start to get up there due to the excessive extra load of new meshes and textures and other stuff... but even then the main limiting factor would go over and be GPU/shadows etc before memory. 

 

Anyways my point was just getting a quality MB, and good RAM (More then 8Gb) will mean more(or at the very least the same) and most likely be cheaper then just getting a bigger VRAM model gfx. 

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2Gb will not "Seriously limit you modding abilities" that is just putting it a bit extremely! In fact it is just plenty unless you absolutely must do 4k screenarcher stuff. Or have 1000x new models with new 2k textures on them on top of what is already in the game. I would always say it is better to get 16Gb of RAM then 1 extra GB of VRAM.. and probably cheaper as well depending on location. Since skyrim + enbhost can easily chew up 8Gb of active RAM use. If you only have 8Gb RAM and 4Gb VRAM then you will still get stuttering issues just like if you had 16 and 2 and did the same load.. the only difference is that one setup is cheaper then the other. 

This statement is not true for all systems. I have 8GB of RAM and 4GB of VRAM and I have no issues with stuttering at all... :huh: ...and I haven't ran DDSopt on any of my textures! You simply have to know what you're doing and build a quality system.

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It is not a matter of filling up the VRAM.. as you know then the readings are essentially not useful for anything, since even if it says it is full does not mean it is actively used (When STEP core can report using 2Gb of VRAM you just know to take the value with a grain of salt.). The only real way to see if you got VRAM limitation is when you start to get excessive stuttering while panning and loading new assets etc. with a current load, but it goes away if you reduce said load. 

 

When you say something require something.. it implies that you NEED to have that in order for it to run.. which in the case of VRAM is just not true. 

You do not require it.. you recommend it. SRLE does not require that much VRAM to run.. even run smoothly.

If you got bad stuttering etc. then it is because you lack elsewhere in your system. I do essentially not have any memory related stutter with 2GB and only SRLE texture load...and on top of that I run at 1440p! Heck if I go down to 1080p I have virtually no issues... other then the fact that it looks bad on my monitor due to stretching. 

 

If the user plans on using REGS on top of SRLE + even more asset adding mods then you might start to get up there due to the excessive extra load of new meshes and textures and other stuff... but even then the main limiting factor would go over and be GPU/shadows etc before memory. 

 

Anyways my point was just getting a quality MB, and good RAM (More then 8Gb) will mean more(or at the very least the same) and most likely be cheaper then just getting a bigger VRAM model gfx. 

Hmm if you put it like that, you're right :) 

 

But judging from my system (i5 2500k @ 4.3ghz, 16gb ram, ssd, quality mb, clean win7 install) where else would the bottleneck be except from the GPU?  I can totally understand that a new generation GPU with 2GB VRAM will run much smoother than mine. If it isn't the VRAM then would it then be the gpu bandwith or the chipset?

 

To continue from that (sorry OP we're slighty diverging from the topic here I guess), all the ddsopting/optimizing I have to do to run a decent game (essentially everything in my regs-srle-enb guide for medium systems) would be more related to reducing bandwith and/or gpu load and not so much to purely reducing vram load? Just trying to understand the underlying technicalities a bit better, because reducing vram load does seem to be the primary way for me to increase playability.

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Tech: Sorry that sentence was not the best formulated. My point was that if you have your list setup so your game can actively use up to 8Gb of RAM then the issues you experience with having 8Gb and 4Gb VRAM would most likely be fairly similar to having 16Gb of RAM and only 2Gb of VRAM... you simply shift what is the limiting factor around. Overall in my experience then RAM lacking issues have a far greater impact on performance then lack of VRAM. 

Edit: Also the whole point with this was that considering that it is cheaper to get 4-8Gb more ram than 2Gb more VRAM then it might be worth considering for the OP! :) 

 

Nearox: In your case then yeah the GPU would probably the limiting factor.. it is approximately 20% worse overall then a OC GTX 660 which I have and would explain the difference. I am not sure if there is a generation difference, but if there is then that would also matter a great deal since architecture differences matter when it comes to bandwidth. I would expect that the difference would also be what prevents you from running at higher resolutions without severe issues. 

Not sure about the finer details of i5/i7 difference when it comes to cache and memory bandwidth other then they are linked and matter, in data swapping cases more so then the clock speed. 

For reference then a GTX 760 would be about 15% better then the GTX 660 overall. And for final reference then the top models are about x2- x2.5 times better. 

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Appreciate the detailed responses.

 

My end goal is basically a tweaked Ultra preset and mostly 1K textures. I probably won't run an ENB unless I find a performance one I like.

 

I'm more concerned with smooth gameplay than maximum visuals and hopefully finding a sweetspot inbetween.

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I would also consider other cards in your price class by the way. In particular the r7 265, which is faster than the 7850 and the gtx 750 for a small price increase (10 euro more in my country). 

 

I have always found this (bi) monthly review pretty good: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-3.html 

 

As well as these performance benchamrks

 

https://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2014-vga-charts/benchmarks,175.html 

Edited by Nearox

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Depending on costs of shipping in your country, latest-gen AMD Radeons are super-cheap on Ebay right now due mostly to the Bitcoin mining craze: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?LH_BIN=1&_from=R40|R40|R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=amd%20r9%20280&_dcat=27386&rt=nc&_pppn=r1&_mPrRngCbx=1&_udlo=100&_udhi=200 (used AMD Radeon 280X for <$180 USD shipped!)

 

I picked up an AMD R9 290X myself recently for $320 shipped (USD) and couldn't be happier.

 

Of course, there is an inherent risk dealing with Ebay, but Ebay has become fairly consumer-friendly (to the detriment of the small seller), and sometimes you need to just take a little bit of a gamble. Hell, if you have, say a 4GB GTX 760 or 770, I'd say it's a great time to consider selling it for a used R9 290 or 290X (I sold my 4GB GTX 680 for $300 USD).

 

This statement is not true for all systems. I have 8GB of RAM and 4GB of VRAM and I have no issues with stuttering at all... :huh: ...and I haven't ran DDSopt on any of my textures! You simply have to know what you're doing and build a quality system.

You don't even get asset stuttering? I have Skyrim on a SSD, 16GB of 1866MHz RAM, and 4GB of VRAM, and even I still get occasional asset stuttering (especially with some of the CTD tests).

Edited by generalmx

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