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VRAM usage for the vanilla game, no mods



Is around 1758MB a normal amount of VRAM usage for and unmodded skyrim to hit when using the high res DLC? I have no mods yet other than alternate start (camping in the woods start) to quickly test my VRAM usage when adding new mods, but that seems high considering the system requirements for the high res DLC are only 1GB VRAM. If I start adding any mods I'm constantly going over my 2GB VRAM on my card, and that's without using any specific texture replacer mods like Skyrim HD. The only textures that get added are whatever random textures a mod might need, like SIC or Purity. I've tried using mods like Optimized Vanilla Textures but that only helps me bring it down ~50MB.


Maybe I'm just not understanding things and this is normal. I'm using MO, and I've checked through the data tab and the base Skyrim install to make sure I don't have some random textures loading eating up VRAM. Full system specs are in my sig.

Edited by zerohaste
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Do not pay too much attention to the VRAM values. 

If you experience texture popin you are nearing your limits, if everything is fluid then there aint really any issues. 

The reported amount of VRAM used does not mean that you only have X amount remaining for use. You can use far beyond what you have readily available. 

The first sign that you are using way way more than you have is texture popin. Followed by FPS slowdowns and longer loading times. 


If you do not have any of those issues all is still good. 


The base game with HDDLC can run on 768Mb cards... currently I have a 2Gb card, and I run with lots of 2k and 4k textures, granted I do have popin, and I do have the base RAM to support it. As long as you do not run at any resolution higher than 1080p you should not have many issues... other than a bit of popin. (and perhaps if you use mods that add lots of extra models to the exteriors for rendering, or increase ugrids.) 


Hope that answers or helps a bit. 

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I am curious.


What kind of video card do you have? 

How are you gathering the VRAM data?


I have an AMD HD 7800 2G VRAM


I have seen numbers from GPU-Z that go from ~1200mb for a vanilla system to ~1800 with a fulled loaded STEP Extended. It will peak at over 2000mb.


As Aiyen stated the number is important only when you are seeing game affects and if it is being reported correctly.


For me it seems to be an indicator of a consumption of resources.


That it is starting so high is odd. Do you have something else running that might be using VRAM? 

The numbers seem to vary by system and graphic card. 


Use the number as a benchmark and see if anything interesting happens as you add more mods.

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My video card is a Evga GTX 670 FTW 2GB. I've been using SPM for Skyrim and Evga Precision X in Windows and Skyrim, both show the same numbers for VRAM usage in Skyrim. I'm using Windows 10, and after a little looking around there seems to be a few people reporting more VRAM usage than previous Windows version. A fresh reboot gives me just a couple hundred MB usage, but it can creep up to 300-350 and stay around there. I did notice I had GOG Galaxy running and when closing it I got a big chunk back, 80-100MB, so I'll be keeping that shut down from now on.


I started up Skyrim straight from a fresh reboot after having made sure GOG wasn't starting on boot and now I'm down to 1400-1500MB, which is better. Like you said, I'll just ignore it for now but keep it in the back of my mind if anything happens. I appreciate the help.

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System requirements according to the Steam site page = 1gb



Personally I think its higher, and that figure is a minimum spec - Recommended should be 2gb VRAM for Bethesda's High Res Texture packs.


Since I got my new laptop I have been testing out a vanilla game with the High Res Texture packs and unofficial high res patch, using Skyrim Performance Monitor. I have on occasion seen it a little above 1.8 gb, but typically on new areas some of the cache is flushed and the game never really creeps above that figure.


Game has been running stable for quite a few 6-8 hour sessions over the last week


However if you go over your VRAM amount, you can expect crashes ( unless you are using ENBoost correctly setup )

With just the vanilla game and not using ENBoost, flooding your graphics card will give variable results from black / purple textures to CTDs.


I did a lot of testing using SPM and my Vanilla Reduced Textures mod since 11.11.11, and can confirm that behaviour to be a constant with NVidia cards. If you can manage your installation so that the game always has at least 10% VRAM free for swapping in / out textures, then you will not have any texture related problems in the game.


The game does cache more and more textures in VRAM ( and mirrored in system ram ), the more VRAM you have. But it does level out to an average after a while which if you are only using vanilla game plus bethesda High Res textures should be circa 1.8 gb or less.


In SPM, Never let the two green lines meet and all will be sweet :)

Dotted Dark Green = Total VRAM

Solid Light Green = VRAM used

If the latter touches the former you have too many high res textures installed, uninstall some and monitor the results throughout the game, if its always got a good margin of VRAM to spare you have this aspect tamed.


I am not currently using ENBoost, but just using the SKSE Sheson Memory patch, and vanilla game with High Res and no mods textures = No problem with a 2 gb VRAM card.

If I want to push it with a few high res mod textures I will be using ENBoost aswell.


If I try to push it and add for instance all of SRO textures, so that SPM is showing the game to be fully using all of my VRAM a lot of the time, then I do start to experience crashes ( without ENBoost in use )


So a perfectly stable vanilla game is possible so long as you can achieve the game not taking up all of your VRAM, and have 10% or more of your total VRAM free at all times.


As an experiment, if you have a setup with mods textures installed, which is causing crashes, go into the game launcher settings and put the texture detail on medium.

That will get rid of your crashes because you have just effectively made all of the games textures half their size. Case proved. Now you just need to figure out which textures not to install so you dont have to set the games textures to a poorer quality.


In answer to the OP :


Is around 1758MB a normal amount of VRAM usage for an unmodded skyrim to hit when using the high res DLC?


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Alright everyone, I appreciate the insight and help you've given me. One last thing. If VRAM usage is ~1600-1700MB and throwing an ENB on top of what I have puts me constantly over my 2GB VRAM limit according to SPM, is that just as bad as me loading up on textures and hitting the same VRAM limit without an ENB? I did some further testing with the graphics portion of the ENB disabled and only saved ~100MB of VRAM. It seems like it's ENBoost is eating it up.

Edited by zerohaste
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My understanding and it is rather limited is that in an ENB, the processing is done in a separate 4G address space. Other then CPU usage and main memory resources, if these are not stress, you should be fine.


The best test is to try it and see if you can live with it. Get a decent ENB manager. This will help if you decide to try other or just want to backout of a setting.  

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