The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Prior to the launch of our new benchmark suite, we wanted to include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is easily the most popular RPG of 2011. However as any Skyrim player can tell you, Skyrim’s performance is CPU-bound to a ridiculous degree. With the release of the 1.4 patch and the high resolution texture pack this has finally been relieved to the point where GPUs once again matter, particularly when we’re working with high resolutions and less than high-end GPUs. As such, we're now including it in our test suite.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 2560x1600 - Ultra Quality + 4xMSAA/16xAF

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 1920x1200 - Very High Quality + 4xMSAA/16xAF

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 1680x1050 - High Quality + 4xMSAA/16xAF

Skyrim presents us with an interesting scenario. At anything less than 2560 we’re CPU limited well before we’re GPU limited, and yet even though we’re CPU limited NVIDIA manages to take a clear lead while the 680 still finds room to push to the top. For whatever the reason NVIDIA would appear to have significantly less driver overhead here, or at the very least a CPU limited Skyrim interacts with NVIDIA’s drivers better than it does AMD’s.

In any case 2560 does move away from being CPU limited, but it’s not entirely clear whether the difference we’re seeing here is solely due to GPU performance, or if we’re still CPU limited in some fashion. Regardless of the reason the GTX 680 has a 10% lead on the 7970 here.

Starcraft II Civilization V
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  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    What you're saying is true for amd cards, and is severe in CF, but true across the board.
    Lower clocked cpu system, better results from Nvidia.
    Reply
  • bozolino - Monday, March 26, 2012 - link

    I dont know whats happening. I have a gtx 560 2win and wanted to compare it to the 680 and see if its worth the replace but the charts cant be compared, for example:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5048/evgas-geforce-g...

    This review uses an i7 3xxx while the older uses an i7 720, how can the older cpu performs better than the new one?? Something is very odd....

    I wish they had used same computer as vga test bench, so we could compare all the results together....
    Reply
  • Sharpie - Monday, March 26, 2012 - link

    Its about design trade offs, you can increase the memory speed if you have a narrow bus to get the same throughput of something with lower clock speed and a large bus. all depeends on the architectural design so arguing about clock numbers is pointless generally speaking unless you are comparing apples to apples. Comapring an NVidia chip to an ATI chip is apples to oranges. Yes, im an engineer. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    Oh I get it you're in some pretend world where the card companies are not "fanboy compared" in the article itself.
    Once the amd card loses, and someone tells the truth about that, it's trolling or fanboy right ?
    If an amd fan lies, it's "a good opinion".
    If an amd fan liar gets corrected, that's "taking it too far" into "fanboy".
    Once aghain, telling the truth on the two competing cards is forbidden only if it's an Nvidia advantage - then WE MUST OMIT the AMD card from the analysis, right ?
    I think you might as well NEVER read another article on a card launch at this site, if you intend to stick to your RUDE comment.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    Heck you didn't read this article nor many others then that say and prove the exact thing.
    I'm sure it will never make sense to you.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Friday, April 27, 2012 - link

    Actually, I'm pretty sure it's you that doesn't understand the DX API. The CPU's are doing roughly the same thing for both videocards. Cept when it comes to processing the Drivers. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    The GTX690 currently holds the world record with a 1,900mhz overclock, and is gaining easily 15% with noob out of box overlclocks, and reaching very high memory clocks as well as 1,300+ core, I've seen 1,420 on air, and overclocked models are on their way....
    So much for that fud about 7970... it's FUD FUD and pure FUD.
    Reply
  • blanarahul - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    GTX 690???? Reply
  • blanarahul - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    Smart move by NVIDIA. Make a single gpu powerful graphics card to battle the Dual Tahiti monster. Judging by how they are doing the GTX 680 it should have the following specs:-

    4.72 billion transiostors
    2048 CUDA Cores
    384-bit memory bus width
    3 GB VRAM
    600-700 USD
    TDP of 225-250W

    If the clock speeds high enough, it will be quite a match for the 7990!

    The reason i think it will be a single GPU card is because GTX 680=2x GTX 560 Ti.
    So it should be GTX 690=2x GTX 580.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    The release date of the 7970 was jan 11th, 2.5 months is opverstating in AMD's favor...
    Nothing like not knowing what you're talking about huh.
    7970's have come down in price a bit, but you still will find them for much more than $569 at an awful lot of USA online places.
    Reply

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