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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  • saturn85 - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    can we have folding@home benchmark? Reply
  • warmbit - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    I invite you to the statement of GTX680 card performance based on the results of the eight websites (tom's too):

    http://translate.google.pl/translate?hl=pl&sl=...
    Reply
  • lhotdeals - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    I never posted a reply to reviews... but the conclusion of this review leaves me baffled. It is clear that 680 has its advantages, but looking at the numbers, the 680 and 7970 trades punches pretty equally in terms of performance. 680 does beat the 7970 in power usage and noise level, but the actual lead is miniscue...

    I do not see how the reviewer can reach the dominating position of the 680 in the conclusion... It is nothing but misleading to an otherwise great review with tons of data points.
    Reply
  • sngbrdb - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    "...at the end of the day it’s NVIDIA who once again takes the performance crown for the highest performing single-GPU card."

    Are you kidding me?? Are we looking at the same charts? This card only "excels" on the lower end of resolution and quality settings. And in many of your charts, the cards that beat it in higher resolutions are conspicuously absent in the lower-resolution charts (the GTX 590 and Radeon 6990 are frequently missing).

    GPU reviews need to be written by someone who isn't biased toward a brand, and Mr. Smith, that is clearly not you.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Sorry, you can't lie to yourself forever - how about a massive database with percentages and totals from many reviews...
    http://translate.google.pl/translate?hl=pl&sl=...

    At the highest resolutions amd still loses. Amd also loses the lower and lowest Enjoy.
    Reply
  • sngbrdb - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    My comments are about the conclusions Mr. Smith draws form the charts he displays, not about whether the card does better elsewhere. The charts that Mr. Smith shows and the conclusions he draws from them are not logical... there may be other data out there that supports his conclusions, but that would mean the data he's displaying here is flawed/inaccurate. Either way, you can't look at those charts and act like the 680 has slaughtered AMD, you end up sounding like a fanboy.

    And charts need to be consistent about the cards being compared... you can't put a card in the chart for one resolution, and leave it out in another.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Yes, and anandtech's charts percentages are at the link I provided, that prove you incorrect, period.
    Reality doesn't make anyone a fanboy.Ignoring reality does.
    Reply
  • _vor_ - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    So does replying to nearly all 40 pages of discussion flagrantly waving the NVIDIA banner. Maybe you need to look up the word hypocrisy. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Vor you're angry because you got caught waving the amd flag * incorrectly*.
    There wouldn't be a need if there wasn't false information being spread about.
    It's no wonder it happens when the amd card loses.
    Addressing it is helpful and the right thing to do.
    Reply
  • sngbrdb - Monday, April 09, 2012 - link

    Um.... the charts at the link you provided point back to this article. Please do your research before being rude.

    From the article:
    ---------------------------------

    Sources of data:
    ...
    Anandtech - www.anandtech.com/show/5699/nvidia-geforce-gtx-680-review
    Reply

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