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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  • sngbrdb - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    *from : P Reply
  • Mombasa69 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    This is just a rebadged mid-range card, the 680 has less memory bandwidth than GPU's brought out 4 years ago lol, what a ripp, I can see the big fat directors at Nvidia laughing at all the mugs that have gone out and bought one, thinking this is the real big boy to replace the 580... muppets. lol. Reply
  • N4v1N - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Nvidia is the bestest! No AMD is the betterest!
    lol...
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Yes Nvidia clocked the ram over 6Ghz because their ram controller is so rockin'.
    In any case, the 7970 is now being overclocked, both are to 7000Ghz ram.
    Unfortunately the 7970 still winds up behind most of the time, even in 2650X1200 screen triple gaming.
    Reply
  • raghu78 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    In the Reference Radeon HD 7970 AND XFX RADEON HD 7970 review the DirectX 11 compute shader Fluid simulation perfomance is far more than in this review.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/amd-radeon-hd-7...

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5314/xfxs-radeon-hd-...

    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph5314/43383...

    Reference HD 7970 -133 and XFX HD 7970 -145 . In this review Reference HD 7970 -115.5

    What has changed in between these reviews. Is it that performance has actually decreased with the latest drivers
    Reply
  • oddnutz - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    well i have been an ATI fanboi forever. So I am due a gfx upgrade which would of already happened if ATI priced their latest cards similar to previous generations. I will watch ATI prices over the next few weeks but it looks like i might be turning green soon. Reply
  • blanarahul - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Actually the GTX 680 REFERENCE BOARD was designed for 375 Watts of power.
    It has a total of 2 6-pin and one 8-pin connector on the board! I realized this after seeing the back of the board.
    Reply
  • Commander Bubble - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    I agree with some of the sensible posts littered in here that Witcher 2 should be included as a comparison point, and most notably the ubersampling setup.
    i run 2x 580GTX SLI @1920 and i can't manage a minimum 60fps with that turned on. That would be a good test for current cards as it absoultely hammers them.

    also, i don't know whether CeriseCogburn is right or wrong, and i don't care, but i'm just sick of seeing his name in the comment list. go outside and meet people, do something else. you are clearly spending way too much time on here...
    Reply
  • beiker44 - Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - link

    I can't wait to get one...or wait for the bad ace Dual 690!!! decisions decisions Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    "At the end of the day NVIDIA already had a strong architecture in Fermi, so with Kepler they’ve gone and done the most logical thing to improve their performance: they’ve simply doubled Fermi."

    Fermi Lite, you mean.

    "Now how does the GTX 680 fare in load noise? The answer depends on what you want to compare it to. Compared to the GTX 580, the GTX 680 is practically tied – no better and no worse – which reflects NVIDIA’s continued use of a conservative cooling strategy that favors noise over temperatures."

    No, the 680's cooling performance is inferior because it doesn't use a vapor chamber. Nvidia skimped on the cooling to save money, it seems.
    Reply

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