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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  • SlyNine - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    While I love BF3, it's not the only game that matters, but it is the only example of the 680 beating the 7970 at frame rates that matter. However the 7970 is catching up as the res goes up. If we add 2 monitors does the 680 still win ?

    BTW Crysis and Metro 2033 FPS matters to me. Do you think the GPU world revolves around you and what you want? You are not the center of the Videocard world.
    Reply
  • Eugene86 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    No, the GPU world doesn't revolve around me but as I already said, nobody but you and a handful of other people actually care about the Crysis and Metro benchmarks because almost nobody plays those games anymore.
    In my example, Battlefield 3 is a current game that is actually played by people so those benchmarks are useful.
    The only reason why Crysis and Metro are used are because they are benchmark games that stress the video cards to their limits. This is nice for bragging rights but completely useless in the real world.
    Nvidia and AMD both release video cards that are aimed to please their main market, which is gamers who play on a single monitor at 1080p.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Friday, March 23, 2012 - link

    So what are you baseing this on? can you give me any sources?

    I'm not buying a 600$ video card for just one game.

    Plus like I said, as the settings go up, they seem to converge. I can't help but wonder if the 7970 would overtake the 680 at some point before we hit 30fps.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    Then look at SHOGUN 2 total war in this very article man.
    Wow, s many of you are so controlled and so mindless on things...
    " Total War: Shogun 2 is the latest installment of the long-running Total War series of turn based strategy games, and alongside Civilization V is notable for just how many units it can put on a screen at once. As it also turns out, it’s the single most punishing game in our benchmark suite "
    680 takes the top in that game man.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, March 25, 2012 - link

    ''Nvidia and AMD both release video cards that are aimed to please their main market, which is gamers who play on a single monitor at 1080p''

    Well then it means that gamers can be more than pleased with a radeon 6870 at 140$ that runs everything with 95% graphical options enabled or a gtx 560ti(not the 448 cores version) for around 200$ which performs a little better than the 6870 and still does the trick in everygame at 1080p.

    Prices taken from the bay as no regular 560ti was available on newegg for price comparison.

    Oh... and for the 5% graphical options you can't turn on, you'll only notice when you go on a sunday walk in your games, but doing so will have you dead in a second if you play online against other players...
    Reply
  • b3nzint - Monday, March 26, 2012 - link

    i play metro, cysis a lot, amazing graphic! but thats not "real world" to me. maybe if i play bf3 im in real world? Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    Shogun 2 total war, the most demanding game in the benches- did you read ?
    Nvidia GTX680 sweeps the entire resolution set beating the slower 7970 that cannot handle modern demanding games as well,.
    Reply
  • akse - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Seems impossible to do such a feat!!! Considering they launched it months later than the competitor! Reply
  • arjuna1 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Correct??

    You call +10 fps difference at best, on certain situations, a domination??

    The only good thing this will bring is prices down, the rest is truly unremarkable, for both companies.

    See you in the 8xxx/7xxx series.
    Reply
  • Wreckage - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Maybe I was a bit hasty. I did forget to mention that it hard launched with working drivers and working h.264 encoding, also quiet under load. Impressive++ Reply

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