The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda's epic sword & magic game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is our RPG of choice for benchmarking. It's altogether a good CPU benchmark thanks to its complex scripting and AI, but it also can end up pushing a large number of fairly complex models and effects at once, especially with the addition of the high resolution texture pack.

Skyrim with its optional high resolution texture pack is the textbook case for 2GB cards right now. At 1680x1050 (with lower quality settings) matters aren’t so bad, but at 1920x1200 1GB cards flat out run out of VRAM. This goes for both the GTX 650 Ti 1GB and the 7850 1GB, leaving the field to 2GB cards such as the 7850 2GB and the 2GB factory overclocked retail cards. To that end with enough VRAM the GTX 650 Ti cards can just hit 60fps with their factory overclocks, but the 7850 2GB, which was already just trailing the GTX 660, is well ahead.

Dropping down to 1680x1050 is enough to mitigate the lack of VRAM, but even then the GTX 650 Ti doesn’t fair particularly well. On an absolute basis it’s at 84fps, which is more than smooth, but the 7850 still enjoys a 30% lead. On that note, along with a lack of total VRAM, a lack of memory bandwidth seems to really be hammering the GTX 650 Ti, which is why we not only see the Zotac card pop to the head of that pack, but is why the 7850 and even the GTX 560 do so well here.

Starcraft II Civilization V
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  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Oh there's the amd fanboy bloviating spew I predicted above you responded to ! LOL I cannot frikkin believe it, I got it exactly correct without looking ! Here I will FTFamd fanboy

    " Don't forget, the 650Ti comes with a game and so does the 560Ti. Coming with a game is necessary just to compete right now. The 460 also has some highly factory overclocked models that can smash out the 7770 while still being cheaper. The 7850 would do better at $10 or $20 lower and a MIR is a great way to accomplish that since a lot of people forget to do them anyway, but buy the card because of the after MIR price. ( I love ripoff MIR because I am an idiot shining on for corpo pig profits I hate so much).
    Reply
  • ionis - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    2 of the 17 2GB 7850s on newegg comes with a game. I didn't bother checking the 1GB, b/c who cares about the 1GB? To say they comes with a game is a bit disingenuous. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    It's okay all the amd fanboys can get the lowest low down 1GB now at the cited lowdown more expensive price, that doesn't matter when they are making their arguments for amd fanboyism.

    Two seconds later they will be screaming the 7850 is future proof with 2g ram so F orget the 650Ti, it is also the best deal againbecause amd roxxors.

    So 1gb price, and magically in the deranged gourd of the amd fanboy 2G card is futureproof.
    That is the amd fanboy brain after it exited the blender 20 years ago.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    The 7850 is a better choice for one freaking big reason you Cerise wouldn't be able to see because you're blinded with green glasses. When you buy a 7850 you always have the choice to go crossfire in the future which is something that happens often in the enthusiast world.

    Usually GTX is branded for the enthusiast market and reffered as the better cards from Nvidia but hey, where is my SLI connector? Oh... there's none... they had to cut it for cost purposes, that's what Nvidia claims..... First time in history a GTX card comes without one... you're so stubborn you can't even see any downside when they're OBVIOUS..... HELL even half of the radeon 7770 comes with Crossfire support and some of them costs 120$...
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I see what you did there... Reply
  • Denithor - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I caught that too. Thought it was cute but kinda silly.

    Wonder how much of the target audience got it?
    Reply
  • Exodite - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I'd wager most of the AT readers passed middle school chemistry. :P Reply
  • Paulman - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    Exodite is right. Also, nerds love memorizing trivia (and the periodic table definitely counts). Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    I'll wager if that's minimally true we've got a dumber group than the general populace.
    Since the idiots group think yours was a great line, the above may in fact be the case.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    As indicated in the review, the 650Ti fills the huge gap in performance between the 7850/GTX 660 and 7770/GTX 650, its price just needs to be adjusted in light of AMD's pre-emptive cuts on the 7850. Once we start seeing ~$20 rebates similar to those we see for the 7850, the 650Ti should be a more appealing option in the sub-$150 range.

    I also think Nvidia missed an opportunity here by turning off Boost for sub-660 parts. It's just inconsistent with the rest of the Kepler line and while it allows partners to benefit on OC parts, they are clearly charging an additional premium instead of offering it at MSRP like past parts such as EVGA FPB.

    Most interesting to me seeing how these bandwidth neutered parts perform is how shading/backend performance has caught up and is generally no longer the biggest bottleneck; bandwidth tends to hold these cards back more often than not compared to their bigger siblings even at modest resolutions like 1080p.
    Reply

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