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Old 03-30-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
aceshigh23
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Default 2560x1600, only care about Skyrim, which card?

As the title says, I have a 2560x1600 monitor, the only current gen game I care about is Skyrim, and noise is also a consideration. The reviews I've seen seem to suggest that the 680 could handle Skyrim with my resolution, nor does it seem like it's that much louder than my current 5850 (which can't handle Skyrim well). Should I pull the trigger on the 680, or wait until the 685 comes out later (and gets an after-market cooler than is quieter than stock)?
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:31 PM   #2
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There's no real indication of when GK110 will hit and the 680 is a damned good card, so I'd just with that. Availability seems kind of constrained right now though, so you might need to do some shopping around.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:33 PM   #3
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Seems like you've mostly answered your own question. 680 should be pretty good for Skyrim at 2560x1600. May want to wait for the 4GB version for filling up loads of high res textures, it really does make the game look better, but 2GB is enough to play around with some decent textures.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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Pull the trigger on the 680, it is a beast. What CPU you running BTW skyrim likes a fast CPU.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Concillian View Post
Seems like you've mostly answered your own question. 680 should be pretty good for Skyrim at 2560x1600. May want to wait for the 4GB version for filling up loads of high res textures, it really does make the game look better, but 2GB is enough to play around with some decent textures.
+1

2GB is enough for some HD mods. If you want to stick with Nvidia and Skyrim is your game, I'd wait for the 4GB model to arrive. The amount of mods available is incredible and still growing. I'd hate to be limited in what mods I could run, especially with such a powerful card.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:19 AM   #6
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Pull the trigger on the 680, it is a beast. What CPU you running BTW skyrim likes a fast CPU.
i7-860
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:30 AM   #7
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Very slow if at stock.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:31 AM   #8
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Will be fine, on that resolution you'll be more GPU limited anyway. Also, how is that very slow at stock? It's a fast CPU, equal to i7-920.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:46 AM   #9
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The 680 will be more than enough. With one 580 disabled I still reach 60 FPS in the most demanding areas. I could use more vram, just at the edge with the HD DLC and one other texture mod. Haven't gone over 1340 yet with just FXAA and ultra.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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I'd say 7970, just for the additional vram. My skyrim with mods easily maxed out the 2GB on my 680, and performance went down noticeably.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:54 AM   #11
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Go for the 7970, it has 1GB more VRAM and performs similar or beter than the 680.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/508?vs=555
EDIT - Its actually a bit slower for your specific game, skyrim, but its also clocked slightly lower. But it does have an additional 1GB VRAM for textures, so the choice is up to you, both are great cards.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:30 AM   #12
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I am running Skyrim on my new GTX680.

I've seen vram usage go up to 1.6-1.7GB already.

I am gaming at 1920x1200.
Bethesda's official high-res texture pack.
A few more mods, but with little impact (I think). Glorious and Lush Grass. Skyrim Flora Overhaul. SkyUI and Categorized Favorites Menu. Static Mesh Improvement Mod, Water and Terrain Enhancement Redux.
8xMSAA plus 4x Transparency SSAA.
Quality SSAO (through the driver/inspector).
Ultra settings.

Don't worry about your CPU.
I have a E8500. (2 cores, 3.16GHz). When playing, both my CPU (windows task manager) and GPU (nvidia inspector) are running at 100% utilization. To me, that is an indicator that my CPU is not bottlenecking my GPU. It would maybe, if I hadn't enabled all that eyecandy. But with high eyecandy (and high resolution), your GPU will be so busy that the CPU will not bottleneck it.

As said, I've seen my GPU vram usage go to 1.6-1.7GB. Looking at nvidia inspector when alt-tabbed. At 1920x1200. At 2560x1600 you will be using more vram. I don't know if Skryrim will be more aggressive freeing vram when it gets closer to 2GB (it might). I think your 2560x1600 will be fine with 2GB, but of course I am not sure.

Can't say anything about other games yet. Skyrim has kept me busy this week.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:57 AM   #13
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So you have to choose what you prefer higher level of AA or more texture modes. If you can wait I would wait for a proper high-end card from nvidia that's what I will do.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:59 AM   #14
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7970 would be the way to go, vRAM says it all.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:16 AM   #15
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The fact that I saw my video-ram at 1.6-1.7GB at 1920x1200 does not mean that 2 GB is not enough for Skyrim at 2560x1600.

Do you know what happens when the usage approaches the max vram ? Maybe the drivers will be more aggressive reclaiming (freeing) unused memory ? Maybe Skyrim will purge more data from cells where you've been a while ago, but are not now ? Engineering is always a matter of judging space versus time. Keeping data from older cells around (when you have enough free memory) will help speed up the (loading of the) game if you revisit those cells.

Do you know the impact on vram when playing at higher resolution ? Will it need 100MB more ? 200MB more ? Lots of data in vram will be textures and meshes. Those won't change when your monitor's resolution is bigger. Only the framebuffers (and other temporary scratchpads) will be bigger. Note I'm playing at 8xMSAA, while 4xMSAA would give almost the same quality. If I understand correctly, 8xMSAA will make framebuffers (and other scratchpads) twice as big as 4xMSAA, right ?

The only way to conclude that 2GB is not enough, is to see a game, or see a situation, where a game is using the full 2GB, and the game becomes choppy because of vram thrashing. I didn't see that. I could install more custom high-res textures, and see if I can push vram usage over 2GB. But I rather not mess too much with my install. The game is running very nicely, and I want to keep it that way.

Last edited by Gryz; 03-31-2012 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryz View Post
The fact that I saw my video-ram at 1.6-1.7GB at 1920x1200 does not mean that 2 GB is not enough for Skyrim at 2560x1600.

Do you know what happens when the usage approaches the max vram ? Maybe the drivers will be more aggressive reclaiming (freeing) unused memory ? Maybe Skyrim will purge more data from cells where you've been a while ago, but are not now ? Engineering is always a matter of judging space versus time. Keeping data from older cells around (when you have enough free memory) will help speed up the (loading of the) game if you revisit those cells.

Do you know the impact on vram when playing at higher resolution ? Will it need 100MB more ? 200MB more ? Lots of data in vram will be textures and meshes. Those won't change when your monitor's resolution is bigger. Only the framebuffers (and other temporary scratchpads) will be bigger. Note I'm playing at 8xMSAA, while 4xMSAA would give almost the same quality. If I understand correctly, 8xMSAA will make framebuffers (and other scratchpads) twice as big as 4xMSAA, right ?

The only way to conclude that 2GB is not enough, is to see a game, or see a situation, where a game is using the full 2GB, and the game becomes choppy because of vram trashing. I didn't see that. I could install more custom high-res textures, and see if I can push vram usage over 2GB. But I rather not mess too much with my install. The game is running very nicely, and I want to keep it that way.
When you hit the vRam wall, your FPS either start stuttering or simply die.

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryz View Post
I am running Skyrim on my new GTX680.

I've seen vram usage go up to 1.6-1.7GB already.

I am gaming at 1920x1200.
Bethesda's official high-res texture pack.
A few more mods, but with little impact (I think). Glorious and Lush Grass. Skyrim Flora Overhaul. SkyUI and Categorized Favorites Menu. Static Mesh Improvement Mod, Water and Terrain Enhancement Redux.
8xMSAA plus 4x Transparency SSAA.
Quality SSAO (through the driver/inspector).
Ultra settings.

Don't worry about your CPU.
I have a E8500. (2 cores, 3.16GHz). When playing, both my CPU (windows task manager) and GPU (nvidia inspector) are running at 100% utilization. To me, that is an indicator that my CPU is not bottlenecking my GPU. It would maybe, if I hadn't enabled all that eyecandy. But with high eyecandy (and high resolution), your GPU will be so busy that the CPU will not bottleneck it.

As said, I've seen my GPU vram usage go to 1.6-1.7GB. Looking at nvidia inspector when alt-tabbed. At 1920x1200. At 2560x1600 you will be using more vram. I don't know if Skryrim will be more aggressive freeing vram when it gets closer to 2GB (it might). I think your 2560x1600 will be fine with 2GB, but of course I am not sure.

Can't say anything about other games yet. Skyrim has kept me busy this week.
Wow are you running that E8500 at stock? I would suggest you upgrade soon. I remember when I was running dual gtx 460s and a E8400 overclocked to 3.6ghz. I had to turn down a lot of settings in some games just to keep it from getting choppy. And a gtx 680 is quite a bit faster then 460s in sli.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:39 AM   #18
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Very slow if at stock.
Huh? You saying as I7-870 is slow? I disagree... or you mean the gfx cards
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Wow are you running that E8500 at stock?
As you are asking, yes, I am eagerly awaiting Ivy Bridge.
Stop reading if you don't care about why.


I bought my E8500 in Jan 2008. Awesome CPU. I didn't think the early i5 or i7 CPUs were worth the upgrade. Especially since so many games never really truly use more than 2 cores. I bought a gtx260 in Oct 2008. They were a nice match. For 3 years I could play most games with acceptable eyecandy and acceptable framerates. (I value eyecandy above pure framerates).

I decided to skip the gtx460. It wasn't even twice as fast as the gtx260. The gtx480 was too loud/hot. There were already rumors of the 500 series. So I waited.

I did buy a gtx580, exactly a year ago. But it was very loud at idle. Which irritated the heck out of me. So I sent it back. I was playing Rift at the time. The gtx580 didn't make the game more fluent than my gtx260 did. All it did was enabled me to go from 4xFXAA to 4xMSAA. Ending up at the same framerates. I thought 430 euros was too much to just switch AA modes.

That was a mistake. I should have kept the gtx580. And use Afterburner to tweak the fanspeeds. Still having my gtx260, I decided to not buy a Sandy Bridge cpu. And to wait for Bulldozer. Not worth the wait. But new AMD and Nvidia GPUs were expected in a few months. And Ivy Bridge in January. So I waited more. And more. And more. If I had known about all the delays, I would have bought a gtx580 and 2500k a year ago.

But the wait is over. My gtx680 is here. My 3570k or 3770k will be here in 4 weeks. Looking forward to it.

But the E8500 was an awesome CPU. I expect framerates to go up in many games with a 3570k. But not by much. Most modern games depend more on the GPU now. Even Skyrim.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:56 AM   #20
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GTX 680 is the best card out there today, but if you play with mods I'd either hold out for 4gb 680's, wait for 7970 to drop in price, or wait for bigK.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:08 PM   #21
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I play Skyrim at 1600p 4xmsaa with the official hd texture mods, the hd 2k pack over top, water mods, sky mods, flora mods etc. I see constant memory usage st 1950gb, but no hitching or stuttering and 60fps vsync on. Using 2x 680s.

I also have AO in the drivers on quality and 8xtrsaa on.

Won't mean your fps will be the same, but your memory situation will be.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:20 PM   #22
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But the E8500 was an awesome CPU. I expect framerates to go up in many games with a 3570k. But not by much. Most modern games depend more on the GPU now. Even Skyrim.
I agree that the importance of the cpu is exaggerated on most computer hardware forums. But I think you really will notice the difference in your next cpu upgrade. I upgrade, sidegrade, downgrade a lot just to mess around with different stuff. Just in the last 10 months I went from a i5 2500k 4.4ghz to Q6600 at 3.2ghz to an E8400 at 3.6ghz to a i3 530 at 4.5ghz to the i5 760 at 4ghz. Honestly the only noticeable difference I experienced while gaming was the E8400. It was the only cpu that could not hold playable frame rates in some games and that I would deemed unacceptable. I got rid of it asap. The i3 overclocked on the other hand was a fantastic deal at $60 used. I would have kept it had I not found a used i5 760 cheap.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:52 PM   #23
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i'm running the official high res pack, 2K textures, and doubled the game's draw distance. when i was running the 7970, vRAM usage was around 2.6 GB. on the 680, vRAM instantly gets capped at 2 GB and performance suffered. running at 2560x1440 resolution, so i'd imagine the situation would be worse for 1600p.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:41 PM   #24
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i'm running the official high res pack, 2K textures, and doubled the game's draw distance. when i was running the 7970, vRAM usage was around 2.6 GB. on the 680, vRAM instantly gets capped at 2 GB and performance suffered. running at 2560x1440 resolution, so i'd imagine the situation would be worse for 1600p.
+1

Screen capture playing Skyrim at 1600p 8xMSAA, 8xAAA with some HD mods.




I'm sure you could get away with 2GB by turning some settings down but it would be a shame with such a powerful card to have to do that.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:59 PM   #25
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If you play without AA or with lower game settings, does this have any effect on memory usage or is it strictly texture size & resolution?
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