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I recently installed the Sharpshooters Extreme Graphics Vision ENB mod which slowed down things way too much. I'd like to increase Skyrim's performance while still being able to continue using this mod and maintain my graphics levels as they are.

My computer currently has an nVidia graphics card and 6 GB of RAM.

Is there a way to boost Skyrim's performance without sacrificing the graphical fidelity the Sharpshooters mods provides, either through changing settings or the use of alternative mods that provide the same thing, only more efficiently?

UPDATE: ok, so i removed skyrim for now (because i have a whole passle of work to do, and killing the brothers of faeldon isn't one of them) but i also stumbled across the skyrim hialgo performance mod, which might be cool too?

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This question needs a bit more focus as it is a bit disjointed. You're asking how to improve your Skyrim PC's(specs we know nothing about) performance by using intense graphical mods. Briefly looking at the MOD, it seems like there are numerous graphical features such as Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field that can be turned off to improve performance. –  tiddy May 30 '12 at 19:55
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It seems that the Sharpshooter MODS graphical overhead when running with all settings on is way too high for your PC/Graphics Card. No performance enhancing mods will be able to support this. –  tiddy May 30 '12 at 20:04
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NVIDIA what? 6800? 670? –  oscilatingcretin May 31 '12 at 11:49
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Why does it matter ... think of the difference between a gt210 and gt560ti for example –  Alok Jun 1 '12 at 21:29
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The specific card is important, it is equals to saying "my car is european, why won't it drive fast?" No-one would be able to tell if you own a Lada or a Ferrari based from that... and that is the important part. Your card would be closer to the lada then to the ferrari in this case. –  Arperum Apr 15 '13 at 9:38
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Some mods or software that you could use to increase performance:

  • CTD and Memory patch ENBoost

    Have you tired from CTDs when your game is heavily modded? Unable to install HD texture packs without CTDs or travel in the world very fast? This patch fixes the problem and also brings you higher performance even without memory fixes enabled. THIS IS NOT A GRAPHIC MODIFICATION, so feel free to use with vanilla game. THIS WILL NOT DEGRADE QUALITY IN ANY WAY TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE.

  • Unofficial Skyrim Patch - a comprehensive bugfixing mod; also contains a "savegame debloatifier" feature that may help improve performance

  • Skyrim Performance PLUS - installing it will give little (unnoticeable) graphics degradation, while certain CPU-intensive effects (falling rain, snow, leaves, etc.) are underway

  • injectSMAA - like FXAA, but looks and performs better (disable FXAA if using this; if using ENBSeries, use the 'ProxyLibrary' .INI setting to also use injectSMAA with ENBSeries)

  • Skyrim Project Optimization

    [uses] a feature called Occlusion Culling, where [it] manually puts occlusion planes in some spots of the interiors to improve performance. What these occlusion planes do is unrender parts of the cell/objects/NPCs that are not being seen by the player, in most cases behind a wall or above/below floors (occluded).

    If less things are being draw on-screen at the same time, it means your hardware is using less processing power to achieve the same thing, and it automatically converts in better performance.

These mods will increase performance, depending on a computer's specs, but will degrade graphics:

  • Colorful Lights - No Shadows - More FPS

    If your computer spec lurks somewhere near or below the edge of the recommended minimum system requirements you have probably noticed that the option to disable shadows is not offered in the launcher, and consequently may have noticed that the low quality shadow settings look like garbage. If you scratched a little deeper you probably tried disabling shadows by changing the commonly recommended ini values and were disappointed to find everything had turned dark and colorless. The vanilla shadow options amount to menu choices between a garbled blocky flickering striped mess and a beautiful slide show, or editing the ini to induce a global dungeon vibe. This mod offers a alternative that I think strikes a nice balance between eye candy and system performance by removing most of the system-hog shadows. Everything will still be shaded to create the static, nice-looking shadows and colorful lights that utilize relatively little system resources. The shadows that are removed by this are the dynamically-rendered flickering shadows, commonly found near flames.

  • Bethesda HD Textures Redux

    This is a cut down version of Bethesda HD texture pack for Skyrim. It aims at improving Skyrim visuals while, at the same time, allowing PC users with old systems to benefit from higher resolution textures.

  • Interior and Dungeon Fog Remover
    Removes fog in dungeons and indoor locations; use this if getting low performance in these areas.

    Replaces most default "fog" meshes with blank ones.

    Several people have commented saying they are getting better performance in specific areas, so if you notice unusual performance drops in the presence of fog, this might help you.

  • HiAlgoBoost FPS Performance Accelerator

    HiAlgoBoost dynamically modifies internal rendering resolution in order to increase frame rate, and utilizes various additional approaches to make the game more responsive and smoothly controllable. It does not affect game contents.

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Ah! Now we are on the right track. I will keep this open a tad longer on case something else is out there, otherwise this is brilliant. –  bharal May 31 '12 at 10:58
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You mentioned HiAlgoBoost, and I can heartily recommend it. It's a clever mod that I'm using even though I have a decent computer. It reclaims processing power from the GPU by degrading the visuals exactly when you can't tell – when the view is moving. It manages this by forcing the GPU to render as if the screen is half to a third the resolution, which gives a proportional boost in FPS, then scaling the output to fit your real resolution. While you're standing still you get full resolution, but when you move yourself or the view it instantly gives you more FPS to reduce or eliminate stutter. The FAQ section on how it works is good and informative.

I'm using it right now just because vanilla Skyrim visuals are enough to cause the slightest stutter that gets on my nerves. With HiAlgo running I can swing the view on the dizziest of circles and it's smooth as glass.

I'm not running ENB, but do read the readme – it has special instructions for how to install it so that both ENB and HiAlgo get injected together.

My only complaint with HiAlgo is that it doesn't handle ambient occlusion well. I get ambient shadows that flicker when I start and stop moving – probably something to do with AO not scaling with the changes in resolution. I'm probably going to turn off AO since it's the only thing that reminds me that the resolution trick is even happening. I'm forcing AO in the NVidia control panel though, so perhaps your experience might be different using ENB's AO settings.

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The short answer is "you can't". That mod introduces additional work for the GPU, and it's just not able to keep up. Most performance-enhancing mods target the CPU, and wouldn't help you with your GPU bottleneck.

You probably could reach a happy medium where the perceived quality of the resulting picture would be better with Sharpshooter and lower core graphics settings than without Sharpshooter, but that's something you're going to have to do on your own, as we know next to nothing about your computer and have no way of testing.

You might be able to find some good downscales of the high-res textures they released as DLC (assuming you are using that DLC) to lighten the GPU's burden somewhat without compromising too much video quality.

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apparently "i can" though! –  bharal Jun 2 '12 at 0:25
    
And did you get an appreciable FPS boost without impairing visual quality and using Sharpshooter? –  kotekzot Jun 2 '12 at 1:29
    
i dunno, i stopped playing for now on account of work! when i reinstall, ill try the mods above and let y'all know! –  bharal Jun 2 '12 at 2:13
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