Skyrim – Single GPU Cards
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (DirectX 9)
The Empire of Tamriel is on the edge. The High King of Skyrim has been murdered.
Alliances form as claims to the throne are made. In the midst of this conflict, a far more dangerous, ancient evil is awakened. Dragons, long lost to the passages of the Elder Scrolls, have returned to Tamriel.
The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons.
Our settings for Skyrim
Here is a video our testing run through, for your reference
Onward to Skyrim! The single GPU results are consistent from FRAPS to observed and show the GTX Titan as the obvious winner, running the game at 3840×2160 steadily over 60 FPS. The HD 7970 GHz Edition is coming in second followed by the two GTX 680 options.
Frame times are pretty consistent and even for all four cards though all of them exhibit a few cases of hitches and spikes; something that Skyrim has become known for unfortunately.
The GTX Titan averages nearly 70 FPS, the Radeon HD 7970 52 FPS and the GTX 680s in both 2GB and 4GB form hit 45 FPS based on our data. All of them result in fairly even frame time drops as well.
Variance is basically non-existent on all four options.
As we have seen time and time again, the Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire have serious problems with CrossFire and runts. What you might find interesting is that we didn't see much issue with Skyrim at lower resolutions but now that Skyrim is running at 4K, the GPU is much more of a bottleneck and thus our runt frames return.
You can see the issues pop their head up here as the orange line very quickly moves between near 0 ms frame times and 20+ ms frame times. All the SLI solutions are well metered though and we only see a small issue late in the test run at about the 50 ms mark with the GTX Titan SLI setup.
Averaging over 120 FPS, the GTX Titans have the best overall experience though with slightly more steep slope on the FPS percentile graph, which points to slightly more frame variance than we would like. The GTX 680s in SLI both have averages over 80 FPS with the edge going to the 4GB model ever so slightly.
For all of the NVIDIA SLI options, the frame variance is actually pretty low with only the poor results from the HD 7970s in CrossFire standing out.
Looking for native 4K captures of our Skyrim gameplay? Have fun!