So I thought Skyrim was the bees knees !! Awesome game, 175+ hours in and still going strong !! Wow, how did I miss playing this when it first came out ?? I blame Company of Heroes and its mod, Eastern Front, for this.
Anyhow, a certain 'Amazing' Lair regular who shall remain nameless, saw a few of my Skyrim screenshots posted and made light of the fact that I should like, uhh, mod the hell out of the graphics in this game. Oh come on now, how much better can it ... OMG, whoa !!?? That's the same game !!?? Jaw dropping is my first impression after I installed about 12 graphics improvement mods. Note that this is beginner stuff for the true Skyrim modder, and I know gamers who are rolling with over 100 mods built on top of Skyrim.
Anyhow, for its original task, my AMD 7970 was doing an adequate job, but one mod in particular that added lush, and I mean LUSH, vegetation, put a serious hurt on my FPS. Hoping off my horse, i often couldn't even find a downed bandit it was that deep.
So, Newegg sale to the rescue !! This just showed up yesterday at the house:
A Powercolor PCS+ 290X 4GB card for $270 after rebate. Not bad. I was convinced I was going for just a 290, but I don't upgrade as often as I used to, so this card needs to last me 3 years.
The 'before' upgrade shot:
The 'after' upgrade shot:
Good grief, this thing is HUGE !! I knew it was a triple slot setup, and I have had sizable cards before, but it feels like its bigger than my old ATI 4870x2 card.
Side shot, showing the triple slot cooling setup needed to keep this behemoth from throttling:
Last pic, and one to give a heads up to anyone planning on upgrading to a monster card. If you do NOT have right angle SATA cables in your build, you had better get some before buying one of these cards:
So modded Skyrim is now fluid again, with no dropped frames or sluggishness to be found. Surprised ?? Yea. Once again, a video card upgrade isn't initially worth the investment (IMO) of $270, as the old card played the game fine, and I could have very easily removed that one single vegetation mod and had $270 more in my bank account. But I didn't buy just for Skyrim - I bought it so that Company of Heroes 2 would run over 50 FPS (a game that is horribly optimized to the point that a Titan can't even crack 60fps in 1080p with AA turned up) and for future games that can take advantage of the cards raw horsepower.
At no point did I ever think I should wait and hold out for an AMD 390X, as I fully expect those cards to sell for well over $600. I'd prefer a nice 27" IPS 1440p panel like a Yamakasi Catleap 2B to pair with this card next, so that's the next upgrade coming.