Bad performance in modded Skyrim

I've just installed the performance version of Real Vision ENB (in addition to the usual texture mods I use). I haven't used an ENB before, so I wasn't sure how it would affect performance, and it wasn't bad, about 45fps.

But I noticed that it just didn't look as nice as I was used to with just the texture mods running. So I checked the SkyrimPrefs.ini and it was set at 1920x1080.

I changed it to 1440p, to suit the 27" monitor, and the performance hit is terrible. Getting 19fps-22fps in outdoor areas.

This is running on an Asus 280x, however I do have a Sapphire 290 Vapor-X on the way. Does anybody know what kind of fps I might experience with the 290? Or should I give up on ENB and just run with the texture mods?

The ENB is really very nice, but goddamn does 1920x1080 look like crap on a 27" monitor.

An R9 280x cannot run modded Skyrim at 1440p at exceptable framerates.  It is just not powerful enough.

That's what I gathered.With an ENB it can't anyway, with just the texture packs at 1440p it can run from 35-50fps.

I'm just wondering if a 290 is going to be fine, otherwise I'll get rid of that ENB right now.

You should be fine with an R9 290. I would overclock it.  It is free performance.  A Sapphire version should overclock a good amount.  You will get somewhere between 80-120 fps not modded and you can mod to your pleasure from there.


I just switched it to 1920x1200, and the fps is now 40-50.

The 290 should be here next week, so I think this will work out okay until then.

Couple of things (which you might already know about)

  • You could reduce the amount of grass you generate (Increase iMinGrassSize=).
  • You could use SSME to allocate more memory to Skyrim (this also helps reduce CTDs).
  • You could try "I can't believe it's not ENB" which, combined with "Dynavision" will give you the look and DOF effect of an ENB with about 2fps drop. However, this doesn't provide any anti-aliasing, sun rays etc. 
  • You could also check out this thread that has a few more tips:

Also re: the GPU upgrade. I have an 8350 with an R9 280x which ran Skyrim with serious amount of mods + ENB at 1080p about 30FPS, I then upgraded to an MSI R9 290 but my FPS didn't increase.. Obviously my CPU is bottlenecking me, I hope you don't have this same problem.

Best of luck - Mix :)

Drop your resolution to 720p. It will look sharper (Scales better) and you will get a good frame rate. I struggle to manage 30 FPS with a 780. A 280X hasnt got a hope at 1440p

The 280x is doing just fine, 40-55fps in outdoor areas, at 1920x1200 (with the ENB and texture packs still active [perhaps I'm running less of them than most people]).

I'm a littel surprised, as 720p is a massive difference you've recommended there, and on a 27" monitor I can't imagine it looking any good at all.

CPU is a Xeon 1230v3. I think Skyrim seems to respond to Intel a little better anyhow.

  • I think I will decrease the grass size variable, even aside from performance reasons; it feels like there is too much flora even with just the basic version of Skyrim Flora Overhaul installed.
  • I haven't tried SSME, as the real Vision ENB modpage suggested removing the SSME files as part of the installation. I also haven't had any CTDs this time, but the last time I was really into Skyrim the only difference was that I was running an FX4300 and no ENB, and it was constant CTDs.
  • The Real Vision performance version I'm using doesn't have a DOF effect anyway. I don't feel like it's a necessary feature for me so I'm not bothered.

I think I'm okay now, I'm getting a good FPS (not quite 60 though) at a slightly lower resolution, if the 290 lets me bump back up to 1440p and play with this same performance, it'll be great.

reason being 1440p being 4x 720p. Perfect scaling. 1920 by 1200 has to estimate where the pixels go. reason why it will look blurry. Dropping it down to 720p will basicly mean 1 pixel outputs to 4 on screen. You will get jaggies but up the AA in your ENB will help with that. Honestly scaling with resolutions that have whole number rations will lead to better image quality.