Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim requirements revealed

On the heels of Batman: Arkham City developers Rocksteady Studios, Bethesda has revealed the minimum and recommend PC requirements for its next game. Shacknews has the skinny. The minimum requirements are fairly tame, as minimum reqs tend to be, but the recommended specs are worthy of note:

Recommended PC specification:

  • Quad-core Intel/AMD CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • DirectX 9 video card with 1GB RAM – Nvidia GTX 260/AMD Radeon 4890 or better
  • Windows XP/7
  • 6GB hard disk space
  • DirectX compatible soundcard

While the game apparently doesn’t need a particularly speedy graphics card (the GeForce GTX 260 is over three years old), Bethesda recommends a quad-core processor. That makes it sound as though Skyrim will have a greater appetite for CPU performance than some of its contemporaries. Arkham City‘s requirements call for only a fast dual-core chip.

According to a tweet by Bethesda marketeer Pete Hines, the minimum Skyrim requirements quoted by Shacknews will "get you playing," while the recommended specs quoted above will "let you play on High, not on Ultra." Yes, the game will apparently benefit from a faster graphics processor than the GTX 260 or Radeon HD 4890—shocking, I know.

Comments closed
    • focusedthirdeye
    • 8 years ago

    Ahhh so many awesome games out or coming out soon. Maybe once I work for minimum wage for 1-2 years and pay off debt I will actually be able to afford purchasing so many awesome games that make me drool. Plus, steam might be having killer deals by then. Hopefully.
    – Doug Rochford

    • Dysthymia
    • 8 years ago

    Intel Core 2 Duo E5300, 4 GB DDR2 667 MHz, 512 MB Radeon 4850…
    Mmmnope. Not at 1920×1080. Maybe before next year is over I’ll be able to save enough to build a new machine.

    • scribly
    • 8 years ago

    Nice, no need to upgrade my 3 year old system

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      Famous last words. See you soon after you upgrade.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Pretty weak… the recommended specs you could buy in 08. Oblivion you could buy in 06, but the same recommended specs as Skyrim were what was needed to run Oblivion fluidly.

    So, Oblivion had software that pushed hardware for two years after it’s release. Skyrim needs hardware that was available three years ago. In other words, Skyrim doesn’t look any better then Oblivion either objectively or subjectively.

    Yay for consolization?

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      I left the very same comment on Shacknews yesterday and the incomprehensible rage that followed was staggering. Lets see if you guys can make the connection in what I’m saying.

      • EtherealN
      • 8 years ago

      Don’t make the mistake of saying that just because system requirements are similar it doesn’t look better “objectively or subjectively”.

      Best example is the old C64 days. Compare games from the beginning and end of that system’s lifetime. System “requirements” didn’t change at all, but looks (and sound) definitely did. 😉

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    System requirements are useful information, but is the game going to be good? (Judging by the trailer I saw at least 100 years ago, it’s going to be mediocre.)

    That’s what I (will) base my purchases on.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      Did you enjoy Oblivion? Then you’ll probably like this. If you didn’t, probably not.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Everybody hates Oblivion except me.

          • LoneWolf15
          • 8 years ago

          I loved it. For me, it was the most immersive game I’ve played in years, with Fallout 3 being a close second.

          Used to tell the SO (it became a joke among us), “If you need me, I’ll be downstairs killing things with swords.” (or in the case of FO3, “blowing !@#$ up”.)

            • pikaporeon
            • 8 years ago

            Weird, I loved it but didn’t find it immersive because the characters were so jarring model and interaction wise. I’m replaying it now though leading up to skyrim (as now my PC doesnt have any trouble with it) and I forgot how fun things like the Dark Brotherhood questline are.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        I never finished Oblivion, so I never ended up purchasing it. It was a very pretty game and the environments very immersive – but the game was dull as all hell.

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          Yep. My reaction was OH MAN THIS IS SOOOO GORGEOUS.

          3 hours later, after I had all of the eyecandy I could take, I was uninstalling it because I was so bored.

          Very happy I had just borrowed my brother’s Disc to play the game, also.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I hope this will run just as well on an AMD FX as it would on a Sandy Bridge. Heavily threaded. There’s just so much potential in BD waiting to be tapped.

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    CONSOLE PORT. BAahaHAHAHAHAhahahaAHAHAHAHAhahaHAHAHahahahA.

      • ew
      • 8 years ago

      Even worse the prices isn’t any lower than the console versions!

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        They will be after 30-60 days. After a year they’ll be 10% of console prices.

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    Winner: Demon Souls!

    • dashbarron
    • 8 years ago

    At least from what I understand, AC will be pushing better graphics plus physx, which will eat a lot of GPU power.

    Excited about both of these games, but the former more than the latter.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    The world geometry looks pretty good but the texture work is kinda blurry IMHO. The animations are good but not as smooth as BF3. I’m still jazzed for this game!

    • gorillagarrett
    • 8 years ago

    So you need a 4890 to get the same graphics off the game that a xbox 360 gets with it’s outdated 1900XT GPU? Sounds like a bad PC port to me , considering the game has the same graphics and mechanics as in Elder Scrolls 4 Oblivion.

    It’s like BF3.The XBOX 360 version doesn’t look that different from the PC version “on ULTRA setting”, yet it takes a GTX580 to run it smoothly on the PC.Not to mention all the bugs and flies the PC version is packed with.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Running the game at 4MP on ultra at 60fps will look completely different to running it on the xbox at less than 720p (i would suspect) at 30fps with low quality settings is a world of difference. Both are playable and will be good, but one will look far better than the other.

        • gorillagarrett
        • 8 years ago

        At 4mp?
        Most people game on 1080 monitors, and most current 24″ and 27″ are 1080p, these days.

        Anyhow, the game/s don’t look “far better” at all, and in most cases both the console and the PC version have identical graphics and mechanics.

          • Vaughn
          • 8 years ago

          I played BF3 on a xbox 360 and ps3 yesterday.

          Then when I got home I played it on my PC at 1920×1200 most settings on high and textures on ultra and you must need glasses if you think the console version look close.

    • crsh1976
    • 8 years ago

    Looks like I’m *finally* going to have to upgrade my aging Core 2 Duo setup; I’ve had no reason to do so lately as most recent games have bored me to tears, but this is Elder Scrolls we’re talking here and that’s very serious business!

    • QuailRider
    • 8 years ago

    You can blame the relatively low specs for the most recent batch of games squarely on the dreaded console trend. Games these days are targeted towards the capabilities of last gen consoles. We won’t see games that truly challenge modern PC hardware until next gen consoles become commonplace. A sad reality of gaming in 2011.

      • homerdog
      • 8 years ago

      Have you seen Battlefield 3?

    • ish718
    • 8 years ago

    Skyrim doesn’t look much different from oblivion, maybe it will run smoother with the use of more cores O_O.

    • swaaye
    • 8 years ago

    Nevermind

    • phez
    • 8 years ago

    There’s no way I can believe GTX260 can be minimum for this game

      • swaaye
      • 8 years ago

      These aren’t the minimum specs.

      • burntham77
      • 8 years ago

      Reading is essential.

    • cegras
    • 8 years ago

    That’s because the graphics are indeed subpar. Look at some of the promo videos of the water. 2D flowing textures over a ‘waterfall’ that is so blocky I can count the polygons on two hands.

      • can-a-tuna
      • 8 years ago

      I counted 10 polygons in the waterfall. That’s the limit of PS3.

    • DancinJack
    • 8 years ago

    I have that weekend totally blocked off for this game. So sweet.

      • cjb110
      • 8 years ago

      I took the week following off too 🙂

    • Stargazer
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]While the game apparently doesn't need a particularly speedy graphics card (the GeForce GTX 260 is over three years old), Bethesda recommends a quad-core processor. That makes it sound as though Skyrim will have a greater appetite for CPU performance than some of its contemporaries. Arkham City's requirements call for only a fast dual-core chip.[/quote<] Hasn't "quad core" been popping up in recommended specs here and there for quite some time now (even in games that don't really seem to take advantage of it)? Dragon Age: Origins recommended it anyway, and a quick scan of the games featured in the scrollbox on Steam's front page reveals that at least Rage, Deus Ex 3 and Stronghold 3 recommend quad core too. I don't think it *necessarily* means that the game will be remarkably CPU-heavy. It's possible that the recommended spec randomizer just threw it out there.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      If some games recommend a quad while most still recommend a dual-core then they are likely to be just better at multithreading. It wont NEED 4 cores, but if you have a quad then it can balance the loads better, which can get rid of bottlenecks that 2 cores can throw at you from time to time.

        • Stargazer
        • 8 years ago

        I’d agree that they’re (hopefully at least) more *likely* to take better advantage of multithreading, but it’s not certain.

        All else being equal you should be able to expect games with higher number of cores in the recommendations to take better advantage of multithreading, but things are not always equal. Different games have different interpretations of what is required to give a “recommended” experience. For some games the “recommended” specs would, in my opinion, barely qualify for minimum specs, while others have quite reasonable recommendations (there are probably some that give quite generous recommendations too).

        As long as the spread in interpretation of what “recommended” “means” is larger than the benefit you get from extra cores, it’s really hard to say which games take better advantage of multithreading just from the recommended specs. It can give you a hint, but I wouldn’t expect it to be definite.

        I have a feeling that there are games out there that “recommend” a quad core but can’t make significant use of more than 2 cores. I can’t think of any examples at the moment though, so it’s quite possible that I’m mistaken in that regard.

      • mcnabney
      • 8 years ago

      Thanks for the reassurance. I still have a speedy core2 and I had no problems running DA2 at 1080p with all of the eye candy on. I am sure the 560ti helped seal the deal. I already preordered Skyrim and seeing ‘quadcore recommended’ made me nervous. If it needs it the same way that DA2 did I have nothing to worry about.

      • jihadjoe
      • 8 years ago

      Dragon Age: Origins actually made pretty good use of quad core CPUs. Every benchmark of it shows quad cores beating their dual core brethren by around 70-80%.

      [url<]http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,698761/Dragon-Age-Origins-CPU-benchmarks-75-percent-boost-for-quad-cores/Practice/[/url<] [quote<]The multi-core optimizations Bioware integrated into the Eclipse Engine come into full effect: The Intel Q6600 is 75 percent faster than the E6600 (which runs at the same frequency) and the Q9650 beats the E8400 by about 70 percent. Furthermore Dragon age: Origins seems to be running smoother on a multi-core, too, and especially the streaming system seems to benefit. Even overclocked to 3.6 GHz the E8400 can't surpass the Q6600[/quote<]

        • Stargazer
        • 8 years ago

        True enough.

        I didn’t mean to imply that the games I listed were examples of games that did not make good use of quad cores, I merely wanted to show that there are quite a few games that recommend the usage of a quad core processor. The others were grabbed from a simple Steam front page check, but DA stood out in my mind as an “old” game that recommended quad core.

        As an aside, are you aware of any tests of DAs multithreading with somewhat more recent processors? Apparently (at least according to the linked article) DA rarely uses more than 3 cores (though that sounds strange given that they see ~70-80% speedups), and I’m curious if there’s some point where using 2 cores pretty much “catches up”.

      • shank15217
      • 8 years ago

      Games dont have to have quad core for all instances, it maybe that only the multi-player variant use the feature, also maybe small but important portions of the game do take advantage and having a dual core in these situations can really hurt performance so take your chances. If you are going AMD then go quad-core for sure, if Intel you may get away with hyper-threaded dual cores.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder how well my SB 2600K IGP would run this…

    Hmm.. Do I have to build a gaming rig after all?

    Lemme see how awful this looks on PS3.

      • isotope123
      • 8 years ago

      Cheeky bugger.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      nope. just buy a gpu. seriously, tiff, it’s not worth it to get it for ps3.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        I’d have to rebuild the whole thing if I added a GPU. My PSU is rated at only 150W, and there isn’t any space inside my current case for a decent GPU.

          • paulWTAMU
          • 8 years ago

          what the heck do you use? Some miniPC?

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129038[/url<] I just replaced the PSU with a picoPSU (so I could fit in a bigass passive heatsink)

            • brucethemoose
            • 8 years ago

            What the… why on earth do you have a 2600k with no GPU?

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            It has a GPU…

            I don’t have time for heavy gaming anymore, and I’m *gasp* happy enough with PS3 for my gaming needs. And my SB IGP plays Civ IV well at 1080p resolution. But I mainly use it for other stuff, like media transcoding, office applications…

            • Waco
            • 8 years ago

            Why in the world did you buy a 2600K then? You’re not using anything that the K variant gets you unless Intel is even more obtuse in their naming scheme than I thought.

            • swiffer
            • 8 years ago

            K comes with Intel HD 3000 graphics. Non-K uses the HD 2000. K also doesn’t support VT-d or TXT, but that’s not terribly important to most people.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Are you guys playing along or are you really baffled by all his seemingly ‘poor’ choices?

            • EtherealN
            • 8 years ago

            Possibly the same reason why my brother got a 2500K instead of a 2500 – the price difference at time of purchase was microscopic, so spending a few euro extra doesn’t hurt, but means you retain the option to re-use the processor in an OC’d rig sometime in the future.

            Anyone that is poor enough to be worried by the extra cost of the 2600K over the 2600 really shouldn’t buy an i7 an all – they should buy an i3. The difference, at least here, is less than a beer…

    • bcronce
    • 8 years ago

    I removed Skyrim from my wish list once they tried suing the Minecraft guy over “Scrolls”.

      • brucethemoose
      • 8 years ago

      WHY?

      First off, that was Zenimax’s doing: Todd Howard and the Elder Scrolls team aren’t doing the suing.

      2nd of all, Notch loves Oblivion. He talks about it all the time, and even sat down for a 1 on 1 chat with Todd, the lead developer at Bethesda before all this started. Aparrantly, all the Bethesda guys like minecraft too.

        • TurtlePerson2
        • 8 years ago

        Why don’t people understand that Zenimax is Bethesda? The guys who owned Bethesda founded Zenimax as a holding company. The same people who are in charge of Zenimax are in charge of Bethesda.

    • Malphas
    • 8 years ago

    I wish they’d included the specifications required to max it out at a consistently smooth framerate while they were at it.

      • SPOOFE
      • 8 years ago

      That would require a lot of assumptions, though. In a game where the player can amass a huge number of objects him/herself, what guarantee is there that the game won’t chug if you drop 400 swords on the floor and then start kicking them all around?

        • Malphas
        • 8 years ago

        They’d just apply the same testing criteria they used for setting the minimum and recommended specifications, obviously. You clearly can’t test for every possible scenario the player could cause in order to give recommendations, but you can ballpark it based on expected usage, which is what they’ve done here. Point is, they could have done the same for maximum graphic settings while they were at it.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    Off topic.

    @Cyril,

    This is a stab in the dark but did you used to work at Medion?

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    Well my 4850 might finally have to give up, although i wont get Skyrim until xmas, hopefully i can get my hands on a 28nm GPU by then. Looks unlikely though. Still, i guess i can suffer on a lower resolution for a couple of months.

      • homerdog
      • 8 years ago

      I think your 4850 will run this game just fine.

    • NeXus 6
    • 8 years ago

    Only 6GB of hard drive space? I was expecting at least 10GB or more for such a huge game.

      • Madman
      • 8 years ago

      Not if you copy-paste stuff in memory like in Dragon Age 2.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 8 years ago

      That seems low to me as well. Oblivion required 4.6 GB to install when it came out, but that was more than half a decade ago. For reference, the Dragon Age: Ultimate Edition comes in at more than 23 GB.

      They must be recycling a lot of textures and faces again.

        • khands
        • 8 years ago

        They’ve shown the different faces and there’s a fair amount (something like 24 or 32 per race). I’m guessing we’re going to see a lot of the basic building blocks reused over and over again 🙁

          • dashbarron
          • 8 years ago

          This was one of the reasons I didn’t like Elder Scrolls or large RPGs like this. Everything seems too repetitive and open, just filler because they need it. It’s still a good game though.

          And everyone knows a game’s prowess is directly proportional the HDD footprint.

      • tviceman
      • 8 years ago

      I’m afraid it’s a prelude to how mediocre the graphics are going to be. 🙁

        • paulWTAMU
        • 8 years ago

        yeah. The demos, while exciting for an RPG fan, weren’t exactly jaw dropping in the visuals department. Still, if they’re good 9Not great, just good) paired with great gameplay then that works.

      • homerdog
      • 8 years ago

      DVDs haven’t gotten bigger since 2006 IIRC, and it’s still got to fit on one for the XB360 version.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        You can span a game over multiple DVD’s for the xbox (and PC), although usually this only works well when you install it onto the HDD. Since xbox cheaped out in the beginning with the no HDD option you have to be able to run the game completely off the disc (a issue PS3 and PC doesnt have to worry about).

        Still, on the PC they should be throwing all the high res textures they can at us. Even if it includes the “optional high res textures” on a separate disc (or 2) with just basic ones on the main disc that isnt much hassle, you should only have to install it once and then it pleases users with not much space and those who want the full monty.

          • l33t-g4m3r
          • 8 years ago

          Has anyone here heard of texture compression? DXT? 3Dc? Graphics cards support these formats in hardware, and there is no intelligent excuse for not using them. Storing textures as uncompressed on the hard drive is especially retarded.

          • mcnabney
          • 8 years ago

          DA2 released hi res textures to the PC as a download. Maybe Skyrim will do the same?

      • pikaporeon
      • 8 years ago

      I’m going to go ahead and assume that it has to do with the fact that the elder scrolls series has always been big in procedurally generating content

    • yokem55
    • 8 years ago

    Wow. Sniff, sniff…I suppose I’d better get a little more serious about putting my GTX260 out to pasture. Since playing the new Deus Ex I’ve been toying with getting something new, but I may have to finally pull the trigger. I can’t believe it’s taken this long though to get to this point. Any chance we can get a release day video card round-up for the game?

      • Madman
      • 8 years ago

      Consoles 👿

      • khands
      • 8 years ago

      We just had the TR Fall guide, there won’t be any changes till December at the earliest so I wouldn’t worry about it.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    looks like my 4890 wins again!

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      Lucky you, my 4890 suffered a fatal cooler malfunction (thank you Powercolor for using the cheapest-ass components you can scrounge from the lowest quality sweatshops of China).

      I skipped the RMA process and just got a refund to buy an Nvidia because there were a couple of annoying driver bugs that made AMD a show-stopper at the time.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        mine is an MSI, got it not long ago for like 70$. performs quite well, and i’ve been happy with the heat/noise.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 8 years ago

        My 4870 died, and it was because of a driver bug not initializing the fan and running max clocks on the desktop. They fixed the bug, and I got a 6850 as a replacement. Not that I’m using it. How did you get a refund? I could have used that money to buy my nvidia card.

        The 48XX series were fast cards, but AMD pulled one over on us by not supporting it’s tessellation capabilities, or allowing MLAA which runs in OpenCL. (worked in hacked drivers.) That’s why I switched.

          • LoneWolf15
          • 8 years ago

          I think it was developers who didn’t support the tessellation capabilities, and DirectX, not necessarily AMD.

          AMD’s hardware tessellation was advanced at the time of the 4890 release, and ahead of DirectX requirements at that point, so no-one used it. By the time tessellation became a DirectX feature, AMD’s tessellation units weren’t up to the newer standards.

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