Skyrim Special Edition asks for little PC horsepower

Get your arrows out and your knees ready! It's almost time to go on another adventure in the region of Skyrim. The release of Skyrim Special Edition is just a few weeks away, and Bethesda Softworks has revealed game's minimum and recommended requirements. The Skyrim Special Edition overhaul brings with it remastered art and effects, volumetric lighting, screen-space reflections, and new snow and water shaders. All this makes it sound like more than a simple tweak to the original's textures, but we'll have to see it in action to know for sure.

Compared to a lot of big-budget games, the requirements needed to run Skyrim Special Edition aren't particularly impressive. A modern computer can run this remaster with ease, and a computer from a couple years ago won't have too tough a time, either. Skyrim, however, is in another world altogether when it comes to its popularity and the varied audience it has attracted over the years that isn't eager to update their systems, or as aware of things like "game requirements." The game requires the following hardware:


  • Windows 7 or later (64-bit Version)
  • Intel Core i5-750 or AMD Phenom II X4-945
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 12GB of free HDD space
  • NVIDIA GTX 470 with 1GB or AMD HD 7870 with 2GB


  • Windows 7 or later (64-bit Version)
  • Intel i5-2400 or AMD FX-8320
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 12GB of free HDD space
  • NVIDIA GTX 780 with 3GB or AMD R9 290 with 4GB

For comparison, the original release required a dual-core CPU clocked at 2.0GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a DirectX 9.0c-compliant graphics card with 512 MB of VRAM. The developer recommended a quad-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a graphics card with 1GB onboard.

While Skyrim Special Edition isn't going to tax many gamers' systems, it's one of the biggest PC games ever. Even today, the game nearly breaks Steam's top 10 top games by simultaneous players thanks to its vast game world, extensive lore, and mod support. The only other single-player game with that kind of track record is Fallout 4.

Along with "hardcore" RPG gamers, Skyrim attracted a broad audience of casual players who don't spend a lot of time in multiplayer or pick up much in the way of cutting-edge games. As an anecdotal example, I have four friends in my Steam list who have each poured over 500 hours into Skyrim, along with plenty of others who have passed 100 hours. Many of those aren't people popping open their PCs to upgrade or heading out to buy a new machine unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

Those are the same users who will see an extra entry in their Steam libraries when the game arrives, as anyone who owns the game and all its DLC on Steam will receive Skyrim Special Edition automatically at no cost. Those players in particular will want to be especially aware of whether or not their computers match up to the posted requirements. Skyrim Special Edition releases on October 28.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options

This discussion is now closed.