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:

Minimum

  • 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

Recommended

  • 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.

Comments closed
    • puppetworx
    • 3 years ago

    Even after hundreds of hours of gametime I might actually play this through, just one more time. I used to love me some cave raiding in between roleplaying as a loot hoarder.

    • Growler
    • 3 years ago

    For those of you thinking about getting this and have the base game but not all of the DLC, if you buy the DLC together, Steam will give you a discount based on how many you’re getting. I have the base game, but none of the add-ons. The bundle for the three is $17.55, which is a big discount from buying the whole special edition.

      • puppetworx
      • 3 years ago

      Instant-gaming.com has the complete DLC bundle for under $9. (Legendary Edition is only $10 too)

        • jessterman21
        • 3 years ago

        Thanks man – wasn’t sure that would work!

    • Ruiner
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder if the engine changes will improve Enderal as well.
    Great conversion, if you haven’t tried it, btw.

    • OptoMystic
    • 3 years ago

    Ok a very cool update to a game that is played again and again, like watching a movie you love over and over. What is next? Skyrim VR? Can you imagine that?

    Of course you can tell by my comments above that I love this game. I will be getting my free release from Steam. I really would like to see continued developement of Skyrim. It is hands down the best RPG I have played. Best storyline, most engrossing level of quests, the crafting is phenomenal. Kudos to Bethesda, but what else would you expect from the company that brought you the 2 best most engrossing RPG games to date. (Fallout 4, Skyrim)

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      I think the witcher 3 is a superior game, though it’s also much newer. Witcher 3 FAR beats fallout 4 imo

        • Billstevens
        • 3 years ago

        Agreed but these games generally have a slightly different audience. I have never played a game as full of story driven content as the Witcher 3.

          • DancinJack
          • 3 years ago

          FWIW, I am a huge fan of both. I have played ES going back to Morrowind and have been a fan forever. I thought W3 was a better game, by quite a bit, than Skyrim.

      • brucethemoose
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<] Best storyline, most engrossing level of quests, the crafting is phenomenal[/quote<] Engrossing, yes. Best crafting and storyline... ehhhh. I'm not one of those old, hardcore fans who thinks RPGs died after Planescape or Baldurs Gate. Heck, I bounced off the Witcher series, it's just not my type of game, I've put many, many hours into Oblivion, Skyrim, FO3 and FO4. The crafting system, frankly, is quite rubbish... even STEP, a modding guide who's sole purpose is enhancing vanilla Skyrim instead of overhauling it, recommends installing a crafting overhaul mod. Main storyline is OK, but like many RPGs, the real magic comes from the side quests and the little details in the game.

      • Ruiner
      • 3 years ago

      Skyrim VR? Bring it! It’s as close as we can get today to Lt. Worf’s exercise program.

      • Ifalna
      • 3 years ago

      It’s been a few years, but as far as I remember, the main story was very barebones and extremely short.

      While it is a beautiful world (esp with 4K textures, ENB profiles and prettier models *cough*) I wouldn’t call it “best RPG” by a long shot because of the shortcomings in terms of story.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    I’ll be playing this as long as the showstopping bugs are gone.

    I was about ten hours into Skyrim when I encountered one of the bugged quest NPCs. I remember doing some googling and the options were either a savegame editor or reroll a new character and hope for the best.

    I remember constantly having to fast travel back to somewhere because I kept getting stuck in the scenery too, so I filed it as “wait for a proper bugfix and come back to it” but never did.

      • Airmantharp
      • 3 years ago

      I know it took a little while, and man were there bugs of every kind (I had a pair of 2GB HD6950’s, specifically because I was running 1600p and the GTX570 Nvidia equivalents were stuck at 1.25GB, and I had to disable Crossfire), but they did get past most of them to the point that you could complete the game satisfactorily.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Yes, but it wasn’t Bethesda that fixed the game.

        I believe the game became truly playable because of the unofficial community patches, which Bethesda later endorsed and included in an official patch.

        I read about it but I don’t have enough time to give good games a first chance, there was enough other stuff to play that Skyrim didn’t get a second.

    • Aegaeon
    • 3 years ago

    Hopefully they updated the engine so the physics aren’t glitchy above 60 fps, I’ve gotten too used to 144 Hz since joining the high refresh rate monitor club this summer.

      • The Egg
      • 3 years ago

      Amen to that. Should be the most important part of the whole update.

        • Firestarter
        • 3 years ago

        and it will never happen unless they ditch their Creation Engine

      • Airmantharp
      • 3 years ago

      I did the same, and I also hope they’ve updated this; while G-Sync will help a little, that high framerate is just something to behold.

      (I just repeated the Mass Effect series at 144Hz, except the last one, because your powers wouldn’t work from behind cover at >92FPS!)

      • jessterman21
      • 3 years ago

      Probably the same as Fallout 4 – where just gravity is tied to framerate

    • DataMeister
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder if there will be a reduced purchase price for those with the main game but none of the DLC.

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      I bought the complete legendary edition of skyrim on kinguin for 7$, dlc included

    • Cannonaire
    • 3 years ago

    Did the original release have a 64-bit version? I could see the extra memory availability as a boon for mods.

      • Noinoi
      • 3 years ago

      No.

      It didn’t even start Large Address Aware at the beginning, limiting it to 2 GB (without tinkering with the exe); LAA was thankfully patched later on, though, so it should be able to make use up to 4 GB of system memory (theoretically, at least) on 64-bit systems.

      The Special Edition being truly 64-bit should mean even better things.

        • ClickClick5
        • 3 years ago

        You remember when they patched the game (version 1.4 if I remember right) and they removed LAA? They released 1.5 to add it back in again. I noticed something was wrong as suddenly, I started CTD every time I would walk by Markarth. I checked the EXE and noticed it was not LAA anymore. Fixed it, kept playing. Then version 1.5 came out with it already activated.

        Why the game was not 64bit from launch always threw me.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 3 years ago

      No it didn’t, which was one of the reasons heavily modded installs used to be so unstable. Community developers have done some staggering things with the memory patch to get it to run reasonably well, but even so having 32 bit memory limits removed should improve stability even more.

    • TwoEars
    • 3 years ago

    Also known as “Skyrim – Stolen Mods Edition”

      • JosiahBradley
      • 3 years ago

      Hey they aren’t charging for it so it would be the same as releasing a Linux distro with pre-picked software.

      • SoundChaos
      • 3 years ago

      That’s what all the nexus fanboys keep saying! This edition is going to be more natural visual improvements that utilize the system better, and overall plays smoother.

      Now that that’s out of the way.. I am also one that mods Skyrim like crazy and I hope you are wrong, but I highly suspect you are completely right. It just needs to be a tiny bit better than basic mods to get me to play the whole game over again.

        • MrDweezil
        • 3 years ago

        This is going to break all of my mods right?

          • K-L-Waster
          • 3 years ago

          Not sure about “all” but anything that requires SKSE or an MCM is going to be problematic. Anything that relies purely on the Creation Kit or models & textures should be fine afaik.

          • TwoEars
          • 3 years ago

          Most likely.

        • TwoEars
        • 3 years ago

        I very much doubt this version will bring anything new and worthwhile for PC players. It’s just a way to steal mods from the nexus, release them for consoles and sell a few more copies in the process.

          • Rodin
          • 3 years ago

          You’ve obviously missed the biggest asset this is bringing to pc gamers then.

          They program has been upgraded to 64bit

          This is massive. The previous limits on how much memory a mod could use or how many mods could be run at once are gone.
          No more worrying about random crashes to the desktop because of hitting the memory limit.

          This is going to take modding to a whole new level, if you think modded Skyrim is beautiful now, give it 6 months and see what you think after that.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder if they’ll be releasing on gog.com or other non-steam platforms this time around.

      • NTMBK
      • 3 years ago

      Only if GoG adds support for paid mods…

    • I.S.T.
    • 3 years ago

    780’s definitely more than what I got. ._. Hope the new settings don’t kill my GTX660.

    Incidentally, wasn’t there some shadow setting or something on the original release that killed performance but barely looked better? I seem to recall something like that

      • mczak
      • 3 years ago

      In contrast to what the title says, the requirements don’t look particularly modest to me. Ok on the cpu side maybe, but on the graphics side that seems to be pretty much inline what other new games require (the other question of course is how well a title actually runs with the recommended/minimum configurations).
      Of course, I just barely meet the recommended configuration for the original skyrim (on the graphics side), maybe it’s time to upgrade :-).

        • sweatshopking
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah. higher than I was thinking, and game still not looking that good.

      • cmrcmk
      • 3 years ago

      Looks like a GTX660 is about double their minimum but half their recommended. I’ll bet it’ll work fine as long as your resolution and options are set appropriately. Of course if you’ve got an extra $200, those GTX 1060’s look pretty sweet…

        • DPete27
        • 3 years ago

        The GTX660 is pretty much equivalent to the 7870. [url=https://techreport.com/review/23527/review-nvidia-geforce-gtx-660-graphics-card/11<]See here[/url<] But yes, 1.5x the GTX470. See, game requirements are pointless.

      • Noinoi
      • 3 years ago

      It probably won’t hurt too much to just try it and see how it goes. Or check Fallout 4’s playability with that card – it should be a close approximation.

      Ultra vs High shadow setting in the original, perhaps? That setting was the difference between 30-40 FPS and capping it at 60 most of the time on my GTX 760M-based laptop. I’ve also heard that the CPU does a lot more work on the shadows than you’d expect, so it might also be somewhat CPU-dependent, though I might be wrong. To my eyes, Ultra shadows seemed to only provide an increased distance before shadows disappear. Whether that’s valuable or not probably depends on where you are and what you’re looking.

        • brucethemoose
        • 3 years ago

        Yes, shadows are drawn using the CPU in Skyrim.

        They look horrible… I dearly hope GPU shadows are one of the things they implemented in this fixed version. I’d put that in the “essential” pile for a 2016 release…

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