Best Graphics Cards for Skyrim in 2022

Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks produced and released Skyrim, an open-world adventure role-playing video game. Following 2006’s The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it is the fifth major installment in The Elder Scrolls franchise, and it was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Skyrim was made with the Creation Engine, which was redesigned especially for the game.

The team chose a more complex and exclusive open-world than Oblivion’s Imperial Province of Cyrodiil, which game designer and executive producer Todd Howard thought was less exciting. The game received positive reviews, with critics praising the character development and atmosphere, and is widely regarded as one of the best video games of all time.

The team created a hand-drawn map of Skyrim as the setting for the game. Although the game world is close in scale to Oblivion’s Cyrodiil, the world’s rugged topography inflates the game area. It makes it more challenging to navigate than Cyrodiil, which was comparatively smooth.

Skyrim is motivated by Bethesda’s Creation Engine, which was directly forked from the Fallout 3 codebase for Skyrim. In comparison to Bethesda’s previous attempts, the Development Engine allows for various graphical fidelity changes.

In this article, we’ll configure some of the best graphics cards for Skyrim and will briefly discuss the best traits of these graphics cards.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980

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Base Clock1266 MHZ
Boost Clock1367 MHz
CUDA Cores2048
Memory Detail4096MB GDDR5

In taking its Maxwell architecture to passionate gamers, the GPU manufacturer has opted to forego the planned 800-series instruction set instead of introducing its newest cards as the “GTX 900” series. The raw performance of the GeForce GTX 980 is impressive enough, outperforming the GeForce GTX 780 Ti and the quick, power-hungry Radeon R9 290X in most of our gaming-oriented benchmark tests.

The GeForce GTX 980 also comes with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM that runs at a speed of 7Gbps. Compared to the GeForce GTX 680, it has doubled the number of render output units (ROPs). This, coupled with a higher clock speed (on the stock GTX 980, between 1,126MHz and 1,216MHz), is intended to improve power at high resolution and when high anti-aliasing settings are available.

According to the manufacturer, the GeForce GTX 980’s thermal design power (TDP) is only 165 watts.

A new anti-aliasing method, a new approach lighting effect, and Dynamic Super Resolution are among the features supported by the GeForce GTX 980. The GeForce GTX 980 is simple to recommend to enthusiasts looking to create a new rig for elevated gaming or to upgrade an older card to achieve steady connection speeds at resolutions above 1080p, based solely on its efficiency and (comparatively) low power requirements.

The GTX 980 model card has three DisplayPort ports, which addresses one of the issues with prior Nvidia high-end cards. There’s only one DisplayPort on previous Nvidia high-end offerings so that you couldn’t add more than one 4K view running at 60Hz, or one screen with the company’s image-smoothing G-Sync technology. As a result, high-end multi-monitor configurations necessitated several cards solely for synchronization.

The HDMI port on this device is also of the brand-new 2.0 type, allowing it to support 4K resolution at 60Hz. Any four of the five connectors here, according to Nvidia, can be used at the same time.

According to Overclockers, the extra airflow provided by eliminating this portion of the backplate is critical for feeding air to the adjacent card’s intake fan. Although this function isn’t helpful for single-card consumers, it’s cool to see Nvidia thinking about the types of enthusiasts who may like to install several of these cards for 4K or multiple-monitor setups.

Instead of being recirculated through the PC, most of the heat is blown out of the I/O bracket. Furthermore, even though there can be up to five monitor ports here, the company has revamped the port area to allow for a broader emission scope. With the GeForce GTX 980, Nvidia is boasting a few new in-game features in addition to a new architecture that stresses stability and support for the forthcoming DirectX 12 API (naturally).

Anti-aliasing is less essential to obtain high image consistency at higher resolutions, such as 4K. With the GeForce GTX 980 comfortably capable of 1080p gaming at high settings with AA enabled, MFAA could be more of a benefit to the GeForce GTX 970 and lesser 900-series cards that will likely arrive later than to potential GeForce GTX 980 customers.

In a nutshell, the GeForce GTX 980 performed better on the less-demanding Ultra environment. With vastly enhanced power consumption, significantly improved port options, and overall performance that places its highest point of the single-board computer market, heap with graphics-card chips.


  • Low Power Consumption
  • Great Looking ACX 2.0 Cooler
  • GPU Boost 2.0


  • Good factory overclock
  • Superb single-GPU performance
  • Triple BIOS
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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 960

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Clock Speed7010 MHz
TechnologiesMicrosoft DirectX
InterfacePCI Express 3.0 x16
Bandwidth112.16 GB/s

Gigabyte made the G1 Gaming the best SKU in the GTX 960 lineup, and as you’ll see, it’s a fantastic device, particularly now that it comes with 4GB of graphics memory. The G1 Gaming models are not only beautiful, but they are also quiet and have excellent cooling performance below 60 degrees Celsius!

These cards are factory overclocked at some incredible speeds, despite the low GPU temperatures. E.g., the core clock frequency is set at 1241 MHz, while the dynamic boost clock will reach 1304 MHz. The memory operates at a speed of 7 Gbps. The GeForce GTX 960 G1 gaming version will get all the cooling it needs with the dark build and triple-fan cooler, and the decibel levels will be low.

According to Guru3D, This GPU has 2GB of GDDR5 vRAM and 1024 CUDA cores clocked at 1216 MHz on the hardware side. DVI-I and DVI-D outputs, an HDMI output, and three DisplayPort outputs are available on this card. NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture enables graphics-intensive applications to take advantage of the 1024 CUDA cores’ similar setup for hardware acceleration.

Render times and other compute-intensive operations that benefit from parallelization can be significantly sped up due to this. The card’s central arrangement also helps it operate effectively and silently, even under heavy processing pressure.

The WINDFORCE 2X cooler from Gigabyte keeps this card cool. To remove hot air from the GPU, the 2X cooler uses two big fans with swept blades.

By alternating sample measurements around each frame and each pixel, a 30 percent performance improvement is achieved while retaining flat, high-quality edges. Vertical sync is regulated based on the current frame rates for a more fluid gameplay experience. Clock speeds are optimized depending on workload. Temperature, fan speed, extra over-voltage headroom, and optimizations for water-cooling systems are also possible.

You can stretch your PC games through three screens in stereoscopic 3D with only one card, giving you an “inside the game” experience. To get access to your email, site, and other apps, add a fourth accessory monitor. NVIDIA SLI technology employs AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering), which distributes the processing load through many graphics cards. This boosts anti-aliasing scaling as well as frame rates. Use the GPU’s processor cores to speed up time-consuming activities like video transcoding, physics simulation, and ray tracing.

The use of GPU processors for these activities improves performance over conventional CPUs. The GTX 960 supports DirectX 12, OpenCL, and OpenGL 4.4, allowing compatible applications to take advantage of GPU acceleration and relieve the CPU of some of the processor load. This card is designed for the PCI Express 3.0 bus architecture, which allows for fast data transfer rates in games and 3D applications. Reverse functionality with current PCI Express motherboards is still maintained.


  • Runs cool
  • Extremely quiet during gaming
  • Backplate included


  • Only small performance increase over previous generations
  • 1440p and 4K can prove too much
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Asus GeForce GTX 1050

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GPU NameGP107
Memory Clock1752 MHz
Boost Clock1455 MHz
Memory Speed7000 MHz

Nvidia expands its 10-series GPU range with six new models with the introduction of the GTX 1050. The GTX 1050 is the best ultra-low-cost GPU. It’s adequate for entry-level gaming and light esports, and it should fit in almost every machine sold in the last five years or more.

Key Features and Performance

The same GP107 GPU is used on both cards based on Samsung’s 14nm FinFET node. Furthermore, 1050 comes with 2GB GDDR5 memory (depending on the games and settings you choose).

Pascal has a lot of quality, and it has some incredible results in the end. In the end, the GTX 1050 outperforms the GTX 950. Anyone who sees the GTX 1050 and thinks to themselves, “Yeah, that’s just the kind of results I need.”

According to TrustedReviews, the GTX 1050 also defeats the RX 460, a more significant victory—even if the RX 460 has twice as much VRAM. However, this is dependent on the games you’re playing.

If you can deal with the 2GB VRAM restriction, the GTX 1050 promises to be the highest overall budget GPU. All you need is a full-size slot with an x16 PCIe link to install a 1050 and get a significant performance boost over integrated graphics. It’s also a decent HTPC solution, as the card retains all of the HEVC decoding capabilities of the more costly Pascal offerings.

They provide superior raw value to the AMD graphics cards used in the base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions. However, most gamers would be best suited by a higher-end card with 3GB or more VRAM due to the card’s local video memory.

But there’s more to it than that. With just 640 CUDA cores, this is the most basic Pascal chip available. This model’s lack of cores is compensated for by a high boost clock speed of 1,455MHz.

Design and Cooling

The GTX 1050’s TDP thermal design efficiency is only 75W, which means it gets all of its power from your motherboard. During the Hitman benchmark, the whole machine on our high-end, overclocked PC drew just 150W, 61W more petite than the RX 460.

Final Verdict

The GTX 1050 is the best demonstration yet of Nvidia’s Pascal architecture in use. It may not achieve stellar benchmark performance, but as a replacement part for an outdated or disabled GPU, it’s excellent, and it shouldn’t necessitate upgrading the power supply. It is the highest low-cost GPU for eSports players.


  • Extremely efficient
  • Excellent price
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4


  • No SLI support
  • Some games need to be dropped to Medium settings
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ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650

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Base clock1,485MHz
Boost clock1,665MHz
Memory4GB of GDDR5
Memory bandwidth128GB/sec

Because none of the other Turing GPUs would perform a budget edition of the better graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 1650 was the foregone entry. This is most certainly the Turing architecture’s final implementation (at least on 12nm).

Several improvements have resulted in improved results. In comparison to the 1050/1050 Ti, 1650 has more ram bandwidth and CUDA cores. Second, it runs at a much faster pace. Third, unlike Pascal GPUs, the Turing architecture supports concurrent FP32 and INT calculations, increasing performance by another 10% to 30%. (depending on the game and settings).

Nvidia now has everything for ray tracing enthusiasts, from the powerful GeForce RTX 2080 Ti to the more affordable GeForce RTX 2060, mainly with GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 losing the RT and Tensor cores in favor of lower costs.

Another interesting thing to note is that the GTX 970 is just marginally faster (1-3 percent on average) than the GTX 1650, owing to architecture changes over the past two generations. The GTX 1650 is more likely to be used in newer games, whereas the GTX 970 is more likely to be used in older games.

The memory configuration and number of SMs (Streaming Multiprocessors), which specify the number of CUDA cores, texture units, and ROPs, are the main differences from the 1660 rows.

According to PCGamers, the GTX 1650 has 4GB of GDDR5 memory, which is clocked at 8GT/s, much like the GTX 1660 and the previous generation GTX 1060 cards. It has 128GB/s of capacity, marginally more than the GTX 1050 Ti, thanks to four active memory controllers on a 128-bit bus. It also includes 32 ROPs (Render Outputs).

TU117 and the GTX 1650 have 14 SMs for the GPU core, translating to 896 CUDA cores and 56 texture units. The GTX 1650, like all other Turing GPUs, will perform concurrent FP32 and INT calculations, speeding up gaming workloads by 15-35 percent (based on the game) over the prior Pascal architecture.

Nvidia’s boost clocks are generally conservative, with most cards running far above the specified rpm. The stock GTX 1650 has a boost clock of 1665MHz, which gives it a theoretical score of 2984 GFLOPS. Although factory overclocked cards (like the MSI GTX 1650 Gaming X 4G that I’m using) have higher clock speeds and include a 6-pin PEG connector, the GTX 1650 is designed to run without one.

Overall, the GTX 1650 performs almost as well as one would hope. It outperformed the GTX 1050 by 57 percent at 1080p medium and 73 percent at 1080p super in my testing. Again, this is mainly attributable to the 1050’s small VRAM, as the GTX 1050 Ti is even closer—1650 is about 30% faster.


  • Very affordable
  • Great performance per watt
  • Over 50 percent faster than GTX 1050
  • Compact size, great for small form factor builds


  • Expensive relative to Radeon RX 570


In the last, we will sum up this article of ours by saying that graphics card is the most important component in the field of gaming and if you want to increase the performance, the first thing that should come to your mind about upgrading is your graphics card and as long as you are playing Skyrim, you will be fine with any of these graphics cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Skyrim CPU or GPU intensive?

For vanilla Skyrim, I’d say it’s more on the CPU-intensive side, but in your case for mods, I think you’re better off upgrading your GPU. Your CPU is still more than sufficient, but you might run into some GPU bottlenecks with visual overhauls.

Chris Stobing
Chris Stobing is a hardware analyst at PhenomBuilts. He is a graduate of New York University. Chris brings his experience benchmarking and reviewing gadgets and PC hardware such as graphics cards, monitors, storage, and networking equipment.
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