I have to hold my hands up and admit it, I'd only ever given The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim a brief whirl, way back at launch in November 2011, around the same time my not-so-trusty old PlayStation 3 gave up the ghost, may he rest in peace. It happened while I was playing Demon's Souls, which should give some indication of just how brutally punishing From Software's original is.
Anyway, I'd given Skyrim a bit of a go, but the combination of muddy visuals and yawn-inducing load times put me off. Which was just as well once my PlayStation died, taking all my saves with it. Fast forward three years and I knew the time was right to see Skyrim in all its glory. Grabbing it off Steam I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how the GD Machine 2014 could cope with its huge open world. Armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti, Intel i5-4670K processor, and 8GB of RAM, we put the GD Machine 2014 through some Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim benchmarks...
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Benchmarks GTX 750 Ti i5 4670K
Skyrim, it turns out, is a bit of a nightmare to benchmark. Bethesda's notoriously buggy engine isn't fitted with a Vsync off option, forcing a 60 fps cap on gameplay. There is a fix for this, although it makes the physics go haywire, causing stray carrots to drift serenely past in the air. This fix didn't even work on the GD Machine 2014, so we were lumped with a 60 frames per second limit in Skyrim.
For the first Skyrim benchmarks everything was cranked up to maximum Ultra settings, including 8x MSAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, and the maximum draw distance - all at 1920 x 1080p resolution. Booting up the game, Skyrim played at an unwavering 60 fps. Great news for the GD Machine 2014's performance, terrible news for the benchmarks. We would normally provide a graph for your perusal here but your imagination will no doubt suffice for the string of 60FPS results.
Skyrim looks great on Ultra settings it has to be said, particularly in comparison to the muddy console version. The draw distance is great and it's without doubt the definitive version of Skyrim, and that's without any of ever-growing mod support.
Skyrim Ultra Screenshots
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Loading Times
One aspect that was particularly impressive with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the GD Machine 2014 was the load times, which were a fraction of those seen on console. When teleporting to a previously visited destination on PS3, the load times would take around 28-32 seconds, while the GD Machine 2014 is around 1-3. Going into a building usually takes around 1 second, meanwhile on PlayStation 3 this takes around 12 seconds. It made the playing experience so much less jarring, and demonstrates the potential of a hybrid SSD. Installed on a proper SSD it's quite conceivable to have near-instant loading times across the whole of Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is getting on a bit now, but the GD Machine 2014 provided flawless performance throughout. The added boost of the perfect performance is I can now go hands-on with the graphics mods and high resolution 4K textures, hopefully without too much of a performance hit.
If you're looking for more information and benchmarks on the GD Machine 2014 then don't forgot to check out the links below, including a raft of benchmarks for some of the latest and greatest graphical beauties to hit the PC gaming world, including Watch Dogs, Titanfall, and Wolfenstein: The New Order.