On the web you can find tons of material about tweaking vga manufactured by Nvidia , but it’s pretty hard find something useful about how to twak AMD cards correctly, and the passiveness from AMD‘s side certainly doesn’t help either.

Latest Drivers | CCC Settings (Catalyst Control Center) | Skyrim Options | VGA Presets | Notes

This guide will explain how to set your Ati-AMD VGA to make it work the best possible for Skyrim.

1. Latest Drivers:
Before doing everything i suggest you to update your card to the latest Beta drivers available, you can find them on the AMD website to this LINK!

2. CCC Settings (Catalyst Control Center):
In order to open the CCC you have to right-click on desktop and choose the voice Catalyst Control Center from the dropdown menu.

For first is necessary create a new driver profile only for Skyrim, this way the new settings will be initialized only when you run Skyrim.
To create a new profile find the option “Gaming” from the sidebar, click on it and then choose “3D Application Settings“, after clicking on it a list with all the options available will pop out, before doing anything you have to look for “Application Profiles” and select << New Application >> then click save, and from the window that will appear you need to select the Skyrim’s executable, TESV.exe!

After doing this we can go straight through the analysis of the CCC Options:

amd radeon ati hd catalyst CCC skyrimAA – Antialiasing:
In order to improve the AA with Skyrim you have to disable “Use Application Settings“, and you need to set the desired AA level directly via the slider, choose 2x if you have an old rig, 4x for medium rigs and 8x if you are using a great rig (at least 2gb of video memory).

The “Morphological filtering” setting enable/disable the AMD‘s FXAA-Like effect, it’s pretty invasive and not much optimized, use it only if you don’t mind too much about heavy text fuzziness.

AF – Anisotropic Filtering:
The AF quality provided by CCC is really better than the standard AF included inSkyrim, so un-tick “Use Application Settings” and set the AF slider to 16x, the maximum value, the fps drop is minimal, and the improvement in texture quality is really huge also on rigs not so recent

Tessellation:
This checkbox is active only if your VGA can handle this technology, if it can set it to “AMD Optimized“.


Catalyst AI:
Values defined here are concerning the global graphics performance, i suggest you set this (whatever your graphics card is) to “High Quality” and tick the checkbox “Enable Surface Format Optimization” that can boost your Skyrim performances a little.



Mipmap detail level:
Here the texture scaling quality is managed, set it to “High Quality” without thinking too much about it.



Wait for vertical refresh:
Ignore this and set it to “Off, unless application specifies“, you can enable/disable v-sync via the Skyrim ini.


Anti-Aliasing Mode:
Here is defined what Antialiasing type will be used, if you are using a mid-high rig set it to “Super-sample AA“. In case you are using a mid-low rig set the slider to Performance (“Multi-sample AA“)

3. Skyrim Options:
After setting the Catalyst Control Center, let’s discover how we need setting the Skyrim options.
To find them you have to run the Skyrim‘s Launcher and click on Options.

Here you have to set the mirror value of the AA and AF setting selected on the CCC, for example if you set AF 16x and AA 8x into the driver panel, you have to set the same Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filter values into the Skyrim Options .

This thing is really important, and is necessary, because with the latest Skyrim patch only using the forced values without also having set the same values in the in-game options won’t work properly.

In order to enable the FXAA you have to tick the FXAA option in the Advanced tab, remember that the RCRN‘s FXAA is optimized to work together with the one built in Skyrim, but if you want gain some fps without a big loss in image quality, you can disable the in-game FXAA and only keep active the one provided by RCRN, whiich is less of a performance hog!

4. VGA Presets:
Here are some premade options for AMD cards, they cover almost every rig, anyway you can customize them as you wish, they only offer you a guideline.

Ultra: Suggested only for very powerful rigs, this is the best graphics setting that Skyrim can handle, this preset has also been used to take the RCRN’s screenshots.
Catalyst Control Center:
Antialiasing: AA 8x – (Morphological filtering: ON)
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Tessellation: AMD Optimized
Catalyst A.I.: High Quality – (Enable Surface Format Optimization: ON)
Mipmap detail level: High Quality
Antialiasing Mode: Super-sample AA
Skyrim:
Antialiasing: AA 8x
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Detail: Ultra
- Advanced: FXAA ON
RCRN:
FXAA: ON

Medium-High: suggested for medium-high rigs, great graphics and acceptable framerate.
Catalyst Control Center:
Antialiasing: AA 4x – (Morphological filtering: OFF)
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Tessellation: AMD Optimized
Catalyst A.I.: High Quality – (Enable Surface Format Optimization: ON)
Mipmap detail level: High Quality
Antialiasing Mode: Super-sample AA
Skyrim:
Antialiasing: AA 4x
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Detail: Ultra
- Advanced: FXAA OFF
RCRN:
FXAA: ON

Low-Medium: suggested for not-so-powerful rigs, but still decent
Catalyst Control Center:
Antialiasing: AA 2x – (Morphological filtering: OFF)
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Tessellation: AMD Optimized
Catalyst A.I.: High Quality – (Enable Surface Format Optimization: ON)
Mipmap detail level: High Quality
Antialiasing Mode: Multi-sample AA
Skyrim:
Antialiasing: AA 2x
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Detail: High/Ultra
- Advanced: FXAA OFF
RCRN:
FXAA: ON

Low: suggested if you are trying to run skyrim in your microwave oven
Catalyst Control Center:
Antialiasing: “use application settings” – (Morphological filtering: OFF)
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Tessellation: AMD Optimized
Catalyst A.I.: High Quality – (Enable Surface Format Optimization: ON)
Mipmap detail level: High Quality
Antialiasing Mode: “use application settings”
Skyrim:
Antialiasing: OFF
Anisotropic Filtering: AF 16x
Detail: Medium/High
- Advanced: FXAA OFF
RCRN:
FXAA: ON

5. Notes:
The content of this guide is purely informative, take it as it is, and tweak your rig in relation to what you are looking for.
If you are using the “Ultra” preset listed previously i suggest you to check your temperatures frequently, the vga can become very stressed by it!
If you are using an overclocked system, before playing check if it is absolutely rock-solid!

Happy Tweaking!

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8 Comments

 

  1. March 5, 2012  10:06 am by Daniel Hernandez

    Man, I got two Ati 6950 in crossfire, Intel 2500k @ 4.5ghz, 8gb of RAM.

    I run the game on ultra with almost all of the high resolution mods out there and with 9 grids, at a stable 60fps (with the mod installed)

    After trying your Ultra suggestions on the CCC, the frames go as low as 15fps. Even with the medium-high suggested settings the frames drop and vary to much, and the differences/improvements are not quite perceivable.

  2. March 21, 2012  11:01 am by VulKain

    Guy, you are mad. Supersampling AA can only be handled by powerfull graphic card. Ive a 7970 OC at 1175/1650 and i cant set AA on 8x with supersampling. Maybe it's because ugrid is set to 7 or the many HD texturing mods, but ive to say 4x SSAA (supersampling AA) in 1080p, my VRAM is sometimes FULL ! Yes ! And i've 3GB !

    • March 21, 2012  11:17 am by The Masked Gamer

      8x supersampling is actually bugged, keep it at 4x.

      About vram usage it's pretty obvious that our test haven't be done with 5gb of random texture mods, but only with RCRN. So if you get your vram full remove texture mods or decrease aa!

      • March 22, 2012  6:14 am by VulKain

        No, Thats not what I meant. Im playing with an average of 45fps, and i rarely go under 30 ( 27 min ). My VRAM can go around 3GB, but RARELY. It's playable.
        I just wanted to point your suggested config (8xSSAA seemed exaggerated). But I admit i've not tryed with clean skyrim ( no mods/no tweaks ), my mistake !

        Wanted to add, guys, try Adaptative AA if you hate foliage aliasing. Its a good deal between standard multisampling AA and supersampling .

    • June 2, 2012  10:08 am by tvec

      Hi,
      I just want to say that I'm getting very smooth gameplay with 4x Supersampling AA, 16x AF. Last I noticed I was getting around 45 FPS outside Whiterun, but I don't really check FPS as long as there is no lag/stutter. I'm running a HIS IceQ 6790 oc'd to 935/1210 on i5 2500k @3.8Ghz, 16GB of 1600 RAM

  3. November 16, 2012  10:00 pm by bchick

    Hey Guys! I am having SERIOUS problems with RCRN v3.5 and my AMD ATI 7870 vidcard (singtle card,2GB ram). The issue is severe 'flashing' of the graphics in OUTDOORS ONLY. This constitutes distant trees and mountains flashing and also a flashing of the entire screen, sometimes showing 'triangles' and other odd artifacts popping up all over. I have no issues in interiors. I am using the 12.11 CCC drivers. I have tried all kinds of settings both in the ATI driver setup and/or Skyrim display options. My system is an AMD Phenom 6 core with 8GB of ram. I cannot think of anything else to do to remedy this, but it is making the game almost unplayable as it is really distracting when viewing distant terrain/open sky. It is almost as if the system were trying to display/resolve the scene and cannot stabilize. Any ideas?

  4. November 17, 2012  9:55 pm by bchick

    The answer to my issue above was to rollback the ATI Catalyst driver suite (CCC) to v12.8. This fixed all flashing and graphic instability.

  5. March 16, 2013  4:04 pm by shinobi8796

    Is this guide still useful? UP to date?

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