Is Skyrim CPU or GPU intensive?


Sep 11, 2012
so i recently started playing skyrim on pc and i gotta say it performs fine but when there are many models or if im in a city/village, my fps can go down to around 28 the lowest and ususally im around 55-60.

so im thinking about overclocking either my gpu or cpu but i, new to overclocking so im kinda overwhelemd.

my specs are:

Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H Motherboard
Intel i5-3570k (Coolermaster 212 plus as cpu cooler with antec formula 6 thermal paste)
Gigabyte Radeon 7950 (windforce)
2x4GB RAM (1600mhz)
650W Antec PSU
Zalman Z9 Plus Case

my cpu and gpu are both on stock but my gpu i believe came factory overclocked (core= 900mhz and memory= 1250mhz) CPU is still i believe at 3.4ghz.

Also i kinda tried overclocking with msi afterburner and the game wouldnt start no matter what settings.
With Gigabyte OC Guru i got upto 975mhz on the core and 1250mhz on memory with the game running fine but as soon as i went to 1000 on the core the game would freeze about 10 seconds in.



Sep 11, 2012
Also im not really sure how to get temps on the CPU, MSi afterburner wont let me starup with skyrim but on the OSD on other games it only shows me GPU usage and temps even though i get CPU stats enable in the settings.

Alex The PC Gamer

Oct 24, 2007
OCing your GPU would only bump your FPS average to +/-5FPS on your stock cooler and may become unstable (may crash often). The problem with Skyrim is loading all the textures at once (and there is a lot to load when you get to crowded area like cities.

There are 2-3 things you could do up your FPS when in cities...

1 - Hardare Upgrade: Using an SSD instead of a HDD will dramatically reduce load times and will reduce some sluttering occuring when travelling or turning quickly in cities or other crowded areas.

2 - Mods! : I saw a skyrim MOD that took care of almost all the sluttering (i forgot the name of it) but i'm sure you can find it by simply googling's very popular to help with performance. SkyrimNexus probably has it in its most popular mods.

3 - Even if you have an AMD card, go through Nvidia's guide to tweaking your game. It'll take you a while to find the right settings but down the road, you'll end up enjoying skyrim a whole lot more by simply tweaking a few settings in the config files. Worth it in my opinion.

4 - This goes without saying but (re-)install the latest Catalyst drivers for optimal performance.

5 - I think Razer just came out with a program that'll boost your gaming experience. It mainly shuts down or relocate all the resources to your game instead of spending it in other unrelated software running in the background. Might want to give that a try.

6 - Clear your PC with a registry PC Cleaner. Lots of free ones exist.

...the list goes on...

Hope this helps.
Skyrim is both CPU and GPU dependent.

You can try and find a mod for skyrim that improve performance by removing objects in the game that are not really necessary. For example, in Fallout 3 there are several types of "burnt / ruined" books, a performance tweaking mod removed 1 type. That mod also removed 1 type of small rock used in many places; it didn't cover anything, or do anything. It also removed references to objects that were never used in the game; not even once.