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Skyrim Performance Minded Modding
By Theoran
A stable, performance minded mod list for players with 1GB video cards.
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Introduction
I love the beauty of Skyrim, but often felt left out due to the power of my computer. After several hundred hours of playing and testing different mods I've managed to nail down a list of mods that make Skyrim look amazing, but still playable on a machine with a 1GB video card.

This guide/mod list is geared towards performance minded players or players with lower end rigs. This is my current setup to help gauge what you might expect using the mods in this guide. I hover around 55-60FPS in most areas and will drop to the mid 40s on heavier areas.

NOTE:
If you are using Nexus Mod Manager I highly suggest installing the mods in the order I list them. If using Mod Organizer then order the mods in the order I have them listed below.

This list is a less chatty version of my other guide. The Adventurer's Guide is more detailed and will have many more mods than this guide. This guide is a more slimmed down version trying to cover what I feel are the more important things to cover.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=211652424

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3.30GHz
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1280MB
RAM: 16GB DDR3 PC3-10700
Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080


Popular Mod Type Exclusions
The following are very popular types of mods that are too performance heavy for this guide.
  • ENB mods
  • SweetFX mods
  • 2K and/or 4k landscape texture mods
  • Almost every grass mod
  • City and town overhauls
  • Flora overhauls
  • Insane skin texture mods
  • NPC doll overhauls
INI Tweaks
The following are the only changes I've made to my Skyrim INI files. These settings come from S.T.E.P.[wiki.step-project.com] or are recommendations from the mod authors for their mods.

Skyrim.ini
[General]
sIntroSequence= ;Disables the intro sequence for a faster startup
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192 ;Helps prevent lighting pop-in

[Display]
;Improves shadow changes as the sun moves through the sky.
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.25 ;Transition time of sun-shadow movement
fSunUpdateThreshold=1.5 ;Time between sun-shadow movement

[Combat]
;Shift the point of aim to the center of the aiming reticule for arrows and crossbows.
f1PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7
f3PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7
f1PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7
f3PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7

[Actor]
fVisibleNavmeshMoveDist=12288.0000 ;allows arrows to hit objects as far as the appear to fly.

[Grass]
iMinGrassSize=120 ;Grass on Steroids setting for boost in FPS.

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
iMaxAnisotropy = 0 ;Anisotropic Filtering.
iMultiSample = 4 ;Antialiasing.
iPresentInterval = 0 ;disable vsync! - vsync should be handled in enblocal.ini
bTreesReceiveShadows=1 ;Enables shadows rendering on trees.
bDrawLandShadows=1 ;Enables shadows rendering on land.

[Controls]
bMouseAcceleration=0 ;Disable mouse acceleration.
Utilities
Load Order Optimisation Tool - LOOT[loot.github.io]
Assists mod users in avoiding detrimental conflicts by setting the correct load order for the plugins they have installed. LOOT also identifies files that need to be cleaned in TES5Edit as well as other useful information regarding conflicts and compatibility patches. LOOT is the replacement for the outdated BOSS utility.

Load Order # 2 - LOOT by Gopher.

ENBoost[enbdev.com]
Increases performance by redirecting memory allocated to the Skyrim executable to the enbhost executable.

Guide to use: Use the S.T.E.P. ENBoost guide[wiki.step-project.com] for configuration.

Mod Organizer[www.nexusmods.com]
The last mod manager you'll ever use. The learning curve is a little more steap than Nexus Mod Manager, but the isolated mod install feature is a thing of beauty.

Guide to use: Consult the Mod Organizer S.T.E.P. guide[wiki.step-project.com] for assistance.

Skyrim Script Extender - SKSE[skse.silverlock.org]
SKSE is a modder's resource that expands the script ability of the Skyrim game. You have to have this installed to use several of the mods listed in this guide.


Guide to use: Consult the Skyrim Script Extender S.T.E.P. guide[wiki.step-project.com] for assistance in setting up SKSE. In addition to what S.T.E.P. recommends, include the following in the SKSE.ini file:

[Display]
iTintTextureResolution=2048

[Interface]
EnableContainerCategorization=1

Wrye Bash[www.nexusmods.com]
A mod manager with a twist. I use Wrye bash mostly for it's "Bashed Patch" feature. The bashed patch allows you to combine leveled lists. Why is this important? Merged leveled lists allow items from one mod to be distributed throughout the game. Items from a weapons mods could show up in vendor shops and things like that. Wrye bash is fairly easy to install. Just download the standalone edition.
Fixes, Patches, Corrections
Distant Decal FixLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Unofficial Skyrim PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Unofficial Dawnguard PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Unofficial Hearthfire PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Unofficial Dragonborn PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Appropriately Attired JarlsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Bookshelves Skript Updated SKSELink[www.nexusmods.com]
Brawl Bugs PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Clothing and Clutter FixesLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Cultist Mask Decapitation FixLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Dragon Stalking FixLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Enchantment Reload FixLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Fuz Ro D'ohLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Guard Dialogue OverhaulLink[www.nexusmods.com]
No NPC GreetingsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
No Spinning Death AnimationLink[www.nexusmods.com]
OneTweakLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Realistic Crime RadiusLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Realistic Ragdolls and ForceLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Skyrim -Elys- AltF4Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Skyrim Project OptimizationLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Smart SoulsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Trade and BarterLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Weapons and Armor Fixes RemadeLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Interface and Main Menu
A Quality World MapLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Better Dialogue ControlsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Better MessageBox ControlsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Immersive HUDLink[www.nexusmods.com]
KenMOD - Time on loading screenLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Main Font Replacement - Centaur FontLink[www.nexusmods.com]
No Bethesda Logo In MenuLink[www.nexusmods.com]
No Menu and Loading SmokeLink[www.nexusmods.com]
SkyUILink[www.nexusmods.com]
Map HUD Enhanced - With TimeLink[www.nexusmods.com]
RaceMenuLink[www.nexusmods.com]
ShowRaceMenu AlternativeLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Smaller CursorLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Thinner CompassLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Unknown EnchantsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Conflicting Graphics
Bethesda Hi-Res Optimized --UNIVERSAL--Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Bethesda Hi-Res Optimized UHRP --COMPATIBLE VERSION--Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Bethesda Performance Textures - Animals and Creatures (ALL version)
+ Argonian + Khajiit
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Bethesda Performance Textures - Armor - Clothes - Weapons
+ Steel Boot Fix + Children Nord Clothes + Tamriel Objects + Character
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Better Dynamic SnowLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Complete Crafting Overhaul Remade
Follow mod page instructions closely. Very important.
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Ruins Clutter ImprovedLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Realistic Smoke and EmbersLink[www.nexusmods.com]
SkyFalls and SkyMillsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIMLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Skyrim HD 2K Textures - LITE
+ Dungeons + Landscape + Misc + Towns + Riften
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Enhanced Distant Terrain 2 + DragonbornLink[www.nexusmods.com]
A Quality World Map - With RoadsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Landscape and Environment
aMidianBorn Caves and Mines 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Imperial Forts 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianborn Landscape 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Solstheim Landscape 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Whiterun 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Climates Of Tamriel
+ Dawnguard Patch + Dragonborn Patch
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Climates Of Tamriel - Weather PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Enhanced Lights and FX
+ Dawnguard Patch + Dragonborn Patch + SMIM Meshes
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Better Signage - Inns and ShopsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Enhanced Distant TerrainLink[www.nexusmods.com]
EotW Dawnguard DLC Textures RemasteredLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Ethereal AurorasLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Ethereal CosmosLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Glowing Ore Veins 300Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Grass On Steroids Natural Edition - VanillaLink[www.nexusmods.com]
HiRes Legible Road Signs (Worn version)Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Hold Border BannersLink[www.nexusmods.com]
HQ Snow TextureLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Interior and Dungeon Fog RemoverLink[www.nexusmods.com]
MOUNTAIN OR MOLEHILLLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Point The WayLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Realistic Water TwoLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Re-Defined Dungeons 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Remove Underwater Grass and other stuff tooLink[www.nexusmods.com]
RUSTIC FARMHOUSESLink[www.nexusmods.com]
RUSTIC WINDOWSLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Hybrids Hires Plant and Herb RetextureLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Shooting StarsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Skyrim Performance PLUS
+ Rainfall + Disable Aspen Leaves FX + Disable Falling Pine Needles FX
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
The Beauty of Skyrim - Dungeons 1kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Characters and Creatures
Amazing Follower Tweaks
+ AFT NoFriendlySpellDamage
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Armored Skeletons and The Walking DeadLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Convenient HorsesLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Deadly DragonsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Ethereal Elven OverhaulLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Follower Commentary Overhaul - FCOLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Immersive PatrolsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
INIGOLink[www.nexusmods.com]
No More Blocky FacesLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Populated Cities Towns VillagesLink[erkeilmods.altervista.org]
Populated Dungeons Caves RuinsLink[erkeilmods.altervista.org]
Populated Forts Towers PlacesLink[erkeilmods.altervista.org]
Populated Lands Roads PathsLink[erkeilmods.altervista.org]
Run For Your LivesLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Sleep TightLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Sleeping InnkeepersLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Superior Lore-Friendly Hair (1k rough version)Link[www.nexusmods.com]
TK Children Link[www.nexusmods.com]
TK Children Head Fix Link[www.nexusmods.com]
TK Children USKP PatchLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Travellers of Skyrim
+ Dragonborn Addon
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
When Vampires AttackLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Xenius Character EnhancementLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Xenius Character Enhancement BrowsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Xenius Character Enhancement DawnguardLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Clothing and Equipment
aMidianBorn Blade of WoeLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Book of Silence - ArmorsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Dragonborn DLCLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Unique ItemsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Book of Silence - WeaponsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Hide and Studded Hide 2kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Imperial Light Armor 2kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Iron Cabals Cut 2kLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Saviors HideLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn ScaledLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn SteelLink[www.nexusmods.com]
aMidianBorn Stormcloak OfficerLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Apophysis Dragon Priest MasksLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Better Circlets MD 1KLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Better Shaped WeaponsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Cloaks of Skyrim + DawnguardLink[www.nexusmods.com]
EotW Mage Equipment OverhaulLink[www.nexusmods.com]
EotW Mage Robes of Skyrim + Hearthfire DLC Robes addonLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Gemling Queen JewelryLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Left Hand RingsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Left Hand Enchanted RingsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Lore Weapon ExpansionLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Thieves Guild Armor HD revivalLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Winter Is Coming - CloaksLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Animations and Effects
Alternate Summoning Visuals (NO ESP version)Link[www.nexusmods.com]
DUST (x256 version)Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Finer DustLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Plynxs No Motion Sickness Crafting EditionLink[www.nexusmods.com]
SNOW (x256 version)Link[www.nexusmods.com]
Clutter and Miscellaneous
Designs of the NordsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
EOtW Real Golden SeptimLink[www.nexusmods.com]
HQ PaperLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Radiant and Unique Potions Poisons and BOOZE NON GLOWLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Realistic InstrumentsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Rens HD ShrinesLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Stalhrim of SkyrimLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Soul Gems DifferLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Sweet MotherLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Sound
Audio Overhaul for SkyrimLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Better Horse Pain SoundsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Realistic Wolf Howls - more barks than howlsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Smooth blade draw and Sheathe - Full optionsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Immersive Sounds - CompendiumLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Soultrap Sound Edit - Calm WindLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Thundering shoutsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Gameplay
Ancient SpellsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Gildergreen RegrownLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Harvest OverhaulLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Localized Guild JobsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Non-Automatic Skill Books (better version)Link[www.nexusmods.com]
RadianceLink[www.nexusmods.com]
ReflectionLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Skyrim -Community- UncapperLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Skyrim Coin Replacer Redux Link[www.nexusmods.com]
StorefrontLink[www.nexusmods.com]
The Paarthurnax DilemmaLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Traps Make NoiseLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Vendor Sale Delay - GONELink[www.nexusmods.com]
Optional: New Gameplay, Quests, Lands
Frostfall - Hypothermia Camping SurvivalLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Agent of Righteous MightLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Engelmanns RestLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Falskaar
+ Dawnguard Patch
Link[www.nexusmods.com]
CoT Patch[www.nexusmods.com]
Luftahraan - HeimfeigrLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Inns and TavernsLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Moon and StarLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Moonpath to ElsweyrLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Ogmunds TombLink[www.nexusmods.com]
The Lost Wonders of MzarkLink[www.nexusmods.com]
The Shadow of MeresisLink[www.nexusmods.com]
ThirteenOranges - Faction - Pit FighterLink
ThirteenOranges - Faction - Pit Fighter Travels Add-OnLink
ThirteenOranges - Places - Amber GuardLink
ThirteenOranges - Places - GranitehallLink
ThirteenOranges - Places - Laintar Dale Hearthfire EditionLink
ThirteenOranges - Quest - And the Realms of DaedraLink
ThirteenOranges - Quest - No MercyLink
ThirteenOranges - Quest - Sea of GhostsLink
ThirteenOranges - Quest - SorceryLink
ThirteenOranges - Quest - The Bigger They AreLink
UndeathLink[www.nexusmods.com]
Windcallers PassLink[www.nexusmods.com]
WyrmstoothLink[www.nexusmods.com]
10 Comments
< >
Theoran  [author] Sep 22 @ 8:07pm 
Gah. That's my fault mate.

This video will show you what you need to do with Wyre Bash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqbcZSCmJoc

I'll update this list with video links soon.
FiniteIce Sep 22 @ 5:18pm 
---Update--- Fixed Skyrim CTD issue
But the confusion with Wyrebash still stands.
FiniteIce Sep 22 @ 5:16pm 
SKSE worked fine through Mod Organizer without any of the other mods checked. I do see a couple of red exclamation points though;

-Unofficial Skyrim Patch
-Unofficial Dawnguard Patch
-Unofficial Hearthfire Patch
-Unofficial Dragonborn Patch
-Skyrim Project Optimization
-Clothing and Clutter Fixes
-No Spinning Death Animation
-Skyrim Project Optimization (makes a second appearance on the list for some reason)
-Trade and Barter
-Weapons and Armor Fixes Remade
-Unknown Enchants

On another note, I am unaware of how to use WyreBash.
Theoran  [author] Sep 22 @ 4:59pm 
SKSE is install in the Skyrim folder and not the data folder right? Trying running SKSE through MO with no mods checked to ensure everything is working as intended first.

After that, enable the fixes mods and look in the right window pane in MO, do you see any red exclamation points?
FiniteIce Sep 22 @ 4:25pm 
Since this guide contains a lot of mods, as of today, I successfully made the INI Tweaks, downloaded/installed the Utilities, Fixes, Patches, Corrections, Interface/Main Menu Mods. Eventually I'll have all of the mods in this guide downloaded/installed, just splitting up the process into segments (such as a Tab/Category a day or so).
A couple questions;
1) Do I skip the Conflicting Graphics Tab?
2) Using Mod Organizer, I downloaded, installed the corresponding mods from the two tabs before Conflicting Graphics, and used LOOT to properly edit the load order of them to play. Using Mod Organizer to launch SKSE to launch Skyrim, it crashed to desktop on startup. How do I fix this?
Thanks in advance~Finite
Theoran  [author] Sep 11 @ 10:47am 
That's what I love to read and hear. Thanks for the feedback.
flavioczuk Sep 11 @ 9:07am 
Tnx man!
I´ve already did some of the things you´ve described in this tutorial and it REALLY helped me to get a better experience in the game!
Theoran  [author] Aug 12 @ 12:14pm 
Updated list:

+ Removed and added many mods after extensive play testing.
+ Updated list to have everything in the correct install order.
Tio Taveira Aug 11 @ 6:03am 
+fav
Doomcrew Aug 8 @ 9:20am 
wow, very extensive. well organized. Thanks dude.