'It’s like watching Star Wars and genuinely thinking, ‘what about those poor Death Star construction workers?’ You’re missing the point: Skyrim is a huge and engaging world to explore and it treats you with great moments, from your first dragon encounter to finally being able to craft dwarven armour.'
We've updated our Skyrim benchmark to include the official high resolution texture pack, available as a free DLC. We set the game to its 'Ultra' setting and record a sixty second manual play through just outside the town of Whiterun during a thunderstorm. We use a section where we are able to run forward in a straight line for a minute without being attacked so the benchmark remains consistent, and use the third person camera view.
Many modern games make little use of the CPU, instead ploughing resources into the GPU, making the CPU’s impact on high-resolution performance difficult to test. As such, we’ve drafted in the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, one of the easier games in our 3D benchmark suite, as well as a GeForce GTX 690 4GB to remove as many of the graphical limitations as possible. We’ve still tested at a meaningful resolution however, and with ultra-detail and high-resolution textures (although no AA).
Total War games have been making grown PCs cry ever since the original Shogun was released in 2000. The many units, model animations, AI routines and the usual physics and object collision make Shogun 2 as hard a task to run for the CPU as the graphics card.
We use the built-in CPU test, launched by right-clicking on the game in your Steam library. This stages a scripted battle, where we watch the action at a reasonably zoomed-in level. We leave the detail settings at default, though we force AA and AF off through the Nvidia driver, and record the action for 60 seconds using FRAPS.